Want to find out if that new Mexican restaurant is really all it’s cracked up to be, or if the hottest sushi counter is worth the price? Check out Time Out New York’s restaurant reviews in NYC, detailing everything from highbrow fine-dining restaurants to destination-worthy holes in the wall.
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Snip, snip. The bartender’s scissors cut a velveteen rice flower for a cocktail garnish. Just a few short blocks from the Flower District, Il Fiorista serves blossom-accented plates in its restaurant and bouquets in its attached shop, for a memorable meal where the floral theme never feels overdone.Blooms aren’t just used to dress drinks but also act as main ingredients. Artichoke hearts ($18) appear in a tangy Italian appetizer: Sure, it doesn’t take many risks, but the edible buds, preserved lemon, flageolet beans, speck and smoked olive oil are incredibly pleasing. The corn tart ($16) with deconstructed buckwheat pastry shards looks nothing like its name. But no matter: The husk cherries are so sweet, and the corn pudding so rich and magnolia-yellow, that we’d eat it by the spoonful just as if it were ice cream. (Plus, when the waiter reminded us that corn is also a flowering plant, we got a little botany lesson.)The star entrée is the duck cappellacci ($29), in which discs of yellow beets are cloaked in Swiss chard that resembles a thicket of trees. The root vegetables here are as essential as the poultry confit that’s tucked inside the folded pasta. It’s exactly the kind of satisfying grub we’re always searching for.The heritage chicken ($36) is cooked just right, and its crunchy roasted broccolini (another flowering plant), wiggly foraged mushrooms and mustard-seed glaze are soul-warming. Frankly, there’s nothing on chef Garrison Price’s menu that we’d hesitate to try.I
An Austrian restaurant without wiener schnitzel on the menu is like a corner bodega sans an egg sandwich. Porcelian doesn’t disappoint: Its take on the Viennese staple ($16) comes with a refreshing twist—not only is it affordable, but it tastes lighter, too.To accomplish this, the newly opened Ridgewood café nixes the traditional veal cutlet, which is typically pounded thin, breaded and lightly fried. Here, pork is instead sliced into strips that are served alongside potato salad, sauerkraut and a few leaves of lettuce surrounded by mustard dollops. The result? A perfectly fine take in which the crispy exterior of the meat pairs well with the velvety spuds and crisp greens. Say auf Wiedersehen to wiener schnitzels that are the size of enormous dollar pizza slices—and just as greasy.No less comforting is Porcelain’s welcoming space, with its vintage wall sconces, plush furniture and stenciled wallpaper. (A former store and a meeting spot for the nearby St. Matthias Roman Catholic Church, the eatery cameoed in Martin Scorsese’s recent film The Irishman).The laid-back, serene interior feels like a well-lived-in space where you can hang out all afternoon. So go ahead and order the Artisanal Local Sausage Plate ($14): The weisswurst, a Bavarian sausage usually made from minced veal and back bacon, is full of flavor, and the texture snaps like the best New York hot dog. Pair the hearty dish with a side of dill pickles ($6).We recommend sticking with the more classic cuisine here: O
The meal could’ve ended right then and there. Our first course was one of the best dishes we’ve tasted in 2019: scallop ceviche ($22) arrived in a shallow pool of milky, subtly tart leche de tigre with hints of sweetness from the cherimoya (a tropical fruit) and the earthiness of Japanese black sesame. The purple borage petals on top only added to the plate’s allure. As we finished the last bite, my dining companion and I had the same thought: What did we just eat?We were tasting chef Erik Ramirez’s interpretation of Nikkei cuisine, which combines Peruvian and Japanese flavors. It’s not common in New York—yet—but in the past few years, some of Peru’s top restaurants, such as Maido and Sutorīto Māketto, have been recognized across the world for championing this exciting fusion.Now, the United States is finally being introduced to this relatively unknown style of cooking. At Llama-San, Ramirez’s follow-up to his popular Llama Inn in Brooklyn, the buzzy room is polished with neutral tones (think blond wood everywhere), with plants dotting the lively bar up front. The understated room and delicate-looking plates allow the food to shine.While nigiri is a kind of sushi that’s typically made of raw fish atop a bed of rice, this version features an unusual protein: aged duck ($26). While cumbersome to eat, the meat is full of flavor and complements the roasted banana and nasturtium leaf. One surprising combination was a block of soft tofu ($21) topped with delicate baby shrimp and pu
Joining a growing number of restaurants whose chefs left behind their high-end pedigrees in favor of more fun, laid-back takes on comfort food—MeMe’s Diner and, arriving later this year, Soho Diner and Thai Diner—Sam Yoo has pivoted from Momofuku Ko and Torrisi to debut a greasy spoon of his very own. Unlike the real thing, Yoo’s version opens at 10am, too late for prework meetings, though its hours go till 11pm. While the new Two Bridges restaurant is decked out in the leather-covered swivel stools, doily-like curtains and stained-glass lamps of yesteryear, the menu offers all-day eggs, pancakes and other nostalgic classics that are updated with global accents, alongside more plant-based options than is typical of these retrofitted spots.Consider Yoo’s mushroom Reuben quesadilla ($14)—a gooey delight. The oily pressed tortilla’s flavor doesn’t stand out at first, but when it’s dipped in the pink Russian dressing, the oozing dish feels like a contender for the world’s best drunk food.The wontonini ($13) has pork dumplings in brodo, garnished with a cascade of shredded Parmesan and elegant mushroom slices, plus a dusting of nutmeg. It all feels just as soul-nourishing as minestrone or Yankee bean soup—we’d be lucky to have Yoo bring it to us the next time we come down with the flu. Diners aren’t exactly known for great pasta, either, but the sumptuous, curlicue-edged Taiwanese noodles ($18)—so striking they could be a dress strap in the next Gucci collection—will make you reco
