Forget trying for a table at Momofuku Ko. This counter-only fine-dining operation from Jack and Grace Lamb (Jewel Bako) delivers the kind of inventive, seasonal small-plates cuisine that has fans clamoring—only without jumping through hoops to secure the impossible reservations. Talented Wesley Genovart churns out impeccable contemporary Spanish dishes that can work diners into a state of euphoria. A velvety appetizer of a slow-poached egg with serrano ham, chorizo and superbly crisp cracker-encrusted asparagus is cloaked under a smoky-cheese foam. Genovart’s palate-teasing dexterity with flavors and texture continue into a straight-from-the-Greenmarket dish of sugar-snap peas with a fiery wasabi vinaigrette, an inspired pairing. Add the professionalism of the staff and thoughtful wine list, and the result is a truly special night out.
239 E 5th St
|Cross street:||between Second and Third Aves|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Sat 6–11pm, Sun 6–10pm|
|Transport:||Subway: F, V to Lower East Side–Second Ave; 6 to Astor Pl|
|Price:||Average small plate: $12. Tasting menu: Five-course $55; ten-course $80. AmEx, MC, V|