After a number of buzzy pop-ups, Eggslut chef Alvin Cailan is finally getting his own permanent NYC restaurant. Opening day arrived last week for The Usual, a casual concept in The Nolitan Hotel, where the lauded L.A. chef is serving "food we all crave," as the Times reports. Early highlights include the spicy pork ragù with chiles, a fried egg and handmade pasta; cheddar biscuits; and fried chicken—plus wines selected by Cailan's brother, who serves as the restaurant’s beverage director.
Just two weeks after the shutter of her trailblazing Middle Eastern restaurant, Balaboosta, Einat Admony already has a shiny, new concept. Her long-awaited couscous spot, Kish-Kash, recently swung wide its doors, serving hand-rolled couscous topped with chraime (a North African spicy fish), mafroom (or potato slices stuffed with meat and simmered in tomato sauce) and a three-lemon chicken tagine. Orders are placed at the counter during lunchtime, while dinner is a sit-down affair.
The team behind Okonomi and Yuji Ramen is behind this Kyoto-style sushi restaurant. Hakozushi, sometimes called "box sushi" in the U.S., is an integral part of the three menus that ring in at $25, $35 and $45. It's worth noting there’s no tipping or reservations.
Charles Olalia has spent the past few years focusing on Rice Bar, his tiny but excellent Filipino restaurant downtown. At his new digs in Silver Lake, there’s more room for Olalia to be creative in the kitchen—and for diners to sit down. He’s serving lumpia topped with uni, kare kare made with oxtail and tripe, as well as dishes of sisig and adobo.
Drawing on her decade living in Copenhagen, chef Nichole Accettola says her Scandinavian restaurant is inspired by Danish workplace canteens. A sample menu includes porridge with peaches, sea buckthorn, strawberries and cream; a smørrebrød, or, open-faced sandwich, topped with smoked trout rillettes; and a customizable brunch board.
Lettuce Entertain You and chef CJ Jacobson are behind this Israeli/Mediterranean-leaning restaurant. The counterpart to Jacobson's other Chicago restaurant, Ema (Hebrew for "mom"), Aba (Hebrew for "dad") occupies a large rooftop in Fulton Market. There are five hummus options including one with lamb ragù and harissa, a Jerusalem bagel (a narrow oval baked good encrusted in seeds), and several kebab options.
Grace’s former pastry chef, Bobby Schaffer, who also worked at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, is behind this already-buzzy Andersonville bakery that’s turning out croissants, strawberry tarts with whole-wheat shortcrust and open-faced sandwiches on house-baked bread.
José Andrés’s America Eats Tavern has a new home in Georgetown in what was, until recently, Old Glory. The former tenants are involved in this project, Eater DC reports, meaning there’s still barbecue, like St. Louis-style ribs and brisket smoked with cherrywood, on the menu. For dessert, there’s a chocolate chip cookie pie baked in a small skillet and topped with bourbon vanilla ice cream and brandied cherries.
Fujian Province native Ling Qi Wu, who helms the dim sum program at Wu Chow, is going out on her own with this project. The team explains on the restaurant's website that this healthy-focused restaurant was spurred by the premature birth of her daughter. She’s using organic produce for dim sum like cilantro shrimp dumplings and sticky rice with shiitakes. There are still indulgences, though, like a chocolate bun for dessert.
Chef Oliver Loeza is aiming to meld the flavors of northern Mexico and southern Texas at this spot in the Heights. In addition to the usual suspects, like guacamole, enchiladas (with house-made tortillas) and tacos al pastor, there’s also an octostada, or a tostada topped with sous-vide octopus and smoked tomato salad, and scallops served in white mole.
Serious Italian subs are now on offer in the Cass Corridor at Rocco’s Italian Deli. Diners can opt to sit inside or on the patio while they attack their hefty sandwiches. There’s the signature Il Rocco, with hot soppressata, mortadella, fontina and spicy relish, and because one of the owners hails from Philly, there’s the city’s signature pork sandwich. Dubbed as Little Puzzo Loves His Pork, it’s stacked with roast pork and broccoli rabe.
This restaurant from Brian Nasajon of Beaker & Gray has a distinctly Jewish flavor to it. There’s bagel and lox, a fish board, and bread options that include both challah and garlic rolls. There’s also a Reuben and a plate of latkes. But don’t expect it to be kosher. Mussels with chorizo and franks 'n' beans also make appearances.
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.
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