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 inspired by the diaries he kept about produce while working at Bouley: 28 Seventh Avenue South (Morton Street), 212-255-1795, almanacnyc.com.
About 15 vegan items are served at Ravi DeRossi’s little spot, including assorted toasts with toppings and spreads, and roasted cauliflower with capers, raisins and pine nuts. The chef, Andrew D’Ambrosi, gets really creative with a potato cannelloni with pine nut ricotta and merguez eggplant. The counter at the open kitchen is a 23-foot stretch of petrified wood: 130 East Seventh Street (First Avenue), 646-922-7948, avantgardennyc.com.
Whitewashed barn board walls, steel paneling and an elaborate overhead maze of raw crisscrossed beams give new personality to the space that was the restaurant SD26. “Can you believe it?” asked the chef and owner John Doherty, pointing out the dramatic ceiling. The design, by Mark Zeff, who is also a partner, includes tables for larger parties in roomy alcoves and a chef’s table stationed to one side of the bright open kitchen. The resolutely farm-to-table menu executed by the chef, Matteo Bergamini, who was at SD26, only hints at Italy with an array of charcuterie, a black fig pizza, and porchetta with broccoli rabe. Mushroom toast, lobster salad and grilled corn salad are on the savory side of the menu. Sweets include an apple pudding with buckwheat croutons. There’s a long list of sparkling wines and Champagnes, some served at the compact oyster bar near the entrance: 19 East 26th Street, 212-265-5959, blackbarnrestaurant.com.
Broken Spoke Rotisserie
The chef Ed Carew keeps his rotisserie loaded with chickens, heritage pork and other meat, which he calls the “beast of the week.” He also serves forcefully seasoned starters and sides, like crispy prawns with spicy peanut sauce and pickled coleslaw: 439 Third Avenue (30th Street), 212-889-6298.
The notion of interpreting Italian food using American ingredients as much as possible, first broadcast by Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone, has been picked up by others, including Hillary Sterling at Vic’s and at the new Pecora Bianca. Now the chefs Justin Slojkowski and Dave Gulino, formerly of Box Kite, are following suit at Bruno, baking Neapolitan-style pizzas in a wood oven and serving pastas and vegetable dishes. The owner, the restaurant designer Demian Repucci, has set up the narrow room with 56 seats at a long dining counter and tables opposite it. Tasting menus are on the horizon: 204 East 13th Street (Second Avenue), 212-598-3080, brunopizzanyc.com.
Fast-casual vegan is a far cry from the usual portfolio of ESquared Hospitality, with its signature BLT Steak restaurants. But this is a showcase for the chef Chloe Coscarelli, a determined vegan chef on television and in cookbooks. Her vegetable burgers share the menu with salads, noodles, grain dishes and even sweet cookies-and-cream nut milk ice cream made with kale: 185 Bleecker Street (Macdougal Street), 212-290-8000, bychefchloe.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.
The English chef Jason Atherton, who has a tidy empire in London with outposts in Dubai, Singapore, Shanghai and Hong Kong, and a few Michelin stars as well, has landed in New York. He is the executive chef for the restaurant at the New York Edition, a boutique hotel group created by Ian Schrager in partnership with Marriott International. “I’m not doing a London restaurant here; it’s a New York restaurant,” Mr. Atherton said. The hotel occupies the landmark clock tower, designed to look like the Campanile in Venice, that overlooks Madison Square Park and was originally part of the Metropolitan Life headquarters. A collection of mahogany-paneled executive offices has become three dining rooms, a gilded bar and a billiard room. Despite the elaborate décor, the rather unassuming Mr. Atherton said that he will serve “tavern food” at bare tables, like stewed lamb shoulder for two. (Less humble are a version of Peking duck with cherries; king crab with dashi jelly; and whole roasted Dover sole.) “It’s not precious food,” he said. “It has to be delicious.” The pastry chef is Sebastien Rouxel, formerly of the French Laundry and Bouchon Bakery, who is now, like Mr. Atherton, working with the restaurateur Stephen Starr: New York Edition, 5 Madison Avenue (24th Street), 212-413-4300.
For more than 30 years, Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant empire has acquired a global footprint without so much as a pause in Manhattan. That is about to change. Next summer, he will open one of his Cut steakhouses near the World Trade Center. In an email, he wrote that though he had opportunities to open something in New York over the years, “the location was not right, or we as a team were not ready.” Now that he has a team that can move to New York, “I know the timing is right,” he wrote. Like most of the other six editions of Cut, the New York restaurant will be in a hotel: the new Four Seasons. It has an enormous menu, including more than 10 steak options and more than two dozen sauces, toppings and sides: 99 Church Street (Barclay Street).
The new owners, including Linden Pride, formerly of AvroKO, have spruced up the 100-year-old cafe with green leather banquettes, but the space retains a vintage Italian Greenwich Village look with its pressed tin ceiling. The menu is now mostly small plates: beef tartare, burrata, flatbread and cold pasta salad. Italian aperitifs dominate the cocktail list:79-81 Macdougal Street (Bleecker Street), 212-982-5275, dante-nyc.com.
After six years in a shoe box with fewer than 20 seats, Amanda Cohenhas moved her vegetarian restaurant from the East Village to the Lower East Side, more than tripling the space and adding a bar. “Actually having a bar means people do not have to wait outside,” she said. An expanded menu includes new larger-format presentations to be shared, like a cabbage hot pot. Some dishes are Asian-inflected, like mapo eggplant with baby bok choy. The space, in a broad storefront with signs you can’t miss, is done crisply in black and white, with a lipstick-red banquette. Some seats, at the counter, face the open kitchen:86 Allen Street (Broome Street), 212-228-7732, dirtcandynyc.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.
