With splashy openings like La Sirena and Pasquale Jones, New York’s winter restaurant season was a lot more fruitful than most. But there are even more debuts to look forward to this spring, such as a New Nordic eatery in Grand Central Station, from Noma co-founder, Claus Meyer, an out-of-Philly establishment from celeb chef, Jose Garces, and of course, the anticipated return of Union Square Café, the crown jewel of Danny Meyer’s acclaimed hospitality group!
Pondicheri (15 W. 27th Street): It’s looking like this will be an especially good year for Indian food. Following on the heels of the recently opened Indian Accent (on offshoot of New Delhi’s most venerated restaurant) comes Pondicheri, from Texas-based chef & owner, Anita Jaisinghani. It will be casual during the day (with baked goods like Chai Pie and rice, pumpkin seed and marshmallow “Pondi Bars,” and savories such as Roti Wraps with masala-spiced eggs), and evolve into a more refined experience at night, reminiscent of Jaisinghani’s James Beard Award-nominated Indika.
Union Square Café (10 E. 16th Street): The heralded return of Danny Meyer’s seminal Union Square Café (even New York’s most prolific restaurateur couldn’t withstand the outrageous rent hikes) will undoubtedly be one of the biggest stories of the spring. Taking over City Crab’s significantly bigger space (still located right near Union Square), the reboot will remain largely faithful to the original, with chef Carmen Quagliata cooking up seasonal American fare with an Italian bent, and the dining room presided over by General Manager Sam Lipp.
Agern (89 E. 42nd Street): Rene Redzepi who? The Great Dane may retain control of the internationally celebrated Noma, but his partner, Claus Meyer, is making much bigger waves in New York. In addition to spearheading a cooking school for low income residents in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Brownsville, and a pastry pop-up (eventually slated to become a full-time shop) in Williamsburg, the enterprising Scandinavian is overseeing both a Nordic food market in Grand Central Terminal, as well as 100-seat brasserie, fronted by a culinary dream team including Gunnar Gislason of Dill in Reykjavik, Joseph Yardley from Acme, and pastry chef Rhonda Crosson, a protégé of Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller.
Le Coucou (138 Lafayette Street): Having spent years working at Spring in Paris, Daniel Eddy returned to New York in a big way last year, helping garner a Michelin star for the more-than-a-wine bar, Rebelle. And now his former boss and mentor, Daniel Rose, is heading our way, too, partnering with hospitality bigwig, Stephen Starr, at this Lutece-inspired restaurant serving utterly classic French dishes, and bound for Aby Rosen’s SoHo-based Howard Hotel.
Sushi Ginza Onodera (461 5th Avenue): Does New York need more sushi? Master chef Akifumi Sakagami certainly seems to think so, which is why he’s bringing his international mini-chain (with locations in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Paris and Hawaii) to Midtown East this April.
Italienne (19 W. 24th Street): While he was originally slated to helm Manhattan’s still-in-the-works sister act to Brooklyn Fare, Jared Sippel (formerly of Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder and San Francisco’s Quince) has moved on to this Northern Italian/South of France concept instead, including an adjunct wine bar, and featuring a four-course tasting menu format.
TurnStyle (59th Street and Columbus Circle): In an ongoing effort to turn all of NYC’s transportation hubs into culinary hotbeds, the Columbus Circle concourse should be getting its turn by the end of April, as part of a 15,000-square foot subterranean marketplace, including Dylan’s Candy Bar, Bosie Tea, Yong Kang Street sushi, MeltKraft, Ellary’s Greens, Ignazio’s pizza, Gastronomie 491 and more.
Amada (200 Vesey Street): This opening has been teased for over a year now, but Jose Garces has finally begun hiring staff for his sit-down restaurant at Brookfield Place (also the home of the high end food hall, Hudson Eats, and the massive French market, Le District). Essentially an outpost of his acclaimed Philadelphia eatery, the menu will revolve around tapas, like Garlic Shrimp, Flatbread with Short Ribs and Mushrooms a la Plancha, as well as some larger feeds, such as Seafood Fideos, Tasmanian Sea Trout with pine nuts, Lobster Paella and whole Suckling Pig.