Third in my neighborhood series.  Great restaurants and street life! My favorites, combined with some from Eater and Zagat.  Or grab some food from Eately or the food trucks and join the crowds enjoying the views and weather.

  • ABC Kitchen – 35 East 18th Street,  212-475-5829 – Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s casual, but stylish restaurant is centered around fresh, farm-to-table cooking.
  • Atoboy – Flatiron, atoboynyc.com, Chef Junghyum Park’s modern small plates are dishes to fight over…try the fried chicken dipped in spicy peanut-butter sauce, custardy egg with sea urchin, or any of the other creative Koren-influenced dishes.  Better than anything you had in K-Town.
  • Atomix –  104 E 30th St – The team behind critically-acclaimed Atoboy has gone upscale at Atomix in Nomad. Ellia and Junghyun Park, an alum of two-Michelin-starred Jungsik, serve a $175 tasting menu in the subdued, grey space. Seafood is a focus in the 10-course meal, which includes options like a soup with burdock, fish cakes, baby corn, and plum blossom. At a bar, BlackTail and Dead Rabbit alum serve up drinks with Korean flavors as well.
  • Benno – 7 E. 27th St. (Fifth Ave.) – an intimate dining room in the Evelyn Hotel serving Mediterranean food with chef Jonathan Benno (ran Lincoln Ristorante).  He is know as a chef’s chef, deeply respected by his peers for his range and technique.  His focus will be Northern Italy, and Southern France cuisine, which will remind you how pleasures can be gotten from complicated, precise cooking!  He has also opened a bakery next door.
  • Boqueria Flatiron – 53 West 19th Street, 646-651-4654 – Graze your way through some of my favorite tapas dishes at this small Spanish restaurant.  Great bar also.  It will be the cheapest trip to Barcelona you can get.
  • Cosme – 35 E 21st St., 1212-913-9659 – Enrique Olvera, very famous Mexican chef opened his first NYC restaurant.  Don’t expect the usual Mexican fare as Chef Olvera did his research on what NY’ers want and has incorporated his research in his space and cooking.  What you have is a inviting,  hip space and innovative Mexican inspired dishes.  But this is the only bar I will recommend skipping.  High, awkward, and uncomfortable chairs don’t make the dining experience pleasant (or getting on or off them!).  Not to be missed, the Duck Carnitas below (really, really amazing).  (cosmenyc.com)

  • Cote Korean Steakhouse – 16 W 22nd Street,  212 – 401-7986 – definitely upscale from it’s neighbors in Korean Town, this stylish, Michelin-starred restaurant decided to apply the American steakhouse genre to Korean barbecue. The menu’s got a mix of chophouse standards with subtle Korean flavors, made with beef that’s dry-aged on site and cooked tabletop. Opt for the butcher’s feast, priced at $48 per person and featuring four different meat cuts, banchan (small dishes with various pickled or fermented vegetables), salads, two stews, egg souffle, and soft serve. For a la carte ordering, there’s a range of steak (USDA Prime, on-request reserve cuts, and American Waygu, combining Japanese Waygu and American Black Angus) plus options like bibimbap and kimchi stew.
  • Ferris – 44 W 29th Street,  212 – 213-4420 – New American restaurant turning out creative Japanese-inflected dishes with adventurous ingredient pairings. Highlights from executive chef Greg Proechel include the blood sausage, carrot agnolotti with lamb neck, and cote de boeuf, plus the yuzu-lemon frozen yogurt for dessert.  This team from Maison Premiere, and Le Turtle received a great review in the NYT. The blonde-wooded space, trimmed with potted succulents, feels further downtown than its high-20s address.

  • Gramercy Tavern – 42 E 20th Street,  212 – 477-0777 – While Union Square Cafe is technically Danny Meyer’s oldest establishment, Gramercy Tavern (opened in 1994) is an essential part of his sizable empire and the city’s perfect American restaurant.  Chef Michael Anthony offers tasting menus at lunch and dinner, with an a la carte menu available at lunch, in the more formal-feeling dining room.  The menu evolves seasonally, but light, elegant seafood and vegetable-based dishes are the main attraction. There’s also the more-casual tavern space up front that is a la carte.
  • Hanjan – 36 W 26th Street,  212 – 206-7226 – Serving a mix of modern and traditional Korean fare this restaurant is intended to be a riff on a traditional Korean tavern. Choose from dishes like 24-hour braised beef short ribs, sizzling cod roe bibimbap, and 150-day aged kimchi and pork stew. There’s also a coursed dinner for $50 per person that includes three appetizers, a stew, and all the necessary accessories (kimchi, banchan, and rice), plus ice cream or sorbet for dessert.
  • Hao Noodle – 343 W 14th St, (646) 882-0059 – Hit this Greenwich Village Chinese restaurant which has added a second space, not so far away in Chelsea, focused on food meant to accompany drinking. Like the critically acclaimed original, this location serves up flavorful and on-point pan-regional Chinese fare in dishes such as cumin lamb skewers, dandan noodles, and beef short ribs with pineapple in black pepper sauce. It all goes down in a very pretty plant-filled space with an open kitchen.
  • Henry – at Life Hotel, 19 W 31st St, (212) 615-9910 – Chef JJ Johnson nabbed the city’s attention while cooking at Harlem restaurants, and since leaving the Cecil and Minton’s a year ago, his takeover of Henry is the first time he’ll be back in a full-service restaurant kitchen. He’s calling the menu here pan-African — an amalgamation of flavors from across Africa, the Caribbean, and the American South. A short rib with millet, hoisin barbecue sauce, and black beans is on the menu, as is a collard green salad and shrimp and pork dumplings with Portuguese sausage. Drinks come from acclaimed former Seamstress bartender, Pam Wiznitzer, who’s also drawing flavors from the cuisine of the African Diaspora for cocktails.
  • Kyma  – 15 W 18th St, (212) 268-5555 – Greek fare gets a slick setting at this massive new restaurant in Flatiron that is the first NYC location of a popular Long Island restaurant. The whitewashed space seats 250 on two floors, stocked with breezy, patio-like furniture and Ancient Greek terra cotta motifs. Seafood is a big event here, including whole grilled fish both imported and from the Atlantic that arrive to the table deboned. A robust list of appetizers, salads, pasta, and a raw bar round out the menu. Expect the vibes to lean lively — owner Reno Christou has said he plans to bring in a DJ once a week.
  • Laut Singapura – 31 East 20th Stret, 212.674.5288 – Singapore style street food with the cuisines of China, Thailand, India and Malaysia.  But don’t expect food stalls, as it is elegant with marble tables, vintage touches, and velvet upholstery.  Try the curry puffs with potato, chicken and beef satays, sweet and spicy chili crab, and Hainanese chicken (chilies, garlic, shallots , soy sauce).
  • Odo – 17 West 2th Street (Fifth Avenue), odo.nyc – Chef Hiroki Odo is giving the ancient tradition of kaiseki (a multi-course “haute cuisine” Japanese dinner, whose central tenet is to convey respect, making guests feel special and at ease) a modern, NY slant with a progression of courses (yes their is sushi but not the main focus).  He uses all local ingredients vs. importing them.
  • Nur – 34 E 20th Street, 212-505-3420 – modern Middle Eastern food including “street food elevated to fine dining”.  Chef Meir Adoni is pretty famous in Tel Aviv for Middle Eastern food with elements of French technique, infused with his Moroccan heritage and a global flair.  A mouthful, but it seems to work. Menu is designed for sharing so you can sample many of his culinary delights. Loved the octopus, sea bass, smoked eggplant carpaccio, the Horias (lamb kebab in grilled pita with pine nuts and eggplant.  And you must are any of his breads as Adoni’s partner is the founder of Breads Bakery.

