I get asked one question more than any other: Where should I eat right now? Here, we’ve put together a map of the latest Manhattan debuts drawing NYC’s dining obsessives.
New to the list in November: La Chilaqueria, a little cafe serving dozens of chilaquiles — a rarity in Manhattan; Lord’s, the sophomore restaurant from the Dame team, and a revived luncheonette in the former Eisenberg’s space, now called S&P.
From conception to completion, this new food court between Times Square and Rockefeller Center took several years — and involved Anthony Bourdain’s input — to try to replicate the feel of a hawker food mall in Singapore. From an eventual collection of 17 vendors, the counters include Hainan Jones (Hainanese chicken, steamed or fried), Mr. Fried Rice (stingray fried rice), and Mamak’s Corner (Indian food as served in Singapore). Oh, and there’s a full bar specializing in gin drinks at the 51st Street entrance.
Le Rock is the latest in a series of high-profile restaurant openings at Rockefeller Center. Similar to this team’s sibling restaurant Frenchette in Tribeca, the focus is on French bistro fare that’s been dialed up in price and quality. Half of the menu is made up of seasonal seafood while the other half is anchored in modern classics like escargot served out of ceramic cups and leeks vinaigrette that come wrapped in their leaves.
Cafe China, an acclaimed Sichuan restaurant that held a Michelin star for seven years, temporarily shuttered for five months in 2021. It has now has been reborn in a three-story brick building in Midtown. The chic restaurant, run by Xian Zhang and Yiming Wang, marries old menu favorites like cumin lamb and tea-smoked duck with new-guard entries like a whole steamed fish with cayenne and tabasco peppers, plus dim sum and other regional Chinese dishes.
La Chilaqueria New York
This small Mexican cafe offers around two dozen chilaquiles, a rarity in Manhattan. Once customers place orders, workers drop fried tortillas into deep compostable bowls; heap on refried beans, cheese, and crema; layer them with meats and other proteins, including fried eggs, chorizo, carne cecina (beef that’s salted and then dried), and chicharron prensado (pressed pork rind). Then they’re dressed with sliced-thin avocado. Don’t forget the red, green, and brown salsas, too.
Eric Finkelstein and Matt Ross, owners of Court Street Grocers, have opened S&P, located in the former home of Eisenberg’s, one of Manhattan’s last old-school lunch counters that closed during the pandemic. Here you won’t find much of a change on the menu aside from classics that are better than you remember them. They include tuna melts, peanut butter and bacon sandwiches, pastrami on rye, matzo ball soup, latkes, cheeseburgers, and egg cream.
Add Oiji Mi to the running list of restaurants offering tasting menus for around $100. The one served here — priced at $135 for five courses — highlights modern Korean inventions like scallops with gochugaru vinaigrette, green apple pearls, and yuja, and deconstructed bo ssam with oysters and pork belly. Despite the early buzz, there’s plenty of reservations at this 80-seat Flatiron restaurant, which comes from the team that formerly ran the acclaimed modern Korean restaurant Oiji, in the East Village.
One of the borough’s best new restaurants arrived this summer in the form of Claud. This restaurant masquerading as a neighborhood wine bar found a fast following online with its escargot croquettes and massive slices of devil’s food cake. Both are good, but it gets better with the dishes spared from hype — the mille-feuille made with confit tomatoes and the tart agnolotti pasta stuffed with chicken liver are both must orders. Dishes run between $15 and $40 each, with a few required for a full meal.
A trio of Momofuku alums — Jeff Kim, Matthew Lee, and Victor Xia — started Nudibranch as a pop-up, a place where they could cook dishes that drew upon their collective experiences working at the David Chang restaurant group and other restaurants across town. They’ve now found a permanent home for their cooking in the East Village, where the $85 prix fixe menu leans heavily on traditional Asian ingredients in dishes like soba showered with shavings of bottarga and fried frog legs topped with a medley of herbs like lemongrass and galangal.
Burmese food has always been a rare find in NYC, but Little Myanmar is one of a handful of restaurants that spotlight the cuisine across the city. The family behind the operation famously started out with Yun Cafe, a tiny stall inside a subway station in Jackson Heights (which remains open). But in the East Village, chef Thidar Kyaw stretches out with more space (and with more equipment) and that’s clear in the menu: The restaurant boasts an extensive range of punchy salads, grilled skewers, and both subtle and spicy curries. Don’t miss the goat curry, which Eater critic Robert Sietsema praised as one of the best versions of the dish in the city.
Offering a playful take on Chinese American food, Potluck Club recently opened in a remote corner of Chinatown. The premises looks like a movie theater, with a marquee that reads, “Here For A Good Time Not A Long Time.” The relatively brief menu embroiders on dishes that might have been found in an old-fashioned Cantonese banquet hall, including salt-and-pepper chicken served anomalously with biscuits, and short ribs braised with kabocha squash. Partners include Cory Ng, Kimberly Ho, Justin Siu, Tommy Leong, Ricky Nguyen, and chef Zhan Chen.
Located in the Nine Orchard Hotel, Corner Bar is the new restaurant from Ignacio Mattos. Inside, stools march along a marble bar and booths look out upon Allen Street for a little Lower East Side flavor. And while the name may be bland, the food is cool, fresh, and delicate, from the pristine oyster service to the beet and goat cheese salad. Beyond starters, the menu includes entrees you don’t have to think about too much — spaghetti pomodoro and roast chicken. This is hotel food at its best, unfussy yet elegant, just the thing for a weary traveler.
Tin Building by Jean-Georges
Over eight years ago, chef and restaurateur Jean-Georges Vongerichten met with the president of the New York tri-state region for the Howard Hughes Corporation about opening a food destination in what had been the Fulton Street Fish Market in South Street Seaport. Today, they’ve opened a collection of six full-service restaurants, four bars, six counters, retail, and private dining in the entirely overhauled historic Tin Building. It includes an egg-focused morning spot, a bakery cafe, a sushi and sake bar, a brasserie, an oyster bar, a pizza spot, a vegan restaurant, a sit-down Chinese restaurant, a taqueria, and a dosa and crepes stand.