Travel Spotlight

NYC Spring Dining 2014

New York

is a city packed with restaurants–and people obsessed with them. Although new hot spots are opening every day in Manhattan, few of these trendy restaurants have true staying power. We’ve rounded up the latest arrivals that are holding their own in the city’s dining scene.

ABC Cocina When this Latin-fusion restaurant, sister to the famed farm-to-table ABC Kitchen, opened last year, epicures agreed that Michelin-star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten had done it again. Cocktails are spectacular (don’t miss the basil jalapeño margarita), and certain dishes, like the spring-pea guacamole, are fresh and surprisingly delicate.

Betony A midtown venture by ex–Eleven Madison Park chef Bryce Shuman, Betony wows with its relaxed approach to fine dining. The inspiration of Shuman’s previous mentor, chef Daniel Humm, is evident in the delightful, elevated dishes, and the à la carte menu makes Betony more casual than your typical gourmet restaurant.

Carbone The brainchild of Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi (of Torrisi Italian Specialties and Parm), Carbone is old-school Italian-American at its grandest—and most expensive. Serving throwback specialties like baked clams and veal marsala, the restaurant is traditional in its Italian-American pomp and circumstance, complete with white tablecloths and copious amounts of red sauce.

Charlie Bird Charlie Bird demonstrates farm to table with a simple but focused menu. Its happening scene is frequented by neighborhood celebrities.

Estela Recently cited in Food & Wine Magazine as having one of the best (and most affordable) wine lists in the city, Estela has a menu that combines the simplicity of market-driven cuisine with fine dining. At the helm are a beverage director who is a Blue Hill Stone Barns alumnus and a James Beard Award–nominated chef.

Khe-Yo At this Tribeca restaurant specializing in Laotian cuisine, sticky rice and dipping sauces are brought to the table instead of the standard bread basket. The small menu is bursting with flavor and creativity, and the contemporary brick-and-wood interior is fun and inviting.

Lafayette The largest and most touted restaurant in chef Andrew Carmellini’s New York City empire (sister restaurants include Locanda Verde and The Dutch) pays homage to rustic provincial French cuisine in New York farm-to-table fashion. Must-try items include the boulangerie basket at brunch and the rotisserie chicken for two at dinner.

Narcissa Michelin-starred chef John Fraser shakes things up with a new take on rotisserie at his farm-to-table restaurant in the Standard Hotel East Village. Skewers are reserved for beets, sweet potatoes and the occasional fish, which are all given a crispy, charred exterior. The bustling kitchen, spits turning and roasts crackling, is on display in all its glory.

NoMad If you’ve heard of the NoMad restaurant in the lobby of the NoMad Hotel, you’ve surely heard of its impressive people watching, sleek interiors and spectacular dishes. The cocktail menu was perfected by ex–Eleven Madison Park mixologist Leo Robisschek.

Pearl & Ash Ideal for sharing, the New American small plates at Pearl & Ash are a perfect complement to the expertly curated wine list. The long, elegant dining room is casual, with backless bench seating and knick-knacks perched creatively in display cases along the walls.

Piora American, Italian and Korean cuisines come together in a surprisingly natural combination at Piora, in the West Village. A large flower decal adorns one wall, alluding to the fact that Piora means “blossom” in Korean, as well as to the fact that the best dishes are vegetable based. The well-crafted menu echoes the sleek and creative design of the bar (which serves cocktails poured over hand-carved ice) and dining room, one of whose walls is punctuated by a large window opening onto a charming garden out back.

Rotisserie Georgette Rotisserie owner Georgette Farkas (a Daniel Boulud alum) and Chef David Malbequi (ditto for Boulud) know that there is nothing more comforting to eat—and smell!—than roast chicken. Georgette provides the relaxed yet sophisticated cuisine that the Upper East Side lacked.

ZZ’s Clam Bar The guys behind Carbone and Torrisi do it big with ZZ’s Clam Bar, featuring an over-the-top interior, a long waiting list (there are only twelve seats) and exorbitant prices, none of which makes it any less worth your time. Presentation is part of the experience at ZZ’s: one cocktail is served in a coconut, and ceviche comes out cradled in a bowl of ice five times its size.

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