The following venues are expected to open by February 20. Always call ahead, as openings can be delayed.
Dakota Bar Jennifer Klein (owner of nearby Wine and Roses) is behind this funky vino bar named after a onetime UWS diner. Thirty wines by the glass feature old-world countries (France, Italy, Spain), and there is an extensive bottle list with more than 150 selections. For a boozier sip, try a red-wine-based tipple, or a cocktail like the Who's Your Daddy, which combines vodka and Sugar Daddy's caramel. Nibble on cheese and charcuterie, a club sandwich or walnut-gorgonzola ravioli at one of the multicolored banquettes, illuminated by a 25-foot-long chandelier made from brass instruments. 53 W 72nd St at Columbus Ave (212-787-0700)
Harlow Industry kingpin Richie Notar—a Studio 54 busboy turned Nobu co-owner—rolls out his first solo venture, a posh 120-seat seafood restaurant, decked out with antique chandeliers, stained glass windows and a marble bar. Notar borrows Danny Ye from the Nobu empire—formerly executive chef at the Southampton location—to consult on the menu, featuring dishes like a seafood pie in warm puff pastry, pan-roasted Scottish salmon with chorizo and turbot a la plancha with Manila clams. Pair dinner with a bottle of an Italian or French wine, and end on a sweet note with a granita flavored with Pimm's liqueur, or a cup of gelato with custom toppings. 111 E 56th St between Park and Lexington Aves (212-935-6600)
Just Salad The New York tossed-greens chain offers custom-made salads, wraps and smoothies at this ninth location, in Park Slope. Signature plates include diet-minded options like the California (chicken, avocado, hard-boiled egg whites), and Asian-inflected selections such as the Thai Chicken Crunch (crispy wontons, red cabbage, spicy thai peanut dressing). Opt for a personalized salad with a choice of seven greens (including kale and arugula) and over 60 toppings (such as butternut squash and manadarin oranges). To drink, get a smoothie like the Berry Wild, an antioxidant-heavy mix of blueberries, strawberries, frozen yogurt and agave nectar. 252 Seventh Ave at 5th St, Park Slope, Brooklyn (212-244-1111)
La Pulperia This 60-seat South American restaurant—whose name translates in Spanish to "small grocery"—nods to bodegas with shelves of produce, a Brazilian wood ceiling and handcrafted tile floors. Argentina native Carlos Barroz (Toloache) dishes out pan-Latin staples: roasted pulled-pork tamales, Pacu fish ribs rubbed with orange-chipotle-BBQ and a skirt steak parillada. A list of 11 wines by the glass also highlights Barroz's homeland, as do selections from France and California. 371 W 46th St between Eighth and Ninth Aves (212-956-3055)
Lakruwana At this Staten Island temple of Sri Lankan cuisine—outfitted with Buddha statues and colorful stone walls—get Southeast Asian staples, like lampreis (rice and vegetables wrapped in a banana leaf) and edile rice flour bowls filled with curry. Temper the spices with a cool glass of mango lassi, or a bowl of coconut milk pudding for dessert. 668 Bay St at Broad St, Stapleton, Staten Island (347-857-6619)
Manzanilla Michelin-starred super chef Dani Garcia teamed up with Gotham restaurateur Yann de Rochefort (Boqueria) for this high-ceilinged Spanish brasserie, sporting graphic chevron-patterned floors and black iron chandeliers. The 180-seat restaurant boasts a menu that fuses traditional Spanish flavors with avant-garde tinkering. A simple tomato gets a liquid nitrogen treatment: flash-frozen until a glossy solid and nestled in a pool of salt–cod emulson. Steamed brioche—a signature of Garcia's world-famous friend, Ferran Adrià—is filled with pulled oxtail and raw mushroom. Beverage director Rick Pitcher (Gotham Bar and Grill) pays tribute to the restaurant's name—a fruity variety made in Garcia's native Andalusia—with a bar program highlighting 15 pale, dry selections. Rounding out the bar program are European reds and whites, four draft beers (including Catalan-brewed Estrella Damm) and classic cocktails made with Spanish liqueurs (brandy, pacharan). 345 Park Ave South between 25th and 26th Sts, entrance on 26th St between Park Ave S and Lexington Aves (212-255-4086)
