Restaurant and bar openings: December 30, 2010-January 12, 2011

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  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

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  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

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  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

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  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

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  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

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  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

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Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

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Crif Dogs New Jersey native Brian Shebairo expands his popular East Village hot-dog mecca to Williamsburg. True to its casual roots, the small Brooklyn outpost will be outfitted with old-school video games, steel floors and a vintage skateboard collection. You'll find the same late-night munchies on offer: Tater-Tots, chili cheese fries, milk shakes and snappy, deep-fried dogs in creative combinations, like the Tsunami (bacon-wrapped with teriyaki sauce, pineapple and green onions) and the John-John Deragon (cream cheese, scallions and a sprinkling of everything-bagel seeds). But this location will also appeal to the early-morning set with a takeout window serving Intelligentsia coffee and breakfast sandwiches a few steps from the Bedford L stop. 555 Driggs Ave at N 7th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-302-3200)

Calexico Jesse, Brian and Dave Vendley, the brothers behind the Cal-Mex street-cart phenom, open their second brick-and-mortar location, in Greenpoint. The new 65-seat spot, featuring a diamond-cut steel facade reminiscent of its mobile depots, will expand on the Calexico Carne Asada menu with new items like Baha-style fish tacos, elote (grilled corn with queso cotija and cilantro) and a 645 burger (a blend of brisket, chuck and short rib on a ciabatta bun with their signature chipotle "crack" sauce). For the first time, you can throw back a stiff drink alongside your carne asada burrito: The joint will have a full bar serving both South of the Border and local beers, including house label El Barrio (a dark Mexican-style ale made by Sixpoint), and cocktails such as a Jalapeo-Mint Margarita and the Manhattan Ave, a riff on the Manhattan blending Partida Anejo tequila, Carpano Antica and rhubarb bitters. In the summer, the eatery—outfitted with Formica tables and antique mirrors—will open a 50-seat garden. 645 Manhattan Ave at Bedford Ave, Greenpoint, Brooklyn (347-763-2129)

Colonie Four veterans of Public are behind this seasonal American restaurant in Brooklyn Heights. Paying heed to the current barnyard-chic aesthetic, the rustic eatery showcases a vertical herb garden, grown on a wall dividing the bar and dining areas. The short menu features simple fare, like charcuterie, cheese and raw-oyster platters, and chef Alex Sorenson dispatches more composed dishes—including rabbit lasagna with Swiss chard and ricotta, and oysters baked with Worcestershire sauce, bacon and parsley—from a white-tiled open kitchen. Locavores will be pleased by the drink offerings, focused on regional beers, seasonal cocktails and five wine taps pouring selections exclusively from New York vintners. 127 Atlantic Ave between Clinton and Henry Sts, Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn (718-855-7500)

Diego James Geritano, owner of beloved seasonal dive Gowanus Yacht Club, is behind this contemporary Mexican restaurant in Carroll Gardens. 305 Smith St at Union St, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn (718-643-3293)

Freddy's Bar Donald O'Finn, Matt Kimmett and Matt Kuhn, bartenders of the late Freddy's Bar & Backroom, resurrect the scrappy cult favorite, which was evicted from Prospect Heights by the Atlantic Yards project. The no-frills saloon—now located in Sunset Park—is retrofitted with booths, a 1940s red mahogany bar and the graffiti-etched bathroom walls salvaged from the original. Old regulars will find comfort in the eclectic live music offerings and 75 beertinis (that's Budweiser in a martini glass with a pretzel garnish). Newer patrons should appreciate the expanded beer selection (12 taps instead of five) and pub-grub offerings (burgers, hot wings and kielbasa). 627 Fifth Ave between 17th and 18th Sts, Sunset Park, Brooklyn (no phone yet)

Joy Burger Bar Custom beef blends are all the rage among burger obsessives, but it's the special house sauces that get top billing at this Greenwich Village outpost of a Harlem restaurant. The retro canteen—featuring Formica tables, wood ceiling fans and white-striped leather chairs—adds creative condiments like chimichurri, spicy mango chutney and pesto to the classic ketchup and Dijon mustard. Rounding out the menu are rib-sticking plates of giant onion rings, chili con carne and mozzarella sticks. 361 Sixth Ave at Washington Pl (212-414-9500)

Maison Premiere The team behind Williamsburg's Le Barricou turns its attention from French brasserie to French Quarter with the opening of this NOLA-themed oyster bar. Twenty varieties of East and West Coast mollusks will be on offer each day, along with raw-bar standards (cherrystone clams, lobsters) and a few heartier plates, such as seafood gumbo and a muffuletta sandwich. Green-fairy followers should make a beeline for the the pink-marble horseshoe bar in front, where a brass-and-jade absinthe fountain dispenses the anise-flavored elixir diluted with ice water. Tipplers seeking something slightly less intoxicating can choose from classic New Orleans cocktails, six local tap beers, or organic and biodynamic wines. 298 Bedford Ave between Grand and South 1st Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (no phone yet)

Mooncake Foods This family-owned cheap-eats chainlet has been dishing out Asian comfort food since 2003. The menu at the third location pays homage to the Chinese and Vietnamese roots of its owners with dishes like cold jicama spring rolls and homey short ribs. Place your order at the counter and plop down at one of the diner-style swivel stools. 359 W 54th St between Eighth and Ninth Aves (212-262-9888)

Spasso Chef Craig Wallen, a veteran of both the Mario Batali and Michael White empires, brings his pasta-making bona fides to this rustic West Village osteria. The casual 65-seat eatery (from Choptank restaurateur Bobby Werhane) features a bright, open kitchen, where Wallen whips up hearty Italian plates, spotlighting noodles, cheeses and cured meats, all made in house. Choose from lusty offerings like ricotta strascinari (little ear pasta) with braised duck leg, maccheroni with lamb rag, and house-made lamb sausage with tomato marmalade. To drink, there are are classic Italian cocktails and a wine list featuring 150 bottles, all sourced from the motherland. 551 Hudson St at Perry St (212-858-3838)

Tammany Hall Live music venue Tammany Hall has installed a restaurant, allowing indie-rock enthusiasts to fuel up while taking in a show. The tavern serves New American cuisine alongside beer, wine and cocktails. And the design (antique advertisements, mahogany paneling) takes its cues from the 19th century, when Boss Tweed's corrupt Tammany Hall political machine was in full swing. 152 Orchard St between Rivington and Stanton Sts (212-982-7767)

Traffic Bar & Restaurant Sports fans can can add this 3,500-square-foot bar—an offshoot of a same-named midtown saloon—to their game-day rotation. There are 100 seats, 17 TVs broadcasting the action and traffic lights suspended from the ceiling that turn green when the daily special ($2 beers, $5 cocktails) is available. The refined menu of French-inflected plates is a counterpoint to the raucous environs: steak au poivre, roasted half chicken with herbs de Provence, and garlic-parsley baby lamb chops with fingerling potatoes. 701 Ninth Ave at 48th St (212-813-1595)

Zen Palate This serene vegetarian chainlet has been sating the meatless since 1991. The third location, this time on the Upper West Side, offers the same wholesome, wallet-friendly fare, including items like grilled sesame tofu salad and crispy medallions of wheat gluten with asparagus and string beans. This location is fitted with white jade carvings and chiseled wood paneling, plus a Zen stone garden. 239 W 105th St at Broadway (212-222-2111)

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