While the term vegan was only coined in 1944, Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Rastas have long maintained a meat-free diet. Now, many New Yorkers are coming around to the plant-based lifestyle, and restaurateur Ravi Derossi is leading the way. Since 2016, he has been revamping his existing restaurants and new concepts to be vegan. Night Music (in his former Fire + Water space) is focused on Indian cuisine, which already has a plethora of vegetable-forward dishes that Derossi can pull from his childhood.A yellow lentil dip ($7) topped with sunflower seeds is complicated by the fermented notes of pickled mango and roasted pineapple purée—and it’s so good, we would buy it prepackaged at the supermarket. It’s best when combined with the house-made aloo paratha ($8), or stuffed potato bread.The maitake buns ($5 each) are sure to be a crowd-pleaser: The hearty mushroom is fried and covered in (way too much?) vindaloo aioli. While delicious, the maitake gets drowned out in such rich elements.For the saag ($19), brussels sprouts are employed in two ways—roasted and in a mixture of vegan cream cheese, vegan butter, ginger, garlic, Serrano Chile, onion and turmeric—but the result is much less creamy than the classic spinach recipe. An eggplant dish that’s usually served mashed, the bhartha ($18) here is roasted and sits in a spicy tomato chutney and eggplant purée—oddly, this rendition tasted Italian. Both of these misguided entrées are pricier than the environment warrants. Derossi is k
This summer, when chef JJ Johnson jumped into the fast-casual trend, who could blame him? The prices are more accessible at fast-casual spots than at fine-dining restaurants, and the business model is more nimble. That said, the food isn’t always better.But with the rice-bowl restaurant FieldTrip, Johnson has created a winner—and no item costs more than $12. Because everything looks so appealing, your most difficult decision will be figuring out what to order at the counter.For a first course, the Crab Pockets ($6.95) are a must. Everyone loves the Chinese takeout versions of these deep-fried appetizers; Johnson’s recipe is better, packing a generous helping of crab with garlic-herb cream cheese inside a perfectly crispy wonton skin. (Pro tip: Share this starter to save room for the filling rice dishes.)While Johnson was the chef behind Nomad’s much lauded, now shuttered pan-African restaurant Henry, he first made a name for himself in Harlem at Cecil and Minton’s. There, he turned to the African diaspora to inspire his cooking, which drew upon Asian, Indian, Caribbean and American ingredients. Many of FieldTrip’s bowls follow similar themes: With its green curry and sticky rice, the shrimp bowl ($12) reminds us of Thai flavors. Meanwhile, the braised beef bowl ($11) offers a hearty mix of tender meat, Texas brown rice and spicy black beans, all topped with a cooling turmeric yogurt. The hefty portion is enough for two meals, so box some up and save room for the refreshin
You feel as if you’ve been transported to Tokyo when you step into Katagiri. Located just steps from Grand Central Terminal, this grocery store conjures up images of delicious food that can be found in tiny shops and restaurants tucked inside train stations across Japan. Inside, you’re greeted by dishes we love: kaarage (crispy fried chicken), onigiri (balls of rice shaped into triangles and stuffed with everything from tempura shrimp to pickled plums) and even Spam musubi (a slab of the love-it-or-hate-it canned meat sits atop a sweet omelette and bed of rice).But Katagiri, which opened in 1907 on 59th Street and now has two outlets in Manhattan, offers much more, so check out the aisles teeming with spices, dried noodles and adorably-packaged snacks. It’s especially popular with the lunch crowd.In the back, you’ll find a counter called Brooklyn Ramen, which is run by two Japanese chefs who operate a few locations of the noodle shop and consult with restaurants around the country. The chefs prepare four different types of ramen and other specials, such as hot and cold udon dishes—all served in paper containers with dispoable chopsticks and plastic spoons.The tonkatsu ramen ($12) is the clear winner: a bowl of creamy pork-bone broth is hearty but not heavy. A coat of fat will make your lips glisten when you’ve slurped up the springy noodles swimming in the soup with slices of pork belly, wood-ear mushrooms, ginger and black-garlic oil. It’s a perfect portion that’s larger tha
Hidden in a windowless basement of the Hare Krishna temple in Downtown Brooklyn, Govinda’s—a nickname for the Hindu deity Krishna—is a volunteer-run Indian vegetarian (sometimes vegan) lunch counter that has been serving the International Society for Krishna Consciousness’ spiritual adepts and the general public since 1984. Govinda’s is only open for lunch from Monday through Friday, and all dishes are served on red trays, cafeteria-style. You can order three dishes ($9) or four ($10), adding a soup or salad for two bucks more. No matter what you choose, the heaping portions will leave you with leftovers. Govinda’s has different versions of rajma: Ours was with white beans, roasted cumin, fennel, fresh ginger and anise. The legumes were a little one-note, but they paired well with the traditional moong daal soup, a lightly spiced Ayurvedic dish — that’s been recently co-opted by the wellness movement — made of yellow lentils, which are said to be good for digestion. The soup gave us warm, fuzzy feelings, welcomed even on a hot, humid day. Another side dish, the cold slices of stewed beets, could have used more seasoning, but its crunch nicely broke up the meal’s overall mouthfeel. The favorite dish for us and, according to Govinda’s, many other customers, is the Thursday special: eggplant Parm. It is one of the most underrated renditions we’ve had of the Italian specialty—perhaps surprising, since Govinda’s cuisine is focused on South Asia. The gooey and delectable dish may
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.