New York City
Bierocracy: Long Island City's newest beer spot is big enough to accommodate all of your friends and then some. Expect beers from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria and Germany, alongside hearty food from that part of the world, like sausages, Bavarian pretzels, knishes and beer-and-cheese soup.
Cipura: Chef Sina Sucuka is cooking food from his native Turkey in this Sheepshead Bay restaurant. Specialties include grilled whole fish, shrimp wrapped in phyllo, grilled octopus, roasted lamb and dips.
Chef Street and Rowland's Bar & Grill: Take a break from Midtown's shopping insanity at the new cheffy food court beneath Macy's. There are tacos from Marc Forgione, salads and grain bowls from Michelle Bernstein, alongside a ramen and dumpling spot. And for those needing a drink, there's Rowland's Bar right next door.
Esh: Top Chef alum Ilan Hall has switched out his outpost of The Gorbals in Urban Outfitters Williamsburg for a new Israeli grill concept called Esh (which means "fire" in Hebrew). There's hummus, of course, alongside shwarma and several vegetarian options. Sadly, Hall isn't serving the essential dish of that cuisine: Jerusalem mixed grill.
Marinated blue crab claws at Bernadine's | Photo: Kirsten Gilliam Photography
Picnic LA: Brad Zions, an early investor in Venice Beach's Lemonade, is now concentrating on another fast-casual spot, Picnic. In true L.A. fashion, there are heaps of salads filled with butter beans and Persian cucumbers, farro with Brussels sprouts and the like. For those seeking protein, there's also a tagine chicken and turkey larb.
Charcoal: Josiah Citrin, of the Michelin-starred Mélisse, is going a bit more casual at his new Venice spot, Charcoal. He's preparing dishes he's perfected at barbecue parties at home, like ribs with chipotle red wine barbecue sauce and chicken with paprika-mustard chimichurri. Oh, and meals start with half heads of cabbage roasted in the embers of the fire and served alongside a sumac coriander yogurt dipping sauce.
BeefBelly: BRGRBelly's Steve O'Brien is on a mission to make the best Chicago-style Italian beef––no small feat in a city famous for the dish––and the long lines on opening day suggest he's doing just fine. Everything is made on-site, and there's even a build-your-own sundae bar "for the kids."
KICK: If you can't take the heat, don't check out this kitchen. With a fiery menu of wasabi-, cayenne- and Sriracha-laced dishes, the North Center spot isn't messing around when it comes to flavor. Should your taste buds start screaming, a selection from the extensive beer list will cool you down.
Cold Storage: Fulton Market has a new resident in Chris Pandel's latest Swift & Sons add-on. Seafood towers are a grand presence on the fish-forward menu, but options like skirt steak fries and the double cheeseburger are solid choices for those who prefer turf over surf.
Fried chicken wings and cocktails at Lucy's Fried Chicken | Photos: John Davidson
4th Tap Brewing Cooperative: There are 10 taps running at this experimental microbrewery's taproom. Selections rotate and might include its all-Texas-everything Sun Eater or the Supernaut stout, which is served on nitro. You'll also want to keep an eye out for the intriguing events (party wrestling, anyone?).
Lucy's Fried Chicken: Proving again that you can never have too much fried chicken, this mini Southern food empire has scored a third location. Settle into a picnic table on the patio and enjoy your chicken basket, fried okra and sweet tea pie while overlooking Lake Travis.
Beaker & Gray: Childhood friends Brian Nasajon (executive chef) and Ben Potts (bar manager, formerly of Broken Shaker) have joined forces for this long-anticipated restaurant and bar serving bites like Wagyu skirt steak and grilled oxtail, and drinks like the Greenhouse, made with The Botanist Gin, green Chartreuse, basil and celery soda.
N Shabu Shabu: After success with N by NAOE, chef Kevin Cory is switching up his concept. The new menu will be entirely shabu shabu: a communal Japanese meal that features lightly cooked slices of beef and vegetables that have been quickly "swished in steaming light kelp stock," according to the restaurant's website. The meal takes two hours and goes for $60 a pop. Word to the wise: Reservations must be made online.
DIRT: Now open in Miami Beach, DIRT is all about healthy, farm-fresh food done fast. A veg-heavy menu includes juices, sandwiches, veggie bowls, create-your-own toasts and desserts like pineapple and zucchini bread. Jonathan Seningen serves as executive chef, with Nicole Votano (formerly of Fooq's) as chef de cuisine.
Yona: Jonah Kim has partnered with Mike Isabella to open this full-service Japanese noodle spot in Ballston. Along with the ramen (both traditional and modern), there are small plates like crispy Brussels sprouts with fermented chile mayo and Korean-style chicken wings. Plenty of booze, including sake, craft beer and cocktails from Taha Ismail, are also available.
Marble & Rye: Chef Kate Bennett is channeling the Mid-Atlantic at this new Arlington spot. There are more than 150 whiskeys to try, as well as mixed mushroom pizza, caramelized diver sea scallops with kale ragù and crispy chicken lollipops.
Texas Jack's BBQ: Formerly of Brooklyn's Fette Sau and D.C.'s Hill Country, Matt Lang is bringing his barbecue know-how to the old Tallula/EatBar space in Clarendon. Expect the menu to be rooted in Texas-style barbecue, with nods to German and Mexican cuisine. The restaurant's name comes from real-life Virginia-born cowboy Texas Jack Omohundro.
Bernie's Burger Bus: There's a serious after-school theme going on at Bernie's, but we don't mind. (School would've been better with good burgers and beer, right?) So check out the Core Classes (a variety of loaded burgers) and Extracurriculars (truffle-laced, sweet potato or bleu cheese fries).
Bernadine's: The Treadsack team touts its latest venture as a "love letter to the Gulf Coast," and with options like cold-smoked oysters and fried wild catfish, it's clear that they can back it up. The seafood options are staggering, but save room for black-bottom pecan pie and beignet-like calas with strawberry lambic jam.
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