Amber Sutherland-Namako is Time Out New York's restaurant critic and a former bartender at The Cornelia Street Cafe, where Lady Gaga famously probably did not work

Sutherland-Namako has been covering NYC hospitality for many years, and she was previously the editor of Thrillist New York. Her writing has also been published by New York magazine and States by the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs’ Villa Albertine. Her personal affairs have appeared in Page Six and The New York Times. Sutherland-Namako is the silent captain behind the late arriving but now common practice of adding “-themed,” “-style,” or “fashioned” to the word speakeasy. (Because alcohol is legal.)

Say her name three times to summon Amber Sutherland-Namako to the nearest dive bar

Amber Sutherland-Namako

Amber Sutherland-Namako

Restaurant Critic, Food & Drink Editor

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Articles (115)

The best burgers in America—one per state!

The best burgers in America—one per state!

For those who partake—and if you don’t, please reconsider—the burger is a quintessential indulgence. Carbs and fats and all the sauces known to humanity, brought together into a grabbable, portable sandwich of a meal. These days, the hamburger can be found at everything from roadside stands to the finest of restaurants. But all of us who seek them out in new and unknown dive bars and diners, we’ve eaten plenty of bad ones and a whole lot of overpriced ones at chef-y restaurants. Luckily, our team of burger experts (yes, this is part of our job description) has scoured this fine country for the finest patties found between two buns. We’ve discovered the best burgers in America between the purple mountain majesties, hit the diners between amber waves of grain, and, well, you get it: we’ve eaten the best cheeseburgers in the U.S. to come up with the definitive list of the best burgers in every state. RECOMMENDED: The best burgers in L.A.The best burgers in NYC The best burgers in Boston The best burgers in Miami

The 12 best ice cream shops in NYC

The 12 best ice cream shops in NYC

We love ice cream in any form—and every season. Though we’ll happily partake in a sweet cone even in the glacial New York winter, ice cream—like music festivals, park-set picnics and outdoor dining—is a joyful, delicious harbinger of warmer weather. Just try to be grumpy with a great big ice cream cone on a sunny day—it's physically impossible. New York City has an abundance of options for when you can’t catch the Mister Softee truck, from old-school scoops to newfangled soft serve. These are our favorite classic, offbeat, unique and traditional ice cream offerings this season.

The 26 best outdoor bars in NYC

The 26 best outdoor bars in NYC

Sure, there's nothing stopping you from frequenting the best outdoor bars in NYC year-round, but spring and summer are prime time for open-air imbibing. Those sunny days are longer, the temperatures are warmer and fun-loving frozen drinks reenter the mix all around town. With scenic appearances by floating boat bars, cloud-skimming rooftops and bloom-filled secret gardens, these are our favorite places to sip beer, wine, cocktails and all manner of boozy consumables outside in NYC this season.  RECOMMENDED: The 50 best bars in NYC right now

The best boat bars in NYC for water-top sips and snacks

The best boat bars in NYC for water-top sips and snacks

The only places that offer even better views than New York City’s best waterfront restaurants are our water-top restaurants: yes, we're talking about those scenic boat bars and floating eateries that give off that breezy yachting lifestyle—but without the high price and pesky barnacles that stow away on an actual watercraft. Mostly only open seasonally, they’re peak spring and summer destinations with the warm-weather menus to match, all with a side of real-deal seafaring. So ahoy! New York's best boat bars will rise the tide for all your going-out plans this season.  RECOMMENDED: The 27 best outdoor bars in NYC

The 43 best outdoor dining spots in NYC

The 43 best outdoor dining spots in NYC

A New York summer is often a hot one, and prime outdoor dining season is sizzling, too. Throughout NYC, rooftop bars, restaurants with amazing views and lovely waterfront destinations are shining in their annual turn in the sun. And the best outdoor setups at these all-day cafes, Michelin-starred stunners, cozy dives, neighborhood favorites and city newcomers all have picturesque settings to get your attention, and great food and drinks to keep you coming back from now through next fall.      RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC

8 gorgeous floral outdoor dining set-ups in NYC

8 gorgeous floral outdoor dining set-ups in NYC

NYC's concrete jungle surprisingly has its fair share of gardens to walk in, but actually dining in one is a special treat. This past year, so many restaurants and bars have incorporated that secret-garden vibe into their décor by adding hundreds of flowers, vines and lush canopies.  Several are drop-dead gorgeous enough that we've listed them as the best outdoor dining spots in NYC; others are so beautifully tucked away that they made our guide to the best hidden backyards, gardens and patios for outdoor dining in NYC. But each of the following restaurants, bars and rooftops are top-notch if you're looking for a floral escape or garden getaway while you imbibe and dine in NYC.

17 hidden backyards, gardens and patios for outdoor dining in NYC

17 hidden backyards, gardens and patios for outdoor dining in NYC

As the sunny days get longer—blessedly adding more rooftop drinking and outdoor dining minutes to each week—space at New York's top al fresco spots can be limited, with entry as competitive as securing a table at the Waverly Inn circa 2008 or Via Carota in, well, any time really.  Short of making a reservation, one way to secure a spot is to patronize places still unknown to your friends and neighbors, unheard of by tourists and unfamiliar to even the most prolific TikTokers. (But note, being that this is neither the surface of the sun nor the bottom of the sea, there are few places that are truly secret.) Some restaurants and bars, however, do have areas that are more tucked away than the rest. These are your semi-secret gardens, surprising back yards, unexpected patios and cozy joints where you can feel a little hidden away in one of the biggest cities in the world.