  • Pondicheri – 15 W 27th Street (646.878.4375) – pan-Indian restaurant behind a dock door in the Flatiron district.  Chef Anita Jaisinghani, is a Houston based chef (and I have eaten in her wonderful restaurant there, Indika, and Pondicheri) earned a James Beard award.  Open from Breakfast to Dinner, from a cafe in the day to elegant dining at night she serves up incredible baked goods and interesting dishes.  Don’t miss the braised-goat-lentil samosa, and the quail (stuffed with pine nuts, roasted in the tandoor, and dripping with cilantro chutney)!

  • Simon & The Whale – 23 Lexington Ave, 212 – 475-1924 – Restaurateur Gabriel Stulman transports the feel of a locals-filled West Village spot to Gramercy with his newest project, housed inside the Freehand Hotel. A mishmash of cuisines comprises the menu from chef Matt Griffin, like pork collar milanese with aioli, apricot, and arugula or squid confit with smoked mussels. The baked goods are by Zoe Kanan, an alum of Milk Bar and Sadelle’s, now whipping up items like zeppoles stuffed with smoked gouda and bacon. The warm, brass- and gold-detailed digs, which are much more spacious than Stulman’s other projects like Fairfax and Joseph Leonard. Upstairs in the hotel there’s also Studio, an all-day restaurant run by Stulman’s Happy Cooking group and featuring Kanan’s baked creations.
  • The NoMad Restaurant – 1170 Broadway, 212-796-1500 – in the stylish NoMad Hotel, the owners of Eleven Madison Park opened this more casual, well not that casual really, dining establishment.  Great spot for a special dinner with great food and wine list, but quite expensive for the quality.  You might get seated in a small room with a fireplace, or you might wind up in a larger dining room under a big glass atrium. It is a mix of styles and the enjoyment of your meal can vary drastically according to where you happened to be seated. Order the chicken for two, cooked in a wood-burning oven and served with deposits of foie gras–rich brioche inserted under the crackly skin.
  • Undercote16 West 22nd St. (Fifth Avenue) – a sultry little basement den service Korean tidbits and drinks.  Located beneath Cote, a sleek, thriving Korean steakhouse.
  • Union Square Cafe – 101 E 19th St (Park Avenue South/ 19th St.), 212-243-4020 –  in the space that was occupied by City Crab.  Danny Meyer relocated his longstanding restaurant, along with a 450-square-foot space next door, Daily Provisions, serving coffee, breakfast pastries, breads, and a large to-go menu of sandwiches, salads, and rotisserie items.  The restaurant is warm, cozy, and the bar inviting.  Service is great, as that is the core of Danny Meyers philosophy. Food was as good as I remembered.  Say yes to the bread, butter and olives to begin the meal (give up those carbs next week) and try one of the pasta dishes or the burger.  I had a special that day of goose stuffed ravioli, pretty special.

  • Upland – 345 Park Ave South, 1212-686-1006  – Justin Smillie, who received 3 stars from The Times when he was at Il Buco Alimentari, is the chef.  and I think the second hottest chef in town (Daniel Rose is first).  He hooked up with Stephen Starr from Buddakan and what they have created is a Californian / Italian Brasserie that actually works.  The food is creative and  delicious.  His signature dish, and my favorite hands down, is the short ribs (I normally do not like short ribs, but I dream of this dish).  Love the kale & sausage pizza (blackened crust and enough to share with your friends).  Also excellent is the Grilled Veal Ribs, Whole Crispy Mushroom, Five Lettuce “ceasar” (trust me I NEVER order Ceasar Salad – this is quite unique), Hamachi Crudo, Slow Cooked Lamb Neck, Long Island Duck Breast.  And for lunch the burger is a must.  Large wine list with many reasonable priced finds. (uplandnyc.com).

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