One of the many great aspects of Manhattan is the constant pipeline of great new restaurants. One of the challenges is finding the time to try them all without abandoning your neighborhood or work-dinner faves. High class problem for sure! Here’s five relatively newcomers to the NYC culinary scene that are worth the visit. And with so many locals fleeing Manhattan on the weekends, July and August might be your chance to snag that never-available Saturday at 8:30pm table.
4 Charles Prime Rib
Located in an understated Greenwich Village townhouse, 4 Charles Prime Rib has an exclusive “supper club” feel. A dozen or so tables comprise the entirety of the dining room; these more than compensate for a modest bar as a starting point for cocktails and gateway to a memorable meal. Whether you start light with a crisp white or vodka, or go straight to a red or brown liquid- you’ll eventually want your liquor to hold up to the main attraction of 4CPR: meat. The Prime Rib, finally back in Mad Men vogue, and the signature burger (made famous at the owner’s Chicago staple Au Cheval) will satisfy any Paleo craving and make your “vegan for the summer” friends weak-kneed. As any New Yorker knows, the food and buzz gets you to come, but the service gets you coming back. On my visit, our waiter pulled up a chair and talked us through the menu- we’d have been very happy if he stayed for the meal! It was a great experience and I would highly recommend putting this on your must-go list. (Note: reservations for 4CPR are only available on the RESY app, and are released 30 days in advance. Set your alarm for midnight T- 1 month to snag a good seating, or suck it up and go at 5.30 like I did).
To the despair of the Masters of the (Midtown) Universe, the iconic Four Seasons restaurant closed last year. Fear not. Under the care of the culinary wizards behind Carbone, the Major Food Group has taken over the space. While The Four Seasons operated one restaurant with two “rooms”- the parlor-like yin of the Grill Room versus the light yang of the Pool Room, MFG will cleave the two into separate entry eateries. Named (in venerable homage) The Grill and The Pool, The Grill is operational while The Pool is slated to open in Fall 2017.
The Grill is, well, the Grill Room, largely unchanged from its prior incarnation. The bar still buzzes with the after-work cocktail crowd, and the mid-day meal is still as much a power scene as always. Why change what works? I sat at a table on the terrace overlooking the restaurant, with its “above the scene but hearing it all” view of the action below. The food was superb- I (again) had the prime rib (clearly enjoying a renaissance)- which did not disappoint. Well-mannered, highbrow service and a great meal- sounds like a winning combination yet again.
Le Coq Rico
This upscale French bistro, Chef Antoine Westermann’s first outpost in the US, is a love letter to succulent simplicity of the roasted chicken. It’s fast become the neighborhood “go-to” for me and my husband. While offering such indulgent classics as Foie Gras Terrine, and Seared Chicken Livers, we’ve found the path to bliss is “kiss” (keep it simple, stupid!): roasted chicken, frites, salad, and a crisp Sancerre. While this gives short mention of the varieties of American birds from which to choose, the pleasure and attentive (and all French?) staff will guide you to the right selection. Go early, go late, snag a table (it’s been discovered so plan ahead), or try your luck at the upfront bar or at the counter overlooking the well-orchestrated kitchen. Just go, it’s a gem.
The Beatrice Inn, hardly a newcomer, is in the midst of a well-deserved flourishing under the guidance of Chef/Owner Angie Mar. Their website appropriately describes it as an “edgy, underground version of the traditional New York chophouse.” The menu offers decadent cuts of meat, the tour de force being the 120 Day Aged Whiskey Tomahawk Ribeye. Wow. From clean, salty oysters, Hamachi to die for, a Dry Aged Burger (to rival Minetta Tavern??), Cote de Boeuf, to the denouement of the Warm Apple Dessert- Beatrice Inn delivers an ethereal meal. Make it a priority to get here.
Switching to delights of the sea, KazuNori is the hand-roll only little brother of the Sugarfish family. This new outpost, in the ever-explosive Nomad food hub, features sushi-bar only seating- and no reservations. The cheerful and attentive staff keeps the pace quick, delivering made to order sushi hand-rolls on an as-prepared basis. You’ll love the warm rice, crisp seaweed wrap, and fresh fish in quick bites (maybe two?), then expectantly await your next delivery. Choose from a 3/4/5/or 6 hand-roll “set” featuring such classics as salmon, toro, and bay scallop. Figure around five rolls for a completely satisfying meal here. And the added bonus? Utterly affordable and a no-tipping policy. Dinner for 2 with a drink each was about $75. I’ll be back!