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The Clam – Reviewed

The Clam

Posted on Feb 3, 2014 in Hottest Newcomers, Reviews

There’s nothing worse than a great, new neighborhood restaurant that opens in someone else’s neighborhood. That always happens to me. And it happened again just two weeks ago when The Clam quietly flung open its doors in the West Village (right near another great newcomer, Piora). They had me at a Parker House roll, individually baked for every diner, warm, pillowy & fresh from the oven welcome. If you had any doubts about what’s on the menu exactly, chowder’s muse is indeed the inspiration…

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New York Sushi Ko – Reviewed

New York Sushi Ko

Posted on Jan 7, 2014 in Hottest Newcomers, Reviews

By now, you’ve probably heard about New York Sushi Ko. (Or not.) It’s part of the new order of sushi joints popping up around New York City (hurray!). And by new order, I mean hip, laidback, and excellent. Let’s face it: Most sushi temples (the great ones anyway) evoke solemn dining experiences, like eating in church, speaking in hushed whispers, careful not to disturb or annoy the chef behind the sushi counter. And I won’t even get into it that Los Angeles has always trumped New York in the sushi department…

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Manhattan Restaurants To Try in 2014

Posted on Jan 6, 2014 in Best Of, Hottest Newcomers

It’s always a daunting task to pinpoint our favorite restaurants at the end of each year. But 2013 brought in such an unprecedented slew of truly notable openings that we couldn’t even contain our borough-wide picks in one single list… so we didn’t. Did you not get the memo about surprise success, Piora and its Korean-Italian mashup menu (we swear it’s delicious), or Richard Kuo’s new hip Bowery spot, Pearl & Ash and its killer drinks? How about New York Sushi Ko and its blow your mind omakase? No problem. Here’s our top ten to put on your must-try list for 2014…

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Best New Brooklyn & Queens Restaurants for 2013

Posted on Dec 31, 2013 in Best Of, Hottest Newcomers

2013 was an absolute banner year for Manhattan restaurants… it seemed like practically every week there was yet another place that we absolutely had to try. But that doesn’t mean that things weren’t every bit as exciting outside of the island. So without further ado, here’s a roundup of our favorite new outer-borough eateries, from The Elm, Luksus, and Whiskey Soda Lounge in Brooklyn to Bun-ker, MP Taverna and M. Wells Steakhouse in Queens…

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Rotisserie Georgette – Reviewed

Posted on Dec 17, 2013 in Hottest Newcomers, Reviews

God knows New York could always use a few more great restaurants north of 57th Street on the east side. I know, I know; solid progress has been made over the years (The Mark, Salumeria Rosi, & The East Pole), but nonetheless there remains a culinary no man’s land between uptown and midtown. Aside from Fred’s at Barney’s, Rouge Tomate and the famously overpriced Nello, there ain’t a lot of choices. But things have been looking up since Rotisserie Georgette flung open its doors on 60th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues. Who would have thought you could get a killer Roast Chicken in these parts? Or better yet, a Roast Chicken for Two…

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Restaurant Letdowns: Pagani & Villard

Posted on Dec 9, 2013 in Reviews

If you’re a foodie, there’s nothing more exciting than discovering a great, new restaurant. And there’s nothing worse than wasting an evening at a mediocre or awful, new eatery, especially if you’ve dragged a group of friends along with you. Something about it being “new” makes it all the more depressing when hopes of a potentially fantastic find are dashed and calories wasted. But the truth is it happens all the time…

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Skal – Reviewed

Skal

Posted on Nov 18, 2013 in Hottest Newcomers, Reviews

In my wildest dreams, I never imagined that we’d need to add Icelandic to the list of cuisines we search for when dining out in New York. In fact, I wrote a book on the world’s foods and never conceived that Nordic cooking would be relevant, certainly not relevant enough to include in my book, Try This, nevermind Icelandic. But head down to Chinatown, on the edge of the Lower East Side, and you’ll find a buzzy little spot called Skal, serving up Pan-Seared Pike with Pickled Plums & Kohlrabi in an herbaceous Verbena Sauce, and tangly Icelandic Yogurt with Grated Beetroot and Sorrel Granita…

