New York City Restaurants
333 Park Ave S., Midtown
Eleven Madison Park alum Connie Chung has opened her first restaurant, focusing on casual Chinese cuisine. Every dish packs a punch, but it’s the Peking duck we can’t stop dreaming about: crispy-skinned, falls-off-the-fork-tender duck on a bed of fluffy rice and marinated cucumbers, all made even more perfect chased by a cold beer. The family-style menu is a steal at $45 for two and holds up well as takeout, although there is outdoor seating available. Images courtesy of Evan Sung.
102 3rd Ave., East Village
Mouth-watering Tex-Mex in…New York? That’s correct. The East Village needed Yellow Rose, the brainchild of two Texas transplants serving authentic, impossible-not-to-overorder tacos to every other Texas transplant missing some hometown comfort food. We recommend making a few visits and working your way through the menu. (Note: The breakfast tacos are served on weekends only.) First-timers can’t go wrong with chicken verde tacos and the house-made tortilla chips with salsa. We loved the make-your-own-michelada kit to take home and cannot wait for our next Saturday sip of horchata spiked with cold brew. This spot is a winner.
259 E Broadway, Lower East Side
Proper Basque food is hard to come by outside Spain, but Ernesto’s distills all those salty, sometimes smoky, definitely porky flavors into a tight menu that changes daily. Crunchy-on-the-outside, melty-on-the-inside croquetas; txistorra sausage; and proper jamón Iberico draped over fried potatoes: These are the small shareable snacks we want to warm up to while dining outside. Try a glass of something biodynamic and definitely order dessert.
33 Carmine St., Greenwich Village
Nami Nori get the takeout experience right. Each handroll is wrapped carefully for maximum crispiness when you finally dive in at home. (The website even has a how-to-unwrap-your-temaki animation.) And it’s affordable. Temaki runs $6 or $7 a roll, while a signature meal will set you back $28 (the spicy sea bass is incredible, as is the thoughtful vegan set). This is definitely the spot to indulge in a few apps—the clam and miso soup, crispy calamari, and Japanese potato salad are all stellar.
The Rooftop at Pier 17
89 South St., Lower Manhattan
For an evening that feels almost normal, Pier 17 has socially distant fun down. Dinner and drinks are served in individual winterized cabins complete with air purifiers and expansive city views. The cocktails are especially notable, muddled and mixed by Dante’s bartenders (Dante was named one of the best bars in the world back in 2019), with both hot and chilled options. Foodwise, expect New American best-ofs, like truffled grilled cheese, lobster pasta, and buttermilk fried chicken. Images courtesy of Giada Paoloni
57 W 58th St., West Villlage
The coziest outdoor setting and an outrageously comforting menu define Quality Eats. Several of our NYC colleagues consider it that reliable neighborhood spot you unconsciously amble toward when hunger hits. What to expect: Little Gem salads showered in Parmesan, a great burger, spicy Brussels sprouts, and grilled-to-perfection steaks. In other words, the classic dishes you’ve eaten over and over and still crave weekly because they’re both simple and consistently tasty.
232 Bleecker St., Greenwich Village
232 Bleecker isn’t married to any particular cuisine. Instead, the menu is a mashup of all the flavors and dishes that taste just as good at home. The pork meatball sandwich, squash hummus with crunchy veggies, and chopped kale salad are easy, portable winners for lunch. When it comes to dinner, shrimp tempura, gnocchi with smoked ricotta, and a glass (or bottle to share) from the impressive list never disappoints.
186 Mott St., Nolita
Uncle Boons has sadly closed, but the kitchen mavericks behind this beloved Nolita spot have opened up a stellar successor. Thai Diner is exactly as named: a casual restaurant serving sensational, accessible Thai food with a nod to American favorites. Standouts include the crab fried rice, fried chicken laab, and duck soup. The owners have gone above and beyond to pivot to a restaurant model that will survive the pandemic, trading the multiple-small-plates trend for generously portioned mains. Diners sit outside and order via QR codes on their phones, minimizing contact and speeding up the order and payment process—it works. Images courtesy of Alex Mucilli.
355 Bowery, Lower East Side
New Yorkers are experts in resilience and generosity, and the city’s restaurateurs are no exception. Short Stories crafts tasty brunch and inventive cocktails at the best of times and stepped up for its Bowery community during the worst. Throughout the lockdown, every Wednesday, the chefs served perfect vegan curry to any and all who needed a hot meal for free. We heartily recommend the cheesy naan, huevos rancheros, and beet salad, and the outdoor patio is one of the prettiest spaces in the city.
18 King St., Soho
In SoHo, the recently opened King, the work of two alumni of London’s River Café, is the toast of the town. On the menu: ropes of cheesy tagliarini with nutmeg, hearty bowls of ribollita, and elegant dishes of salt-baked trout.