The 50 best restaurants in NYC right now

The 50 best restaurants in NYC right now

Choosing a favorite restaurant in New York City is a joyful task with myriad possibilities depending on the occasion, mood and even the time of year. Your favorite dive, fine dining destination and 'any night' type of place might all occupy top spots on your personal best list in spite of their disparate qualities.  Our list of NYC’s 50 best restaurants is the same, spanning each of those categories and more to comprise a catalogue of all the places we wish we were at right now. They don’t have to be the newest or the most recently reviewed, just places that we want to return to again and again, and that we think that you will, too.  RECOMMENDED: NYC's best new restaurants of 2023 Note: Many of the city’s best chefs, restaurants and concepts have been welcomed into the Time Out Market. Because that is the highest honor we can award, establishments related to the market have not been ranked here, but you can see them below.  Stay in the Loop: Sign up for our free weekly newsletter to get the latest in New York City news, culture and dining. 

NYC's 14 best rooftop restaurants

NYC's 14 best rooftop restaurants

Some cities have more sprawl, sure, but we’re partial to the ones that stretch sky-high. And thankfully for all of us, New York City has plenty of that, from elevated parks like the High Line, to rooftop bars that pair tasty drinks with dizzying views, to beautiful buildings that skim the clouds. But instead of just serving up some of the best views in NYC, the city’s best rooftop restaurants do all that as well as offering some of the finest food and drink options at any elevation. So ready your Instagram filters and get ready for your most scenic foodie snap yet—these spots are your ticket to the top.  RECOMMENDED: The 50 best restaurants in NYC right now

The 50 best bars in NYC right now

The 50 best bars in NYC right now

Every drink seems ideal when you're at the perfect bar. Your dive’s beer is frosty, rooftops send you soaring toward the clouds and cocktail destinations shake and stir myriad ingredients into ideally calibrated glassware unlike anything you have at home. The options are unending, the ice is nicer and you aren’t just drinking, you’re at the spot.  Whether you're dabbling in low-ABV libations, making your way through dedicated martini menus or collecting passwords for pseudo speakeasies, there is an ideal location for every taste, tolerance and occasion. Find them among the 50 best bars in NYC right now. 

10 eco-friendly restaurants and bars in NYC

10 eco-friendly restaurants and bars in NYC

You’re just one person, right? You likely have existential concerns about the health of the planet. Maybe sometimes those veer into anxiety. If you live in New York City, odds are you recycle. Perhaps you even compost. Maybe you opt for metal straws or none at all, consuming frozen margaritas like a McFlurry or a water ice. And those efforts can add up.  There are, of course, even more ways to eat and drink a little more sustainably in the five boroughs. Even as admirable local sourcing and farm-to-table menus seem to have become the entry-level expectation, there are places that further endeavor to minimize food waste, reduce or reuse and aim to shade a bit more green than the overall food and beverage scheme. These are a few broad and specific ways to try to lighten your own footprint and put your money where your mouth is, when and where you can.  RECOMMENDED: The best Earth Day events in NYC

The 47 best brunch spots in NYC right now

The 47 best brunch spots in NYC right now

The best brunch in NYC can be found every day of the week. Saturday brunch is the best time to gear up for the night ahead, Sundays are perfect for relaxing and a weekday brunch is a rarefied treat designated for ad hoc time off—we would know. We make brunch our business. It doesn’t matter so much when you do it, but where you do it. And whether you skew more toward the breakfast or lunch ends of the portmanteau’s spectrum, toward coffee or mimosas, these are the best brunch destinations in NYC.  RECOMMENDED: The best boozy brunches Stay in the Loop: Sign up for our free weekly newsletter to get the latest in New York City news, culture and dining. 

Listings and reviews (215)

Gator

Gator

5 out of 5 stars

A short menu that I have a hard time choosing from is a rare thing. There are usually a few obvious standouts, but at Gator, which opened last December in Greenpoint, the beets, mixed mushrooms, mac and cheese, hake and pork chop all sound great. And they are.  Gator’s look fits squarely in the style category I invented, “restaurant in a movie that isn’t about a restaurant.” Even that novel genre can land a few different ways. At this 42-seat space, it works beautifully as a shot from a scene set in a lovely neighborhood place where everything’s baseline 30% better than in real life. Wood or marble tables in the daintily-reptile accented, elegantly understated dining room are topped with candles that create a diffused, pale amber glow. The chairs are a little more comfortable than most. And the hospitality is inviting with an easy warmth.  Chef Allyx Seemann, an interior designer before she started cooking professionally in restaurants like Jean-Georges, is owner and namesake, having been called Allie-gator as a kid. She’s authored the most comprehensive menu in the shortest number of items the city has seen in a while. And, unlike other similarly truncated efforts around town lately, it all actually coalesces.  Like a lot of those other recent ventures, Gator’s menu eschews section titles, but it more or less starts with what might conventionally be considered appetizers and ascends to larger plates. I think something was said about sharing on my visit last week, but somethi

