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10 of New York’s Sexiest New Restaurants

By James Mulcahy
September 3, 2013

Thursday marks the beginning of Fashion Week, but the models strutting down the runway at Lincoln Center aren't the only lookers in town. The past few months have seen a slew of sexy restaurant spaces debut across the Big Apple. You don't have to get into the tents to see that New York City is the style capital of the world - just get a reservation at one of these recently opened stunners. 

  • Photo by: Alden Gewirtz

    Corvo Bianco

    When you peer through the darkened doorway of Elizabeth Falkner's UWS stunner, you'll have no idea the dining room is one of the neighborhood's most beautiful. You have to go through the grey bar area that lies at the front of the eatery to the dining room to get the real wow factor. The tables all sit underneath an arched skylight that provides warm (and flattering) natural light for the ambiance. A wall of exposed white anchors the back of the room - a fitting backdrop for the chef's Coastal Italian fare. Worn wooden fixtures and plant life give the space a lived-in feel, and the decorations stay true to the venue's name - see if you can spot the single white crow that lends the space its moniker.

    446 Columbus Ave.; 212-595-2624

  • River Styx

    Greenpoint is undergoing a bit of a restaurant renaissance, and the new eateries that call the 'hood home impress with decor that pays homage to the area's industrial past while sexing things up for current style-minded patrons. Witness this American eatery located a stone's throw away from the river. A chain that was surely used to load containers onto ships now hoists a gigantic disco ball high above the skylit, multi-tiered dining room. An open kitchen sits to the side, and the whitewashed bar up front is just as alluring as the purposely distressed walls. You can debate which is the best of the recently opened restaurants in this zipcode, but this one is surely the most stylish.

    21 Greenpoint Ave.; 718-383-8833

  • Lafayette

    Critical reception has been mixed for Andrew Carmellini's latest, but it's still packed every night, and there's no denying that the massive venue is gorgeous. Design firm Roman and Williams has provided all of the warmth of a classic brasserie without any of the stuffiness. Giant windows let the sun shine in from the eponymous street, while a creative seating layout ensures that there are enough brown-leather clad booths and banquettes to make everyone feel like they got the best table in the house. Throw in a charming grab-and-go bakery near the entryway and the orange flames glowing in the hearth, and you've got a spot that's chic enough for special occasions but casual enough for a quick bite.

    380 Lafayette St.; 212-533-3000

  • Photo by: Cherie Cincilla

    Juni

    Shaun Hergatt composes some of the most elegant plates in town, but at his previous fine-dining restaurant, Sho, the opulent decor had a way of overshadowing the food. Not so at Juni, Hergatt's new haunt in Midtown's Chandler Hotel. The subdued colors of the space let the arrangements on the plate really pop. The decor is a supporting player here, but that's why it works so well - the refined dining room looks ripped from a scene of Woody Allen's Manhattan. Artwork on the walls features the same produce that you will find in your dinner, and a separate bar contains its own splashes of color courtesy of glass urns filled with housemade spirit infusions.

    12 E. 31st St.; 212-995-8599

  • Betony

    Opulence is the name of the game at this stunning, bi-level Midtown space and that's no surprise, seeing that the address used to house short-lived Russian eatery Brasserie Pushkin. When that haunt didn't take off, the owner decided to change the food focus while making the decor slightly more accessible. The result has been a hit - the food recently scored a three-star review in the NY Times, and the lushly cushioned chairs and yellow backlighting on the walls manage to project luxury without scaring away those who might just want a quick cocktail before hitting up a show at Carnegie Hall (which is an excellent idea, as this list is legit).

    41 W. 57th St.; 212-465-2400

  • Estela

    Subdued sexy is what you'll find at this East Villager, which gives off a mature vibe despite its recent entry to the scene. The small-plates purveyor knows that you don’t have to try too hard to look really good. The white marble bar and the wooden, early-century chairs would seem at home in just about any Brooklyn restaurant, but there is something magical about this space. Although the elements are the same as ones you'd find at plenty of other recent openings around town, the midsized venue manages to feel like it's defining the trend rather than following it. The food doesn’t hurt either - this isn’t an article about the city’s sexiest plates, but if we ever do write that, Ignacio Matto’s affordable eye candy will certainly be a contender.

    47 E. Houston St.; 212-219-7693

  • Photo by: Alden Gewirtz

    Charlie Bird

    Plenty of industry-watchers predicted it wasn’t possible to turn this West Village space into a winner. Charlie Bird proved them wrong by pairing hip jazz style with high-end sophistication. It’s the artful flourishes that make the recently opened restaurant stand out in the style department. The brown seating seems nondescript at first glance, but it’s nicely balanced by the orange leather banquettes and more subdued woodwork. There are some microphone statues strewn throughout the space, and artwork features old-school boom boxes. Pair all of this with the neon sign announcing the venue, and you’ll see why the supposed curse at this address is sure to be broken.

    5 King St.

  • ABC Cocina

    Was there any doubt that the team behind ABC Kitchen would open a venue that was jaw-dropping in the design department? Jean Georges’ new eatery manages to work within the same cosmopolitan idiom as its sister restaurant in the ABC Carpet building without feeling redundant. Glittering chandeliers sparkle throughout the room, giving the space a unified vibe, and many of the design details were inspired by nature (check out those seashells on the wall); all of the decor is available to go. Shoppers can go hunting in the department store that lends the venue its name to find their favorite fixtures.

    35 E. 18th St.; 212-475-5829

  • Photo by: Alden Gewirtz

    The Elm

    Bet you didn’t expect to find this one sitting across from Williamsburg's McCarren Park. While that patch of land appeals to the neighborhood’s PBR-loving contingent (aka basically everyone who lives there), this restaurant in the King and Grove Hotel offers a grown-up option for those who prefer to have their alcohol out of a glass instead of a can. The subterranean space can be spied from the property’s lobby, and windows on one side of the dining room look out on the property’s pool, offering an element shared by many of these sexy eateries: sunlight (not to mention a peek of a scantily clad bather or two). A chef’s counter anchors one side of the room while a bar dominates the other. With a sleek stone floor and massive columns stretching up to the vaulted ceiling, The Elm manages to feel classic and contemporary all at the same time. Fitting, since that’s how acclaimed chef Paul Liebrandt is positioning his food.

    160 N. 12th St.; 718-218-1088

  • Photo by: Cherie Cincilla

    The Fourth

    They say that accessories can make the ensemble, and in the case of this restaurant located near Union Square, that turns out to be true. Now, we’re not talking about something as simple as some diamond earrings. Here, the venue gets its sheen from the artwork that decorates the space, especially a sculpture composed of wooden bed frames that cascades from the top of the ceiling into a recessed stairwell. It’s a conversation piece for sure, as is the photography that decorates the proper dining room. The portraits feature waitresses from around the world posing in their restaurants, and each one manages to tell a story just by standing there in uniform. Throw in a European-style cafe in the front of the space near windows that open and a sleek bar for the drinking contingent, and you have one of the best spots to escape the hustle and bustle of the surrounding square.

    132 Fourth Ave.; 212-432-1324

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