As if glorious weather wasn’t reason enough to adore spring, it happens to be the prime season for high profile restaurant debuts, too. So turn the promise of longer days into an excuse to pack your schedule with a series of dining trips, at upcoming ventures from Enrique Olvera, April Bloomfield and yes, even José Andrés…
Atla: After dialing down the glitz at his flagship Mexico City mecca, Pujol, Enrique Olvera is committed to keeping things casual; as evidenced by his upcoming Cosme spin-off, Atla. Boasting mostly counter seating, the all-day cantina features fun, laid-back, generally healthy eats, such as kale tamales, split-pea tlacoyos and flaxseed chilaquiles.
372 Lafayette, NoHo
The Landmark: The Major Food Group’s Four Seasons takeover is expected to finally launch this spring, with the sumptuous, retro Grill Room debuting first (helmed by Mario Carbone), and the sleek, Japanese-inspired Pool Room — cheffed by Rich Torrisi — shortly after, eventually followed by a basement brasserie.
99 E 52nd St., Midtown East
Empellon: Enrique Olvera may be toning down his Mexican empire, but Alex Stupak is going for broke with a new, two-floor extention of Empellon, slated for Madison Avenue. And while he’s already become known for inserting improbable ingredients in unexpectated places, he’s upping the wow factor with crab nachos and sea urchin queso, and wagyu beef fajitas with black pepper mole.
510 Madison Ave., Midtown
José Andrés Project: The celebrated Spanish chef is finally headed to New York, to spearhead the food program for a Philippe Starke-designed hotel and restaurant on Park Avenue. Though intel hasn’t officially been released on the name or concept, it seems likely that it’s an outpost of The Bazaar; his modern tapas franchise based in Beverly Hills.
444 Park Avenue S., Kips Bay
KazuNori: L.A. is really having its day in NYC, and the latest West to East Coast migrant is KazuNori; which bills itself as the “Original Hand Roll Bar.” A little sibling to Sugarfish (which was greeted in New York with open arms last month), the sushi franchise focuses on specially harvested seaweed-wrapped cones of warm rice, housemade sauces and high quality fish.
15 W 28th St., Flatiron
Salvation Taco Brooklyn: April Bloomfield’s taken about as long to venture into Brooklyn, as José Andrés has to take on New York. But the queen of meat is finally crossing the bridge for a Salvation Taco expansion in Williamsburg, situated — as is its predessecor — inside of a contemporary Pod hotel.
626 Driggs Ave., Williamsburg
Gjelina NYC: A lot of recently opened projects cite Gjelina — Venice Beach’s all-day, New American café — as inspiration. But the real thing is readying to make its presence known in New York. Working with Ken Friedman, the team will occupy two stories in a 1,700-square foot NoHo building, and likely serve the same roster of wood-fired pizzas and innovative vegetable dishes (fried sunchokes with za’atar, roasted turnips with chimichurri, grilled Russian kale with mint) that they have long been adored for in Cali.
45 Bond St., NoHo
Blue Ribbon Federal Grill: The Bromberg brothers are at it again, opening another comfort food-focused spot at the base of the AKA Wall Street apartment complex. The meat-focused fare sounds pretty perfect for power lunches; think beef shin and garlic spatzle and a sirloin and bacon burger, finished with roquefort cheese and onions.
84 William St., FiDi
Pasta Flyer: Mark Ladner left Del Posto to turn this sometime pop-up into the pasta-lover’s answer to Shake Shack. The super-scaleable model (kicking off in the Union Square area) features fast-casual noodle bowls — including a range of gluten-free options — that can be cooked, sauced and served in the time it takes Chipotle to roll a burrito.
510 6th Ave., Union Square
Majorelle: Le Grenouille’s acclaimed maître d’, Charles Masson, wasn’t long for his stint at Chevalier; but that doesn’t mean he’s given up splashy hotel projects. n fact, he’s teamed up with Lespinasse and Le Mangeoire alum, Christian Delouvrier, to helm Majorelle in the Lowell; a French-Mediterranean bistro extending into a sprawling garden, and serving sprightly items like truffled sweetbreads over mache, and grilled shrimp on rosemary skewers.
28 E 63rd St., Midtown East