Miatzil

Miatzil

3 out of 5 stars

Planning dinner for a group is a double-edged sword. On one shiny side: You’ve got friends! On the other razor’s end: Where are you going to put them all? And, oh, the rest of the things to consider! What does everybody want to eat? What’s the most convenient geographical region? Are there tacos? You’d be lucky to solve two of these three. Granted, cravings can change, and I can’t spy your whole party’s preferred subway lines, but Miatzil, which opened in Park Slope in January, has room for a crowd under industrial-chic chandeliers at a long row of tables in the brick-lined back beyond the gleaming black bar. Plus tacos.  Nine options presently populate the menu, with three per order for $14-$17. Get the satisfying birria variety ($17.) It’s crisp outside, and inside, the silken shredded beef melds marvelously with cheese, cilantro and onion to decadent effect, all bolstered, as expected, by its comforting accompanying cup of consommé. The carnitas tacos ($15) are also terrific, rich but absent any of the unpleasant fattier bits that might sneak in elsewhere, and topped with more of those herbs and alliums, plus a dash of avocado sauce.  Plenty of mains like huge plates of fajitas ($19-$21) and a camarones diablo ($20) with a pleasant little bit of heat in its sauce appear on the lengthy menu as well, but I’d top those larger tables with tons of tacos. Add a few starters like the irresistible queso fundido ($12) the pulpo al guajillo ($20)—its tentacles as tender as is achiev

Kanyakumari

Kanyakumari

3 out of 5 stars

Union Square Park seems quieter than I can ever recall seeing it in the evening, even pre-pandemic. On a recent walk along its eastern and northern edges a couple of hours after dark on a recent weeknight, I tried to imagine telling a tourist what it was like as recently as the twenty-teens. Not that I even noticed any apparent out-of-towners—an infrequent paucity in most of Manhattan’s geometrically-named geographical landmarks.  Lively Kanyakumari, from restaurateur Salil Mehta (Laut, Wau, Kebab aur Sharab) and chef Dipesh Shinde (who opened the latter with Mehta in 2022) about a half-block west on 17th Street betrays that quiet. Only about a month after opening, the pretty space that seats 56 awash in honeyed light, inviting you to “journey from Mumbai to Kanyakumari,” is comfortably packed, even on weeknights. That means that, while you should still probably make a reservation, you won’t wait an inordinately long time to actually get seated after booking.  Drinks come up swiftly, too, including pleasant efforts like the Curry Leaf ($18) with vodka, coconut, lime and the obvious botanical or spot-on classic martinis (about $21). The dinner menu spans a single page. Listed under “from Tamil Nadu,” the golf ball-sized bonda ($15/4) is wonderfully crisp and fried to golden outside, its interior curd rice creamy and just a tick tart. The bite-sized pieces of fried chicken from Kanyakumari ($18) have a good crunch, too, and a much milder finish than their crimson coating might

Naks

Naks

3 out of 5 stars

The hospitality group Unapologetic Foods has been a local industry leader for several years, and about as many restaurants. Its original Masalawala ran for a decade—that’s a New York City restaurant decade—in the East Village until 2021. Adda in Long Island City, Dhamaka on the Lower East Side, Semma in the West Village and the kind-of loop-closing Masalawala & Sons in Park Slope have gathered fans and honors, including from Time Out New York and Michelin, before and since. Those spots, and others in the UF canon, have long aimed to “redefine Indian food” to tremendously popular effect. Its latest turns a focus to Filipino cuisine.  Naks opened on First Avenue in the narrow space previously occupied by Jeepney, another Filipino restaurant that operated there from 2012 to 2021, in December. Dhamaka chef Eric Valdez, who helped catapult that hotspot to tremendous success, is chef de cuisine. Valdez taps preparations from his upbringing in Makati, Philippines for the menus. Naks serves an à la carte offering at tight tables around the bar up front, and its kamayan dinner for $135 per person in the larger back dining room. The bill of fare for the latter, multi-item feast can vary, and some of Naks’ buzziest items are available on the former.  The soup no. 5, for example ($19; easily serves two), said to be a suitable hangover remedy, had a brief turn as the talk of the town earlier this winter. The pleasantly viscous broth is buoyant with beef testicle and pizzle, with a low-si

Breeze

Breeze

3 out of 5 stars

New York City is just rich with restaurant openings. Big, splashy openings with TV-repeat celebrity chefs, intimate neighborhood affairs with quickly-accrued followings that sprawl beyond their geographical boundaries, local hospitality group spots that spin into mini-chains, revivals, out of town arrivals and some that overlap. And, even within that first category, you never know what to expect.  Breeze opened, seemingly quietly, in Greenpoint early last fall. It gained some early local coverage and capsule round-up treatment, but remained more-or-less absent the shattering social media smash some destinations seem to break through right away. That’s the Sichuan restaurant’s first perk: It’s poised just under the radar enough that you can tell your friends, “you might not have heard of this place, but . . .”  You might not have heard of this place, but its hospitality is excellent. Recently arriving on time to a cozy, packed house, parties meeting with glee, and at least one group gathered outside (so somebody’s heard of it) while my date was late (then later and later), I was seated and served a fantastic drink, the Juno ($18), made with a whiskey duo, plum vinegar and lime. It’s a terrific mix of smoky and sweet with half a degree of a welcome medicinal quality like a penicillin. The booze took the edge off of waiting for the rest of my table to arrive, sure, but the unbothered, unrushed nature of the staff sure helped, too.  You might not have heard of this place, but it

