Spring is in the air—almost, anyway—and with it, a new crop of standout restaurants serving everything from braised rabbit with 80 cloves of garlic to fresh-cut udon noodles, clam dip and handmade Italian pastas.
In New York, the Major Food Group trio is remaking The Four Seasons for a new era, and they aren't the only ones with a refresh on their hands. In Detroit, Brad Greenhill is reviving Katoi, which closed after a devastating fire earlier this year. The chef-driven hotel restaurant trend also marches on with José Andrés's first New York project in the SLS New York, and Spike Gjerde and Erik Bruner-Yang taking up residence at The Line Hotel in D.C. Elsewhere, chefs with fine dining pedigrees, like Jessica Largey, who worked at Manresa for four years, and Christopher Kostow of Meadowood, are taking a more casual approach to things.
No matter what you're craving this spring or summer, it's time to get excited.
Few restaurants in New York's history have played such an integral role in the city's dining culture as the now-closed Four Seasons. This spring, Major Food Group, the team behind Santina, Dirty French and the now-shuttered Torrisi, will breathe new life into the landmarked Midtown space. Be assured, everything from the service to the food on the plate will be extravagant.
Charred beets are paired with rye berries at Brooklyn's new Mettā. | Photo: Katie Burton
Norberto Piattoni, who worked as the sous-chef of Bar Tartine and as the chef de cuisine at Francis Mallmann's Restaurante Garzón in Uruguay, is bringing a South American approach to cooking with fire to Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Look for roast lamb with chile and pork steak with charred cabbage. Sweet potatoes will be slow-cooked in ash and served with whipped cream for dessert.
In his native Israel, Meir Adoni is a household name, running staple restaurants like Catit and Mizlala. For his first U.S. venture, he's teaming up with Gadi Peleg from Breads Bakery to open a modern Middle Eastern spot near Manhattan's Flatiron neighborhood.
José Andrés, who has become an outspoken advocate for immigrants in the industry, is planning to expand his Spanish-inspired Bazaar restaurant empire to New York this year with an outpost at the SLS hotel.
Will Guidara and Daniel Humm own and operate some of New York's finest restaurants, chief among them Eleven Madison Park, which will close this summer for a refresh. But the pair is finally debuting their vegetable-forward fast-casual concept, Made Nice, this season.
Norman will double as an office canteen and public restaurant in Brooklyn. | Photo: Evan Sung
Noma cofounder Claus Meyer is teaming up with Aska's Fredrik Berselius to open an all-day restaurant in design incubator and coworking space A/D/O. The day starts with breakfast choices like Icelandic skyr with apple, sunflower seed granola or rye cornmeal porridge with quince. Lunch will stay casual, but dinner will be a bit more elevated.
The Line Hotel
A mini cosmos of dining is sprouting at The Line Hotel in Adams Morgan. The space will be home to a coffee shop, bar and three restaurants, including A Rake's Progress, led by Spike Gjerde, who won a James Beard Award for his restaurant, Woodberry Kitchen, in Baltimore. Nearby, Erik Bruner-Yang of Maketto is working on an all-day American menu with Taiwanese and Japanese influences at Brothers and Sisters. He will also open his first tasting menu spot, Spoken English, which will start with coursed plates and end with a play on a Southern meat and three (with dishes like fresh-cut udon and tea-lacquered Peking duck).
Joe and Katy Kindred, who own the much-loved Kindred, are working on their second restaurant, this one along Lake Norman, where Joe spent summers as a kid. The team's promising a midcentury Palm Springs vibe and lots of fish.
Saint Paul, Virginia
Milton's at the Western Front Hotel
Travis Milton, a chef out to preserve and push forward the culinary traditions of Appalachia, will open the first of his three restaurants in the region this summer. Meals at this meat and three, which is a stone's throw from his hometown, will remain casual. Stay tuned for his more elevated Shovel and Pick in a year.
After a devastating fire forced Detroit's hit Thai restaurant, Katoi, to close, community members banded together to raise $20,000 to support Greenhill and his team. The restaurant should reopen this summer. In the meantime, catch a glimpse of the fiery menu at pop-ups.
Lady of the House
Locals are already familiar with Kate Williams's standout takes on nose-to-tail dining from her pop-ups. This June, she plans to open her brick-and-mortar restaurant. Though menus are still being sorted out, the team notes there will be "a handful of larger plates you really need four people to take down."
Ed Lee's stacking beef patties and fried green tomatoes at his upcoming spot, Whiskey Dry. | Photo: Courtesy of Whiskey Dry
Ed Lee is adding a third jewel to his Louisville crown of restaurants. This one will offer more than 200 varieties of whiskey and burgers like the Big Ed—two beef patties separated by a fried green tomato. Everything from the bun to the condiments and pickles will be made in-house.
