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Fall restaurant season is just getting under way, with big openings like Kim Alter’s spot, The Nightbird, in SF and TsuruTonTan in New York City. Here’s what’s on the menu for the week ahead.
New York City
TsuruTonTan Noodle Brasserie: The first outpost of this Japan-based udon spot has large shoes to fill. The team has set up shop in the space that long housed Union Square Cafe. Here, fresh udon will be served in 35 rotating dishes. One of the signature dishes tosses those noodles with caviar.
Bessou: The team at this new Noho newcomer is serving modern riffs on Japanese comfort food. This season, that means small plates of bamboo in chile oil with burnt pork ends, as well as bowls of cold Inaniwa udon, a dish from Akita, the hometown of the owner’s mother, that comes with tempura and a dipping sauce.
Lox: Joining the lineup of themed, chef-driven museum restaurants is this newcomer to the Jewish Museum in the Battery. The menu focuses on “appetizing,” including five types of house-cured salmon, blintzes, Russian coffee cake and a savory matzo babka made with garlic that comes from chef David Teyf’s family from Minsk.
Jalapa Jar: While cities like Tokyo have embraced restaurants as part of subway stations, New York has always shied away from that notion. Bucking that tradition is this new breakfast-focused taqueria in the Clark Street station in Brooklyn Heights. The menu, which is served all day, includes a bacon-and-cheese taco, as well as one with spinach and feta. At just 120 square feet, there’s no room to sit, so be prepared to take your tacos to go—perhaps to the Promenade just a few blocks away.
Bon, Nene: This casual Japanese small-plates spot is open all day, serving toast with red bean jam and butter, a noodle of the day, kogi-marinated fried chicken and a couple of salads. There’s a simple drinks menu that includes frozen beer.
Nightbird: Kim Alter’s much-anticipated restaurant is finally here with a tasting menu that will change weekly. To get things started, there’s a course simply called “corn” and another that brings together lobster, heart of palm, chanterelle and summer truffle. The space has an adjoining cocktail bar called Linden Room.
Smyth: One of the most highly anticipated openings of the season is here. Tucked above newly opened spot The Loyalist, Smyth is its fancier cousin, serving an eight-course tasting menu that will change nightly from husband-and-wife duo John Shields and Karen Urie Shields. The name is an homage to Smyth County, Virginia, where the couple once lived, so expect Southern touches.
Boleo: Alexis Hernandez moved to the States to cook for the Peruvian ambassador to the U.S. Now he’s bringing the flavors of Peru and Argentina to the new rooftop restaurant atop the Kimpton Gray. The solarium-like space has a retractable roof, so the restaurant can serve ceviches and empanadas year-round.
Toli Moli: The mother-daughter duo behind this Burmese sweets pop-up now has a permanent space in Union Market. In addition to their takes on falooda (a dessert from the Indian subcontinent), which come in flavors like coffee with condensed milk and oat-coffee grind-cookie-roasted marshmallow crumble, they are also serving cold noodle salads, like a smoky eggplant and udon number.
Halves & Wholes: It’s all about the sandwiches at this spot that stays open until 5 a.m. (sustenance post-partying is always a good idea). The sandwich lineup includes a cheesesteak made with shaved rib eye and jalapeño jack “Whiz” and crispy onions. There’s also a riff on an Italian beef sandwich with potato sticks and cumin-garlic aioli.