Receiving a “Bib Gourmand” designation is a dubious honor — on one hand, it’s wonderful for a restaurant to be recognized for serving exceptional food at moderate prices, on the other hand, it precludes them from getting a far more coveted Michelin star (The Spotted Pig being “demoted” to a Bib this year is considered a major blow). But arbitrary awards aside, the following 10 new beneficiaries are worthy of widespread recognition, from a Jungsik vet, Atoboy, offering creative Korean small plates, to Brooklyn’s critically acclaimed Olmsted, and it’s hyper locally-sourced menu.
Olmsted: Widely considered to be one of the year’s best new restaurants (serving highly innovative, garden-to-table food at an approachable price), Olmsted was a lock for either the Bib Gourmand or Michelin lists. Formerly of Atera, chef Greg Baxtrom has somehow managed to keep each of his envelope-pushing menu items under $24, from Crawfish Boil Crackers, to Heirloom Tomato Schnitzel, to Duck Breast and Scotched fig, served with truffles, radicchio and almonds.
Atoboy: Since you can try three of Atoboy’s elevated, Korean banchan for $36, best to dine with a crowd so you can affordably sample the bulk of the menu. Current options include Cobia with pear and perilla, Octopus over chorizo and kimchi, and spicy peanut butter-sauced chicken, scattered with crispy garlic.
High Street on Hudson: The West Village location of this Philly favorite features equally exciting breakfast, lunch and dinner offerings, many of them based on impeccable house-baked bread; think Beet Cured Salmon Bagels, King Oyster and Egg Sandwiches, and Maplebrook Burrata over rye croutons.
El Atoradero: Scarcely more expensive than when it was based in the Bronx, Denisse Lina Chavez’ Puebla-inspired cantina specializes in multi-ingredient Mole Poblano, potato or pork-padded Tamales, and earthy, musky Huitlacoche Quesadillas, formed from house-nixtamalized blue corn.
MaLa Project: Instead of the bubbling, DIY (dip it yourself) Chinese hot pots that most of us are familiar with, the broth-free iterations at MaLa come ready-assembled and entirely dry. But you must first choose from an assortment of over 52 ingredients for your super-sized stir-fry, ranging from $3 for mushrooms, corn, greens or noodles, to $6 for beef tendons, chicken wings or fish cakes, to $8 for shrimp balls or frogs.
Freek’s Mill: Thanks to the gentle price point on small plates (such as Wood Roasted Oysters, BBQ Kohlrabi and Goat Ragu Gnocchi) at this sun-splashed Gowanus wine bar, you’ll still have enough left over for a glass of honeyed Georgian amber vino.
OO+Co.: Celebrity raw food chef, Matthew Kenney, is behind this all-vegan pizzeria, where you’ll find pies topped with almond ricotta and cashew mozzarella, Nori Bagna Cauda with market radishes and breadcrumbs, and Sweet Potato Cavatelli seasoned with dehydrated olives.
Llama Inn: Eleven Madison Park’s Erik Ramirez honors his Peruvian heritage with Corvina Ceviche, Pork Belly Anticuchos, Quinoa and Banana Salad and a remarkable take on Lomo Saltado; beef tenderloin stir-fry served with french fries or scallion pancakes.
Rider: After taking an extended break from NYC, James Beard award-winning chef, Patrick Connolly, touched down in Brooklyn this past spring with Rider, serving top-quality pre and post-show bites (Schmaltz Focaccia, Black Truffle Tofu Gemelli, Broccoli Rabe Pork Larb) to the crowds at National Sawdust; a state-of-the-art performance complex.
King’s County Imperial: A surprise second act for the team behind Stone Park Café (a seminal all-American Brooklyn bistro), this Williamsburg newcomer specializes in Shanghainese dumplings, noodles and dim sum; from Bok Choy Potstickers and Radish Cake with lap chong sausage, to Kung Po Chicken, Weeping Tiger Salad and Tea Smoked Mu Shu Duck.