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New York City's 15 Hottest Restaurants

By Kelly Dobkin
August 15, 2014
Photo by: Rebecca Fondren

Where to eat tonight? Here's a place to start: it's time for our monthly hottest restaurants update. Check out 15 of the most important restaurants in NYC right now, from a Chelsea wine bar and small-plates concept to a Williamsburg izakaya below. And bonus: peek inside a few of these tables up close and personal in our video below.

  • Corkbuzz Chelsea Market

    Why it's hot: Master Sommelier Laura Maniec recently expanded her Corkbuzz Wine Studio concept westward, opening an outpost inside Chelsea Market and installing chef Missy Robbins (formerly of A Voce) in the kitchen. The combo of unique and rare vintages sourced from around the country and Italian-inspired small plates by Robbins makes it a must-try.

    Must-order: Gnocco fritto with salami, spicy clams in Calabrian chile butter.

    The details: 75 Ninth Ave. (Center of Chelsea Market); 646-237-4847

  • Cherry Izakaya

    Why it's hot: This trendy new izakaya from the team at Cherry at Dream Downtown (BONDST's Jonathan Morr et al.) opened recently in Williamsburg, offering up a playful menu of shared plates, sushi and large entrees as well as a sake- and shochu-infused cocktail list. 

    Must-order: Crispy ramen salad (pictured), Black Caesar roll.

    The details: 138 N. Eighth St., Brooklyn; 347-889-6300

  • URBO

    Why it's hot: Russian restaurateur Eugene Kadomskiy and co-owner Michael Tevelev opened this massive 26,000-sq.-ft., two-story venue in Times Square that houses five different restaurant and retail concepts that are all “artisanally sourced, locally influenced.” The first four concepts — URBO Kitchens, URBO Grind and URBO Supply, and Bar URBO ​— are now open.

    Must-order: Lamb sausage with fresh chickpeas, feta, cucumber and relish; Bobo Farms chicken, saltimbocca, panzanella salad.

    The details: 11 Times Square; 212-542-8950

  • Meadowsweet

    Why it's hot: Polo Dobkin has returned to the former Dressler space where he garnered so much critical acclaim, this time setting up his own concept featuring some of his favorite dishes including the St. Louis-style ribs he made for his wife on one of their first dates.

    Must-order: Crispy baby artichokes, hand-rolled ricotta cuscino with English peas, St. Louis ribs.

    The details: 149 Broadway, Brooklyn; 718-384-0673

  • Elan

    Why it's hot: Chef David Waltuck, formerly of the pioneering (but now closed) Downtown restaurant Chanterelle, has returned with this new concept in Flatiron which revives a few Chanterelle classics as well as offers new French-rooted versions of some of Waltuck's favorite dishes and cuisines (you can tell he's a fan of Chinese food after a glimpse at the menu.)

    Must-order: Seafood sausage with sauerkraut beurre blanc, striped bass with red wine and sage, General Tso's sweetbreads, the off-menu duck burger.

    The details: 43 E. 20th St.; 646-682-7105

  • Cherche Midi

    Why it's hot: Any new Keith McNally joint is sure to generate buzz, and his latest eatery, a redo of Pulino's, is no different. Cherche Midi has two chefs at the helm, Shane McBride and Daniel Parilla, whose menu nods to some old-school French dishes (frogs' legs, steak frites, salad niçoise) with a few American twists.

    Must-order: Lobster ravioli with ginger beurre blanc, frogs' legs.

    The details: 282 Bowery; 212-226-3055

  • Photo by: Stephen Yang

    Decoy

    Why it's hot: Directly beneath perpetually packed Chinese dumpling expert RedFarm lies the Peking duck-centric Decoy, which serves up prix fixe duck dinners to groups of two, three and four. Seating at one large communal table is limited, and there's only two waves per night, so book ahead. 

    Must-order: Peking duck ($65 a head but includes additional entrees and sides), Katz's pastrami triangles ($12), marinated and grilled rib steak ($46 à la carte).

    The details: 529-1/2 Hudson St.; 212-691-9700

  • Photo by: Jacque Burke

    Bar Primi

    Why it's hot: This Downtown Italian eatery from chef Andrew Carmellini, Luke Ostrom, Josh Pickard and Sal Lamboglia in the former Peels space is years in the making for Carmellini, who had long dreamed of opening a simple, pasta-focused restaurant. He even trademarked the name Bar Primi seven years back. Now Carmellini and Lamboglia's plates of simple homemade pasta like bucatini, cavatelli and fiore de carciofi are making this one of the most coveted tables in town. Get there soon — this summer hot spot is set to get even hotter when the outdoor patio opens.

    Must-order: Fiore di carciofi with smoked bacon, pecorino ($19).

    The details: 325 Bowery; 212-220-9100

  • Root & Bone

    Why it's hot: Former Top Chef-testants Jeff McInnis (previously of Yardbird) and Janine Booth have come together to open this Alphabet City Southern eatery that features some of their family recipes with a few new twists.