Nicky's Beer Garden At this spacious Bronx brew haven, choose from among 22 tap brews (Lagunitas IPA, Blue Point lager) and 13 bottles (Sam Adams, Abita Purple Haze). A Southern-inflected menu features burgers, pulled pork sandwiches and baskets of ribs (there's even a chicken-and-waffle-flavored cupcake). Keep an eye out for happy hour deals, which can run as cheap as a quarter per beer. 3392 E Tremont St at Meyers St, The Bronx (718-823-5728)
Pie Face The Sydney meat-pie purveyors expand their growing empire—totaling more than 70 locations in Australia—with this third NYC location, this time targeting hungry straphangers near Penn Station. Commuters can choose from 20 pies both sweet (pear and ricotta) and savory (chunky steak), as well as sandwiches and soups. The 32-seat spot also boasts the chain's first self-service java bar, with their signature Australian roasts. 469 Seventh Ave between 35th and 36th Sts (855-444-3388)
Sunshine Co. Julian Calcott (Corton) serves upscale American plates at this glassy, modern eatery, from the owners of beloved neighborhood café Milk Bar. Lunch and brunch menus offer upgrades on standard midday fare (chicken-liver terrine, salted cod hash and poached eggs), while dinner (salmon crudo with pickled beets, grilled duck and root vegetables) touches on contemporary seasonal trends. Bar vets Jeremy Oertel (Donna) and Natasha David (Maison Premiere) consult on a herbaceous cocktail menu, including drinks like the Viking Culture, made with carroway-infused Cocchi Americano, lemon, peach preserve and sparkling wine. Beer drinkers can choose from among six taps behind the thick concrete counter, where bartenders pour craft brews like Green Flash IPA and St. Bernardus Abbey Ale. 780 Washington Ave at Sterling Pl, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (347-750-5275)
Sweet Chick John Seymour knows a thing or two about riffing on down-home grub, with years slinging creative burgers at Pop's of Brooklyn. He adds yet another comfort classic to his repertoire with this wood-paneled chicken-and-waffle den. Here, the soul-food staple gets a chefly update: The organic poultry is deep-fried and served atop flavored Belgian-style waffles (bacon and cheddar, rosemary and mushroom). Along with the namesake dish, carnivorous chow covers the communal picnic tables, like roasted pork tenderloin and dry-aged rib eye, and humble sides such as mustard greens, pickled watermelon rind and homemade buttermilk biscuits. Keeping up with the rustic-meets-refined spirit, the reclaimed wood bar offers tipples like a house-infused watermelon vodka martini and a classic rye Manhattan. 164 Bedford Ave at North 8th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (347-725-4793)
Inside Park at St. Bart’s
Dining at Inside Park at St. Bart’s is certainly a unique experience. The restaurant is located in the cavernous room—think a 30-foot ceiling and the original stained glass windows—that used to serve as the great hall at St. Bartholomew’s Church in Midtown East. The fare served here isn’t your typical Sunday supper, either. The menu of upscale American cuisine puts a focus on fresh ingredients. There’s the autumn squash and grain salad with kale, squash, farro, quinoa, pea shoots and parmesan ($15), a black truffle burger with comte and caramelized onions ($25) and a lump crab cake with spaghetti squash, haricots vert and toasted walnuts ($27). And unlike most church functions, dinner at Inside Park at St. Bart’s includes drinking. Bartenders can whip up any of the specialty cocktails, like the Park Sparkler with grapefruit, sour lemon and prosecco ($15). There’s also live jazz every Wednesday evening, and in the warmer months, you can choose to take your meal outside on the terrace.
Venue says: “Just a few more weeks until our winter tent comes down! We are also serving brunch on Mothers Day, make reservations today 212-593-3333”