Grab another glass of rosé, because we’re back to take a bite out of New York’s vibrant al fresco dining culture.
121 Hudson St. (N. Moore St.)
The black-and-white eighties-chic decor spills outside at Mr. Chow’s Tribeca location, where you can dine alfresco over white tablecloths on the covered wraparound porch, served by waiters in bow ties. This not-crowded corner of the neighborhood makes a pleasant, stylish perch for a summer evening as the elegantly dressed crowd could attest. Food here is all about the classics too: juicy soup dumplings, crunchy salt-and-pepper prawns, and a gleaming peking duck.
241 West Broadway (N. Moore and Walker Sts.)
There’s hardly a nicer spot to while away a sunny weekend morning the flower-ringed sidewalk seating area at this classic brasserie, where shrimp-and-asparagus or ham-and-cheese crepes join egg dishes like oeufs en meurette (eggs in a red-wine reduction). It’s lovely at lunch and dinner too, when the classic French lineup attracts regulars who put in orders for their usual truite amandine or moules-frites.
103 Ave. B (6th and 7th Sts)
Classic French entrees taste so much better alfresco, and this bistro’s back garden is the sort of funky, homey setting you’d expect to find off Avenue B. It’s a brunch favorite, with French toast and eggs benedict served on nicked metal tables, a contrast to the lower lighting and more romantic scene inside.
125 Mulberry St. (Hester St.)
There are many rooms at this sprawling little Italy standby, and while some of them are downright tacky, the 80-seat courtyard is worth making a beeline for. With its brick grotto detailing, terracotta floors, and potted plants dotting the space, it feels like Italy, or at least somewhere far away. What’s more, the northern Italian menu (with its meaty chef specials like veal scallopine with asparagus) goes beyond the typical red-sauce fare found elsewhere on Mulberry Street.
447 Hudson St (Morton and Barrow Sts)
Finding this speakeasy is a bit confusing, but the stylish clientele that crowd inside have clearly risen to the challenge. If you show up to the address listed, you’ll encounter what looks like a construction site. Head around the corner on Morton Street to an unmarked green door, which leads straight to the restaurant’s inviting, secluded garden. Sadly there are only five outdoor tables, so be prepared to wait at the bar if you’re determined to have your New American food (perhaps some butter clams, gnocchi and sautéed Kale in parsley-lemon bouillon?) alfresco.
Maritime Hotel, 88 Ninth Ave. (17th St.)
The look of this place is just plain fun, particularly outdoors, where blue-and-white patio umbrellas dot the spacious patio, and elevated white planters hold trees hung with decorative paper globes. The euro-leaning crowd is lively, and nicely executed pizzas, pasta, and entrees such as chicken under a brick keep the masses happy.
180 Prince St. (Sullivan and Thompson Sts.)
Even before Keith McNally brought his deft touch to downtown, Soho had a bistro par excellence in the form of Raoul’s, which catered to the neighborhood’s artists and bohemians. Nowadays ou’ll find some of this same clientele in the house, more weathered for the years. The covered 30-seat garden room behind the kitchen is one of several spaces to tuck into excellent lamb chops and other classics, served on white tableclothes, bien sur.