The 17 Hottest Restaurants to Check Out Right Now
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Union Square Cafe: Just under a year after Union Square Cafe closed its doors, it has been reborn on 19th Street in a space that's much roomier but still has the feel of the old restaurant—it even has some of the menu intact, though much has been reimagined by executive chef Carmen Quagliata. New additions include a second bar upstairs and a café called Daily Provisions that will open soon. A bonus: A section of seats will be held for walk-ins, so don't let the filled reservations book dissuade you.
Chinese Tuxedo: Eddy Buckingham and Jeff Lam took over what was once a Chinatown opera house and transformed it into a restaurant, bar and soon-to-be vegan café. The main menu draws on the owners’ backgrounds: Buckingham was born in Singapore and raised in Australia, while Lam was raised in a Chinese American family. Look for dishes ranging from sweet-and-sour pork cheeks and vegan dumplings made with braised shiitake and snow pea leaves to house-made egg noodles with konbu butter and XO sauce.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Avocado from Loring Place | Photo: Tasting Table
Loring Place: Vegetable-loving diners have sorely missed Dan Kluger since he left ABC Kitchen in 2014. Thankfully, the chef is back, this time at his own restaurant near Washington Square. The design is simpler and cleaner than that of ABC, but the bright and balanced approach to vegetables in dishes like the grilled broccoli with orange and pistachio mint dressing and the Brussels sprouts with apples and avocado are vintage Kluger.
Black Walnut: Rob Newton, who is already a fixture of the Carroll Gardens scene with his spots, Wilma Jean and Nightingale 9, has made the short trek to Downtown Brooklyn to open an all-day restaurant in the newly opened Hilton. Though the menu is rooted in the South, there are Eastern touches like steamed eggs with yuzu, truffle and crab, and shishitos with crispy potatoes and basil.
Sushi Ginza Onodera: Acclaimed Japan-based omakase sushi restaurant Ginza has been in expansion mode over the past year, opening in New York City and now in Los Angeles. Dinner at the 16-seat bar is strictly omakase, which is $300 including gratuity.
SingleThread: One of the most anticipated restaurant openings of the year comes out of Healdsburg, a town in Sonoma, where husband-and-wife co-owners Kyle and Katina Connaughton are also the restaurant's chef and farmer, respectively. The restaurant draws on Japanese tradition with its kaiseki menus: one entirely vegetarian, another with fish and one with meat.
Single Thread | Photo: Eric Wolfinger
Finn Town: Top Chef alum Ryan Scott's newest project is up and running in the Castro, which back in the Gold Rush era was called Finn Town. The American menu includes an oyster section and a spotlight on deviled eggs, plus Fanny Farmer rolls, a duck confit potpie, tea-brined fried chicken and an iceberg wedge reimagined with dates.
Publican Anker: Paul Kahan and One Off Hospitality's perennially packed Publican has a new sibling. The menu swerves a bit from the meat-heavy focus of the original, with vegetable dishes like an escarole heart salad with bread heels, pear turnips and chicken drippings. But there are still meat options, like a burger made with porcini mushroom powder and a house take on "special sauce," wings made with burnt chile and yogurt, and pork rinds from the original.
Elske: David and Anna Posey, who met while working at Blackbird, are the duo behind this West Loop neighbor of Smyth and The Loyalist. The menu is split in two, and diners can choose an eight-course $80 tasting menu of dishes like grilled carrots with mussel cream, a duck liver tart with buckwheat and a confit bass with pumpkin broth, or order from an à la carte menu. Anna takes charge of desserts like rye bread pudding with quince sorbet and cheesecake with jasmine frozen yogurt.
Ten Tigers Parlour: Styled in decor owners Eric and Ian Hilton describe as a "19th-century opium den," Ten Tigers is a neighborhood bar and dumpling house helmed by chef Tim Ma who you might recognize from his Shaw spot Kyirisan. Munch on an assortment of snack foods including bao buns, panfried noodles or their specialty, pork soup dumplings, while you sip a refreshing cocktail or boba tea.
MGM National Harbor: This casino doubles as a dining destination with 15 options including Marcus, Marcus Samuelsson's restaurant offering some dishes from his Red Rooster Harlem; Voltaggio Brothers Steak House; and a seafood spot from José Andrés called Fish. There are also more casual offerings like Shake Shack in the National Market food hall.
El Burro: You can see chef Joe Anguiano cooking classic Tex-Mex standbys in El Burro's open kitchen, in addition to more sumptuous offerings, such as lobster tail and bacon-wrapped shrimp. Located at Lamar Union, the restaurant features a wraparound patio for diners to leisurely sip their margaritas on alongside plates of braised goat and grilled brisket.
Old Thousand: The team at this East Side spot is offering modern takes on American Chinese dishes like kung pao cauliflower, sunchoke fried rice, and crispy wontons with pork and shrimp and a pineapple and chile sauce. But there are also dan dan noodles reimagined with mushroom purée, crispy tofu and bok choy, and jellyfish salad with cucumber.
Night Market: Mike Tran, who owns Tiger Den and Mein, has a new spot in Chinatown. Here, the focus is on Indian cooking with dishes like coconut-marinated brisket that's braised and served with potatoes, Thai chiles and pineapple, goat sambal, and the more familiar chicken tikka masala. Tran's also working on a Korean dive bar called Ohn.
Bazaar Mar: Seafood is front and center at the newest addition to José Andrés's series of Bazaar restaurants Bazaar Mar at the SLS Brickell Hotel. There's a large raw bar selection and some dishes that are "on loan" from restaurants, like Ferran Adrià's "liquid olives" and Russ & Daughters' smoked salmon, alongside grilled whole fish.
Upland: Justin Smillie and Stephen Starr's much-loved New York Italian restaurant is now open and serving nduja pizza, charred broccoli with tahini and several steaks. Don't skip the house's signature estrella pasta made with chicken livers, sherry, rosemary and sage.
The Conserva: Combine the creative talents of chef Matthew Baldridge and artist Janna Coumoundouros and you get The Conserva, located in Ferndale. In a dining room that evokes an art gallery without the formalities, the constantly rotating menu features items such as oxtail braised with garam masala, octopus seasoned with za'atar and pork belly with rum raisins.
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