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Photograph: Virginia RollisonGato

New restaurant and bar openings: March 13–19, 2014

Gato, Nitecap and more roll out in New York City


The following venues are expected to open by March 19th. Always call ahead, as openings can be delayed.

Au Za'atar Named after the Middle Eastern spice blend, this Arabian-French bistro showcases the family recipes of Lebanese home cook Salwa Fallous. Highlighting the flavors of the Levant and North Africa, Fallous offers dishes like lamb shank with Armagnac-prune sauce, Tunisian merguez couscous and Lebanon's national dish, kibbe kras (bulgur wheat with beef, onions and pine nuts). The 46-seat restaurant, outfitted with burgundy banquettes, exposed-brick walls and a five-stool bar, also offers organic wines and craft beers (Left Hand Milk Stout, Magic Hat #9). 188 Ave A at 12th St (212-254-5660)

Butterfish Five Japanese cities are repped as omakase menus at this 60-seat sushi spot, overseen by chef-owner Hitoshi Fujita (Sushiden). The vegetarian Akita menu features pickled eggplant, grilled plum tomatoes and burdock hand rolls, while the Tokyo lineup includes items like uni and salmon roe. To drink, sake, beer (Sapporo, Echigo) and Japanese whiskey (Yamazaki 12-year) are on offer. 550 Madison Ave between 55th and 56th Sts (212-729-1819)

Gato Food Network megastar Bobby Flay—who made his bones with Mesa Grill (1991–2013) and Bolo (1993–2007)—makes his big return to the New York dining scene. With eight—count 'em!—TV shows on rotation, the flame-haired toque puts the chef’s whites back on for this 130-seat Noho canteen. From a fan-baiting open kitchen, Flay dispatches Mediterranean-influenced plates, like mushroom-kale-and-egg paella, lamb tenderloin with salsa verde, and oven-blistered chicken with goat cheese and dandelion. At the rectangular wood bar, find small plates like scallop tartare and toasted tomato bread, alongside cocktails like the Paco (vodka, blood-orange juice, cava). Furbished with tiled floors, steel-and-glass chandeliers and 22-foot-high ceilings, the digs are spacious, but with Flay at the helm, expect it to be more jam-packed than a paella pan. 324 Lafayette St between Bleecker and W Houston Sts (212-334-6400)

Max The beloved, wallet-friendly trattoria—also located in Tribeca—expands to Brooklyn with its second location. This 35-seat outpost serves its signatures, like meat lasagna and gnocchi with tomato sauce and basil, plus panini (caprese, eggplant parm). 740 Driggs Ave at South 2nd St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (no phone yet)

99 Favor Taste Hot pots are the raison d'être of this bi-level joint, decorated with black-lacquered tables and red banquettes. Bases include kimchi, pork-bone and congee broths, loaded with the meat (beef stomach, pig brain), vegetable (seaweed knot, lotus root) and noodle (udon, ramen) of your choice. Also on the menu are dishes like curry chicken breast and beef in black-pepper sauce, as well as house-made shakes (watermelon, papaya) and juices (carrot, honeydew). 285 Grand St between Eldridge and Forsyth Sts (646-682-9122)

Nitecap Bicoastal booze stars David Kaplan and Alex Day—who operate NYC standard-bearer Death & Company and disco-cool Honeycut in downtown Los Angeles—roll out this subterranean cocktail clubhouse, kitted out with Art Deco lamps and brick walls. From a short maple bar, head bartender Natasha David (Maison Premiere) turns out elegant drinks, like a Hakushu highball and the aquavit-and-gin Matagot. An upstairs restaurant, the Jewish-inflected Schapiro's, provides the bar bites. 120 Rivington St between Essex and Suffolk Sts (212-466-3361)

Orale Mexican Kitchen For the Upper West Side outpost of this Jersey City Mexican spot, graffiti murals, Day of the Dead paintings and a tequila-packed blue-tiled bar decorate the space. James Muir (Rosa Mexicano) doles out modern Latin dishes like enchiladas with hazelnut mole, bone-marrow tacos and ancho-marinated short ribs with a tomatillo-chipotle compote. 768 Amsterdam Ave between 97th and 98th Sts (212-749-2929)

The Roost At this subway-tiled café-bar, a sliding door in back gives way to a wood-paneled beer speakeasy—because of course it does—featuring tufted leather sofas, free Wi-Fi and a 16-draft lineup. Early risers can snag Brooklyn Roasting Company coffee and Balthazar pastries (sticky buns, almond croissants), while night owls can choose from pints like Tröegs Nugget Nectar Ale, also available in to-go growlers. 222 Ave B between 13th and 14th Sts (646-918-6700)

Savoury Chef-owner Lala Sharma—behind nearby Swagat—focuses on the food of his native New Delhi for this Indian restaurant, serving specialties like scallops in tamarind-coconut sauce and yogurt-marinated lamb chops. Breads like garlic naan and cheese-stuffed kulcha (wheat-flour bread) are made in-house, as are traditional Indian ice creams (mango, pistachio). Along with 20 wines and Indian beers (Kingfisher, Taj Mahal), the drinks menu features cocktails such as the the Tajmapolitan (black-currant vodka, Chambord, grated cinnamon) and the Mango Masala, a rum-spiked mango lassi. 489 Columbus Ave between 83rd and 84th Sts (212-875-1400)

The Wash House Laundry meets dinner at this oddball café-Laundromat hybrid, turning out grilled cheeses and your organic-washed sheets. While your drawers run through a cycle in the drop-off station, post up at the 18-stool, wood-paneled bar for microbeers (Coney Island, Sly Fox), iced coffee on tap or house-made sodas (root beer, raspberry). Griddled sandwiches include Swiss-and-bacon or homey American on Wonder Bread, or make your own variety with mix-and-match loaves (challah, marble) and cheeses (Havarti-dill, mascarpone). And if your melty cheese gets on your shirt, just pass it to a barista-cum-bartender to add to your load. 44 E 1st St between First and Second Aves (310-367-2301)

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