Galen Zamarra closed Mas (La Grillade) a few weeks ago in response to neighbors’ complaints about wood smoke from the grills. With some cosmetic changes, he is turning it into this hyper-seasonal restaurant inspired by the diaries he kept about produce while working at Bouley: 28 Seventh Avenue South (Morton Street), 212-255-1795, almanacnyc.com.
The uptown version of the Greenwich Village restaurant that closed is now in business, with the chef and partner Josh Eden in the kitchen: 791 Lexington Avenue (62nd Street), 212-935-1433, augustny.com.
Named for the Italian midcourse, this two-story restaurant has more than a dozen pastas on the menu, seasonal and made in-house. It’s Andrew Carmellini’s latest, with Sal Lamboglia, 29, as the chef and a partner: 325 Bowery (Second Street), 212-220-9100, barprimi.com.
A somewhat awkward space that has challenged more than one restaurateur has been reconfigured and done in bold black and white. The chef, David Standridge, who was at Market Table and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, has a menu that highlights vegetables as much as proteins:10 Downing Street (Avenue of the Americas), 212-675-4350,cafeclovernyc.com.
CAFFÈ DEI FIORI
Daliso Gulmini, a native of Bologna, Italy, has opened this Upper East Side restaurant that is already attracting some boldface names, enough to give Sette Mezzo down the block some competition. The chef, Giovanni Tenace, has a menu that often looks to the sea, with salmon carpaccio, sautéed clams, octopus alla parmigiana, tagliardi with bay scallops and clams, and a $64 Dover sole meunière. For those who don’t prefer fish, there are steaks and chops, including veal Milanese (listed on the menu as orecchio di elefante di vitello — literally, an elephant ear). Andrea Nanni, formerly at Casa Lever, is a managing partner: 973 Lexington Avenue (71st Street), 212-327-3400, caffedeifiorinewyork.com.
The innovative Mexican chef Enrique Olvera is opening his New York restaurant with a contemporary look and a menu that veers away from tradition. “Too often Mexican food is perceived as casual and inexpensive,” he said. “I also love the tradition but like to do my own thing.” His shopping list will take him to Union Square as much as possible, he said. The menu is frequently changing and à la carte, with no prix fixe tasting as at Pujol, his Mexico City restaurant that is ranked among the world’s best. Two dishes that are likely to appear on the menu are mussels atop a Russian salad and duck carnitas. “We’ll adapt to the ingredients and to our customers,” he said. “But Mexican food has to go beyond the clichés, the way Italian has.” He is splitting his time between New York and Mexico and has put one of his sous-chefs, Daniela Soto-Innes, in charge of the kitchen, and has assigned the management side to the other one, Mariana Villegas. The deep gray setting is enlivened with warm, burnished white oak furnishings and provides a backdrop for a selection of drawings by the muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros. The front half of the space is a bar and lounge with a cluster of cafe tables, with a dining room beyond. Shelves along the walls hold service items like glassware and wine. In the basement kitchen, there’s a state-of-the-art mill for grinding the heirloom corn for use in tortillas and other preparations: 35 East 21st Street, 212-913-9659, cosmenyc.com.
700 Fifth Ave., Peninsula Hotel. 212-956-2888
The chefs Jeremiah Stone and Fabian von Hauske will turn out ever-changing eclectic tasting menus. Expect dishes like sweetbreads with almond milk and pickled cherries, and beets with hazelnut and yogurt. Even the wine list will be revised on a regular basis: 138 Orchard Street (Rivington Street), (212) 466-4633, contranyc.com.
Rich Torrisi, Mario Carbone and Jeff Zalaznick have dished out Italian-American food “their way,” as Sinatra would have it, at Torrisi Italian Specialties, Parm and Carbone. Now they’re tackling French in the same spirit. Mr. Torrisi, who said he “did that old-school thing in Lyon” when he worked for Daniel Boulud, admires the great dishes like duck à l’orange but contends that “they need a breath of fresh air.” So he’s restyling them with bolder flavors, putting skewered chicken giblets on the frisée salad; adding cuttlefish with ink to the “bouillabaisse noir”; and making a classic tarte au citron with North African preserved lemons. “The dishes will be true to their spirit, not fusion,” he said. The room, decorated with bold vintage pieces, evokes the flea markets on the gritty edge of Paris, not the Place Vendôme. An open kitchen is on view from the bar and lounge: Ludlow Hotel, 180 Ludlow Street (East Houston Street), 212-254-3000, dirtyfrench.com.