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Toro – Reviewed

Toro

Posted on Oct 29, 2013 in Hottest Newcomers, Reviews

Anyone who’s eaten with me knows I don’t care much about the scene. It’s not that I’m a hater. I just prefer great food to a great room or cool crowd. Afterall, you can’t eat decor (as they say). So I was a little wary when I walked into Toro opening week to find the 100-seat tapas spot, packed with scenesters, clamoring for a peek of the new eatery and a taste of the food (or at least I was). Housed in the former Nabisco factory, Toro boasts sky high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Hudson River. The industrial chic space is outfitted with hanging aged jamon, a bull’s head, plenty of high top communal tables to socialize while you’re nibbling on tapas, and an ivy-covered wall at the rear of the restaurant near the plancha bar, which happen to be the best seats in the house…

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Piora – Reviewed

Posted on Sep 30, 2013 in First Bite, Hottest Newcomers, Reviews

It ain’t often a chef comes out of nowhere and knocks your socks off. But when it happens, it reminds you exactly why you love eating out in the first place. I didn’t expect to find chicken skin crumbled over an appetizer of Scallops and Corn (the last of the season) at Piora, a new restaurant in the West Village. The scallops are pan-seared and plated over corn kernels, chanterelles, and an aerated corn puree, a sweet, ethereal last glimpse of summer. But I digress from the chicken skin. It’s laced with fennel pollen and crumbled over the dish, lending an umami-like depth to an otherwise, delicate scallop and corn combination. Lest I forget the black and white sesame seeds sprinkled over the top for nuttiness. One bite and you realize something exciting is going on in the kitchen…

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The Best New Restaurants of Summer 2013

Posted on Aug 20, 2013 in Best Of, Hottest Newcomers

Summer tends to be slow season for buzzy restaurant debuts, but New York sure had a bumper crop of notable openings this year. Here are a few of our favorite new additions to the dining scene, from Michael White’s Costata in SoHo to Paul Liebrandt’s The Elm in Brooklyn and even Bunker, a Vietnamese eatery from an Eleven Madison Park alum in Queens!

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First Bite: Quality Italian

Quality Italian

Posted on Aug 13, 2013 in First Bite, Reviews

It’s refreshing to find a restaurant that doesn’t take itself too seriously. So many restaurants do, and who can blame them really? You invest a fortune into a space and concept, then pray it will succeed. That’s serious business… but it’s still just dinner. That’s exactly what I love about Quality Italian. It’s just plain fun. And the food happens to be excellent if you don’t take it too seriously. Sure, you could overanalyze their pie-shaped Chicken Parmigiana as being too cheeky. Like a pizza, it’s served in a pizza pan and sliced with a metal pizza cutter. Then, there’s the Baked Clams, which are topped not with the usual breadcrumbs, but strands of toasted Angel Hair Pasta & parsley, and finished tableside with a white wine butter sauce. Genius.

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First Bite – Estela

Estela

Posted on Jul 30, 2013 in First Bite, Reviews

Ignacio Mattos is an eccentric chef to say the least. In fact, being eccentric is what garnered him so much attention last year at Isa in Williamsburg. Remember Isa? It was a quirky eatery designed by Taavo Somer (Freeman’s Alley & Peels) with an oddball menu dreamed up by Ignacio Mattos, who once helmed the kitchen at il buco. But it was at Isa that he really turned heads, serving up dishes, like deep-fried sardine skeleton with olives and celery, or pickled chanterelles mingled with roasted pig’s ear under a tangle of arugula. With Mattos in the kitchen, Isa received a star from the New York Times, and more importantly, tons of attention for its curious, cutting edge cuisine. Then suddenly, Taavo Somer let go of the entire kitchen staff, including Mattos, changing the concept to casual Mediterranean. That was just over a year ago, but Mattos is officially back on the New York dining scene with Estela, a new Nolita eatery, located along Houston Street just above a dive bar named Botanica.