Café Boulud

Café Boulud

3 out of 5 stars

A hundred dollars is a lot of money, until it isn’t. When the regulars at the idyllic West Village restaurant where I once worked used to spend about that much most days, I thought they must have been Condé Nast millionaires. But when I’d finish a day-bar shift with about the same amount, my nightside pals would look on with a little pity.   In the fine(r) dining segment of today’s local hospitality pie, a special occasion and/or otherwise fancy dinner, usually a tasting or prix fixe for under $100 per person is still noteworthy. One of the best in this class, Tribeca’s Bâtard, closed for good in 2023 after its own two, three and four-course menus crept up from $59, $79 and $89 to $79, $95 and $105 in its last five years in operation. But, when market forces close a door, they open a window, this one to the new Café Boulud, where two courses clock in under that critical hundred buck mark. The original Café Boulud first opened in the neighborhood in 1998; that go-go, pre-smartphone time when you might have seen Martha Stewart among tables topped with foie gras, deconstructed foie gras (duck), sweetbreads and martinis with nary a surreptitious snapshot to show for it. All these years later, the revival, which follows the first’s 2021 finale, offers . . . also all of those things, but still no surreptitious photos, please, it’s just too rude.  All of those menu items are rather nice, once you’re seated. In a creeping recurrence that I hope does not become a trend, a recent wait

Radio Star

Radio Star

3 out of 5 stars

It seemed like I spent half of 2023 on the G. Greenpoint was among my most-visited neighborhoods for new restaurants, the Brooklyn-Queens crosstown my truncated chariot across a few miles of Kings County. The high concentration of promising premieres turned out mostly fine. Glasserie opened about half a mile from the Greenpoint Avenue stop a decade earlier. In that year alone, the neighborhood was cheered in headlines like “Go Greenpoint!,” and jeered with descriptions like “charmingly desolate.” The restaurant got its share of accolades in any case, earning industry honors like Michelin Bib Gourmand recognition, and practical assets like returning customers. Back to the future, Glasserie proprietor Sara Conklin opened Radio Star about the same distance away in another direction on November 15, 2023. As at Glasserie, Asi Maman is chef. Right near the water’s edge, cheery Radio Star has walls of windows and chirpy yellow walls. It also has the small tables and hard seats befitting the latter half of an operation described as “all-day;” more precisely “a Mediterranean-style diner with a 1940s vibe” in this case, per press materials. I wouldn’t worry about dressing for the decade, but the place is cute.  The day begins at 8am, with breakfast sandwiches, feta pastries and merguez in a blanket. Heartier sandwiches and a staff-favorite vegetarian chili join at lunch from 11-4, when dinner begins. The full bill of fare is deserving of those ubiquitous plush banquettes boasted about

Kaki

Kaki

4 out of 5 stars

About a year ago, a colleague messaged me asking for a restaurant recommendation. It had to be sushi, which couldn’t be easier. In Manhattan: ibid. And somewhere fun would be preferred. Oh no.  Just as most places can feel romantic under the right circumstances, almost anywhere can end up fun when the stars align. But identifying a sushi restaurant in Manhattan with explicit baseline fun absent any X factors—a place approximating the promise of a Rainforest Cafe or Benihana or pseudo speakeasy—was a rattling challenge. I made a few good-faith suggestions, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the paucity of obvious options. Several months later, Kaki opened on the Lower East Side, granting me those wishes three. The omakase spot debuted in the former Tiny’s Giant Sandwich Shop on Rivington Street in August. The narrow, beige-y space seats about a dozen, mostly at the counter, with a few tables by the big sidewalk-facing windows. Unlike some other unmentionable sushi newcomers that seem designed more to distract with their technicolor sensory overload than delight with their culinary contributions, Kaki’s understated decor betrays the crackling energy that builds as the house fills up, staggered seatings orchestrated in 75-minute increments throughout the evening.  Kaki isn’t without its X factors, either. Everybody seems excited to be there, even aside from the several guests celebrating birthdays on a recent visit—at least four parties acknowledged with a snippet each of the 50

Figure Eight

Figure Eight

5 out of 5 stars

Cornelia Street in the West Village has been a culinary destination across its single block for decades. When I worked at its titular café toward the end of its last golden age, and Lady Gaga likely did not, the Italian restaurant Pó, farm-to-table Home and Pearl Oyster Bar each shone between West 4th and Bleecker. Those are all closed, with uniquely uniform eulogies to match.  In the interim, and the inopportune thrust of the pandemic, highly-regarded chef Simone Tong followed her eponymous noodle shop with a fantastic new-American-Chinese spot, Silver Apricot, in the former house of Home, where sommelier Emmeline Zhao is partner. And, last month, Zhao expanded next door with fantastic Figure Eight in the previous Pearl space, with Calvin Hwang, previously of Michelin-starred Saga, Crown Shy and Vestry, as executive chef.  Figure Eight, which "celebrates the culture and culinary richness of the lower Atlantic coast through a Chinese-American lens,” has redone its previous occupant’s sandy color palette to cooling gray and blue. In addition to the enduring exposed brick also throughout, the bar’s still on the left and the couple dozen tight-squeeze seats occupy the narrow area on the right. Drinks come out quickly at one or to the other, including the Pollinator ($19), its pleasantly pillowy layer of foam crowning vodka, yuzu and elderflower, and the gin martini with a twist (~$23), which arrives with a sidecar that nearly doubles its volume and speaks to Figure Eight’s confi

