100 best New York restaurants: New American food

The best New York restaurants that explore the dynamic and malleable cuisine known as "New American" are some of the most beloved in town.

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  • 100 best New York restaurants: Back Forty West

  • Photograph: Noah Fecks

    100 best New York restaurants: ABC Kitchen

  • 100 best New York restaurants: Blue Hill

     

     

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    100 best New York restaurants: The Dutch

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    100 best New York restaurants: Fedora

  • Photograph: Talia Simhi

    100 best New York restaurants: Marlow & Sons

  • 100 best New York restaurants: Minetta Tavern

  • Photograph: Jeffrey Gurwin

    100 best New York restaurants: Union Square Cafe

  • Photograph: Jeffrey Gurwin

    100 best New York restaurants: Buttermilk Channel

  • 100 best New York restaurants: Gotham Bar and Grill

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

    100 best New York restaurants: Telepan

  • Photograph: Jeffrey Gurwin

    100 best New York restaurants: Dovetail

100 best New York restaurants: Back Forty West

Before Alice Waters, Larry Forgione, Peter Hoffman and other locavore pioneers stepped in, there were few restaurants in this country that explored our own indigenous American food culture. But the past few decades have been transformative, and these days some of the best New York restaurants are dedicated to surveying American food, retrofitting our native chow with locally-grown ingredients and nods to the many international cultures that inform the way we eat. With that in mind, we’ve compiled our favorite American restaurants in New York City, from Andrew Carmellini’s prismatic ode to the melting pot, the Dutch, to Dan Kluger’s greenmarket-glorifying ABC Kitchen.


RECOMMENDED: Full list of 100 best New York restaurants


Back Forty West

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Peter Hoffman has converted the onetime home of Savoy—the market-driven institution that inspired locavore cooks for more than two decades—into this spin-off of his East Village gastropub, Back Forty. The chef, and his protégé Shanna Pacifico, take a casual concept to an ambitious extreme, pairing fair prices and a relaxed drop-in vibe with an expansive selection of good food and drink. The eclectic menu effectively riffs on a hit list of hot-right-now food trends. Gastropub standbys include a robust Welsh rarebit—the Anglo classic of beer-enriched cheddar melted on toast—served with a vinegary salad of frisée and apples. Sticky pork riblets, mopped in a beer-and-vinegar marinade, mix Southern barbecue with Southeast Asian spice via a Thai-style side salad of long beans, ginger and peanuts. For dessert there’s sweet and tangy cornmeal cake, topped with blood orange—more of the sort of good, simple, seasonal fare that’s become the norm in New York. At first blush, Back Forty West may look like many of the locavore spots proliferating around town these days. But Hoffman is a dynamic reminder of where it all began.

  1. 70 Prince St, (at Crosby St)
More info

ABC Kitchen

  • Critics choice

The haute green cooking at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s artfully decorated restaurant is based on the most gorgeous ingredients from up and down the East Coast. The local, seasonal bounty finds its way into dishes like a clam pizza, topped with pristine littlenecks, Thai chilies, sweet onions, garlic, lemon and herbs. Larger plates include a roasted chicken bathed in a vinegary glaze with wilted escarole and butter-sopped potato puree. Desserts, meanwhile, include a dazzling brown-butter tart with toasted hazelnuts and chocolate ganache. ABC delivers one message overall: Food that’s good for the planet needn’t be any less opulent, flavorful or stunning to look at.

  1. ABC Carpet & Home, 35 E 18th St, (between Broadway and Park Ave South)
Book online

Blue Hill

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

More than a mere crusader for sustainability, Dan Barber is also one of the most talented cooks in town. He builds his oft-changing menu around whatever’s at its peak on his Westchester farm (home to a sibling restaurant). During fresh pea season bright green infuses every inch of the menu, from a velvety spring pea soup to sous-vide duck breast as soft as sushi fanned over a slivered bed of sugar snap peas. Start to finish, there’s a garden on every plate—from buttery ravioli filled with tangy greens to just-picked cherries under a sweet cobbler crust. Once among the most sedate little restaurants in the Village, this cramped subterranean jewel box has become one of the most raucous.

  1. 75 Washington Pl, (between Sixth Ave and Washington Sq West), 10011
Book online

The Dutch

  • Critics choice

From the moment it opened, Andrew Carmellini’s rollicking Soho eatery seemed destined to join the ranks of neighborhood classics like Balthazar and Blue Ribbon. The virtuoso chef offers diners an exuberant gastro-tour of the American melting pot, making stops in the barrio (supple and spicy tripe with avocado, diced radish and Fritos), New England (gorgeous picked crab in horseradish-infused tomato water) and even the Mexican border (a genuine 30-ingredient red mole). That all of it tastes good—and, somehow, works well together—explains why reservations are hard to come by. Wait it out over a newfangled riff on a classic cocktail and exceptional bar snacks, including fat-fried oysters on house-made slider buns. And save room for fine updates on classic desserts, such as a creamy lime-custard pie tricked out with a spritz of Maldon salt and passion-fruit syrup.