ELI’S TABLE (Eater)
Eli Zabar’s Taste gave itself a makeover and reopened in early December as Eli’s Table, right next door to Eli’s. There are several large party round tables and a some seats along the bar and at ice cream tables for smaller parties. The menu, which touts dishes like papparadelle with lamb bolognese and black bass with artichokes, chili and olives, is seasonal and much of the ingredients come from the grocery store. Don’t overlook the wine menu, which is sprawling and offers some excellent bargains. 1413 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10028 (77th Street), elistable.com.
EMPELLÓN AL PASTOR
Focused? Perhaps obsessed would be a better description for this addition to Alex Stupak’s Empellón empire. Insisting that the simplest projects are the springboards to greatness, Mr. Stupak is making tortillas and filling them with pork roasted on a vertical spit. He will bend his rules enough to serve other types of tacos, but the main event is al pastor with cilantro, onions and pineapple: 132 St. Marks Place (Avenue A).
Named for an herb essential to Mexican cooking, this place from the French restaurateur Jacques Ouari infuses Mexican fare with French touches. It’s a redo of his brasserie, the Pitch & Fork: 1606 First Avenue (83rd Street), 212-988-1704, epazotenyc.com.
At this gastro pub where comfort food dominates, there are a few surprises, like Thai-style fish cakes. The menu also includes onion soup, crab cakes, mac and cheese, and fried chicken: 1479 York Avenue (78th Street), 212-988-5153, flightnewyorkcity.com.
Shelly Fireman has several restaurants near Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. With this venture, he has moved downtown, to the former Wildwood Barbeque space off 19th Street. He hopes it will attract a different clientele for his brand of jazzy Italian food, including the lavish antipasto for which some of his restaurants are known. There is a 12-seat burrata bar, with twists on the mozzarella specialty like carbonara-style filled with egg, and a 200-seat dining room. Dishes include osso buco lasagna, carrot-polenta fries and pizza. The chef is Brando de Oliveira. There is plenty of marble, tile and leather, and imposing bronze statues that Mr. Fireman created in Tuscany, where he has a home: 225 Park Avenue South (19th Street), 212-869-8800, floriannyc.com.
At this do-over of Goat Town, Nicholas Morgenstern — best known for his innovative ice creams — has tapped Bobby Hellen of the Cannibal to turn out hearty fare: 511 East Fifth Street (Avenue B).
Jonathan Wu, who worked at Per Se, brings creativity and innovation to Asian cooking at this restaurant on the edge of Chinatown. Thus you might sample a terrine made of fava bean purée stoked with chile oil, gnudi dumplings fashioned from bean curd, and a stir-fry of bean sprouts and squid served over rice. One of Mr. Wu’s partners, Wilson Tang, owns Nom Wah Tea Parlor. The fairly narrow room is lined with tables and small booths. The wine list offers some pleasant surprises: 22 Orchard Street (Canal Street), 212-219 8785, fungtu.com.
THE GILROY (VV, TONY)
The Upper East Side gets a spot for indulging in a late-night plate of oysters and a sophisticated drink. Highlights include a Negroni bar, high-wire molecular drinks and down-to-earth food like chicken potpie: 1561 Second Avenue (East 81st Street), 212-734-8800, thegilroynyc.com.
HAPPY ENDING (GrubStreet)
With art dealer Max Levai, Oliver Stumm of Café Select spent a year reworking the old, crusty, and DJ-friendly Broome Street lounge Happy Ending — it was the somewhat shady Xie He “Health Club” and massage parlor before all that. The new restaurant replacement retained the name but now sports a natty neon flamingo logo, designed by Los Angeles artist Brendan Lynch. Francis Gabarrus, who held a Michelin star for six years and cooked for Thomas Keller and Joël Robuchon, devised a menu conspicuously devoid of swooshed and smeared sauces, obscure foraged shoots, and whatever sort of dehydrated crumble we all expect from Michelin types these days. The restaurant’s new owners call it “comfort food,” and whatever it is, it’s delightfully anti-trend: 302 Broome Street, happyending-nyc.com.
HUNT & FISH CLUB
Despite the name, there is no taxidermy on the walls. A dressy room lit by a modern chandelier is done in gathered linen, mirrors and 50,000 pounds of marble. The chef, Jeff Kreisel, leavens the steak menu with plenty of seafood. Richard Leach is the pastry chef: 125 West 44th Street, 212-575-4949, hfcnyc.com.