Sailor

Sailor

4 out of 5 stars

If you’ve heard anything about Sailor, Fort Greene’s new, self-billed neighborhood bistro that, shockingly, has only been open since September, you’ve heard about the chicken. Its journey begins a day before it's plated, when it's salted, chilled to dry, and fitted with compound butter made with shallots, garlic, lemon, fresh sage, bay and thyme, and dried mint and oregano under its skin, before being roasted and anointed with a pan sauce of drippings, lemon and more butter.  People clucking love this half chicken, served with a small portion of Parmesan potatoes ($38), so much that they’re willing to queue up for it before the place even opens at 5pm. If you, too, like chicken, this one will have you singing like you’re in a Burger King Commercial. It’s a get in when you can kind of place, but at your own peril. Snag a late a late, unlikely reservation, and the final bird might have flown the coop. Luckily, they make other stuff.  Sailor’s darling corner spot separates its bar and dining rooms. Both rustic, the first is theoretically open to pop-ins, provided one does so at some fortuitous moment. Once you’re in, it’s comfortable enough to forget how much of a slog it was to win the pleasure. Here, the wine is appropriately chilled and the martinis are accurately icy. Around a windowed turn to the left, where the white tablecloths read as functional rather than starchy, ibid. Both spaces are punctuated by exposed brick, distinguished wood and convincingly nautical pictures a

Delmonico’s

Delmonico’s

4 out of 5 stars

Delmonico’s has had several twists and turns in its 196 years as a hospitality enterprise. Expansion and retraction. Ownership changes and licensing agreements. Fires. Financial battles. And status grabs as the nation’s first fine dining destination, its largest, and as the originator of such august entrées as eggs Benedict.  It has occupied the distinguished tip of a triangle block downtown in one form or another for most of the time since 1837. Its last gap was during the pandemic. Then, another zag last winter, when news of its impending return was announced, then retracted, then proclaimed once more, with new owners and some cosmetic alterations attached. Delmonico’s reopened, replete with a ribbon cutting and a visit from the mayor, in September.  Like centuries, I suppose, 20 minutes can seem subjective, depending on how you spend them. I recently spent what ended up being 20 minutes waiting for my Delmonico’s reservation acquiring knowledge.  First, I learned that the delay had no estimated end because “a couple of tables” were “finishing up.” Second, I learned that I could beat it to the separate bar to wait for an undetermined period, but there might not be space because it was “pretty crowded.” Third, I learned that if you while away on the pretty blue settee near the entrance, instead, you will be walled off by a dense line of vacation-wear or business casual-clad people clamoring to retrieve their items from coat check. And finally, I eventually learned that 20 mi

Café Camellia

Café Camellia

4 out of 5 stars

The end of the year is peak “best of” season in NYC. In addition to the typical categories like the best new restaurants and bars, I always think about the less obvious hospitality heroes. The best place you can successfully reach by phone. The best happy hour that’s accurately detailed online somewhere. And the best buzzy spots where you can actually get a table.  Café Camellia in Williamsburg is one of those. After opening in April, the southern charmer appeared on The New York Times’ list of the best restaurants in the U.S. That type of attention sometimes sucks up tables like a couple of dogs eating spaghetti in an alleyway, but Gulf Coast-focused Café Camellia’s have remained curiously available. The understated dining room (previously divided on its reservation platform into “front” and “back” sections without enough difference to make the distinction more useful than it was confusing) is casually elegant like a breezy beach house. The capable bar is on the left and there’s garden seating in the back. Despite its booking abundance, Café Camellia also seems to crowd just to the perfect capacity: enough to feel lively, but not so much that you end up rushed.   To start, the fried pickled green tomatoes ($12) are passably crisp, but not quite done to a crunch. Their plating atop what the menu lists as ‘bama bernaise—a pleasant multipurpose sauce—exacerbates the matter, and it might be better on the side. It’s still an overall enjoyable dish. The braised collard greens ($12

News (315)

Top Ethiopian restaurant Ras Plant Based will expand to Manhattan this spring

Top Ethiopian restaurant Ras Plant Based will expand to Manhattan this spring

Ras Plant Based is a true NYC pandemic-era hospitality success story. The Ethiopian-influenced vegan restaurant opened in March of 2020, took the briefest pause due to citywide shutdowns and was back up and running with takeout and delivery by May. The popular spot is a Crown Heights staple, and now, married proprietors Romeo and Milka Regalli are set to open a second Ras Plant Based, this time in Manhattan.  "This second location is a milestone for us,” Milka Regalli is quoted as saying in a press release. “We are thrilled to bring the Ras experience to the West Village to make a positive impact on everyone we serve and change our communities one plate at a time. Our mission is to redefine plant-based dining by offering creative, delicious, and sustainable dishes that inspire people to embrace a more conscious way of eating." An early look at the meat-free menu details a wide array of bowls, each with a base of turmeric brown rice, injera crumble and cilantro, starters like cucumber salad and injera nachos, and tibs, kitfo and dulet among the mains. The Regallis also plan to host events and workshops in the new space, which will feature modern Ethiopian-inspired art among its design details.   "We believe that food is more than just sustenance—it's a source of joy, connection, and nourishment for both body and soul," Romeo Regalli is quoted as saying in the release. "Ras reflects our commitment to providing our guests with not only delicious plant-based dishes but also memor

