Latest restaurant reviews in NYC
Mariia and Ricky Dolinsky opened There in October 2018 but soon realized they wanted to focus on modernizing Russian cuisine—after all, Mariia was born in Russia, and Ricky is the son of a Slovakian immigrant. By April of this year, they pivoted to Tzarevna, a new concept in the same space.Down the corridor from the basement-level coffee bar is a small, somewhat hidden dining room with a concave, greenhouse-like glass ceiling, fake roses and stacking dolls; the interior design is perhaps a little tacky, but it’s also not beholden to the aesthetic conventions of other LES restaurants. We began with Russian black bread ($4)—it’s not actually black, but the rye has a dark hue—served with scallion butter and crisp radishes. Borrowing from the region’s preferred ingredients while expanding upon them, a beet salad ($10) with walnut-cheese crumbles, celery and peach mousse errs on the sweeter side for a starter.Next came the sprats ($16), a small fish in the herring family that is fried with a crackling batter and finished with lemon and a side of beans. We snacked on them like salty chips.The beef stroganoff ($24) is prepared with a lesser-known cut, Wagyu flat iron, which is incredibly supple and mouthwateringly rich, mixed with hearty cremini mushrooms in soupy pomme purée, rather than a bed of noodles. Khachapuri is a bubbling fondue pit with brined sulguni cheese and a bright yolk that gets mixed together. Tzarevna makes the dish its own with a sourdough crust that’s fermen
You’ve seen restaurants bait you with everything from rainbow bagels to fancy latte art atop your electric-green matcha drink, hoping you’ll like their Instagram posts. But tofu? Isn’t that the white, cubed soy product that doesn’t taste like anything, even when it’s fried? Its reputation of bland nothingness isn’t exactly made for going viral on social media.But for Paul Eng, tofu is an all-around hit. Generations of customers patronized his family’s business, Fong Inn Too, from 1933 until 2017, when the small Chinatown shop closed. Now, Eng has resurrected the neighborhood fixture only a few blocks away.At the new Fong On, the freshly made tofu tastes nothing like you’re used to, whether you order soy milk ($2.50) or dau fu fa (small $3.75), a sweet, custard-like tofu swimming in ginger syrup. If you’re ordering only one dish, however, try the savory tofu pudding ($5.50 or $6.50, depending on size). You’ll likely find a woman behind a glass partition gently ladling the silky tofu from a metal pot into a paper container. Next, a shower of pickled radishes, fried shallots, scallions, sesame oil, dried shrimp and chili sauce make your order taste as satisfying as any red meat–packed meal.Fong On’s entire menu is scrawled on a wall of white subway tiles, and the prices—nothing is more than $6.50—look like they haven’t increased much since the original Mott Street location opened nearly 90 years ago. It’s just another reason to order some of everything.The Can’t Go Wrong (small
Ardyn appeared to be a hopeful turn for a tumultuous stretch of 8th Street plagued by open storefronts. We were drawn in by this new Greenwich Village restaurant’s romantic aura. With its low ceilings and dark-green walls, the space felt more cavernous than the Forest of Arden in Shakespeare’s As You Like It, but we wanted to give it a chance. Everything is plated elegantly, with brushstrokes of sauce and precisely placed garnishes. An appetizer features a lonely but delicious, ricotta-stuffed fried squash blossom ($16), surrounded by rolled zucchini you might find at a summer picnic spread. The stone-fruit salad ($17) was pleasant but the purée of vanilla and sunchokes was muted. An heirloom-tomato salad ($16) needed salt.The press has perhaps unfairly overlooked the opening of Ardyn. Co-owners and chefs Adam Bordonaro and Ryan Lory didn’t cut their teeth at trendy restaurants but instead pull their experience from Fig & Olive and Charlie Palmer. It also doesn’t help that the cuisine is billed as “seasonal,” a farm-to-table cuisine that, however lovingly made, does not typically give a restaurant an identity. It’s unclear whether the menu hopes to innovate the fine-dining format, which, much like the play, satirizes the pastoral while delivering on those same conventions. While first courses flail, the Spanish octopus ($26) with chorizo and white beans is worth trying; for one thing, the tentacles are moist without being gummy with some balanced heat from the meat. Ove
