The following venues are expected to open by February 13. Always call ahead, as openings can be delayed.
Bien Cuit Buoyed by the success of their two bakeries, husband-wife team Zachary Golper and Kate Wheatcroft are serving their goods pop-up-style on weekends in a Williamsburg gallery space. Open Friday afternoons through Sunday nights (until there's no more bread left), the pop-up focuses on the bakery's large loaves, with a dozen varieties like traditional French baguettes, olive-studded sourdough, a dark rye dotted with roasted sunflower seeds and their signature miche, a rye-and-wheat blend fermented for up to 68 hours to intensify the flavor. 439 Metropolitan Ave between North 5th and 6th Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-852-0200)
BurgerFi Get antibiotic-free beef patties at the first New York location of the sustainable Florida-based burger franchise. You can have breakfast for dinner with a toppings combo of fried egg, hash browns and maple-syrup-drizzled bacon, or go vegetarian with a quinoa burger topped by a slice of white cheddar. Five high-end hot dogs include a Wagyu-kobe beef version, plus a chicken option stuffed with apple chunks. For sides, try the hand-cut fries (add Parmesan and request "extra crispy" style) or freshly battered onion rings, both made to order. A selection of biodynamic wine and tables made from recycled Coke bottles reinforce the joint's eco-friendly theme. 1571 Second Ave at 82nd St (646-684-3172)
Country Boys The Country Boys cult is growing—for the uninitiated, beloved husband-wife team Fernando and Yolanda Martinez have been slinging their popular tacos at the Red Hook ball fields since ’93. After years of drawing lines of neighborhood folk, the pair—along with their daughter and two sons—got major cred when their truck won a '09 Vendy Award, leading to satellite branches at hipster enclaves like the Brooklyn Flea and Mister Sunday parties in Gowanus. Now the Martinez clan is going brick-and-mortar with this 40-seat restaurant, bringing oversize tacos teeming with spicy pork, hunks of grilled fish and garlicky veggies to Park Slopers. An upgrade from the stand’s packaged tortillas, the soft corn wraps are made by hand here, patted from masa and warmed on the restaurant's grill. The street-food staples—sopes, quesadillas, chalupas and huaraches are also on the menu—are joined by sit-down plates like mole poblano, adobo pork and chiles rellenos, all Puebla-country-style fare to which the restaurant name nods. Regulars will be happy to find the digs as no-fuss as the original stand—humbly decorated with laminated tablecloths, family photos and a neon palm tree leftover from previous tenants. 568 Fourth Ave at 16th St, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-452-6079)
The Headless Horseman Step back into spooky 18th-century New England with this gastropub, which evokes a Colonial tavern via flaming lanterns, exposed wood beams and comfort grub. Dishes encourage eating with your hands: Fried chicken breast is drizzled with honey and baby back ribs are glazed with an apple-cinnamon sauce. Twenty-five taps dispense heavy brews like Keegan's Mother's Milk and Sixpoint Diesel Stout. For a stiffer drink, sample twists on classic cocktails, such as a Corpse Reviver, made with Four Roses bourbon instead of the traditional gin, and a Manhattan accented with Italian amari Averna and Fernet. 119 E 15th St at Irving Pl (212-777-5101)
Hudson Common The lobby of the Hudson Hotel has gotten more face-lifts than Joan Rivers. Having swapped Hudson Cafeteria for Hudson Hall in 2011, the hotel is opting for yet another nip-tuck, this time turning the 3,000-square-foot high-ceilinged space into a modern-day beer garden. Fashion-conscious noshers can enjoy char-grilled burgers on brioche and Bloody Mary bacon-and-duck-fat fries—picked up at a self-service window—at beer-hall-appropriate communal tables or distressed-leather couches near the marble fireplace. Soda-fountain-inspired drinks (Absolut Vanilia–spiked cream sodas, Zacapa Rum–laced root beer floats) and 16 brews on tap (including seven local choices like Sixpoint’s Bengal Tiger IPA and Southampton Imperial Stout) are served at the bar. 356 W 58th St between Eighth and Ninth Aves (212-554-6217)