A new Taiwanese wheel cake destination just opened in NYC

A new Taiwanese wheel cake destination just opened in NYC

An auspiciously titled wheel cake spot rolled into New York City this week, with the opening of Money Cake at Tangram food hall in Flushing. It is the first United States location for the Taiwanese brand, which also has a presence in Hong Kong, the Philippines, Malaysia and Montreal.  Money Cake's round treats come in sweet or savory selections. They’re made à la minute with waffle batter and fillings like red bean, taro, and custard-chocolate varieties that also incorporate Ferrero Rocher candies and Oreo cookies. Special, only in New York options will include pepperoni pizza and chicken pesto, with new, rotating flavors each month. Offerings will be limited until April 6, when the full menu becomes available. In a belated opening celebration, on April 6 and 7, customers will also be invited to spin a prize wheel for chances to win Money Cake discounts, gift cards and merchandise.  “As a Taiwanese-American entrepreneur, I am drawn to opportunities that weave together my heritage with the innovation and excitement that comes with entering a new market,” Money Cake partner Michael Hsueh is quoted as saying in a statement. “We are excited to bring traditional Taiwanese wheel cakes to New York City’s most diverse borough—but expect some local New York flavor, too!” Money Cake joins a movie theater, beer hall, and plenty of other food and drink vendors on the sprawling Tangram property.  Money Cake is located on the second floor of the Tangram food hall at 133-33 39th Avenue in Q

Zaab Zaab’s Brooklyn location will host a skewer and curry pop-up next month

Zaab Zaab’s Brooklyn location will host a skewer and curry pop-up next month

A Thai-Indonesian pop-up is coming to terrific Zaab Zaab Talay in Brooklyn next month—by way of Queens. Chef Nigel Sielegar of Queens Night Market favorite Moon Man will join Zaab Zaab executive chef Kannika "Moi" Kittipinyovath for a culinary interlude on April 3 that they’re calling Curries and Skewers.  “The idea behind the special dinner is to celebrate satay–the street food skewers that originated in Indonesia, and have journeyed across Southeast Asia and to become firmly entrenched in Thai street food culture–as well as curries,” a press release reads.  The Brooklyn-Queens collaboration’s menu will include a veritable feast of Ponorogo-style chicken satay, Balinese pork satay and Madura-style coconut beef satay, Isan-style pork intestine skewers, jaew-glazed Southern-style beef tongue skewers with red curry and Bangkok-style pork liver skewers with peanut sauce. An Indonesian Padang-style chicken curry and a Northern-style Thai braised beef shank curry noodle will top tables, too.  “There will also be a surprise dessert that draws on Indonesian and Thai culinary culture,” per the release.  Tickets are $136.10 for two people, after tax but before tip. Each guest will also receive one included cocktail, and additional beverages will be available for purchase. Zaab Zaab Talay is located at 208 Grand Street in Brooklyn. 

Family-friendly Park Slope favorite Pasta Louise expands with a beautiful new bar this week

Family-friendly Park Slope favorite Pasta Louise expands with a beautiful new bar this week

Kid-approved Pasta Louise has been delighting folks in famously family-friendly Park Slope since it first opened in 2020. Its success led to a cafe expansion not too far away in 2022, and on Wednesday, March 20, a decidedly grown-up destination will follow with the debut of Bar Louise.  Appealing to wee ones and their minders just makes sense in the area, but owner Allison Arevalo also operates her spots with an ethos of excellence, something her youngest guests might not even notice. That standard will extend to Bar Louise, where the older folks sure will. “We put tremendous effort into hospitality, at both our locations,” Arevalo says via email. “We spend many hours training our staff on the difference between service and hospitality, and what it means to give truly great service. We plan on doing the same at Bar Louise. “Yes, Pasta Louise is a family restaurant, but we excel at giving fine dining service. We also often surprise people with just how fantastic our cocktails and wine list are, and of course, our incredible food,” she adds. “In terms of hospitality, Bar Louise is not a big jump for us. Our guests will still receive the warm, welcoming service they expect from us. The biggest difference, aside from the lack of pasta, will be the lack of kids! I can't tell you how many neighbors have said to me that they were waiting for me to open a grown-up Pasta Louise!” Photograph: Courtesy of Max Flatow This grown-up Louise is cocktail forward, with wine as well, in elega

Eleven Madison Park’s Daniel Humm is bringing a one-night-only vegan menu to Crown Shy

Eleven Madison Park’s Daniel Humm is bringing a one-night-only vegan menu to Crown Shy