Stay with us here: Yes, we understand that poached (or steamed) chicken doesn’t look or sound all that sexy. Pale white meat that’s served at room temperature? We wouldn’t blame you for picking crispy fried chicken or marinara-and-cheese–slathered chicken parm every time instead. But this poultry dish, which is ubiquitous and revered across Asia, is having a moment. And the best versions showcase the chicken’s natural flavors, with a delicate balance of sweet and savory as well as a side of flavorful rice. Gai Chicken & Rice is the latest in a growing list of restaurants pushing the trend. At Van Da in the East Village, the chicken is shredded in a Vietnamese salad teeming with cabbage and herbs. Meanwhile, a trendy Malaysian spot in Chinatown, Kopitiam, recently added a Chinese rendition to its small menu. The growing popularity of this cooking method can be found outside of Asian restaurants, too—for example, at Brooklyn wine bar Coast and Valley, where slices of meat are artfully fanned out in a bowl of broth that looks like it’s made for Instagram likes. If you’re not convinced, order off of Gai Chicken & Rice’s menu. Specializing in Thai interpretations of the dish, this spare, brightly lit fast-casual eatery serves four variations. The khao man gai ($11.95) is the most traditional: Boneless dark meat chicken rests on a bed of ginger rice, with a side of ginger-chili sauce and daikon radish soup. While it’s better than the white-meat option ($11.95), it’s perfect for
Pass by the impossible-to-get-into Tribeca restaurants, dodge the Lululemon-clad stroller pushers and look for the Dunkin’ Donuts on Chambers Street—Racines NY is right next door. Once you’re seated with a glass of wine in hand, you won’t want to leave anytime soon. Executive chef Diego Moya’s thinly sliced green beefsteak tomatoes ($16) cover a bed of spicy nduja sausage and Padrón peppers, showing off his meticulous skills, especially with vegetables. But this dish is just a taste of things to come. Moya, who dons a simple monochromatic T-shirt in the kitchen, often goes unnoticed despite being one of the city’s most talented chefs. He lets his cooking do the talking. A typical Spanish pairing of jambon and Black Mission figs ($17) conjures memories of his small plates at Casa Mono—until you dig into the more innovative flourishes, like the swoosh of fig-leaf aioli that you dream of slathering on everything. The seared black sea bass ($41) is garnished with slices of avocado squash and studded with pumpkin seeds. As with most dishes on the menu, each ingredient’s flavor shines and doesn’t overshadow the others. While the bill can creep into the high end, even for Tribeca, you can still enjoy a reasonably priced meal with just the appetizers and a pick from noted sommelier Pascaline Lepeltier and partner Arnaud Tronche’s well-curated wine list. Or order one of the entrées, such as the dry-aged pork portier ($52), which is big enough for two or more people to share.
Rice that’s boiled until it softens to mush, congee is simple to make, but styles and toppings differ from Myanmar to Taiwan and China. Although it’s not hard to find in, say, Flushing, across the city, new Asian-inspired restaurants rarely revisit this traditional breakfast dish. An East Asian general store with bites at the counter, the recently opened Maya Bed-Stuy may not serve the single best congee in the city, but it’s an entirely noteworthy experience, updated with quinoa, avocado and other good additions you see in fashionable grain bowls.The menu is the result of a sweet collaboration between owner Layla Chen and chef Matthew Tilden, the man behind the beloved SCRATCHbread bakery that specialized in carbs of all varieties, like grits. For us, the whopping 10-plus congee variations are best enjoyed while playing mah-jongg and listening to Caribbean dancehall music.Sure, we liked the hoisin-chicken sloppy joe ($11) and the spicy hoagie ($13), which is stuffed with smoked Acme whitefish, furikake (a dry Japanese seasoning with dried fish, seaweed and sesame seeds), broccoli, cabbage slaw and kimchi mayo. But back to the congee! To the unfamiliar Western palette, the black, gelatinous egg on the Porkduckin version ($13) may look spooky or even rotten. But the Chinese century egg—a yolk that’s been preserved in salt, ash and clay over months, not 100 years—is the focal point of this dish that Chen sources from Taiwan: The delicious duck egg supports the shredded pork, ki
“Smør” means “butter,” which is fitting, because butter is everything
Your best bet is to stick with the most straightforward dishes
Pilar has sailed into landlocked Bed-Stuy—if you close your eyes, you might just hear waves lapping in the distance
You're confront with two mouthwatering options upon stepping into Japan Village: Do you go to the popular Sunrise Mart, which has a trio of much smaller locations in Manhattan, filled with adorably packaged snacks and hard-to-find ingredients? Or do you hit up one of the 10 vendors that make up this food court within the sprawling Industry City warehouses along the Brooklyn waterfront? Eat first. If you go with a group, start at Shokusaido and order aspread of snacks, including the kakiage ($5), a Japanese-style fritter that comes out as a tangle of julienned vegetables studded with shrimp. Be sure to add a fish-patty skewer ($2.30) and a croquette ($5). The chicken katsu ($5), a breaded and perfectly deep-fried cutlet, is the size of a small pancake and large enough to share. If you’re feeling more adventurous, order Ramen Setagaya’s Mt. Fuji ramen ($14) for a whimiscal experience. Your task is to conquer a bowl of noodles in a rich pork-bone broth topped with a chili-tomato foam that cradles a heap of Parmesan cheese. While many of the dishes are ideal to pair with drinks—don’t miss Hachi’sokonomiyaki ($9) —the limited bar menu only offers beer and sake. After a drink or two, there may be moments that make you feel like you’re at a market in Kyoto, where chefs are known for specializing in a singular dish. At Shokusaido, chefs make their own bread crumbs; while the best part about Gohei’s ebi tempura udon ($15) are the springy noodles, which are made fresh in-house every ho
