Fourth in the series! Must admit that NoHo is our regular hangout, eating at Gato and Vic’s on a regular basis, as well as enjoying the Public Theater as often as we can. And recently we ventured into TriBeCa and fell in love with Batard .
- Augustine – 5 Beekman St in the The Beekman Hotel – not actually in the area, a bit further South near the Brooklyn Bridge and City Hall, but close enough to add to this section. Keith McNally’s latest venture, this French Brasserie has one of my favorite chefs at the helm, Marcus Glocker (and Chris Lewnes). As the NYT wrote, McNally has a knack for “building rooms that evoke vintage Paris — not exactly the real Paris, but the city the way you remember it a year after taking a vacation there. Augustine has the prettiest, giddiest interior he’s ever done. Painted glazed tiles are set so that vines and stalks of flowers seem to climb the walls…like a garden out of Fragonard.” It is lovely.
Beef is one of the featured items on the menu and you can’t go wrong ordering any of them. But don’t miss the Gougeres and the Pommes Frites!
- ATLA – 372 Lafayette Street, 646-837-6464 – Chef Enrique Olvera’s second NYC restaurant (Cosme is his first, more elaborate restaurant) serving all day until 2AM. Olvera proved himself at Cosme, with some really creative Mexican cuisine, and now he is having fun at Alta. From the tortilla chips, thick and crunchy with a sprinkling of toasted flaxseeds, to the salads of quinoa with cucumbers and pico de gallo or radishes surround by a yummy avocado dip. The chunky guacamole is mixed with tarragon, mint and basil and arrives under the biggest chile-dusted corn chip you have ever seen. Was a bit disappointed with the main (or larger) dishes but enjoyed the other food and the vibe.
- Balthazar – 80 Spring Street, 212-965-1414 – Keith McNally’s SoHo Brasserie makes you feel like you have been whisked away to Paris for the evening. After over a decade it is still one of the downtown places to go for upscale french bistro cooking. Little secret, it is a high-powered weekday breakfast scene for people in the know.
- Bar Wayo – Pier 17, 89 South Street (Fulton St.), 646.517.2645 – David Chang’s (Momofuku Org.) latest restaurant with “East-meets-West” food such as Wagyu burger with American cheese and Onion Rings with ranch dressing and trout roe.
- Batard – 239 W Broadway (Tribeca), 212-219-2777- this has become one of my favorite restaurants. Not only is the food “perfect” but the service and staff couldn’t be more welcoming. I dine at the small bar, of course, and only visit when one of the best bartenders in the city, Kelly, is working, Creative cocktails, your name is Kelly! They have a large selection of interesting, small batch alcohol and probably one of the best wine lists in NYC (especially for Burgundy – my favorite wines). Batard has it’s Michelin-star and is part of the Myriad restaurant group (Tribeca Grill and Nobu). Chef Markus Glocker (who is also the Chef at Keith McNally’s latest restaurant, Augustine) cooks modern European cuisine highlighting his Austrian background. You can taste joy in his food and you will have a grin on your face with every bite. As the NYT wrote “nothing on his gracefully composed plates was chewier or crunchier or softer or saltier than it wanted to be”. That says it all!
- Blue Ribbon Brasserie – 97 Sullivan Street, 212-274-0404 – for New Yorkers who never sleep, you don’t have to eat in a late-night low-brow dinner as this place is open until 4 AM with great food and service. Chef / owners Bruce and Eric Bromberg, were trained in France and opened Blue Ribbon Brasserie 20 years ago. They now have many others including Blue Ribbon Sushi down the street that you should also try.
