Openings

New York City's 16 Hottest New Restaurants

By Kelly Dobkin
February 13, 2015
By Kelly Dobkin  |  February 13, 2015
Photo by: Michael Harlan Turkell

Don't know where to eat tonight? Here's a place to start: our monthly hottest restaurants update. Check out 16 of the most important restaurants in NYC right now, from a LES shrine to veggies to a California-inspired Flatiron newcomer.

  • Mission Chinese Food

    Why it's hot: Danny Bowien reopened his beloved Chinese throwback-inspired eatery just before Christmas with an expanded menu and space that includes favorites like ma po tofu, explosive chile wings and thrice-cooked bacon. New dishes include green tea noodles with ginger and cucumber, stir-fried celery with lily bulbs and wood-fired pizzas and breads.

    Must-order: The pizza, the lobster and coconut fried rice, Koji chicken wings, stir-fried celery

    The details: 171 E. Broadway; 212-529-8800

  • Photo by: Clay Williams

    Upland

    Why it's hot: Restaurateur Stephen Starr has teamed up with former Il Buco Alimentari chef Justin Smillie for this much-anticipated California-inspired restaurant, named for the Golden State town where he was born. The menu mixes California influences with Italian and Mediterranean cuisines and shows off Smillie's rustic approach to food.​

    Must-order: Mushroom salad with seared robiola, tatsoi, chicories and burnt shallot vinaigrette; Estrella pasta with chicken liver, sherry, rosemary and sage​

    ​The details: 345 Park Ave. S.; 212-686-1006

  • Dirt Candy

    Why it's hot: After closing up her tiny nine-table Dirt Candy, the long-running temple of haute vegetable-focused cuisine, last August, Amanda Cohen reopened her famed eatery in a much larger, 60-seat space on the Lower East Side. The new joint offers a more playful menu with items like Brussels sprout tacos, Korean fried broccoli and cabbage hot pot. Also new at this location is an innovative no-tipping policy that has the NYC food scene abuzz.

    Must-order: Korean fried broccoli, jalapeño hushpuppies, veggie monkey bread

    86 Allen St.; 212-228-7732

  • Photo by: Michael Harlan Turkell

    Santina

    Why it's hot: The latest from the Torrisi gang, aka Major Food Group (Dirty French, Carbone), this High Line eatery, named for chef Mario Carbone's grandmother, offers coastal Italian fare in sexy Mediterranean-inspired digs. Murano glass chandeliers, palm trees and a mural of broken plates by Julian Schnabel add to the luxe yet beachy vibe. 

    Must-order: Funghi cecina, any of the pastas

    The details: 820 Washington St.; 212-254-3000

  • Photo by: Gabriele Stabile

    Momofuku Ko

    ​Why it's hot: The new, larger location of the perpetually booked tasting-menu-only experience reopened in the East Village's Extra Place, offering a 17-serving dinner for $175 from executive chef Sean Gray. The space, which now features a new bar and wine tables in addition to counter seating, is gorgeously outfitted with custom murals by artist David Choe. Many things about Ko have been upgraded, but the online reservations system remains the same. In other words, prepare to hit that "refresh button" every morning at 10 AM for days if you plan on getting a table.

    Must-order: Tasting menu: mackerel sabazushi, uni with chickpea sauce and hozon

    The details: 8 Extra Place; 212-500-0831

  • Shuko

    ​Why it's hot: Former Neta chefs Jimmy Lau and Nick Kim have opened this intimate 19-seat sushi bar in NYU-land offering only omakase sushi or kaiseki menus that change daily. Needless to say, seats are already hard to get.

    Must-order: Sushi or kaiseki omakase

    The details: ​​47 E. 12th St.; 212-228-6088

  • Cosme

    ​Why it's hot: Chef Enrique Olvera of Mexico City's famed Pujol made his NYC debut with Cosme, a new Mexican-inspired, shared-plates restaurant that's been booked solid from day one. The windowless space seats 65 in the main dining room and the same amount in the bar/lounge area. Food-wise, expect Mexican flavors that utilize local, seasonal ingredients from areas like the Hudson Valley (except for a few imported Mexican veggies like beans, corn and peppers).  

    Must-order: The menu changes frequently, but try the mushroom and squash barbacoa, lobster pibil and the duck carnitas

    The details: 35 E. 21st St.; 212-913-9659

  • Mu Ramen

    ​Why it's hot: Husband-and-wife team Josh (Per Se) and Heidy (Buddakan) Smookler opened a permanent outpost of their popular Mu Ramen pop-up recently in Long Island City. The new brick-and-mortar space features a communal table, an open kitchen and four kinds of ramen. Waits can often run between 1-2 hours.

