Dining

The 12 Hottest Restaurants to Try This Week

Westlight opens in NYC, Red Herring debuts in L.A. and more
Blackberry Pizza Pie
Pi Pizza's Blackberry Pie | Photo: Julie Soefer

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In New York, Andrew Carmellini is crossing the East River for the first time to open Westlight, and in D.C., a team has placed a distillery and a restaurant under one roof at the District Distilling Co. Here are the best brand-new spots to check out across the U.S.

New York
Westlight: Andrew Carmellini’s first venture in Brooklyn has a pretty outstanding view of Manhattan—it’s on the 22nd floor of the new William Vale Hotel in Williamsburg. While his restaurant, Leuca, will open at the hotel later this fall, the “bar” actually serves a solid menu of duck carnitas tacos, roasted eggplant dumplings, oysters with hibiscus mignonette and a burger with a “secret schmear.”

King: Drawing from the Mediterranean, co-head chefs Jess Shadbolt and Clare de Boer are serving quail with warm tapenade, Provençal fish stew and malfatti. There are also plans for family style lunches, but that won’t come until the fall.

Sunken Hundred: Brooklyn’s Smith Street has had vacant spaces for about a year now, and one of them has just been filled by this Welsh restaurant. The team here is serving ffagadau, or lamb meatballs with minty peas, yogurt and onion gravy, and steamed mussels with calvados, pork belly, lemon zest and garlic. For dessert, there’s bara bryth, which is a panfried tea cake with preserved walnut ice cream and rum.

Avra Madison: Greek favorite Avra is now open on the Upper East in what was once Rouge Tomate, but the team has gone for a Greek vibe, adding fresh lemon trees to the space. On the plates, there’s lithrini, a Greek white snapper, grilled octopus, and crispy zucchini and eggplant chips with tzatziki.

Los Angeles
Red Herring: Husband-and-wife team Dave and Alexis Martin Woodall are behind this looker of a new spot that has a retro-meets-cabin feel in Eagle Rock. The menu includes dishes like smoked cod with a shaved root vegetable salad and ricotta agnolotti.

Obicà: This Italian mozzarella bar has a new location in West Hollywood. Like the other outlets, there’s a dedicated menu to the cheese that allows diners to try imported mozzarella topped with pesto, roasted artichokes or anchovies. Pizza and pasta options round out the menu.

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Beefsteak: After a two-year planning period, Marcel Vigneron is now up and running his mostly vegetable-focused restaurant, serving salads like a sunflower Caesar with romaine, nutritional yeast (which tastes a bit like cheese) and sunflower dressing. There are also bowls like the K-Town with kimchi, sesame seeds, seaweed, adzuki and ginger gochujang dressing.

Chicago
Ironside Bar and Galley: It’s all about the sea at this restaurant that’s named for an 18th-century warship. There’s salmon jerky for a snack, crab cake sliders, oysters (Rockefeller-style and on the half shell), a lobster BLT and crab quesadillas. For those who don’t enjoy the taste of the sea, there’s also a burger on the menu (of course).

Washington, D.C.
Haikan: Daikaya’s new big-sister spot in Shaw is tossing noodles into ramen bowls. Like the original, the team is focused on Sapporo-style ramen, with bowls of seafood shio, a more familiar shoyu and a miso broth version as well. Rounding out the meal are nibbles like mapo tofu poutine and a throwback crab Rangoon.

District Distilling Co.: Operating on the theory that booze and food are best served together, the team here has combined a distillery and a restaurant on U Street. Drinks come in many forms, including a punch that can be ordered by the carafe for the whole table. To help balance out that alcohol, there’s a crispy pig’s-ear salad, grilled rockfish with summer corn (for the season) and a bourbon pecan pie that’s served ǎ la mode.

Austin
Second Bar + Kitchen: David Bull, the founding chef of Second Bar, is back in the kitchen at this new location in the Archer Hotel. The menu stretches from a black and bleu pizza with black truffle, bleu cheese and pork belly to soba noodles with sprouts and avocado. Starting in September, the restaurant will also be serving fare poolside.

Houston
Pi Pizza: For four years, the Pi team served their pizzas from a roving truck. Now, they have an official brick-and-mortar home, where they are serving pies with names like Who’s the Mac, with sauce, a mozzarella-provolone blend, bacon, and mac and cheese. Purists, fear not, there’s also a pepperoni option made with “not-your-parents’ pepperoni.”

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