- Bohemian – 57 Great Jones St. – “Exclusive” (referral-only) Japanese restaurant / bar hidden behind a butcher shop (butcher shop specializes & supplies them with Kobe beef – so don’t miss the beef tartar or one of the Kobe dishes). You need to email them requesting the phone number with a compelling “foodie” reason (www.playearth.jp). The space is small and dining room seats only 25, including a couple of couches and a six-seat bar (open to 2 AM, so after dinner it takes on a lounge vibe with jazz and Japanese music). The Chef, Kiyo Shinoki, serves a mix of American, French, and Japanese small plates. My favorites: beef tartare, poke, sashimi, branzino, and the smoked tuna with micro greens!
- Bond Street – 6 Bond St., 212-777-2500 – creative sushi & Japanses dishes in a trendy atmosphere. Was “the” hot spot 8-10 years ago but hasn’t lost any of its appeal. Food is fresh and innovative, don’t miss Big Eye Tuna Tarts (add the black truffles), the Red Snapper Tacos, or the special Sushi/Sashimi Omakase. (http://bondstrestaurant.com)
- Canal Street Oysters – 380 Canal Street (West Broadway), 646-448-4032 – restaurateurs Anthony and Tom Martignetti, opened this raw bar housed in a Beaux-Arts building with seating for 200, including 30 at the central limestone bar. Heading the kitchen is Charlene Santiago, from the John Dory Oyster Bar and Reynard. The oysters were great (wine list small and not very interesting), space was casual and comfortable, but not much else to eat (some crudo and fish taco’s). So stop by for oysters and plan dinner elsewhere.
- Estela – 47 Houston St., 1212-219-7693 – you will probably walk right by this bar / restaurant on Houston without knowing it is there, but it is a hidden gem you should seek out. Mediterranean small dishes (with a few entree size ones) whose flavors continue to open up and get better with each mouthful. Great bar and cocktail menu also. (estelanyc.com)
- Frenchette – 241 W Broadway (TriBeCa) – owned and run by Keith McNally’s original chefs at Balthazar, Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson, it has gotten a lot of hype since it’s opening and is wildly popular (impossible to get reservations). Finally decided to just get their early and wait for seats at the bar. Did get prime seats but it was a great disappointment. Extremely loud, crowded with people I would never want to dine with (loud, pushy, and rude), and the wrong energy (a fun lively restaurant is different than dining on the Lexington Avenue Subway during rush hour). The food was great but not worth the effort as you can get great food in many other more inviting restaurants. And really disliked the wine, only serve organic wines which taste funky to me.
- Il Buco – 47 Bond St., 1212-533-1932 – Been around for over 25 years and has turned out many wonderful chefs who are now on their own. Very cozy, with the look of an Italian farmhouse. Mediterranean and Italian small plates with daily specials. Nice, small bar. (ilbuco.com)
- King – 18 King Street, SoHo, 917.825.1618 – Cozy , neighborhood restaurant headed up by two chefs, Jess Shadbolt and Clare de Boer. These creative chefs cook a different slate of dishes each night influenced by the food of south of France and Northern Italy. The changes tend to be evolutionary, drawing from a fixed repertoire of ideas and what is in season. You night get helpings of roast guinea hen flavored with lemon and ricotta one night; a faithful version of Provençal fish stew made with Long Island clams, tender fluke, and steamed lobster the next; and simple hanger steak grilled with rosemary on your third visit. All amazing and I would gladly eat there every night if I could.
- La Mercerie – 53 Howard Street (Mercer Street in SoHo) – classic Paris cafe but with great food and wine. Chef Marie-Aude Rose (you guessed it, Daniel Rose’s wife) opened this all day gem. She trained under Guy Savoy and Pierre Gagnaire before joining her now husband at the original Spring restaurant in Paris. And the rest is history. Spring was a major success in Paris and they opened Le Coucou in NYC (three blocks west of her cafe). You can purchase almost anything you see…the linen napkins, your teapot or just utilize them during your meal. Everything is wonderful but try the anchovies with vanilla butter, YUM!