Though exceptions certainly exist, the bulk of Vietnamese restaurants on this side of the Pacific tend to focus on pho and banh mi. The team at HaiSous, led by Thai and Danielle Dang, is determined to show off more of the country's immensely diverse culinary traditions, like charcoal-roasted meats and sizzling clay pots.
The Sepia team will draw on street food for inspiration at Proxi and serve dishes like this cobia crudo. | Photo: Paul Strabbing
The long-awaited follow-up act to Michelin-starred Sepia will be more casual, focusing on sharable plates by chef Andrew Zimmerman. Look out for elevated takes on global street food. Think wood-grilled prime rib with ssamjang butter and cobia crudo with shishito peppers and coconut, the team says.
The Cafe Boulud alum who opened the wildly popular Spoon and Stable outside of Minneapolis is getting back to his French cooking roots with a bistro that just opened this week. In addition to the bistro's classic dinner items like moules frites and bouillabaisse, you can get breakfast, lunch and to-go options, like tartines and loaves of fresh bread, from the adjoining bakery.
When Chris Shepherd changes the entire menu and concept of One Fifth this summer, this mozzarella and beet salad will disappear. | Photo: Julie Soefer Photography
Chris Shepherd's One Fifth Steak will close at the end of July and reopen September 1 as One Fifth Romance Languages. Though Shepherd and chef de cuisine Nick Fine haven't finalized the menu, the team says dishes like spicy garlic shrimp and pork belly skewers, from Shepherd's five years working at a restaurant called Catalan, may return.
Saint Helena, California
The Charter Oak
Christopher Kostow of three-Michelin-starred restaurant Meadowood knows more than most about running a high-end dining establishment. But this year, he and his team are "learning to walk again," according to their website, on their first casual (and more affordable) spot in wine country. Though the menu isn't set, the team says clam dip and chips, chicken confit with a salad of celeries and pork belly with winter greens might make appearances.
Erik Sun, a longtime partner in L.A. favorite Bestia, is settling into SF and getting ready to open a restaurant specializing in yakiniku, a Japanese style of meat grilled tableside. Sun promises premium beef from Japan and the U.S., and says, "Customers can enjoy omakase but for beef." Sun will also open a 20-seat noodle shop next door and says the name Arsenal will likely change before it opens.
Eight Tables at China Live
The finishing touch to the new complex of restaurants, cafés and bars dubbed China Live will be the debut of George Chen's fine dining spot on the second floor, which should open later this spring. When it does, guests will be able to skip the busy pace of things downstairs and enter through a "secret" back alley before sitting down to an eight-course tasting menu.
Jessica Largey, who worked under David Kinch at Manresa for four years, is taking a decidedly more casual approach at her restaurant, Simone. | Photo: Anjali Pinto
Manresa alum and James Beard rising star chef Jessica Largey has moved further down the California coast to open her first solo venture in L.A.'s Arts District. While she's held the menu close to the vest, it will be decidedly less formal than what she was cooking under David Kinch. Those eager to get a taste should note that Largey will host a 6-part R&D dinner series starting in a couple of weeks, according to a rep.
Ex-Bucato chef Evan Funke, who has been popping up at places like Animal, will finally return full-time to the kitchen this month with this Italian restaurant. The chef traveled to Naples to research pizza and has been logging lots of time testing different pastas fatta a mano, or "made by hand."
Unnamed April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman Restaurant
April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman are fast at work on their first L.A. project. | Photos: Amy Hou and Jolie Ruben
The team behind some of New York's most beloved restaurants is heading west to open in what was, for a long time, The Cat & Fiddle. While the duo is keeping just about everything under wraps, Friedman says diners can expect lots of outdoor seating in the courtyard. Note: Despite a rumor, the restaurant will not be Middle Eastern, Friedman says.
After a brief stint launching his more casual breakfast and lunch spot, Destroyer, Red Medicine's Jordan Khan is returning to his high-end roots with Vespertine, which will offer a $250 tasting menu that, according to the website, is a "gastronomical experiment seeking to disrupt the modern restaurant."
Jenn Louis is closing Lincoln on March 18 and reopening the space as Ray on March 24. | Photo: TBC
Jenn Louis is closing her longtime restaurant, Lincoln, on March 18 to make way for an Israeli spot called Ray, where she'll serve half-roasted cauliflower with muhammara and green beans with ras el hanout and grapes. Ray will open March 24.
Chris Cosentino, the chef behind SF's Cockscomb, has migrated north to Portland to open Jackrabbit this week. He's serving braised rabbit with 80 cloves of garlic and whole fried hot chicken. Keep an eye out for small nods to the team's rabbit mascot throughout the space.
Edouardo Jordan of Salare is fast at work on his second restaurant, which will explore the intersection of West African cuisine and the foods of the American South, recalling dishes enslaved people made, like hoecakes, gumbo, oxtails, fried chicken and chitlins.