There are almost as many new restaurant openings this fall as there are falling leaves.
The dire warnings of 2020 – dining out was dead, life would forever be limited to takeout and delivery in foam tubs – now seem silly.
The new course has something for everyone. The biggest kitchen names are back – Vongerichten, Boulud, Carmellini, Samuelsson, Forgione, Bloomfield.
Ditto for owners with Grand Slam track records including Simon Oren, John McDonald and Simon Kim. Great debuts for sushi, mezze and wine enjoyment abound.
So grab your calendar and prepare to make some reservations.
An outstanding debut
Four o’clock five (425 Park Ave., Jean-Georges.comOctober) — by far the most significant restaurant opening of the year — brings together great French chef Jean-George Vongerichten, a talented culinary director (Per Se veteran Jonathan Benno) and a Norman Foster-designed setting in the new office tower at 425 Park Street.
It aims to do for the Plaza District what Daniel Boulud’s “Le Pavillon at One Vanderbilt” did for the Grand Central area: bring food frenzy to the seedy neighborhood. The vegetable-rich menu features French, American, and Italian dishes with Asian accents. But it’s neither vegetarian nor vegan like Daniel Humm, who was originally chosen for the tower, wanted.
The project is being closely watched not only by JGV’s staunch supporters, but also by New Yorkers hoping Midtown gets its mojo back.
It will be hard to miss. Through the windows at the corner of Park Avenue and East 55th Street shines a first floor cocktail lounge with a 45 foot ceiling and a mezzanine dining room with 80 seats and a large open kitchen.
Big names, big ambitions
JGV isn’t the only celebrated chef cooking up something exciting.
Daniel Boulud is elegant Cafe Boulud (100 East 63rd St., CafeBoulud.comNovember) – a canteen for the Oberstadt glitzy, but hospitality for all will be revived in a new place.
The menu brings back the four original categories that define the eatery – La Tradition, La Saison, Le Potager and Le Voyage – and is overseen by chef Romain Paumier, who is currently executive sous-chef at Restaurant Daniel and a veteran of the restaurant Original.
The menu features French-Italian dishes like lobster cannelloni with caviar Cafe Carmellini (250 Fifth Ave., CafeCarmellini.com), the latest from Chef Andrew Carmelini (Locanda Verde, Lafayette).
April Bloomfield will be opening her first store – a Brooklyn bistro called sailor (228 Dekalb Ave., Sailor.nyc) – since the Spotted Pig closed in early 2020 following allegations of harassment against owner Ken Friedman.
The city’s reigning pasta queen, Missy Robbins, is also expanding her empire with the recently opened restaurant misi pasta (46 Grand St., Brooklyn; MisiPasta.com) a casual market, cafe and aperitivo bar. Stock up on fresh fettuccine or malfadini to cook at home, or grab a pouf and a negroni.
Marc Forgione also takes steps and reopens forgione (30 Hudson St.; MarcForgione.com; September) in the old Brushstoke room; Marcus Samuelsson, who has an untitled project at the Perelman Performing Arts Center (251 Fulton St., PACYNYC.org, September); Jose Andres, whose Spanish-Japanese tasting menu, the bazaar, I’m staying at the Ritz Carlton NY Nomad (35 West 28th St., TheBazaaar.com); and prolific Mexican-American chef Julian Medina, who will be joining soon Soledad (1825 Second Ave.;SoledadNYC.com) to his squad.
“It’s a tribute to my grandmother, but I’m modernizing her recipes,” Medina said.
Third Place Winner
Drinks dominate some debuts.
Everyone’s favorite Serafina opens its first Serafina Restaurant and Wine Bar (110 University Square, SerafinaRestaurant.comSeptember) where, in addition to pizza and pasta, there is also an extensive selection of wines, mostly Italian.
Renowned facial plastic surgeon Andrew Jacono and his son AJ, a novelist, will premiere library (54 Mercer St.Bibliothequenyc.com, October) a Soho hangout where 10,000 books share a space with 2,200 bottles of impressive wines – Chateau Petrus, anyone? – and original artworks by Henri Matisse, Damien Hirst and Roy Lichtenstein.
Rockefeller Center continues to expand its offerings. The Tribeca cocktail lounge Smith and Mills will soon have a downtown location (30 Rockefeller Plaza; SmithandMills.com; October) with a raw bar and shared plates like chilled crab with tomato dashi.
On the other side of the East River, bar56 (53 Water St., Bklyn; Bar56Dumbo.com) has just opened in a landmark building under the Brooklyn Bridge. The menu features creative cocktails, 56 wines by the glass, and dishes like grilled lamb neck with spiced yogurt.
Better off Med
Sticking to the Mediterranean diet will be easy for you this fall.
Restaurateur Simon Oren and chef/partner Ari Bokozva, who have had a hit at Dagon, will be back in force acadia (101 West 57th St.; AcadiaNYC.com; October), a two-story beauty with an open kitchen, a Taboon oven, and dishes like vegetable rotisserie and foie gras skewers.
Bravo top chef finalist and former Kyma chef George Pagonis is opening his own eatery. Paros (211 West Broadway; September), with his brother Nicholas. Expect an extensive range of fish – including seafood imported from Greece.
A large selection of Greek wines lures Stafili wine cafe (222 W.Broadway, StafiliWineCafe.com), which just opened a second location in Lower Manhattan.
Now at Flatiron, an upscale Turkish restaurant nar (34 E. 20th St., NarRestaurant.nyc) has just opened and serves stylish interiors and dishes like “Sultan’s Bliss” – smoked eggplant caviar and lamb shank
“Our food is more delicate and complex than most Turkish restaurants, and some of the recipes date back to Ottoman times,” said partner Andy E. Arkun.
Expensive omakase joints have been all the rage in recent years, and the trend continues.
Keiji Nakazawa, one of the world’s most legendary sushi chefs, is coming to NYC Sushi Sho (3 East 41 St. Sushi-Sho.com),
You will also be fighting for your hard-earned omakase dollars Bar Miller (620 East 6th St.; BarMiller.com; Sept.), an 8-seater from the team behind Mecca and Rosella in the East Village; the Kaiseke-inspired Tsubame (11 Park Pl.; no website, now open), where luxe ingredients like caviar and truffles are paired with fish from Japan; And Enso (117 Berry St., Brooklyn; October), where the 16 courses are served up by Chef Nick Wang, the man behind longtime Williamsburg favorites AKO And amami.
Bangkok Supper Club (641 Hudson St., BangkokSupperClubNYC.comSeptember) The Fish Cheeks team say their latest venture is inspired by the Thai capital’s late-night food scene.
Coqodaq (12 East 22nd St., Coqodaq.comNovember) – Simon Kim is continuing his hugely popular Korean steakhouse, Cote, with a Korean fried chicken concept in a space designed by David Rockwell.
Delmonicos (56 Beaver St., theoriginaldelmonicos.comSeptember) – The city’s oldest steakhouse is reopening its original FiDi location after being closed for three years.
John McDonald Untitled project (201 Park Ave S.) Veteran restaurateur (Lure, Bowery Meat Company) will open a seafood restaurant at the W Hotel Union Square.
Naks (201 First Ave., September) The men behind Indian hits Dhamaka and Masawala & Sons will open their first Filipino restaurant.
Noksu (49 West 32 Street, NYC, NoksuNYC.comSeptember) This 12-seat restaurant serves a 15-course Korean tasting menu – down a flight of stairs in the Herald Square subway station.