Photo: Ditte Isager
The GP 13: New York’s Best Restaurants
New York restaurants may come and go, but our love for swapping favorites with friends/readers is going strong. Here’s our constantly evolving list of standouts (you may recognize a few regulars from the last GP 13)—some are buzzy and new, some are not so new, and those that have been around for ages feel a bit like home now.
GP says her best meal of 2016 was at Olmsted (she wanted to make it numbers 1 through 13 on this list but we stopped her). Olmsted, which opened last summer on an unassuming block of Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights, is one of those restaurants that people talk about months after visiting. Chef Greg Baxtrom (formerly of Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Alinea), teamed up with horticulturist Ian Rothman to create a veggie-centric menu (there’s even a 25-seat garden out back) of kale-and-crab rangoon, charred onion chawanmushi, and a sweet pea falafel that is wonderfully light. There’s a solid selection of wines under $40 a bottle, too. When the check arrives, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how full-in-a-good-way you feel, and how reasonably priced it is. Photos: Evan Sung
Everyone in New York has their own best-of list, but the wood-fired pizza at Pasquale Jones, from the same folks behind Charlie Bird, is a solid contender. The littleneck clam and spicy coppa (kale, garlic, smoked caciocavallo) pies are standouts, and a nice match to their wine list, which has some great reasonably priced bottles. The action here centers around an open kitchen and two wood-burning stoves; the booths—though limited—are roomy and good if you’re dining with littles in tow. Reservations are hard to come by, so walking in is your best bet, though be prepared to take several spins around the block while you wait. (Worth it, still.) Food Photos: Will Engelmann; Interior Photo: Robyn Lehr
A collaboration between restauranteur Stephen Starr (of Upland and Buddakan, among many others) and Chef Daniel Rose (you know him from Spring, one of GP’s favorite restaurants in Paris), Le Coucou’s menu is a lighter take on old-school French cuisine (duck breast, halibut in beurre blanc, lobster tail salad). Roman and Williams transformed the space on a once-seedy block of SoHo, injecting their signature glamour into the grand dining room. You’ll talk about the space, which is marked by overstuffed banquettes, gilded mirrors, a hand-painted mural, and an open kitchen, but you’ll also talk about the service, which is super attentive and buttoned-up. Interior Photos: Ditte Isager; Food Photo: Corry Arnold
Ramen Lab seats no more than ten people at a time so there’s always a wait, but the Sun Noodle bowls are well worth it. The tiny space also serves as a think tank of sorts for emerging ramen chefs, hosting regular tastings and pop-ups with the likes of Paris-based Kodawari Ramen and Menya Jiro from Japan, as they hone their craft. Food photo: @RamenLab
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
A legendary Jewish deli, Katz’s originally opened in 1888 under a different name, and across the street from its current location on Houston and Ludlow. It was an institution long before the iconic orgasm scene from When Harry Met Sally, although it didn’t hurt. Most people come for either the hot pastrami or corned beef sandwich, or the Reuben version, which adds Swiss cheese and sauerkraut. Katz’s credits its slow curing method, which can last up to a month, for the meat’s superior taste. (You’ll also find matzo ball soup on the menu, along with everything else you’d expect/want, as well as less traditional offerings for a Jewish deli, like NY-style cheesecake.) For those outside of the city, note that Katz’s ships across the States.
The Polo Bar is Ralph Lauren’s very own English clubhouse, and everything from the herringbone floor to the saddle-leather banquettes and salon-style paintings is meant to make you feel like it’s been around forever. Seemingly everyone Instagram #humblebrags their dishes here (simply scoring a reservation makes you feel like you’ve won the lottery), and the beef burger from the Double RL ranch in Colorado and brownie topped with ice cream churned with Ralph’s custom blend coffee are worthwhile indulgences. Also: potato chips for the table. Trust. Photos: Courtesy of Ralph Lauren
April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman know a thing or two about burgers—if you’ve been to The Spotted Pig, their first venture, you know what we mean. For their newest, a restaurant inside the Pod 51 Hotel in Midtown East, they bet big on the classic, but the best version is veggie: It’s served with carrots and topped with a spicy masala. Heaven. The not-for-the-faint-of-heart menu has chili cheese fries, poutine, popcorn, beef jerky, and four types of pie—it’s kind of like fancy fast food, except that everything—mustard included—is made from scratch. Photos: Danielle Adams
This Italian spot on Thompson Street run by Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi, and Jeff Zalaznick boasts Vito Schnabel’s artwork on the walls, Zac Posen-designed uniforms, a tiled floor inspired by The Godfather, and a slightly more upscale version of the Italian-American fare you’ll find at their other restaurants: It’s pretty 1950’s meets hipster chic. And like the good old days, the food is rich and luscious, from lobster ravioli to sides like creamed escarole and corn tartufato. Photos: Courtesy of Carbone
Tucked into a tiny (very tiny) space next door to Casa Mono, this U-shaped tapas bar by Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich has been around for more than a decade. The crowd is typically neighborhood types grabbing quick drinks, lots of (stylish) first dates, or those swinging by for a nightcap post dinner next door. The pared-down menu, which is scrawled on the mirror behind the bar, includes pan con tomate, tortila, and jamon iberico—in addition to, obviously, great reds. Food Photos: Kate Previte; Exterior Photo: Kelly Campbell
Le Bernardin opened in 1986 after the success of the storied Parisian original. Helmed by Chef Eric Ripert, the restaurant continues to deliver some of the finest, freshest fish in the city, served with delicate yet complicated sauces that make seafood incredibly exciting. The menu is prix fixe only (starting at $150) and organized by preparation (almost raw, barely touched, lightly cooked, etc.). Upstairs there’s a dining private room with a separate entrance. Interior Photo: Daniel Krieger
Months after opening, it’s still pretty hard to nail down a reservation at Chef Missy Robbins’ first solo venture, an Italian restaurant set up in what used to be an auto garage. Pasta is the move here, but people also love the grilled seafood—the menu is separated into big fish and little fish, but the truth is, they’re all standard mains size-wise. Should you find yourself in this part of Williamsburg during the day, go to the takeaway Lilia Caffé attached to the main dining room for strong espresso and house-made pastries in the morning, and delicious soft serve gelato and focaccia midday, both good for a quick refuel. Photos: Evan Sung