While we feel like we’ve hardly even made headway in the list of restaurants we wanted to try last year, New York’s ever-expanding dining industry stops for no man. And 2015 looks like it’s going to offer another serious onslaught of eateries that we absolutely have to nab reservations for — from a new and improved outpost of Amanda Cohen’s all-veggie trailblazer, Dirt Candy, to the surprising resurrection of Jonathan Waxman’s ‘80’s-era favorite, Jams.
Dirt Candy: You’ve got to give a fair amount of credit for the current vegetable craze to Dirt Candy’s forward-thinking Amanda Cohen, who first opened her meat-eschewing eatery all the way back in 2008. And while acolytes have been without their Broccoli Hot Dogs and Eggplant Tiramisu since August, when Cohen shuttered her original East Village spot in search of a larger slice of real estate, she should be ready to debut her plus-sized space on Allen Street by the end of the month. Expect a bar and a chef’s counter, new dishes, like Kale Matzoh Balls and Beet Donuts, and a strict no-tipping policy — one of the very first in New York.
Jams: Barbuto’s Jonathan Waxman — one of the kings of California cuisine — is one of the latest big name chefs to sign on to a hotel project, but this won’t be just any paint-by-the-numbers venture. Located in 1 Hotel Central Park, his eatery will actually be a modern reinvention of his circa 1980’s New York standby, Jams, featuring his famous Roasted
Chicken with Salsa Verde and Caramelized Gnocchi.
Streetbird Rotisserie: Harlem is getting another hot Marcus Samuelsson spot; his first since opening Red Rooster back in 2010. Referred to as a “kitchenette,” the restaurant will undoubtedly focus on spit-roasted poultry, as well as all manner of comforting, southern-style sides.
Brooklyn Fare Manhattan: While chef Cesar Ramirez has come under intense personal scrutiny in the past few months, it doesn’t seem to have affected the fate of the Manhattan branch of his three Michelin-starred tasting room, Brooklyn Fare. Finally opening by February at the latest, the Hell’s Kitchen restaurant will feature the talents of Ramirez himself (Frasca Food & Wine’s Jared Sippel, who was originally tapped for the job, is out). Considerably more casual than its Brooklyn counterpart, and with a larger capacity, the spot will offer seven-course tasting menus (with bigger portions and more flexibility), as well as — in stark contrast to dinner-only Brooklyn — a prix fixe lunch and brunch.
A Cervejaria: George Mendes is expected to launch this casual little sibling to Aldea — his Michelin-starred Portuguese restaurant — by early spring. Featuring a wood-fired oven, a raw bar, a coffee bar and a takeout window, expect plenty of seafood and beer (a “cervejaria” is a Latin drinking spot specializing in meat or shellfish).
Sadelle’s: Since the Major Food Group generally debuts no less than two restaurants a season, you’ll probably be less than surprised to see them on this list. Mere months after opening Santina, their coastal Italian spot under the High Line, look for the Torrisi team’s version of an old-school appetizing shop, showcasing smoked fish, blintzes, and bagels from former Roberta’s baker, Melissa Weller.
Untitled: Danny Meyer is at it again. And this time, he’s recruited none other than Gramercy Tavern’s venerable Michael Anthony to spearhead this diner-inspired project (actually dubbed Untitled), located within the Whitney Museum’s new Meatpacking District digs. But not to worry — Anthony has every intention of wearing two (chefs) hats, retaining the Executive Chef position at Gramercy Tavern as well.
El Quijote: Keith McNally’s two right-hand men, Lee Hanson, and Riad Nasar (who helped him open Balthazar, Pastis and Minetta Tavern), plan to breathe new life into the Spanish warhorse, El Quijote, after being put in charge of food and beverage operations for the Chelsea Hotel Group. Look for them to make some sweeping, modern changes to the dusty, fusty menu, which currently includes Filet of Sole in Lemon Sauce, Minute Steak, Chicken Francesca and Fried Shrimp.