    Must-order: Fried chicken, celery root slaw, banana cream pie.

    The details: 200 E. Third St.; 646-682-6080

  • Claudette

    Why it's hot: Chef Koren Grieveson, formerly of Avec in Chicago, is at the helm at this charming new Provençal-inspired spot in the former Cru space. The folks behind hits like Rosemary's and Bobo are behind the project, and if the food doesn't win you over, the gorgeous digs certainly will.

    Must-order: Bouillabaise en Croute: puff pastry, monkfish, octopus, mussels, rouille ($27); Corsican mint salad: arugula, hearts of palm, green beans, quinoa ($12).

    The details: 24 Fifth Ave.; 212-868-2424

  • Gato

    Why it's hot: You'll find Bobby Flay's reinvention of his '90s Spanish hit Bolo sufficiently packed at 6 PM on a Monday night with diners fighting over barstools. Why? The food is, to the dismay of Flay haters, infuriatingly on point. 

    Must-order: Roasted octopus with tangerine, bacon and oregano ($17), lamb sausage pizza with mint ($17).

    The details: 324 Lafayette St.; 212-334-6400

  • Bâtard

    Why it's hot: Restaurateur Drew Nieporent has had a restaurant at 239 W. Broadway for 30 years, and Bâtard is the third spot to occupy the TriBeCa space. Now with chef Markus Glocker at the helm, Bâtard is decidedly less formal and experimental than its predecessor Corton; choose from two courses for $55, three courses for $65 or four courses for $75.

    Must-order: Octopus "Pastrami": braised ham hock, pommery mustard, new potatoes; rabbit "Flavors Of Bouillabaisse" saffron ravioli, turnips, carrots, sauce rouille.

    The details: 239 W. Broadway; 212-219-2777

  • Photo by: Clay Williams

    Black Seed Bagels

    Why it's hot: Cronut-like lines still snake out the door at this month-old bagel shop brought to you by Mile End and the Smile. Reinventing the New York bagel with inspiration from Montreal and serving up a selection of house-cured fish spreads, Black Seed has given NYC what it never knew it really needed.

    Must-order: Bagel sandwich with tobiko spread, salmon & butter lettuce ($13).

    The details: 170 Elizabeth St.; 212-730-1950

  • Photo by: All'onda

    All'onda

    Why it's hot: All'onda is the first solo project for restaurateur Chris Cannon since his departure/split from Michael White's Altamarea group, so you know it's going to be a big deal. Teaming up with chef Chris Jaeckle, Cannon has put together a menu of Japanese-influenced Italian plates and a reasonably priced wine list (with an emphasis on bubbles) that has diners packing the Greenwich Village joint almost every night of the week. The unique bi-level space has a subtle maritime theme and offers bar dining on the ground level and upholstered booths upstairs for a more intimate experience.

    Must-order: Pappardelle with aged duck ragout ($18), bucatini with smoked uni ($19), squid-ink arancine with uni ($9).

    The details: 22 E. 13th St.; 212-231-2236

  • Sushi Nakazawa

    Why it's hot: After receiving four stars from The New York Times in December, reservations at this small sushi restaurant went from "impossible" to "who do you think you're kidding?" Its chef, Daisuke Nakazawa, is a protégé of sushi master Jiro Ono, and here he offers omakase-only dining either at the 10-seat bar (live out your Jiro Dreams of Sushi fantasies) or in the 25-seat back dining room. The no-frills setting makes the sushi the focus, and its prices match its exclusivity: $120 for the 20-course tasting menu ($150 at the counter).

    Must-order: The omakase at the counter is a must ($150).

    The details: 23 Commerce St.; 212-924-2212

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Places Mentioned

French Louie

French • Boerum Hill

Food26 Decor25 Service26 Cost$60
 
 
 
All'onda

Italian • Greenwich Village

Food23 Decor21 Service22 Cost$71
 
 
 
The Clam

Seafood • West Village

Food23 Decor22 Service24 Cost$62
 
 
 
Empire Diner

Diner • Chelsea

Food21 Decor18 Service19 Cost$37
 
 
 
Dover

New American • Carroll Gardens

Food27 Decor19 Service25 Cost$82
 
 
 
Sushi Nakazawa

Sushi • West Village

Food27 Decor23 Service26 Cost$196
 
 
 
Narcissa

American • East Village

Food27 Decor25 Service24 Cost$81
 
 
 
Batard

European • TriBeCa

Food- Decor- Service- CostE
 
 
 
Emily

Pizza • Clinton Hill

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
Bar Primi

Bar And Grill • East Village

Atmo.- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
Claudette

French • Greenwich Village

Food- Decor- Service- CostE
 
 
 
Gato

Mediterranean • NoHo

Food24 Decor24 Service24 Cost$78
 
 
 
 
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