New York is springing to life, and a series of exciting restaurant openings are fueling the city’s resurgence.
From Midtown’s newest Italian eatery, Fasano, to Chelsea’s authentic Spanish restaurant, El Quijote, Manhattan is filled with delicious tasting menus, all amidst Gotham’s swirling, reborn energy. Got five new must-try restaurants.
The best new Italian food in town comes from Brazil. Plush and pretty, Fasano is this year’s Le Pavillon — an unabashedly luxurious fine-dining spot that braves the uncertain Midtown winds. But unlike Daniel Boulud’s flavorful French eatery, it’s a traditional Milanese restaurant in Sao Paolo, where the Fasano hotel and restaurant empire was founded four generations ago.
Opened less than a month ago, this is the company’s first location in the US and already the hottest power lunch and dinner spot on Park Avenue. Brave guests include Leo DiCaprio, Woody Allen, Maria Sharapova, filmmaker and gallery owner Fabiola Beracasa, real estate mogul Steven Roth, entrepreneur Lauren Santo Domingo and local bankers too shy to name them.
Fasano is nothing like the boring, short-lived Four Seasons reboot it replaced. Designer Isay Weinfeld has separate tables and booths with low partitions that allow for both privacy and good people-watching. Sexy decadence extends to rich wood walls, deep rugs, white tablecloths and lighting bright enough for business but soft enough for romance.
Florence-born chef Nicola Fedeli’s menu revisits the northern Italian script. A Jurassic-sized Milanese veal chop is a lot more fun than its plain looks might suggest. The sourdough breading crackles as the Padano cheese inside adds delicious complexity. Pasta and risotto classics are brilliantly implemented. But my favorite dish was baked black cod with tomato sauce and creamy white polenta – a feast for the eyes and the palate. The sauce adds a pleasantly sweet dimension to the butterfish, giving it a much-needed break from the miso-frosting treatment it gets at many restaurants around town.
There’s also a shiny bar/lounge with a shorter menu displayed on chalkboards. But the dining room is the right place — a vote of confidence in the heart of Midtown, where a new skyscraper by JP Morgan Chase is rising across the street.
280 Park Ave. (Entrance on East 49th Street); (646) 869-5400, Reservations Resy.com
The Les Halles excavations are just romantic enough for a first (or third) date. It looks a little like Anthony Bourdain’s old place that closed five years ago. Burgundian stalls might belong to many bistros, but cookware king Francis Staub’s new shop offers far better traditional French food than I remember from the setting of Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. Chef Jaime Loja previously managed the kitchen of the unfortunately closed Brasserie Ruhlmann. I enjoyed the best duck and bacon terrine I’ve had in ages, along with an arctic char with brown butter sauce worthy of the finest seafood cuisines.
411 Park Avenue South; (212) 567-8282, LaBrasserieNYC.com
Everyone has always loved the atmosphere — red Cervantes-inspired murals and chandeliers — at this almost-century-old location at the Hotel Chelsea. The food, not so much: they used to have a sprawling, cheap menu with a “paella” that tasted like just cooked rice. That was fixed when Brooklyn-based Sunday Hospitality Group took over, offering a more focused — and far more delicious — lineup served only in the original main room. (The adjoining rooms are used for another restaurant). Madrid-trained chef Byron Hogan conjures up slightly modernized interpretations of Spanish classics: wonderful shellfish and rabbit paella; Fideua de Setas, spicy Gambas al Ajillo and the best ham croquettes outside of Barcelona.
226 W. 23rd St.; (212) 518-1843, ElQuijoteNYC.com
The Far West Side needed a colorful, huge, Asian-style party setting with chefs yelling “Irasshaimase!” (“Welcome”) surprised customers. Colossal Katsuya, which has 305 indoor seats plus a 100-seat rooftop terrace, is part of a growing national upscale chain that was first established in Los Angeles in 2006. On paper, chef Katsuya Uechi’s modern Japanese menu is nothing extraordinary — but the difference is in the tasting. Familiar-sounding “signature” crispy tuna rice, shrimp tempura, miso-glazed black cod and tomahawk short rib in yakiniku BBQ sauce, the Seaweed beats the competition with strong ingredients and precise execution.
398 10th Ave. (at the Citizens complex in Manhattan West); (212) 920-6816, KatsuyaRestaurant.com
The original Cafe China, a few blocks away, spearheaded Sichuan’s revitalization when it opened 11 years ago. It closed seven months ago, but this transplanted, three-story reboot from owners Xian Zhang and Yiming Wang retains the fiery spirit and romance of the original with mood lighting 1930s Shanghai-style. Cantonese classics like tea-smoked duck are fine, but hotter dishes shine. Among the best: ultra-tender Szechuan-style braised pork belly and a sizzling fish stew with a bright red broth thick with chili peppers. It’s as satisfyingly searing as it looks, but they’ll adjust the heat upon request.
59 W. 37th St.; (212) 213-2810, CafeChinaNYC.com
https://nypost.com/2022/04/08/the-5-best-new-nyc-restaurants-katsuya-fasano-and-cafe-china/ Katsuya, Fasano and Cafe China