Leske's Bakery Since 1961, the original Leske’s has been baking old-world favorites (Scandinavian kringler, Vienna brøt, Irish soda bread) and New York City classics (Brooklyn blackout cake, black-and-white cookies) in Bay Ridge. A year after shutting down in 2011, the bakery bounced back to life with new owners—Steven DeSimone and Kenny Grande—who are expanding the enduring bakeshop with this South Slope location. The store will box up the same spread of Danish pastries, butter cookies and red-velvet checkerboard cakes, as well as specials like homemade takes on Hostess's defunct Twinkies and squiggled CupCakes. 588 Fifth Ave between 16th St and Prospect Expy, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-369-0404)
Los Perros Locos Watch your back, Links—Allen Street is getting another frank joint with this Colombian-accented hot-dog shack. The neon-lit, graffiti-covered den doles out Bogotá-style dogs that are just as flashy as the decor. Inspired by Miami's Latin-style dogs, owner Alex Mitow (Neely's Barbecue Parlour) offers ten all-beef tube steaks, with wacky accoutrements, like deep-fried French-toast buns, potato chip and pineapple toppings, and slatherings of strawberry ancho jam. From windows marked “Ordenar,” “Beber” and “Comer" come similarly offbeat options like waffle fries piled high with sliced hot dog and quail eggs; beer-spiked chorizo corn dogs; and Peruvian pepper-topped burgers named after Puerto Rican rap songs; as well as Aguila, Cusqueña and Imperial beers, and Postobón sodas. 201 Allen St between E Houston and Stanton Sts (212-473-1200)
Pennsylvania 6 Chef Scott Swiderski (Union Square Cafe, Buddakan) oversees a raw-bar and seafood menu at this Art Deco midtown lounge. Look for whole lobsters doused with butter, grilled steelhead salmon and raw bivalves garnished with horseradish grated tableside. At the 38-foot-long marble bar, bartenders execute drinks like Manhattans (served with a touch of Grand Marnier) and champagne cocktails sweetened with fresh fruit like honeydew and cantaloupe. Suds hounds can dive into a menu of 20 drafts and 20 bottles, focused on German brews like a Schneider Aventinus bock, as well as homegrown beers like Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout. In addition to the sixteen TVs, a 15-by-ten-foot projection screen displays football games and live events like the Oscars. 132 W 31st St between Sixth and Seventh Aves (212-727-3666)
Tugboat Tea Company Java-starved Lefferts Gardens gets an artisanal café serving D'Amico coffee and Brooklyn pastries. Grab a cup of joe or espresso to go, or snag one of the 14 seats in the street-corner shop, decorated with paintings from local artists. To eat there are multigrain bagels from Bagel Pub, Blue Sky muffins and Cafe Dada almond croissants. A selection of 20 loose teas from Park Slope's PS Coffee Tea 'N Spices ranges from the fruity (papaya-rosehip-mint) to the sweet (Thai tea latte with almond milk). 546 Flatbush Ave at Lincoln Rd, Prospect Park, Brooklyn (929-234-3210)
Empire Steak House – West
For the classic New York steakhouse experience, look no further than Empire Steak House. Start with an hors d'oeuvre like jumbo shrimp cocktail ($21.95), a Maryland crab cake ($18.95) and French onion soup ($8.95). Carnivores might have a hard time deciding on a main course, though—choices include a Kobe burger ($28.95), dry-aged emperor’s steak for two ($129.95) or a twelve-ounce Wagyu steak ($275). Chilean sea bass ($35.95) and spaghetti with lobster ($36.95) might tempt seafood lovers, too. There are plenty of steakhouse sides to go with your meat, like truffled mac and cheese ($15.95), creamed spinach ($10.95) and a jumbo baked potato ($6.95). If you somehow still have room for sweets, the dessert menu is also quite extensive, with treats like apple strudel a la mode ($13.95), chocolate lava cake ($10.95) and creme brulee ($9.95).
Venue says: “USDA Prime Dry–Aged Porterhouse steak, exceptional seafood, and 400 plus wine list, in a beautiful surrounding with exceptional service”