Restaurant and bar openings: December 25, 2013–January 8, 2014

The Clam, Ramona and more roll out in New York City

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Clams on the half shell at the Clam

Clams on the half shell at the Clam Photograph: Virginia Rollison


The following venues are expected to open by January 8th. Always call ahead, as openings can be delayed.

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Will Malnati and Doug Jacob (Toro, Willow Road) transformed the old Nabisco Factory into a 50-seat cocktail den, outfitted with unmarked steel doors, leather sofas and hanging wisteria. The trim drinks menu features five bar staples, including a whiskey ginger, a Cosmo and a rum punch. 85 Tenth Ave at 16th St (646-499-9280, backbarnyc.com)

Black Forest Brooklyn German transplants Ayana and Tobias Holler honor their heritage at this indoor biergarten and kaffeehaus in Fort Greene, outfitted with antique cuckoo clocks and large skylights. Along with hefty steins of Bavarian brews (Schneider-Weisse, Aventinus), find oversize plates of schnitzel with shoestring fries, and farmer's sausage with shredded citrus kale (a modern take on gruenkohl und pinkel). Daytime offerings include Kitten Coffee alongside German pastries and cakes. 733 Fulton St between South Elliott Pl and South Portland Ave, Fort Greene, Brooklyn (718-935-0300, blackforestbrooklyn.com)

Búdin
 Named after the Icelandic word for "shop," this Nordic-focused Greenpoint café doubles as a design store. Along with Scandinavian sweaters, home goods and jewelry, find imported coffees (Tim Wendelboe from Oslo, Stockholm's Drop Coffee) and snacks (Danish rye bread, Norwegian cheese), along with a rotating cast of European roasters prepared as "coffee shots" on a Modbar espresso system. The 35-seat space welcomes performances by Nordic musicians and artists, while guests enjoy aquavit cocktails, Finnish moonshine and a beer program curated by Beer Street's Lorcan Precious. 114 Greenpoint Ave between Franklin and Manhattan Sts, Greenpoint, Brooklyn (no phone yet, budin-nyc.com)

The Clam
 Stop snickering at the name—this bivalve joint means business. At the corner spot—more of a tableclothed seafood palace than a casual clam shack—Market Table cohorts Joey Campanaro and Mike Price offer the eponymous slurper in a variety of modes: iced on the half shell; stuffed and baked with pancetta and lemon; and tossed with spaghetti in a chili-pepper-tomato sauce. Beyond mollusks, find seafood dishes like winter flounder with beluga lentils, bacon and pistachio. 420 Hudson St at Leroy St (212-242-7420, theclamnyc.com)

El Born
 Catalan-bred owner Elena Manich updates the tapas of her native Spain at this Greenpoint small-plates spot, outfitted with a marble bar and vaulted ceiling. Inspired by Barcelona's hipster-baiting El Born district, the 50-seat restaurant offers shareable dishes like octopus legs a la piedra (cooked on a stone) with potatoes and pimentón. A mix of Spanish and local wines are also available. 651 Manhattan Ave between Bedford and Norman Aves, Greenpoint, Brooklyn (347-844-9295, elbornnyc.com)

Le Village
 Overhauling his Table Verte space, chef-owner Didier Pawlicki does away with vegetarian prix fixes for a meatier French bistro menu. Herbivores can still find produce-focused dishes, like vegan mushroom pâté and a choux-fleur roti of cauliflower and quinoa, while carne lovers can sink their teeth into coq au vin. 127 E 7th St between First Ave and Ave A (212-539-0231, levillagenyc.com)

The Little Beet
 Franklin Becker (Catch, Lexington Brass) puts a healthy spin on lunch at this wood-paneled takeout spot. Along with gluten-free items and fresh-pressed juices, the menu includes chai-spiced quinoa breakfast oatmeal, sandwiches (prosciutto and smoked chicken, roasted turkey with apple butter) and kale salad with pumpkin seeds, currants and pecorino. 135 W 50th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves (212-459-2338, thelittlebeet.com)

Melt Shop
At the grilled-cheese chain's midtown location—the largest at 1,500 square feet—find an expanded menu of soups, salads and sandwiches. Choose from dishes like an egg-cheese-and-tots breakfast melt and a burger topped with aged cheddar and caramelized onions. To drink: an exclusive Melt Hops lager (a collaboration with Abita Brewing Company) and Gotham Project wines. 135 W 50th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves (212-474-3423, meltshopnyc.com)

North River
 This old-world American spot—named after the colonial tag for the Hudson—features updated American classics from Adam Starowicz (Momofuku Ko, Hearth). In the 55-seat Victorian-inspired dining room, decorated with an antique brass chandelier and wood wainscoting, dig into dishes like ham salad with cornichons, shrimp and grits with cheddar and chives, and fried chicken with cheddar-chive biscuits and braised green beans. 166 First Ave at 10th St (212-228-1200, northriverny.com)

Ramona
Stylish East Village bar Elsa may have been rooted in the Old World—with an on-site dandy-suit tailor to boot—but its Greenpoint sister is cut from a more modern cloth. Owners Natalka Burian, Scott and Jay Schneider experiment with en vogue techniques such as barrel-aging, tap cocktails and a slushie machine for potent frozen drinks. The crew also crafts its own syrups and infusions for drinks like the Boxer Beetle (blackberry bourbon, Elsa's Rose Hip Grenadine, lemon, allspice dram and rosemary) and A Spoken Era (vodka, cranberry-vanilla reduction, citrus bitters and sage leaf). Drinkers can offset the booze with bar bites including meat-and-cheese plates and house-roasted nuts. Decor should be familiar to Greenpoint bargoers—the white walls and salvaged wood bar are hallmarks of the hOme design firm, which styled Elsa years before becoming the go-to designers for nearby cool-kid haunts like Tørst and Alameda. 113 Franklin St between Greenpoint Ave and Kent St, Greenpoint, Brooklyn (347-227-8164, ramonabarnyc.com)

Williamsburg Pizza
 The Brooklyn pie-slinger brings its nouveau pizzas to the Lower East Side. On a traditional base—San Marzano tomato sauce, hand-pulled mozzarella—chef Nino Coniglio layers modern toppings like Gorgonzola with white truffle and honey, and Parmigiano-Reggiano with apples and crumbled bacon. Salads, heros (meatball, eggplant Parm) and imported Italian sodas round out the offerings at the 16-seat spot. 277 Broome St at Allen St (212-226-4455, williamsburgpizza.com)


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