IL MULINO PRIME (Eater)
The original Il Mulino on West Third Street in Greenwich Village spawned an international chain. Its next offshoot, in a space that once housed T-Bar Soho, will be a steakhouse. But don’t expect the usual dark wood and leather setting for rib-eyes and cabernet. Instead, you’ll find a nod to Hemingway, with white papier-mâché taxidermy (rhino heads and such) and stenciled quotes on whitewashed brick and plaster walls. A section of the mostly Italian menu is devoted to slabs of marbled beef and bison: 331 West Broadway (Broome Street), 212-226-0020, ilmulino.com.
This rustic new spot with a lush garden draws inspiration from Acadia and Louisiana, with hominy grits alongside lobster confit, caraway ployes (a kind of pancake) and poutine. The drinkmeister Eben Klemm, whose father made the copper tabletops, is in partnership with Ken Jackson, a founder of Herbsaint in New Orleans. The chef is Jeremie Tomczak: 424 East Ninth Street (First Avenue), 646-755-8088,kingbeenyc.com.
Mark Grossich, who owns the Campbell Apartment and other bars, has opened this lounge specializing in well-made cocktails, wines and spirits. Small plates of mini-burgers, charcuterie and deviled eggs can also be had: The Court, 130 East 39th Street, 212-592-8844, hospitalityholdings.com
LINCOLN SQUARE STEAK
To avoid the typical steakhouse look of polished wood and leather, the owner, Bruno Selimaj, and Don Evans, the consultant, have evoked the gaslight era, with crystal chandeliers, deep rose walls and four fireplaces. There are lamb dishes, plenty of seafood and enough beef to satisfy the carnivores, all prepared by Giovanni Calle. The wine list includes 30 bottles under $30: 208 West 70th Street, 212-208-875-8600, lincolnsquaresteak.com.
THE LITTLE BEET TABLE
This is a dressed-up version of Franklin Becker’s casual Midtown spot, Little Beet. It has waiter service, rustic décor and gluten-free food and drink: 333 Park Avenue South (24th Street), 212-466-3330, thelittlebeettable.com.
Andrew Carmellini and his partners emphasize vegetables and grains in this addition to the Smyth hotel. They also run Evening Bar on the opposite side of the lobby: The Smyth TriBeCa, 85 West Broadway (Chambers Street), 212-220-4110, littlepark.com.
The centerpiece of this Midtown branch of a Greek restaurant in Roslyn, N.Y., is an indoor pool that changes color. The spacious dining room, done in white, takes on the reflected glow of the pool. The chef, M. J. Alam, was at Milos for 13 years and he has an array of Greek specialties on the menu. There is seafood by the pound, to be grilled or baked, and meat options, too: 45 Rockefeller Plaza (51st Street), 212-858-9200, limaniny.com.
Mark Henegan, who opened Madiba in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, in 1999, has created a larger version of the South African restaurant in Harlem. Like the original, this one is based on a shebeen, a kind of laid-back beer hall in the townships. The generous white space with colorful accents has a selection of South African wines and a fine survey of South African dishes. The menu includes Durban samosas, ostrich carpaccio, Mozambique prawns, South Atlantic lobster tails, several curries, South African-style sausages and bobotie, a Cape Town Malay dish of curried ground meat with rice and a custard topping. The restaurant has been installed in part of MIST (My Image Studios), a catering and event space. Mr. Henegan also runs the adjacent Kalahari Cafe: 46 West 116th Street, 212-828-6478, madibaharlem.com.
Nick Anderer, the chef at Maialino, and Terry Coughlin, the manager, went to Danny Meyer, whose Union Square Hospitality Group owns the restaurant, with a proposal for a new pizza restaurant. “We wanted to expand on what we do at Maialino, and he was very excited about the idea,” Mr. Anderer said. It’s something of a first for Mr. Meyer, who said his company had never had a chef in charge of more than one place. “It’s a way of encouraging entrepreneurial aspirations that young chefs have,” he said. “And at the same time, they can also draw on Union Square resources for this project. But it also represents an evolution in my thinking about how I run this company.” He said he no longer felt he had to control every aspect. Marta will open in August, with a wood-fired grill and a couple of wood-burning ovens for thin-crust pizzas, Roman style, which Mr. Anderer said would be “the heart of the restaurant.” Antipasti and family style dishes will fill out the menu. The restaurant, at the King & Grove Hotel, will also provide room service: 29 East 29th Street.
