The real New York City is in the neighborhoods, away from the crowds, where locals live, work and relax. New Yorkers dream of the perfect neighborhood eatery: a welcoming, unfussy place that is tempting at any time of day. Each of the following new restaurants fits the bill, from the Upper West Side to the Flatiron District. Here’s where you should be eating this spring.
Spaghetti and clams with guanciale, French fries with bone marrow mayo — these are just a couple of the sophisticated, yet casual dishes chef Jesse Schenker of Recette in the West Village is serving at his new restaurant, The Gander, in the Flatiron. This is also a great place to snag a seat at the bar for a drink (try the Bird in the Hand with Tullamore Dew whiskey, lemongrass, Lillet, Drambuie and bitters by Forbes Travel Guide Tastemaker Dale DeGroff) and light bites. Don’t miss the fava bean and ricotta crostini or the brisket “tots” with mustard.
If you can’t get enough of the fried olives at Balaboosta, head over to the West Village to try chef Einat Admony’s new restaurant, Bar Bolonat. This spot is more focused on Israeli food compared to its Mediterranean sister, with flavorful dishes such as shrimp in a Yemenite curry with coconut milk and grilled baby artichokes with Sicilian pistachio yogurt.
For years, choices for excellent dining were limited in the Upper West Side. But now, the neighborhood is growing, with the arrival of restaurants such as Tessa, a Mediterranean eatery with exposed brick walls and a kitchen helmed by chef Cedric Tovar. Here, you can go light with dishes such as razor clam escabèche or tuck into something hearty such as cavatelli with rabbit and pancetta ragu.
A new Mediterranean hot spot from chef Bobby Flay, Gato is a bright, airy space on Lafayette Street in NoHo. Start with the chickpea and Meyer lemon spread, smothered on warm buckwheat pita before noshing on appetizers such as roasted octopus with tangerine and bacon, and entrées such as the kale and wild mushroom paella. Don’t skip dessert either — the chocolate crema catalana with toasted hazelnuts is worth the splurge.
André Balazs and chef John Fraser teamed up to create Narcissa, the new outpost at The Standard East Village hotel. The fresh, farm-to-table menu includes items such as rotisserie-crisped beets and lacquered duck breast. Many of the seasonal ingredients are sourced directly from Balazs’ farm, Locusts on Hudson, located in the nearby Hudson Valley. You can watch chefs prepare these ingredients in Narcissa’s large open kitchen. In the warmer months, you’ll be able to dine alfresco in the private garden.
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