Chef James Kent is on a culinary marathon at Michelin-starred Crown Shy. One of NYC’s 50 Best restaurants, the lovely, sprawling spot first opened in 2019—the best premiere of that year. For the last few months, Kent, who rose to renown in his earlier role as chef de cuisine at Eleven Madison Park, has been hosting guest chefs some nights at Crown Shy.  Dubbed “Carbo-Load at Crown Shy,” industry pros bring their own menus to Kent’s acclaimed kitchen, followed by a morning sprint with the “Crown High Run Club,” with the visiting chef, the Crown Shy team, and any of the previous evening’s guests who are up for a trot. The title’s cheeky: carbs may or may not be in abundance. And, although Kent’s a marathoner, the run’s just meant to be fun.  “Over the last 20 years, I've had the pleasure to travel the world, cooking in kitchens in Mexico City and Bangkok and Mumbai,” Kent says via email. “I’m grateful to be able to host a handful of my friends for this series. And even more grateful that I've convinced them to run with us. Some required more convincing than others.” On Monday, March 25, Kent will reunite with EMP’s own acclaimed chef-owner Daniel Humm. Kent and Humm, who made waves when he made that fine dining destination plant-based in 2021, will author Crown Shy’s very first fully vegan menu for the occasion. “We’ve slowly but surely introduced more plant-based items to the menu at Crown Shy, but . . . as supportive as I am of Daniel's plant evangelism, I had not planned to

A cherry blossom dinner party pop-up will bloom in Brooklyn this weekend

A cherry blossom dinner party pop-up will bloom in Brooklyn this weekend

For the last few months, Bessou owner Maiko Kyogoku and chef Elena Yamamoto have been hosting a series of events called The Counter, an intimate pop-up that “honors the homestyle cooking found in obanzaiya, and the women who run these small counter restaurants,” per its booking page. Previous editions have included a feast of the seven fishes and a Japanese American holiday brunch.  The next iteration is in anticipation of the coming spring: A pair of cherry blossom dinner parties taking place at 7pm this Friday, March 15, and Saturday, March 16, at Brooklyn Kura’s sake brewery taproom, with room for just six guests per seating.   View this post on Instagram A post shared by Bessou 別荘 (@bessounyc) Tickets are $88. Menu items will include a rainbow crudo with shrimp, scallop, salmon and ikura, paired with shiso rice, nori and lettuce wraps, duck tsukune, bamboo shoot salad, pickle varieties and black sesame choco tacos. A few “homestyle Japanese small bites” will also be available à la carte, per a press release. Brooklyn Kura’s brews, sake and shochu cocktails, will also be sold separately.  Brooklyn Kura is located at 34 34th Street in Brooklyn. 

This downtown sushi spot now serves a ‘lunch rush’ special for $60

This downtown sushi spot now serves a ‘lunch rush’ special for $60

If you’ve got just one hour to spare you can still sit down for an omakase experience at this Soho spot.  Kintsugi Omakase on Grand Street started serving its new “lunch rush” special last month after ongoing interest due to Restaurant Week deals, reps say. While its most expensive dinner lineup typically spans two hours across 16 courses for $195, this truncated version includes 12 courses for $60, and takes only an hour. The petite, 10–seat restaurant also offers a boozy, seasonal beverage pairing (three drinks) for an additional $35 throughout the condensed time slots.  Lunch rush menu items will change seasonally, but they might include Arctic char, toro and uni. This spring’s latest updates also feature hotaru ika and buri. Executive chef Victor Chen is somewhat uniquely situated in his focus on local fish, reps say.  “Chef Victor prepares his sushi in the traditional Edomae style, but unlike many other sushi chefs, he does not solely use Japanese ingredients,” a press release reads. “A longstanding relationship with fishmongers allows Kintsugi Omakase to offer locally sourced fish, enabling for a broader selection.” Kintsugi’s lunch rush is available Friday, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 3pm. Kintsugi is located at 28 Grand Street. Reservations are available here.

Here’s where you can get this over-the-top rainbow cookie croissant in NYC

Here’s where you can get this over-the-top rainbow cookie croissant in NYC

Last week, a colorful new creation started catching eyes and camera lenses at Settepani Bakery’s location at Time Out Market New York: A croissant topped with surprising, delighting additional confections, and even more sweet secrets hidden inside.  “The Settepani rainbow cookie croissant is the perfect combo of an Italian rainbow cookie and a delicious flakey and buttery croissant,” says pastry chef Bilena Settepani via email.  It’s made similarly to Settepani’s almond croissants, she says, but with additional rainbow cookie batter, even more almond almond paste and raspberry jam at its center. The top of the treat is then dunked in chocolate and crowned with a rainbow cookie.  “It is a sweet and tart explosion,” Settepani says. “It has layers of flavor.” “I stumbled upon videos of the viral le crookie croissant during my commute to work and was inspired to try my hand at creating something similar,” she adds. Given the popularity of our rainbow cookies, especially during March when we feature our special rainbottone [a rainbow panettone], I thought, why not incorporate them into a croissant, like the crookie trend.” View this post on Instagram A post shared by Time Out Market New York (@timeoutmarketnewyork) The creation follows a pattern of innovation for Settepani.  “Our bakery has a tradition of bringing a fresh twist to traditional treats,” she says. “In 2020 during the pandemic we did a series called Flavor Friday, where we experimented with unique flav

