The plum restaurant space at Broome and Sullivan has been a food-world revolving door: The sweet and savory Sam Mason haunt Tailor, Julie Reiner’s tiki trendster Lani Kai and, most recently, lesbian social club the Dalloway have all found short-term homes there. But Matt Levine—the nightlife practitioner behind LES hot spot Sons of Essex—just may have found a shtick that sticks: His clubby split concept boasts country-in-the-city homestead Chalk Point Kitchen upstairs and a piano-bar throwback, the Handy Liquor Bar, on the lower level. The combined efforts make for a sceney joint—bartenders are bowtied, the clientele leggy—but playful small plates and smart riffs on textbook cocktails warrant the buzz.
ORDER THIS: Skip Chalk Point’s mains—instead, rack up a roster of toothsome snacks from Michelin-starred chef Joe Isidori (Las Vegas’s DJT), like creamy, quivering burrata, springy in a cloak of Meyer lemon and diced cucumber ($18), or whisper-thin slices of speck, tartly paired with sliced apple and a snowcap of salty aged Parmigiano-Reggiano ($17). Some of the upstairs cocktails are more gimmicky than good—see the kale martini ($15)—but a healthy dab of wasabi adds a welcome jolt to a “farm” margarita ($13). Better yet are the below-deck quaffs: An old-fashioned gets a zesty Oaxacan overhaul with tequila and firewater bitters ($13), while an absinthe-spiked Sazerac ($13) does the old standard proud. (Fun fact: The bar’s named after 19th-century barman Thomas Handy, who created the modern rye-and-bitters Saz.)
GOOD FOR: A well-soundtracked booze interlude. While the upstairs roost is dominated by ’80s synth, the playlist at the leather-clad cellar bar is more Motown Pandora, courtesy of a glowing Wurlitzer juke stocked with Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye. A 1950s baby grand hosts live jazz players on Friday nights and a four-piece band performs on Saturdays, as punk portraits of CBGB-era Blondie and the New York Dolls—from legendary rock photographer Bob Gruen—sneer from the lounge’s mahogany walls.
THE CLINCHER: The It-crowd vibe of Chalk Point, bolstered by fashion folk and enough celebrity sightings (Tilda Swinton, Padma Lakshmi) to fill Page Six, is offset by the hidden, fireplace-lit hang beneath it. You can see and be seen all you want upstairs, but if it’s some one-on-one time with a clove-soaked Negroni you’re after, this is your place too.
527 Broome St between Sullivan and Thompson Sts (restaurant 212-390-0327, bar 212-390-1705)
Fortunately, Toshio Suzuki wasn’t gone for long. A year after shuttering his 30-year-old Sushi Zen in midtown, the New York sushi icon returns with a new raw-fish restaurant divided into three concepts. There’s a 10-seat omakase counter, where Suzuki prepares a seven-course dinner that includes seasonal dishes like steamed monkfish liver and horsehair crab for $250 per person. Three Pillars, an Imperial-style cocktail bar and lounge, sees cocktail “alchemist” Alex Ott pouring Japanese drinks with “healing” powers, like the gin-and-yuzu Seishun No Izumi, which is said to act as an age reverser and PMS remedy. The third prong, opening in April, is the chef’s namesake kaiseki restaurant, which seats 56 people and is helmed by Sushi Zen alum Takashi Yamamoto, who was formerly a private chef for the Japanese consulate.
Venue says: “Congratulations to Team SATSUKI for being awarded 2018 MICHELIN STAR!”