- Le Coucou – 138 Lafayette Street (Howard Street), 212-271-4252 – the hottest new chef in NYC, Daniel Rose, (Chicago native whose fame is from Spring and La Bourse et La Vie in Paris) and the hardest to get reservations in the city. I was lucky enough to have a dear friend who is one of their bartenders, and she was able to get us a much coveted reservation. And I now know first hand what the raves are based on…it was perfect in every way. First the decor, it is one of the loveliest restaurants I have eaten in, next the service – excellent, and you couldn’t ask for a better wine list. And then the food…I don’t know what to say but WOW! Do not miss (here’s the list): Warmed oysters, Fried veal head (yes I am serious, it was one of the best dishes), sweetbreads, Crepinette (chicken, foie gras, roasted plum), Pike quenelle with lobster sauce, Rabbit (all of the rabbit), Lamb loin, and all the rest of the main courses. Cannot wait to go back!
- The Musket Room – 265 Elizabeth St., 1212-219-0764 – A taste of New Zealand, and a special favorite, which earned a Michelin Star within only four months of opening. Service is incredibly hospitable, the mixologist at the bar makes some mean cocktails, and the decor is farmhouse-chic. Chef Matt Lambert’s specialty is modern New Zealand cuisine, and he crafts dishes that are seasonal, delicious, and sometimes wildly creative. A rum-cured torchon of foie gras is dense yet melting upon contact, accompanied by sweet dates, tart green apple gel, and buttery brioche. And the quail appetizer with a delicious bread sauce shouldn’t be missed (below). For dessert you must order the slim chocolate torte, so smooth and sinfully rich, that my choolateholic dining companion persuaded me to get a second order (didn’t take too much persuading). (themusketroom.com)
- The Woo – 206 Spring St – From the daughter of the woman who ran now-closed Woo Lae Oak comes this three-floor Korean barbecue restaurant in Soho built for 2018. Owner Julie Choi has gone for what she calls a more “refined and elegant atmosphere” than a typically more rowdy KBBQ, also serving a spread of Korean dishes from kimbap to simmered fish. But the main focus is barbecue, with more than a dozen options from duck to yellowfin tuna.
- Raoul’s – 180 Prince Street, 212-966-3518 – established in SoHo in the 70’s, it still is as popular as ever. If you can’t swing a trip to Paris this year, this may be your second best destination. Order the steak au poivre and duck-fat fries with a great bottle of Burgundy and you are transported.
- Sadelle’s – 463 West Broadway (West Houston & Prince), 212-245,3000 – one of the staff strolls through the dining room announcing “hot bagels”,” carrying them out 10 – 15 at a time on a wooden baton. As he approaches your table, the baton lowers and you get to remove one of these great specimens. You bite, and that moment of bliss passes over you. Nowhere else can you get heaping platters of lox with unlimited bagels served red hot! Perfect.
- Una Pizza Napoletana – 175 Orchard Street (Stanton), 646.692.3475 – Actually in the Lower East Side but needed to include this top rate pizza restaurant. Anthony Mangieri uses naturally leavened dough and a few choice ingredients to make the best pizza in NY (including Brooklyn & Staten Island). And don’t miss the anchovies and little gem salad.
- Vic’s – 31 Great Jones St.,212-253-5700 – The restaurant is lovely, lively, and turning out delicious, interesting dishes all night. The bartenders are great, who will make you feel like a regular your first visit. A must for anyone who loves great food, interesting wines, and a fun evening.
- Wildair – 142 Orchard St – Wine bar with elaborate snacks from Chef’s Jeremiah Stone and Fabian von Hauske. An ever-evolving menu serving interesting tweaks to classic dishes, like spicy tuna spread across vast slices of bread topped with a green frizzle (turned out to be scallions) – a giant Japanese bruschetta! Try the swordfish with cranberry beans and romesco, breaded pork Milanese with egg-laden gribiche sauce, scallop tartare with grapefruit sitting in a deep-green pool of cucumber-jalapeno-kale sauce, pork rilettes, and hazelnut tart. With an unusual wine list including mostly organic and natural bottles.