Best New Restaurants In NYC, L.A. & More February 2018

Stateside pita from an outstanding Israeli chef, Peking duck pizza in L.A. and more

New York

Simon & the Whale

Gabe Stulman made a name for himself with neighborhood restaurants in the Village, like Fedora and Joseph Leonard. Now, the restaurateur is bringing that idea to the Freehand hotel on 23rd Street. Matt Griffin's menu sounds like 2018's idea of modern American fare on a plate. There's ricotta-filled sunchoke casonsei (a cousin of agnolotti); a steak with beets, mushrooms and Bordelaise; and arctic char toast. Don't overlook the baked goods like black bread with seaweed butter from Zoe Kanan, an alum of Sadelle's and Milk Bar.


In Israel, Eyal Shani is a household name. The chef is now taking on New York with an outpost of his casual spot, Miznon, and it's already drawing massive lines in Chelsea Market. The menu is simple and clearly inspired by the city, with pita filling options including a Reuben and folded cheese burger. There's also the chef's famous whole-roasted cauliflower.

Bar Annicka

This Greenpoint restaurant exclusively serves liquor made in New York State, including offerings from Kings County Distillery and Descendant Cider. To pair with it is a menu from a team of three chefs, one of whom is a vegan, so there's a fair share of veg-friendly options like celery root with apple, pickled carrot and nori. For the omnivorous, there's house-made sausage with white kimchi, and fried black rice with local squid and day boat scallops.   

Los Angeles

Night + Market Sahm

Kris Yenbamroong is now serving his acclaimed Thai food on the Westside, with a Night + Market in Venice. The tables are covered with colorful oilcloth, but once you order, it will be hard to tell where it ends and the vibrant dishes begin. Crowd your table with varieties of larb, khao soi, Peking duck pizza and a sky-high fried chicken sandwich.

EST Prime Steakhouse

San Gabriel is newly home to a high-end steakhouse. Naturally, there's a lot of meat, including Wagyu and Kobe, but there are also dedicated surf-and-turf sections with bluenose bass and blackened pork tomahawk. The well-stacked seafood tower is a great place to start.


Eris Brewery and Cider House

Chicago welcomes its first cider taproom, a looming building that was once a Masonic temple. Alcohol makes its way into a fair number of dishes, like mussels cooked in cider, wheat beer chicken and stout chocolate bread pudding. There's also Croatian sausage with cucumber yogurt and crispy duck tacos. 

Washington, D.C.

A Rake's Progress

Washingtonians no longer need to trek up to Baltimore to try James Beard Award-winning chef Spike Gjerde's Mid-Atlantic fare. The chef just opened a restaurant in The Line Hotel, where he's in good company with Erik Bruner-Yang's Brothers and Sisters. He's serving bacon and greens, rockfish chowder, and a hearth-roasted lamb shoulder with mint dumplings. Start the meal at A Rake's Bar, which spotlights local distillers and brewers. 


District Kitchen has a new member of the family next door, named for the goddess of the agave plant and defender of fertility. In place of roast Brussels sprouts and burgers, you'll find tuna tostadas, hearts of palm and avocado salad, and beef-tongue tacos with habanero-mango salsa at chef Miguel Pizarroso's sister restaurant.


Bluebird Bakery, which supplies sweets to coffee shops and Dolcezza, now has its first storefront. In addition to classic morning offerings, there's a pistachio chocolate croissant and an orange and currant scone. In the afternoon, the menu includes savory options like grilled cheese with nduja, honey and buffalo mozzarella.


Leeland House

This spot lives up to its name, front porch included. Chef Jennifer Hoffman's cooking skews Southern but with a few liberties taken, like updating shrimp and grits with smoked Gouda, cherry tomatoes and roast jalapeños. Non-Southern offerings include quality sandwiches, like brisket on ciabatta, a French dip and a two-hander with curry chicken salad and kettle chips on a pretzel bun.


Auguste & Marcel Wine Bar

Both the owner and the chef are French-born and look back to both their home country and Spain for inspiration. There's salmon rillette alongside patatas a la brava, mussels marinieres and a delightfully long wine list.


City Bakery

This beloved City Bakery's first non-New York location is in the arcade of the Fisher Building. Inside, you'll find iconic pretzel croissants and the richest hot chocolate this side of Paris. 

Devra Ferst is a food writer, editor and cooking teacher based in Brooklyn. She cares much more about babka than any one woman should. Follow her on Instagram at @dferst.