    Must-order: Oxtail and bone-marrow ramen, pork buns, okonomiyaki

    The details: 1209 Jackson Ave., Long Island City; 917-868-8903

  • Tijuana Picnic

    Why it's hot: The much-buzzed-about casual Mexican spot from Jon Neidich and Jean-Marc Houmard, managing partners of ACME, and Huy Chi Le of Indochine is already packing in nightclub-bound LES crowds. Chef Alex Lopez (formerly of Kittichai) is at the helm and will prepare a menu of tacos, skewers, large plates and small bites, combining his traditional Mexican family recipes with his culinary training. You'll find hints of Asian and American influence throughout the menu. 

    Must-order: Duck wings with Asian spice cure, shrimp tempura tacos

    The details: 151 Essex St.; 212-219-2000

  • The Heyward

    Why it's hot: The folks behind pseudo-speakeasy/restaurant Hudson Clearwater have opened this ode to Southern seafood in the former Zebulon space in Williamsburg. The spacious low-lit digs and tasty plates of shrimp and grits, hoppin' John and butter poached lobster are winning over jaded hipsters and giving competitors like Extra Fancy a run for the money.

    Must-order: She-crab soup, shrimp and grits, anything from the raw bar

    The details: 258 Wythe Ave., Brooklyn; 718-384-1990

  • Bowery Meat Company

    Why it's hot: Meat master Josh Capon has opened this modern steakhouse featuring prime cuts including a $126 cote de boeuf (for 2-4 ppl) and an obscenely juicy burger. Set in retro-inspired digs in the East Village's Extra Place, the sexy meatery features butcher-block tables, beamed ceilings and 1960s touches.

    Must-order: Duck lasagna, the burger, cauliflower steak

    The details: ​9 E. First St.; 212-460-5255

  • Photo by: Patty Lee

    Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong

    Why it's hot: Momofuku/Jean-Georges alum Deuki Hong puts his culinary chops to work in snazzing up traditional Korean BBQ dishes at the NY outpost of the LA-based chain. Lines out the door are not uncommon as the bi-level space offers a unique take on the Korean BBQ experience. All your food is grilled for you by your server, so there's no risk of overcooking that pricey beef. Also: cheese corn. Go, and you'll know what we're talking about.

    Must-order: Prime boneless short-rib combo, pork jowl, soybean stew, cold spicy paste noodles, lunch box

    The details: 1 E. 32nd St.; 212-966-9839

  • Photo by: Clay Williams

    Little Park

    ​Why it's hot: The latest from Soho Hospitality Group, led by chef Andrew Carmellini (The Dutch, Locanda Verde), and partners Luke Ostrom and Josh Pickard, Little Park opened recently at TriBeCa's Smyth Hotel in the former Plein Sud space. Chef de cuisine Min Kong churns out the globally inspired menu, while mixologist Anne Robinson shakes up the beverages here at at the adjacent Evening Bar.  

    Must-order: Spatchcock chicken, roasted sunchokes with hazelnut and black truffles, black-kale ravioli.

    The details: 85 W. Broadway; 212-220-4110

  • Photo by: Alice Gao

    Marta

    Why it's hot: The long-anticipated new Italian from Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group and Maialino's Nick Anderer opened inside Flatiron's Martha Washington Hotel this fall featuring Roman-style pizza and meats grilled alle brace, or "over embers." Needless to say, it was pretty much an instant hit with the business-lunch crowd, locals, hotel visitors and foodies alike.

    Must-order: Funghi pie, rabbit meatballs, lamb chops 

    ​The details: 29 E. 29th St.; 212-651-3800

  • Photo by: Clay Williams

    Arrogant Swine

    ​Why it's hot: Pitmaster Tyson Ho has brought the swiney goodness of traditional North Carolina whole hog to Brooklyn with his massive pork and booze hall, Arrogant Swine. The Bushwick concept is based on his popular "Hog Days of Summer" weekend events that went down during the summer of 2013. After learning his craft from NC 'cue legend Ed Mitchell, Ho smokes his whole hogs over Long Island oak for nearly 24 hours. Then the pig is tossed with a traditional vinegar-pepper sauce and topped with cracklins.

    Must-order: Whole-hog platter

    ​The details: 173 Morgan Ave., Brooklyn; 347-328-5595

  • Kappo Masa

    ​Why it's hot: Famed Japanese chef Masayoshi Takayama, the man behind sushi mecca Masa, has opened a slightly less expensive and less formal eatery on the Upper East Side called Kappo Masa, adjacent to the Gagosian Gallery. (And by less expensive, we mean the omakase is $275, not $450.) While the omakase is not available yet, the restaurant just launched a lunch menu that includes bento boxes.

    Must-order: Any of the seafood pastas; hibachi grilled butter miso cod; sushi; bento boxes at lunchtime

    ​The details: 976 Madison Ave.; 212-906-7141 

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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
 
 
 
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

Clinton Hill

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
Bar Primi

Bar And Grill • East Village

Atmo.- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
Gato

Mediterranean • NoHo

Food24 Decor24 Service24 Cost$78
 
 
 
 
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