To Dine For

The Editors | April 28, 2016 | Feature Features National

The city's booming culinary scene is hallmarked by inspiring new restaurant openings, impr
THAT'S BANANAS! Hamachi with banana pepper mousse at O Ya


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Vegan pizza may sound like sacrilege to New York purists, but in the hands of chef Matthew Kenney (whose last Manhattan outpost, Pure Food and Wine, helped spark the high-end raw food revolution), it begs for a round of applause—and a second helping. The wood-burning ovens churn out inventive creations that play on the traditional (a surprisingly meaty-tasting faro-fennel sausage pie for $18) and the bold (the tangy shiitake “anchovies” atop almond cream, with slivers of potatoes and dotted with capers, $17). 65 Second Ave.

Café Altro Paradiso

Chef Ignacio Mattos and sommelier Thomas Carter, the team behind 2013’s foodie rave Estella, are back with an inspired take on the classic Italian restaurant. Where Estella is about making a statement with food, Café Altro Paradiso falls on the traditional side, but with a dash of flair. Menu standouts at the bright, airy space include any of the five housemade pastas ($21 to $48) and the grilled swordfish with artichokes, lemon and almonds ($28). And don’t miss the adults-only gelati, prepared with Campari and vin santo ($11). 234 Spring St.


We’re not sure what Sigmund would make of this namesake restaurant, but this new eatery inspired by turn-of-the-century Viennese cafes has won over NYC denizens. That’s thanks to Michelin-starred chef Eduard Frauneder’s contemporary take on Austrian brasserie fare like pork neck with bacon and caramelized lettuce ($24), and wiener schnitzel with cranberry and potato salad ($23). Frauneder presents his native country’s comfort food in a space reminiscent of a warm, smoky den, with plenty of green walls and leather banquettes. All it’s missing is a therapist’s couch. 506 LaGuardia Place

Jue Lan Club

Borrowed from a group of avant-garde artists in 1930s Shanghai, the name Jue Lan Club translates to “determination to create change.” It’s the perfect mantra for Executive Chef Oscar Toro and partner Stratis Morfogen’s new eatery, an upscale but accessible spot housed in the former Limelight nightclub space and adorned with works by Andy Warhol and Keith Haring. Here, the focus is on art, drinks and innovative interpretations of classic Chinese—including a selection of raw food, a rarity within the city’s Chinese offerings—in the pursuit of a fun night out. And for those heading to the East End this summer, a Southampton outpost is slated to open Memorial Day weekend. 49 W. 20th St.

La Chine

As you take your table at this ritzy white-tablecloth replacement for Oscar’s American Brasserie inside the Waldorf Astoria, you’re greeted with a quote from James Beard on the menu: “In all the world there are only really two great cuisines: the Chinese and the French. China’s was created first... and is judged to be the greater when executed by superb chefs.” In this case, that chef is the internationally known Jereme Leung, who developed the menu with protege and La Chine Executive Chef Kong Khai Meng. The food is served family-style and presented as a piece of art. Try the Berkshire pork collar ($30), glazed with honey from bees raised nearby—on the roof of the Waldorf. 540 Lexington Ave.


Based on a premise of ingredient-driven cuisine sourced from the northeastern United States, this airy eatery draws on minimalist influences for its seasonal menu as well. Chef Alex Leonard, formerly of Blanca, has a light-handed touch with small-plates like wild herbs in consommé tossed with parmesan ($15) and butter-poached lobster with sunchokes and tarragon ($26) that satisfy without weighing you down. For dessert, a frothy panna cotta surprises with a eucalyptus infusion, but it's an agreeable revelation. 178 Stanton St.

The Lucky Bee
Smack in the middle of hipster joints with their requisite Edison bulb lighting and subdued palettes, The Lucky Bee generates serious buzz for its playful-chic decor (think Beverly Hills hotel graphic stripes meet hot-pink Miami pop art) and authentic, spicy Thai deliciousness from former Fat Radish sous chef Matty Bennett. The green curry market vegetables with pickled greens ($26) and zesty green papaya salad with toasted peanuts ($12) both pack serious punch. Bonus points for the (very good) Karma Cocktails, which employ local honey instead of simple syrup. 252 Broome St.


The new Soho outpost of Mamo Le Michelangelo, a 20-plus-year staple on the French Riviera, is an Italian and French Provençal charmer from owner Mike Mammoliti and Executive Chef Massimo Sola. With a more formal dining room upstairs, and a casual Riviera-style bar and lounge on the main floor, Mamo has already attracted a star-studded scene with the likes of Rihanna, Jay Z and Gigi Hadid sprinkled among Soho Grand guests who are after the hearty fare of raviolini with fresh truffles (market priced) or beef tenderloin in red wine ($40). 323 West Broadway

Momofuku Nishi

Celebrity chef David Chang’s mashup of Italian and Korean fare approaches Roman cuisine through Asian cooking styles. The result is dishes like ceci e pepe with a fermented chickpea paste in lieu of the traditional pecorino Romano ($24), and clams grand Lisboa served with soft and crispy chow mien ($32). The no-frills decor, ranging from two-tops to communal seating, is refreshingly unpretentious. Following Danny Meyer’s lead, Chang instituted a no-tipping policy at Momofuku Nishi, which is reflected in its steep—but worth-it—prices. 232 Eighth Ave.

Salvation Burger

Spinning off their success at Salvation Taco, Spotted Pig partners April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman offer Salvation Burger inside the Pod 51 Hotel. At this wooden, whimsical temple to all things bovine—colorful cow heads serve as coat hooks and pop art in Bessie’s image lines the walls—everything that can be is made in-house, down to the mustard. The restaurant even sources whole steers from upstate New York and an on-site butcher grinds the meat. Try the namesake Salvation burger ($25), an 8-ounce patty topped with caramelized onions and taleggio. 230 E. 51st St.


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