HaSalon's raunchy late-night atmosphere is able to fly under-the-radar in Hell's Kitchen. The new restaurant by celebrity chef Eyal Shani is an adaptation of his popular Tel Aviv party spot, where people are said to dance on tables and where gates roll down the windows to keep the mood discreet. Full disclosure, I could only get a reservation for the first seating at 6pm, where the vibe was playful, but more tame, with classical music humming through the speakers upon entrance. The Israeli restaurant’s cryptically-named dishes aren’t given much explanation, listed on the menu in Comic Sans (an atypical font choice for a menu where an entrée can cost more than $70). Our waiter knew the backbone ingredients of dishes but said that the menu changes daily, with presentations by whim of Chef. That was a concept I had never come across before in a restaurant: That tables ordering the same dish, might get different versions. Mysterious! There’s a buzzy energy that you’re in the presence of a mad genius; relinquishing yourself to the unknown, is what’s cool here. A white asparagus that looks like a dildo is listed with all-caps excitement: “ASPERGE BLANC: VERY PERSONAL.” And, as one staff member told me, it’s a dish that has been said to have been placed into customers’ mouths, when the restaurant livens up late at night. Bearing in mind that our dishes might be different the next day at Shani's HaSalon, we began with an item listed as “Mezze from the Old City of Upstate New Yor
It used to be that any restaurant dubbed “Asian fusion” might as well hang a DO NOT ENTER sign. Chefs would often attempt to blend flavors that are foreign to many American diners, then tone them down and end up with something forgettable—or, as my dining companion likes to call it, “confusion cuisine.” Luckily, that’s changed. At Wayan, chef Cédric Vongerichten and his wife, Ochi, offer an ode to Indonesian food with French touches. However, when I stepped into this buzzy restaurant that’s decorated with teak carvings and antiques mixed with sleek, designer-looking leather chairs, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The seemingly straightforward chicken satays ($14) convinced me that the kitchen knew its way around fusion cuisine. The perfectly cooked skewers were paired with a rich peanut sauce that evokes flavors that you’d find in Bali. A Javanese oxtail soup ($19) was rich with beefiness and hints of cinnamon, lightened with herbs. I wish I received a bigger portion of the steamed black sea bass ($24) because the chili-calamansi vinaigrette on top made this simple dish pop with flavors. It’s also worth noting that the Vongerichtens live in the shadow of Cédric’s father, Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Before Asian fusion became mass market (and quickly went south), the celebrated chef with restaruants across the world was one of the leaders in marrying fine dining with global flavors. In recent years, however, younger chefs like Cédric have shed fusion cooking’s bad reputation.
If location, location, location is key to a New York restaurant making it in a cutthroat market, Teranga is—at least metaphorically—in a perfect spot. Here, you’ll find West African–inspired dishes in a fast-casual café nestled inside the Africa Center, which is a cultural hub that’s “committed to an integrated approach for understanding all aspects of the African continent, including transforming narratives.” Look no further than chef Pierre Thiam’s food to tell the story. The Senegal-born chef draws on influences from Nigeria, Côte D’Ivoire and other African countries but imparts a break-the-rules approach. Order one of the three seasonal bowls, and you’ll understand: The Jollof ($14) features roasted salmon topped with fragrant spices with sides of spicy fried plantains and a bright black-eyed-pea salad. While jollof, a ubiquitous West African dish, is usually made with rice, Thiam stews the ancient grain fonio in an herbaceous tomato broth.The gluten-free menu includes a market-plate section ($10–$14), which is perfect for exploring African food. You can fill your blue- and red-rimmed enamel dishes by mixing and matching a starch (don’t miss the fluffy, ruby-red Liberian rice) with a main ingredient, such as grilled chicken or the ndambe (a satisfying stew of sweet potatoes and black-eyed peas). Then add sides like the fufu, a spongy ball of pounded plantain that you’ll want to dip in the slightly sweet peanut sauce. While all our food was served lukewarm from this counte