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.
Fields Good Chicken
44 E. 23rd St., Flatiron
Former financier-turned-pro-cyclist-turned-chicken-enthusiast Fields Failing converted his passion for the most perfectly cooked, crispiest-skinned bird into a business. With five locations across the city all serving up the same four styles of cooked chicken—herb grilled, grilled mojo, pulled bbq, or chicken salad—a good lunch is minutes away no matter where you are. The free-range chickens are sourced from Freebird family farms in Amish country, Pennsylvania, from sustainable farmers Failing has built relationships with. These protein-heavy bowls and salads (Christina's Kale, cobb, mo' miso) are filling, healthy and delicious, the perfect nutritious lunch to pick up on-the-go in the city.
Cote Korean Steakhouse
16 W. 22nd St., Flatiron
Simon Kim is most famous for Piora, which earned him a Michelin Star, but those close to him say he's even more passionate about his new steakhouse, which is inspired by his Korean roots. The sleek, modern, grayscale interior is dotted with smokeless grills embedded in each table, where customers cook their own meats, barbecue-style. That said, Korean barbecue is an oversimplication of what's going on here–the sauces and accoutrements are firmly in the fine dining category, and chef David Shim is meticulous about beef sourcing, selecting cuts that are USDA prime grade or above and dry-aging them on-site before they ever see a customer. Get the Butcher's Feast, which is the standard order and the best way to understand the full scope of the offerings here.
Le Coq Rico
30 E. 20th St., Flatiron
The name—try saying it three times fast—translates to “The Bistro of Beautiful Birds,” and is an offshoot of three-star Michelin chef Antoine Westermann’s original poultry-focussed restaurant on Rue Lepic in Paris. Before opening, Chef Westermann spent more than a year traveling through Hudson Valley and Pennsylvania, meeting with local farmers to learn their farming practices and philosophies. (As a result, all the birds come from small family farms.) Come for the slow-cooked egg and Plymouth barred rock chicken, and don’t hesitate to order the quarter rotisserie chicken or the macaroni au gratin. There’s an entire section devoted to dishes featuring pasture-raised eggs, too. Photos: Asia Coladner
37 W 17th St., Flatiron
This a no-frills, Japanese-style Italian food spot is known for its spin on traditional pasta dishes, like spaghetti with roe and linguini with sea urchin. Bonus: When you order their (excellent) spaghetti con prosciutto e parmigiano dish, you get it served to you in a half-wheel of Parmesan cheese.
900 Broadway, Flatiron
While it’s pretty hard to screw up a grilled cheese sandwich, the oversized, overstuffed versions here are made using Beecher’s own cheese, a lot of which is made right on site (watching the cheese makers do their thing through the massive windows is nothing short of mesmerizing). The main café is ideal for weekday lunches and the Cellar downstairs is a more dressed-up small-plates-and-wine restaurant. And if you need a hostess gift but are short on time, the nuts, jams, small but mighty selection of wine, and of course, cheeses, pack up nicely.
16 E. 23rd St., Flatiron
Dig Inn’s philosophy is “farm to counter,” which means that they serve sustainably sourced, usually local food in a casual setting and in a price range that makes it a reasonable option for everyday lunch. The salads and the market plates are easy to take back to the office (or home for dinner), and the menu changes with the seasons, so you won't ever be bored with the offerings. There are locations in every neighborhood.
23rd St. & Madison Ave. Flatiron
Goop HQ will enthusiastically vouch for the fact that Schnippers (the original outpost is conveniently located on the first floor of the New York Times building) has the best chicken fingers in the city. While kids go wild for their fries and milkshakes, it’s a pretty great indulgence if you’re working late and need a convenient sugar bomb. They also have locations in Flatiron, Midtown, and in the Financial District.
35 E. 21st St., Flatiron
So NYC has never really gotten snaps for its Mexican food, but Cosme is said to break the trend. It's probably because it's from chef Enrique Olvera, of Mexico City Pujol fame—trust us when we say he’s legit. The PDR is just as sleek and modern as the rest of the restaurant, and while it'll cost you, a prix-fixe private meal here is an incredibly special experience.
345 Park Ave. S., Flatiron
Come to Chef Justin Smillie's (formerly of Il Buco Alimentari) Upland (named for the chef's hometown) for a taste of California in the heart of NYC. Designed by Roman & Williams, the space is understandably warm and inviting—the light-filled dining room’s checkered tablecloths and wooden accents compliment the menu’s rustic, ingredient-driven offerings: sausage-and-kale pizza, salt-cured torchon of foie gras, cioppino, and a bourbon-spiked pecan pie.
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