THE MILLING ROOM
Luis Gonzalez has turned his Corvo Bianco into a seasonal American restaurant. Scott Bryan is the chef and a partner, and Victor Salazar is managing partner. A brick oven has been added to the bar area, and muted grays tone down the airy, spacious dining room: 446 Columbus Avenue (81st Street), 212-595-0380.
There is a touch of England in this dining and drinking spot with dishes like short-rib cottage pie: 1754 Second Avenue (90th Street), 212-369-1900, themiltonnyc.com.
Alexandra Pollet’s new French bistro pushes many of the right buttons with salmon rillettes, country terrine, skate grenobloise, lobster vol-au-vent and coq au vin. The setting is intimate with brick walls and, yes, tablecloths: 181 East 78th Street, 646-863-3465, monte-carlo.nyc.
THE NOMAD BAR (Eater)
Here’s a thorough look around The Nomad Bar, Daniel Humm and Will Guidara’s sexy new space right next to their hotel/restaurant. With a long bar, two levels of seating, and a menu all its own, this is truly a whole new restaurant. The menu includes bar foods like fried chicken, a bacon-wrapped hot dog with black truffle, a dry-aged burger, and several tartares, while the space is outfitted with a soaring mirrored bar, plump leather booths, moody lighting, and a working fire place: 10 West 28th St.
This was an Upper East Side staple for 28 years, with a light, airy setting and a comfortable Italian menu. It closed last year. Now it has been reborn with a new owner, the Line Group, which also runs Sons of Essex and other downtown spots. The interior is darker, woodier and more rustic. The new chef, C. J. Bivona, who was the chef at Yardbird Southern Table & Grill in Miami Beach, has installed an ambitious Italian menu with dishes like eggplant beneath a mascarpone “cloud”; duck meatballs with duck cracklings; porchetta from the rotisserie; and udon carbonara. For more conservative tastes there are pizzas and classics like beef braciole with Sunday gravy; chicken scarpariello, and various parms: 1356 First Avenue (73rd Street), 212-772-8800, petalumarestaurant.com.
This pricey Chinese restaurant, a branch of the seasonal one in Water Mill, N.Y., has moved into the Chin Chin space with a lavish menu that features Peking duck and other dishes that echo the menus at Mr. Chow and Philippe: 216 East 49th Street, 646-964-5878,redstixs.com.
In the course of designing the Whitney Museum of American Art near the High Line downtown, the architect Renzo Piano created a glass box to house a restaurant. Major Food Group, the organization behind Parm and Carbone, opened Santina there on Monday. Focused on coastal Italian cuisine, the restaurant is named for a grandmother of Mario Carbone, the chef in charge. He is turning out seafood and vegetables inspired by areas as diverse as Liguria, Amalfi, Tuscany and Venice. “We’re on the coast of Manhattan here, so it’s appropriate,” said Jeff Zalaznick, a partner. Among the specialties are chickpea flour crepes called cecina, house-cured anchovies, mozzarella grilled in a lemon leaf wrap, and whole porgy. The room, outfitted with a rectangular bar, has 100 seats at white marble tables beneath five lavish Murano chandeliers. A blue-and-white Julian Schnabel installation of broken pottery, representing the sea and rocks, dominates one wall: 820 Washington Street (Gansevoort Street), 212-254-3000.
Nick Kim and Jimmy Lau, who were at Neta, are opening their own omakase restaurant after a successful run with a pop-up in the Hamptons this summer. Both chefs will be at the 20-seat sushi counter. The 12- to 15-course set menus may include Dungeness crab salad, grilled scallops, sushi and sashimi: 47 East 12th Street, 212-228-6088,shukonyc.com.
James Mallios has turned the floor above his restaurant, Amali, into this separate dining room with an open kitchen and communal tables. Family-style dinners are served Wednesday to Saturday, with five courses. Wines, for those who want them, are poured generously. Dinners are $95, $150 with wines. There is one seating at 8 p.m., with a chance to meet the chef and have an aperitif at 7:30: 115 East 60th Street, 212-339-8363, amalinyc.com.
