New York City
Carla Hall's Southern Kitchen: It's all about hot Nashville-style fried chicken at Carla Hall's new restaurant in Brooklyn. The heat levels start low and rise up through six "shades," topping out with a three-alarm Boomshakalaka chicken. To help put the fire out, there are vegetarian sides like mac and cheese, collard greens, biscuits and corn bread. The restaurant is soft-open for now; the official opening is June 17.
Le Coucou: Daniel Rose, an American chef who made his name with popular spots Spring and La Bourse et La Vie in Paris, is making his New York debut in Soho. He's brought with him tastes of France and will serve dishes like pig's feet and poached chicken for the table, incorporating American ingredients. Prolific restaurateur Stephen Starr is behind this project, so expect some glitz.
Teremok: In Russia, this casual restaurant is a household name, with some 300 locations, but this marks the outpost in the U.S. The house specialty are blini, both sweet and savory, filled with sour cream and little orange orbs of salmon caviar, mushroom and cheese, or chocolate.
Hey Hey Canteen: Where 2 Duck Goose once stood now sits a more casual Asian restaurant serving dishes like a chrysanthemum Caesar salad made with tofu, almond Parmesan and bao croutons; noodle bowls like seafood laksa; and the house specialty: a Hong Kong-style fried chicken sandwich, in which the chicken breast is made crispy with a ramen noodle crust and topped with green mango and radish pickles.
Shibumi: After logging much time in the kitchens of Kyoto (as well as L'Arpège in Paris), David Schlosser is settling into his newest project, Shibumi. The restaurant focuses on a kappo style of dining, meaning dishes are prepared for diners in a very particular and choreographed fashion. Schlosser finishes those dishes at an open bar before they reach diners, so ask for a seat with a good view.
Georgie: New York restaurateur Geoffrey Zakarian has expanded his empire to Los Angeles for this enormous project where Scarpetta once stood. There's a garden bar, café and main restaurant, which serves steak tartare, white gazpacho (made with ricotta and cucumbers), fresh tagliolini with sea urchin, and braised short ribs with charred red cabbage and toasted peanuts.
Sonoratown: Here, the team is channeling a Northern section of Mexico where carne asada is king. The menu is simple, focusing on tacos and quesadillas made with meats that are grilled over mesquite. To drink, there are aguas frescas and that sweet, sweet Mexican Coke.
Phoenix LA: The Phoenix has been reborn in its new home in L.A. The space is handsome with lots of communal tables and some very Instagrammable tile floors. The bar is well stocked with whiskey and craft beer (of course), all of which goes with the house's steak frites and chicken paillard.
Daw Yee Myanmar Corner: San Gabriel Valley's popular restaurant, Daw Yee Myanmar, is now also open in Silver Lake, serving mohinga, rice noodles in catfish chowder, fermented tea leaf salads, curries and sweets like a cassava cake. One thing that's new for this location is a number of dishes made vegan for those who ask.
Protea: Napa is home to a laundry list of excellent dining options but lots of them require some serious coin. Enter fast casual joint Protea, which offers a menu of Latin-inspired fare that changes daily. Think fish tacos, empanadas and a Puerto Rican rice bowl. Bonus: Everything is under $15.
Ayesha Curry's International Smoke at Mina Test Kitchen: Michael Mina's Test Kitchen has been drawing a lot of star power for its latest resident, Ayesha Curry. Tables are hard to come by, but those who are lucky enough to snag one will be treated to a four-course dinner that includes barbecued Thai shrimp chili; barbecued ribs inspired by Saint Louis, Korea and Mexico; and smoked lobster.
Safari Lounge: The Windy City is getting in on the African restaurant trend with this "uniquely hip" Ethiopian restaurant-lounge combo. The meat-aplenty menu let's you decide whether you want your beef grilled, sautéed or raw. Grab a drink at the bar (look for the blue glow) and head upstairs where you can jam to reggae until 3 a.m. on Saturdays.
Honey's: There's a lot going on at Fulton Market's newest occupant. The space is high enough to fit a regulation basketball hoop, there are two skylights and the walls are adorned with huge antique mirrors. The menu leans Mediterranean, with marinated swordfish, buckwheat pasta and quinoa tabbouleh. The wine list runs 50 bottles deep, with plenty available by the glass as well.
Furious Spoon Ramen: The city's beloved traditional ramen joint now has a bigger, better location in Logan Square. Try the new late-night menu, which has affordable and satisfying chicken karaage and veal-mushroom gyoza. It'll seem like a godsend after you take down the three types of sake bombs or the potent, cleverly named house cocktails.
Pizza alla Pala: Yes, there's already a pizza spot in Eataly, but stay with us. Here, you'll find puffy Roman-style pies, including one topped with bacon, egg and cheese. You can never have too much of a good thing.
The Finch Kitchen: The five-year-old craft brewery is getting a major face-lift, specifically, 8,000 feet of new legroom. While beer on tap is to be expected, there are also two draft cocktails being added to that list, plus homemade ginger beer for the designated driver. And the eats are exactly what you'd want with a flight of beer: pickled cocktail sausages, curried popcorn and pretzels with beer mustard.
HipCityVeg: A Philadelphia hit, HipCityVeg is finally open in the capital. The focus is familiar American fare made with a plant-based twist. Think smoked tempeh burgers and a Buffalo sandwich featuring a crispy portabella, celery slaw, tomato and Buffalo sauce.
Killen's Burgers: Let the red-and-white checkered deli paper be the first sign that this is comfort burgers at their finest. The custom meat blend will have you coming back despite the lines. Should you somehow grow tired of burgers, there's also a chicken club and a fried chicken sandwich, and even multiple ketchup options to go with the variety of french fries offered.
Cane Rosso: This pizzeria's oven was brought in from Italy, and after one bite of the Neapolitan pizza, you'll think the mini chain is somehow shepherding its bubbly pies across the ocean as well. But the pizza—as well as the pressed sandwiches, fresh pastas and made-to-order zeppole—are proof that you truly can find authentic Italian food in the heart of Texas.
Jaxton's Bistro: "Pampering palates" is the name of the game here. Think high-quality French and Italian food, attentive service, copious amounts of wine and an excellent outdoor seating area. It even offered one-cent mimosas on a whim last weekend, so keep your eye out for other can't-miss specials.
Cafe de la Music: All you need to know is that the executive chef used to cook for Jay Z and Sean "Diddy" Combs. Brazil meets East Hampton in the form of caipirinhas, moqueca and a second-floor nightclub. Need we say more?
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