  1. 131 Sullivan St, (at Prince St), 10012
More info

Fedora

  • Critics choice

Restaurateur Gabriel Stulman (Joseph Leonard, Jeffrey’s Grocery) expands his West Village mini-empire with this clubby French-Canadian knockout, the most chef-focused of any of his ventures. Au Pied de Cochon vet Mehdi Brunet-Benkritly produces some of the most exciting toe-to-tongue cooking in town, plying epicurean hipsters with Quebecois party food that’s eccentric, excessive and fun. Feast on crispy octopus with brown-buttered sweetbreads—an inspired take on surf and turf—and a monster double-thick pork chop for two, or grab a stool at the bar for a killer steak sandwich and an old-fashioned, polished up with pecan bitters.

  1. 239 W 4th St, (between Charles and W 10th Sts), 10014
More info

Marlow & Sons

  • Critics choice

Before there was a destination restaurant on every Williamsburg corner, there was Marlow and Sons—a pioneer in the kind of rustic aesthetic and farm-to-table fare that’s become the knee-jerk norm in Kings County. The restaurant, opened in 2004, wears its relative age well, functioning as an alluring neighborhood coffee shop during the afternoon and a subtly ambitious eatery come nightfall. In the back room, an oyster shucker cracks open the catch of the day, while a bartender churns out potent drinks. Settle in and order a round of iced bivalves and something to share—brick-flattened chicken, say, or a pot of liver pate—from the aggressively seasonal (and frequently changing) menu.

  1. 81 Broadway, (at Berry St), 11211-60
More info

Minetta Tavern

  • Critics choice

Keith McNally’s lovingly restored Minetta Tavern may be the first iconic restaurant of postmillennial New York. The place is as buzzy now as it must have been in its 1950s heyday, yet the food is as much of a draw as the scene. To start, there are roasted bones oozing sea-salt-kissed marrow and calamari stuffed with creamy brandade. Excellent meaty mains include a blackened veal chop surrounded by crisp sweetbread nuggets. Minetta’s prices are reasonable, with the notable exception of a $26 Black Label burger. But the sandwich—as tender and fatty as foie gras—is worth every penny.

  1. 113 MacDougal St, (at Minetta Ln), 10012
Book online

Union Square Cafe

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

Danny Meyer’s groundbreaking bistro has been serving many of the same signature dishes for 23 years. But chef Carmen Quagliata’s updated bill of fare offers some new classics. A seared tuna loin entrée is topped with basil pesto and fanned over chickpea puree. His pastas include pork-and-rabbit-filled ravioli drenched in butter, with a sprinkle of sweet corn. Like the rest of the meal, desserts straddle menus past and present. Somehow, the perennial “USC” sweet—a salty caramel-crusted banana tart—still feels fresh.

  1. 21 E 16th St, (between Fifth Ave and Union Sq West), 10003
Book online

Buttermilk Channel

  • Critics choice

This bright, charming restaurant has a way with the locals, and the menu—from Stanton Social chef Ryan Angulo—emphasizes its hometown flavor. New York State dominates the taps and the wine list; and a first-rate starter layers vibrant local delicata squash with tart house-made ricotta. Comfort-food entrées—like duck meat loaf, packed with caramelized onions and raisins—also hit close to home. Try the pecan pie sundae for dessert: Nutty, brown-sugary pie is pressed into a tulip cup and layered with butter-pecan ice cream—made nearby, of course.

  1. 524 Court St, (at Huntington St)
More info

Gotham Bar and Grill

  • Critics choice

Chef-owner Alfred Portale made his name with towering New American constructions, and though the menu doesn’t push any boundaries, the execution is impressive—as is the restaurant’s soaring, masculine space. A beet and mango salad with fennel, red onions and feta sounds like any other upscale beet salad. But the beautifully simple dish—deep red and vibrant orange cubes with ribbons of shaved vegetables on a narrow, rectangular plate—has a presentation as sharp as its crystalline flavors. Juicy fried soft-shell crabs with morels, fresh peas, ramps and couscous is a thoroughly satisfying, borderline architectural tangle of bodies and legs. It’s pricey, but Gotham delivers.

  1. 12 E 12th St, (between Fifth Ave and University Pl), 10003
Book online

Telepan

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

Every New York neighborhood has an arbiter of local goods, and on the UWS, Bill Telepan is it. His restaurant, appointed in shades of eggshell and celery green, is a paean to what’s in season. A gratifying appetizer of a runny egg atop a fried green tomato slice and farmhouse cheddar cheese is all country simplicity, as is an entrée of juicy, salty roasted chicken with egg noodles and wild mushrooms.

  1. 72 W 69th St, (at Columbus Ave)
Book online

Dovetail

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

This upscale gem occupies a small class of UWS restaurants that justify a special trip uptown. Though the earth-toned look smacks of a hotel restaurant, the successful menu from chef John Fraser (Compass) has a rich, seasonal emphasis. Foie gras and butter infuse many dishes (monkfish, pillowy veal short-rib gnocchi), and meat, such as a charred sirloin accompanied by beef cheek lasagna layered with paper-thin slices of turnips, is equally hearty. Though the clientele skews local, Fraser’s permanent residence might change that dynamic.

  1. 103 W 77th St, (at Columbus Ave)
More info


Users say

2 comments
Frances Milberg
Frances Milberg

I could not access the Thanksgiving restaurant recommendations on the site. I kept getting the 100 new restaurants.