STATE GRILL AND BAR
This brand-new restaurant looks as if it opened the same day as the Empire State Building, which houses it, with its Art Deco dining room fashioned with honeyed buffed sycamore wood, stainless steel and curved patterns on the floor. The chef Octavio Becerra presides over an expansive open kitchen and produces a modern American grill menu that includes cauliflower steak: 350 Fifth Avenue (33rd Street), 212-216-9693, stategrillny.com.
Well-designed, chef-driven restaurants are multiplying on the West Side north of Lincoln Center, making places like Dovetail and Ouest less of an exception. Tessa offers a menu by the executive chef Cedric Tovar that may make it a destination. Consider grilled rouget, razor clam escabeche, venison carpaccio, cavatelli with rabbit and ramps, duck breast sharing the plate with duck lasagna, and a côte de boeuf for two. “My approach is mostly Mediterranean,” Mr. Tovar said. And there are enough herbs, olives and sauces like romesco to prove it. The brick-walled space is defined by the clever use of iron security gate material throughout, including on the ceiling. There is a ground-level bar area and a 75-seat dining room up a few steps: 349 Amsterdam Avenue (77th Street), 212-390-1974, tessanyc.com.
Huy Chi Le, Jon Neidich and Jean-Marc Houmard, who are involved in Indochine and Acme, are trying their hands at yet another cuisine, Mexican. “We wanted to do something fun and casual to attract a younger crowd,” Mr. Houmard said. Their brand of Mexican delivers Asian seasonings, a natural for the chef Alex Lopez, who is Mexican and worked at Kittichai. “We saw inventive Mexican starting to happen,” Mr. Houmard said. The menu features mash-ups like duck wings with Asian spices, shrimp tempura tacos with fermented black beans, pork neck marinated in coconut milk and five-spice churros with yuzu and dulce de leche. The space, on two levels, features communal tables and shiny wood paneling: 151 Essex Street (Stanton Street), 212-219-2000,tijuana-picnic.com.
Thomas Chen, a chef who worked at Commerce and Eleven Madison Park, has set up shop in the East Village with an American menu that hints at his Chinese heritage: octopus with homemade XO sauce and oxtail spring rolls with bone marrow. The décor is artfully scavenged: 536 East Fifth Street (Avenue B), 646-833-7811, tuomenyc.com.
This gastro pub features trendy, reasonably-priced American fare like asparagus with a five-minute egg, slow-roasted carrots with yogurt, and tuna poached in olive oil: 1004 Second Avenue (53rd Street), 646-726-4760, theupsidernyc.com.
This is a salute to Northern California from the chef Justin Smillie and the restaurateur Stephen Starr. It’s a generous space with leather banquettes, checked table runners, an open kitchen and a menu that features rustic food. There’s an Italian accent, a holdover from Mr. Smillie’s tour at Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria: 345 Park Avenue South (26th Street), 212-686-1006, uplandnyc.com.
VIA CAROTA (Zagat)
Jody Williams of Buvette and Rita Sodi of I Sodi have joined forces to open a rustic Italian restaurant nearby that’s bigger than their other ventures and has a generous bar. It’s named for a street in a Tuscan village: 51 Grove Street (Bleecker Street), 212-255-1962, viacarota.com.
Steakhouses are scarcer than white tablecloths in the West Village, which should make this textbook example a welcome addition. The interior is the usual wood and leather, but more rustic than polished. The menu covers seafood and meats in depth and includes requirements like spinach Caesar salad, crab cakes, creamed spinach and hash browns. A 30-seat garden will beckon in the spring: 302 Bleecker Street (Seventh Avenue South), 212-727-7463, villageprimenyc.com.
There is no shortage of drama at this New York branch of a global, London-based Japanese restaurant group. (Founded by Rainer Becker, it has a restaurant in Miami Beach.) Giant stones are stacked along one wall of the sprawling two-story space, and huge steel and wooden beams are punctuated by inserts of glass brick, leather, concrete and metal filigree. There are booths, tables, a lively robata grill and bar and a sushi bar; upstairs are a bar and lounge. Signature dishes include a rice hot pot with wild mushrooms, roasted lobster with shiso-ponzu butter, and spicy beef tenderloin with sesame, red chile and sweet soy sauce. “It’s not traditional Japanese,” said Sven Koch, the company’s chief executive. “Japanese is too subtle. We have a European, Western sensibility”: 261 Madison Avenue (38th Street), 212-544-9862, zumarestaurant.com.