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Sneak Peek: Corvo Bianco

Corvo Bianco

Posted on Jul 23, 2013 in First Bite, Reviews

Remind me not to go to a restaurant on opening night again. I know I probably should’ve known better, but I’ve been to plenty of thrilling opening nights. It’s a lot like attending a movie premiere or Broadway debut. There’s just something about being one of the first diners in the door, one of the first to see it all come together, to christen a new menu, and spy the chef on his or her brand new stage. As we all well know, it’s entirely risky to open a restaurant, a brave endeavor that too often ends in failur

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Costata – Reviewed

Posted on Jun 24, 2013 in Hottest Newcomers, Reviews

How sweet it is! I bet that’s what Michael White is thinking right about now. How many chefs get to return to the very same space where they were once a young chef struggling to make a name for himself and come back as an owner with a legion of successful restaurants to show for himself? That about sums up the story of Costata. Anyone remember Fiamma, BR Guest’s upscale Italian, located in a townhouse on Spring Street just off Sixth Avenue? Michael White got his start in Fiamma’s kitchen. Over a dozen restaurants and eleven years later, White has returned to the former Fiamma space with an Italian steakhouse all his own called Costata, which means rib eye in Italian.

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ABC Cocina – Reviewed

Posted on Jun 17, 2013 in First Bite, Reviews

Who would have thought one of the best places to eat right now is tucked inside a furniture and home store? But that’s exactly the case ever since ABC Carpet & Home first teamed up with Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Dan Kluger to open ABC Kitchen. Over three years later and it’s nearly as hard to get a reservation at this seasonal and local American spot, tucked inside the 19th street side of the store.

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Topping Rose House – Reviewed

Posted on Jun 6, 2013 in Reviews

Who knew one of the best new restaurants in New York would open in the Hamptons? Bridgehampton to be specific. I didn’t see that coming. The Hamptons are better known for their wide beaches, grand houses and lavish parties. Not food. At least, not til Topping Rose House came along. Just taste the Ravioli with Housemade Ricotta and you’ll see what I mean. It’s a game changer – a singular and mammoth-size ravioli cradling impossibly fresh Ricotta, scattered with slivers of Shitake Mushroom, tender green Asparagus and fresh herbs. It’s glossed in a Beurre Fondue that amplifies the richness of the dish without overdoing the dish. It’s a divine pasta that will compel you to make another reservation before you even leave the restaurant.

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Restaurant Spotting: Antica Pesa

Antica Pesa

Posted on May 23, 2013 in Hottest Newcomers

Brooklyn’s own Berry Street is a somewhat unlikely location for the first stateside outpost of Antica Pesa, a 90-year-old restaurant situated in a former Vatican tollhouse in Trastevere. Because instead of being perfectly suited to shabby chic hipsters, the sleek new restaurant seems destined to follow in the path of its predecessor, becoming an out-of-the-way haven for the rich, famous and jet set (an image search yields twenty pictures of Madonna, Ashton Kutcher and Thomas Hardy, juxtaposed with delicately swirled plates of Cacio e Pepe).

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Gwynnett St. – Reviewed

Posted on Apr 25, 2013 in Reviews

I’d return to Gwynnett St. for the whiskey bread alone. It may sound silly, but it’s that good. Served warm, this crusty, homemade loaf is as sweet as cornbread, soft on the inside, and dosed with plenty of whiskey. It’s also the simplest thing on the menu… by far. The food at this newish Williamsburg spot is entirely complicated, and yet utterly satisfying, a rare feat as far as restaurants go.

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Carbone – Reviewed

Carbone

Posted on Apr 1, 2013 in Reviews

There’s just something about a “red sauce” joint that feeds the soul more than any kind of restaurant imaginable. I love going out to dinner and trying new restaurants (after all, I am a restaurant girl), but that often involves concepts that are a modern twist on a classic, like Modern Mexican, a fusion of two (or more) cuisines, or a purely Greenmarket play of seasonal, local eats. Rarely do you come across a buzzy, new restaurant that peddles in Veal Parmesan, Linguine with Clams, and Lobster Fra Diavolo. It sounds almost like a contradiction in terms, but Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi have made an art of Red Sauce Italian, and by doing so, have made Italian-American cooking hot.

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Le Philosophe – Reviewed

Le Philosophe

Posted on Mar 14, 2013 in First Bite, Reviews

Le Philosophe doesn’t look much like a French bistro. Aside from the French food lingo printed on the walls, like “Plat Du Jour” and “Bouillabaisse,” there’s nothing particularly French about this spot, located on a chic stretch of Bond Street in NoHo. Instead of tin ceilings, tiles and red banquettes, there’s black ceilings, a sea of twinkling little votives to light up the dimly lit space, and an open kitchen with a teeny bar in the rear. (It ain’t no Balthazar.) The crowd is interesting and eclectic.

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