New York City Restaurants
Studio at The Freehand
23 Lexington Ave., Flatiron
Although restaurateur Gabe Stulman has five restaurants under his belt in the West Village (including Joseph Leonard and Jeffrey’s Grocery), this is his first venture into hotel dining. Studio is located on the second floor of the cool-kid hangout of the moment, the Freehand (which also has outposts in Miami, Chicago, and L.A.), in the Flatiron district. The theme is an homage to Stulman’s Jewish-Moroccan background, with influences drawn from North Africa and the Middle East. You could make a meal out of the small plates here, and we’d go for the spring pea hummus, served with a side of lamb merguez and pita; the berbere shrimp with fennel and blood orange; and the eggplant mirza with roasted tomato. The space itself resembles a private club more than a traditional restaurant, full of low-slung, sheepskin-covered leather chairs, cozy banquettes, and a soothing palette of warm browns and dark blues.
802 Ninth Ave., Hell's Kitchen
After chef Julian Medina scored a hit in Astoria, Queens, with his Mexican cantina Tacuba four years ago, he opened this outpost in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen, with a bigger menu and more seating, two years later. The concept is classic Mexican with a few creative twists thrown in: chili rellenos filled with quinoa, mushrooms, and kale, chili-dusted fluke tacos with a kohlrabi-habanero slaw, and carne asada with a side of bone marrow fried rice. The atmosphere is generally boisterous, thanks in part to a big cocktail menu (we’re partial to the frozen tamarind margaritas), as well as the mezcal and tequila selection (there are hundreds—really, hundreds—of bottles on offer).
Le Turtle (Closed)
177 Chrystie St., Lower East Side
A partnership between Taavo Somer (Freeman’s) and Carlos Quiararte (The Smile), the French-inspired food at Le Turtle is supposed to be great, but people are really coming for the experience: the wild interior (two-way mirrors, shiny surfaces, neon lights, and so on) seems like a sight to be seen.
44 W. 29th St., Flatiron
Ferris is the sleek, atmospheric restaurant that occupies the subterranean level of the Made Hotel; even if you’re a guest of the hotel, it’s worth making a reservation in advance. You’re in for a doozy of flavors, textures, and cultural mashups—it’s effing incredible. Start with the Melon de Caraibe, a cocktail of honeydew, rum, mint, and egg whites, plus bread and butter (it doesn’t come with dinner, you have to order it, and the luscious, fresh-out-of-the-oven sunflower-caraway is worth it). Sit in one of the pillowy nooks near the window and exult in dishes like charred broccolini in a creamy yogurt-cashew emulsion, broth-bathed hake (flaky, delicate, a tidal wave of flavor), and cardamom-coriander Szechuan-style duck with a side of fermented sour cherry relish to remind you of all that is right in the world.
99 Scott Ave., Bushwick
You can’t go wrong at this vibrant Vietnamese street-food restaurant that serves incredible banh mi, pho, and mouthwatering meat, fish, and veggie vermicelli plates.
545 Lorimer St., Williamsburg
Do not leave without ordering Ginanjuice, an infusion of just-juiced carrot-beet-apple-ginger, gin, and Lillet that tastes healthy and bracing, but is also stronger than you think, so pace yourself.
The Musket Room
265 Elizabeth St., Lower East Side
The menu is divided into five sections: Powhiri, Kaimoana, Papatuanuku, Ranginu, and Ka Kate, meaning introduction, seafood, land, sky, and farewell in Maori.
17 Ingraham St., Bushwick
Tasty Mexican food and tiki cocktails meld seamlessly at El Cortez, a casual, laid-back spot that’s perfect for a one-on-one date or a pack of friends.
Momo Sushi Shack
43 Bogart St., Bushwick
The lighting is dim (great for date nights), the vibe is casual (the long communal tables are a striking flourish with lots of room to stretch out), and the sushi, hand rolls, and maki are out-of-this-world.
374 Johnson Ave., Bushwick
Known throughout Japan for its delicious tonkotsu (a Japanese broth made from eight- to twelve-hour simmered pork marrow), Ichiran opened in Bushwick with lines around the block.
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