New York City
High Street on Hudson: Philadelphia's acclaimed High Street on Market has made its way to the West Village's Hudson Street. Owners Eli Kulp and Ellen Yin brought with them baker Alex Bois's exceptional bread program, Kulp's Instagram-ready breakfast sandwiches and a progressive American dinner menu that includes a $60 "leave it to us" option.
Insa: Sohui Kim and Ben Schneider, the husband-and-wife team behind Red Hook staple The Good Fork, are bringing karaoke to Gowanus. Insa is one part Korean barbecue restaurant with meats and all the veggie fixins that come in artful small bowls and one part karaoke lounge with private rooms for groups of 12 or 22. The team is also following the no-tipping trend, adding a 20 percent admin fee to bills in lieu of a tip line.
Kosaka: Jewel Bako alum Yoshihiko Kousaka is now helming the 10-seat sushi counter at Kosaka in the West Village. The sushi master serves two menus: one dedicated to just sushi ($125) and another that includes hot dishes ($155). The meals are completed with Japanese desserts like matcha pudding and mochi filled with chocolate and raspberries.
Le Turtle: Freemans' Taavo Somer and The Smile's Carlos Quirarte surprise-opened their French spot, Le Turtle, on the Lower East Side last week. Blanca and Mr. Nilsson alum Greg Proechel is running the kitchen, turning out plates of fresh cheese with kabocha squash, and kohlrabi bisque with lamb belly and smoked cabbage.
Maman Tribeca: Soho's always-popular Maman now has a spin-off a bit further south. In the new, bigger space, there's coffee and pastries (including the excellent chocolate chip cookies) up front and French aperitifs in the evening. The back area, dubbed Salle a Manger, is the team's first foray into a seated restaurant. Expect stuffed calamari with raisins, roasted potatoes, black olives and saffron, and spaghetti squash carbonara—oh, and brunch.
Jue Lan Club: Buddakan vet Oscar Toro's new upscale Chinese restaurant (pronounced "U-Lan Club") has taken up residency in the Limelight building in Chelsea. His menu is a mix of traditional and more adventurous takes like yellowtail with ghost pepper vinaigrette from the restaurant's raw bar. For a party, there's also a large-format Peking duck.
El Atoradero Brooklyn: Denisse Lina Chavez, whose beloved bodega and Mexican home-cooking spot in the Bronx shuttered after a rent hike, has decamped to Prospect Heights. Up front, there's a bar and a communal table where snacks can be munched on with some beer during the week, but stop by on the weekends for the full menu of mole, chile rellenos, enchiladas and more.
Market Provisions: Claudio and Adria Blotta turned over their Cooks County space into Market Provisions with a wine bar-esque menu featuring small plates of Moroccan-spiced olives, a roasted persimmon and pear salad with arugula, and charcuterie, plus pasta dishes for when you're craving a bit more.
Rubies + Diamonds: L.A.'s newest coffee-nerd spot is pouring nitro coffees and teas and buzzy ice cream floats made with Mother Moo ice cream. There are also a few roti options and creative pastries like white miso kouign-amann, matcha and white chocolate scones, and kimchi spam musubi croissants.
Fremont: This River North newcomer is kicking things off with an Old Vegas-inspired New Year's Eve bash, then riding the celebratory high into the New Year with a menu of upscale American classics like a sous-vide burger and smoked chicken flatbread. The restaurant-meets-raging club has a literal glass ceiling that joins the first and second floors.
Sawada Coffee: Latte art competitions are a thing, and Hiroshi Sawada knows what it's like to win one. Brendan Sodikoff from Au Cheval teamed with the professional Japanese latte artist after the two became cross-continent pen pals to open this cozy coffee shop with Metropolis beans and boozy steamed beverages.
Spotted Monkey: Here's a new math equation you should commit to memory, bao + taco = baco. Find five-spice duck and guajillo pork versions of those, plus phozole (a brothy pho/pozole combo) at what's bound to be the Financial District's hottest lunch spot. It comes from Amy Le, the chef behind Saucy Porka and, previously, the DucknRoll food truck.
Mr. Tipple's Recording Studio: This straight-outta-the-50s lounge is all about craft cocktails, live music and no tips. Nightly jazz performers will all have a floor-to-ceiling mural backdrop, which was created by a local artist.
Little Gem: How's this for environmentally friendly? The bar and shelves in this airy, casual space are made of reclaimed wood from a single tree. The menu shows care for sourcing and farmers as well, featuring responsible partners like Marin Sun Farms and Five Dot Ranch. It's dinner only right now, but once 2016 hits, the doors will open for breakfast and lunch all week long as well.
Pao: Celebrated chef Paul Qui's latest venture is a swank restaurant in the Faena Hotel Miami Beach. There's a $6.5 million Damien Hirst statute in the middle of the room and a gold dome. The team has kept the menu under wraps, but look for seafood and dishes inspired by Qui's time in Texas to come from the open kitchen.
NaiYaRa: After a two-year lead time, Oishi Thai chef Piyarat Arreeratn (also known as Chef Bee) and his mother have finally opened NaiYaRa, a Thai street food-meets-Japanese restaurant, serving Chiang Mai's beloved khao soi and chicken dumplings, alongside raw Japanese dishes like hamachi with yuzu soy and jalapeño. Large red leather banquettes can seat a party, and look for vintage Thai movie posters on the walls.
Central Standard: The South Congress Hotel opened the second of three restaurants with executive chef Michael Paley at the helm. You'll have to drop a c-note for The Standard Platter at the raw bar, but do so without hesitation: It comes with "some of everything," which means poached Maine lobster, chilled mussels, gulf shrimp and clams galore.
Cava Mezze: The latest outpost of this Mediterranean oasis hit Olney with weekday Mezze Mania at lunch and refreshing takes on classic dips like fig hummus and "crazy feta," which is whipped salty cheese spiked with jalapeños. Mark your calendar for $30 bottomless brunch, which kicks off Saturday, December 26.
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