Williamsburg wine bar Sauced opens a new location in Manhattan this week

Williamsburg wine bar Sauced opens a new location in Manhattan this week

Four years after Sauced opened in Williamsburg, the low-key, menu-free wine bar will open a second location across the river in the East Village tomorrow.  Like the original, Sauced East Village will also operate without a formal wine list but will serve “a personal lineup based on guests’ preferences for a less intimidating, less conventional, and more exploratory wine experience,” per a press release. A frequently updated reserve roster only available at this location will feature rare vintages.    Photograph: Courtesy of Sabrina Palko Visitors can expect to sip red, white and orange varieties, bubbles and “super-natural” selections. There is a more formal bill of fare by executive chef Quentin Peron, crafted to to accompany those bespoke bottles and pours, with opening items like lobster toast bao, American Wagyu tartare and pomme duchesse with labneh.    Up front, guests can gather around the L-shaped bar where glasses are suspended overhead like practical chandeliers. Like at Sauced 1.0, the area farther back is fitted with a disco ball and all that the iconic indicator of a good time implies: late nights, DJ sets and maybe the opportunity to kick back and get a little . . . you know.  Sauced East Village will open at 47 2nd Street on Tuesday, March 12. It will be open on Fridays from 4pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 3pm.

Eataly Soho is offering its first-ever brunch service this weekend

Eataly Soho is offering its first-ever brunch service this weekend

The ever-growing Eataly empire, which now boasts 50 outposts all over the globe including three in Manhattan, opened its 20,000-square-foot Soho superstore this past November. And on Saturday, March 16, it will serve Eataly's its first-ever NYC brunch.  What will the first brunch menu at any NYC Eataly include? The menu lists an uova benedettine, which stacks a housemade croissant with Italian ham, spinach, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce, a steak and egg dish and tiramisu pancakes. Mimosas, espresso martinis and bloody Marys will number among the drinks.  Eataly Soho’s on-site restaurant (there is also a cafeteria, and of course, a marketplace) is “the anchor experience at Eataly Soho and will be a place of conviviality, with a focus on the icons of Italian gastronomy,” according to a press release issued ahead of the Soho address’s opening last fall. The world’s first Eataly debuted in Italy in 2007. It landed in NYC’s Flatiron District three years later with tons of media attention and public interest in the sprawling space. In addition to the original and its Soho Latest, Eataly also opened a Financial District spot in 2016. Those other dozens of Eatalys operate in 15 countries. Further expansion is planned for the coming years, per the press release.  Eataly Soho is located at 200 Lafayette Street. Brunch service begins on Saturday, March 16. 

This new restaurant in Tribeca is only open three days a month

This new restaurant in Tribeca is only open three days a month

New York City restaurant-goers love a little exclusivity. Is a place a pseudo-speakeasy under the S train track bed at Beach 90th Street? Packed. Unspeakably expensive? Overbooked. In any other way enough of a challenge to deliver the one-two punch of a dopamine rush and and a happy hour anecdote once it's achieved? Long may it do business.  Newly opened MARC179’s riff is limiting its operations. Previously Landmarc restaurant for 13 years, chef Marc Murphy spun the location into MM Kitchen Studio, a private event space in 2022. And now Murphy, who also appears as a judge on the Food Network cooking competition show Chopped, has slotted in the limited-time restaurant at the same location, too.  Photograph: Courtesy of MARC179 “It's not necessarily an advantage,” Murphy says via email about the truncated hours, “but a model that I can operate alongside. I'm currently filming the latest season of Chopped, as well as continuing my philanthropy efforts, so being able to open as a restaurant for three days a month allows me to be fully present in the space and kitchen, as well as being able to mingle with guests. Most importantly, it allows me and my team to be really creative and bring new experiences to our guests each month.”  Billed as “a lively neighborhood bistro with a vibrant bar,” MARC179’s menu is Italian and French-influenced. The opening, four-course, $75 prix fixe includes an arugula salad, bucatini cacio e pepe, roasted chicken breast and chocolate mousse. A burnt

NYC gets another new listening bar this weekend, this one underground

NYC gets another new listening bar this weekend, this one underground

After edging toward trend in 2019, listening bars seem to be gaining popularity in New York City once more, and the latest is scheduled to open in Chelsea this weekend. Music For a While unfurls beneath the Selina Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan on Saturday, March 9.  “The concept is a listening experience for those seeking a night out for their senses, something that will provide unparalleled sounds, sights, tastes, and more, with premiere music programming and a carefully crafted cocktail program,” a press release reads.  That experience is bisected into two conceits. The Vinyl Room is Music For a While’s “acoustically optimized” listening area proper, fixed with audio equipment befitting such a conceit, like a custom Hi-Fi sound system.  Photograph: Courtesy of Molly Tavoletti “A wide variety of records, from original 80’s Chicago house vibes to the cutting-edge sounds of Ibiza” are all poised for rotation, a representative said via email. Visitors can also expect “Afrobeats, house, techno, and nostalgic 80s/disco tunes.” The separate Lounge space is Music For a While’s live performance-oriented area, with room for DJs to spin and guests to dance. The whole footprint spans 1,750 square-feet, and each area can accommodate 125 people.  The opening drink menu includes wine, beer, hard seltzer, non-alcoholic options and cocktails like the One Hit Wonder, made with a rum duo, apricot liqueur and cream of coconut. Pop-ins will be accepted in these early days, and the venue plans to