THE FILLMORE ROOM
Liran Mezan’s makeover of Moran’s restaurant, in Chelsea, has Art Deco touches and a vintage bar: 146 10th Avenue (19th Street), 212-921-7772, fillmoreroom.com.
Christopher Miller, a veteran of the Bobby Van’s Steakhouse chain, has named his new steakhouse for the iconic cuts: rib-eye, tenderloin, strip and T-bone. They’re the specialties of the house: 1076 First Avenue (58th Street), 212-204-0008, fourcutsny.com.
The chef Gabriel Kreuther is about to open his namesake restaurant about two years after leaving the Modern, where he earned three stars. Diners will get a taste of the Alsatian-born chef’s blend of American food and the specialties he grew up with. Dishes on the relatively short prix fixe menu include a sturgeon and sauerkraut tart, foie gras and rabbit terrine and a rack of lamb in hay. “I’ve been here 20 years, so I have put both together,” he said. Mr. Kreuther (shown in the restaurant) does not plan a tasting menu. He is also serving tarte flambée in the lounge area, which is separated from the airy dining room by old Vermont timbers that suggest Alsatian architecture. Another reference to Alsace is the wallpaper showing storks, a bird that nests in the region: 41 West 42nd Street, 212-257-5826, gknyc.com.
This West Village newcomer from the veteran restaurateur Jorge Guzman offers an unfussy setting with white accents and a plant-filled skylight. His chef and partner, Mario Hernandez, mixes the Mediterranean with Latin accents: risotto with yerba-mate-braised short ribs and grilled octopus with anticuchera romesco: 64 Downing Street (Varick Street), 212-604-0500, gardenianyc.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.
Florian Victor Hugo, a descendant of that Victor Hugo, is opening what he describes as a modern brasserie. But in mom-and-pop fashion, he will do the cooking, and his wife, Michelle, will run the restaurant. The front room’s sleek bar and neutral gray walls are accented by lipstick-red banquettes. Past it is the kitchen, and a larger dining room that is also done in shades of gray. Mr. Hugo, who cooked at Brasserie Cognac, will tweak brasserie favorites with dishes including escargots in ravioli, fresh tuna on a tarte flambée, lobster in a light curry, and a molten chocolate cake with a lavender seasoning: 132 East 61st Street, 212-832-0500, maisonhugo.com.
Mother of Pearl
Ravi DeRossi has turned what was his lavish Gin Palace, which closed for repairs last year, into a restaurant that serves tastes of Hawaii, Korea, Japan and other Asian locations, with tiki drinks: 95 Avenue A (Sixth Street), 212-614-6818, motherofpearlnyc.com.
Greenmarket produce and rotisserie meats issue from a big open kitchen in this redo, by the Gerber Group, of the space that housed Todd English’s Olives. Metal, leather, wood and glass are used throughout; a painting pays homage to Washington Irving. David Nichols’s menu features lamb tartare with harissa and radishes, duck confit potpie and bucatini with chopped porchetta: 201 Park Avenue South (17th Street), 212-677-0425, irvingtonnyc.com.
This serene replacement for Oscar’s Brasserie in the Waldorf Astoria delivers Chinese haute cuisine with occasional French touches and formal service. Uncommon specialties represent several regions of China: mackerel with smoked soy dressing, sea whelk consommé, barbecued Berkshire pork neck with a glaze of the Waldorf’s rooftop honey, and litchi-smoked crispy chicken. Of course, there will be Peking duck. The restaurant, in the hands of the Waldorf’s culinary director, David Garcelon, and the executive chef Kong Khai Meng, also offers raw bar selections including lobster, Tasmanian sea trout and oysters, with assorted dressings and condiments. The main dining room, done in black and ivory with plenty of gilding on cherry-blossom wallpaper and a mural of horses, is centered on a dramatic chandelier. There is also a lounge, a private dining room and serious wine, sake and cocktail service: 540 Lexington Avenue (50th Street), 212-872-4913, lachinenyc.com
La Pecora Bianca
The locavore movement drives more American restaurants than Italian ones. But at his new place, Mark Barak wants to affirm a connection with local growers and minimize imports. He has even insisted that the chef Simone Bonelli, who worked with Massimo Bottura in Modena, Italy, use New York and Pennsylvania grains to make his whole wheat chitarra, red fife tagliatelle and emmer maccheroni. Turning his back on Illy and Lavazza coffee, he is having Toby’s Estate do an Italian roast in Brooklyn for the menu. The restaurant goes from morning to late night. A long Italian-style coffee bar that starts with breakfast and becomes a wine bar by late afternoon commands one side of the airy room, with tables and an open kitchen opposite it. Aperol spritzes are dispensed on tap, as is a private-label rosé from Italy, not New York. Mr. Barak said that having Eataly close by and sharing the building with the new Rizzoli bookstore has reinforced his sense that the neighborhood is acquiring an Italian accent. The restaurant’s name means “white sheep”: 1133 Broadway (26th Street), 212-498-9696,lapecorabianca.com.
LE FRENCH DINER (VV)
Le French diner is the type of restaurant everyone wishes they had just down the street: it’s comforting, delicious, and unique. The menu offers a mix of classic French staples and inventive takes on Escoffier classics, all served in an unpretentious manner.
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.
Maria Loi, the Greek celebrity chef who last summer closed her Upper West Side restaurant, Loi, has bounced back with this new project, her exuberance undiminished. “Here the food is more original, my food,” she said. “New Yorkers are much more sophisticated than I was told,” she added, referring to her advisers at Loi. Her chef de cuisine is Arno Mueller, a holdover from the Austrian restaurant Seäsonal, which occupied her new location. He’ll serve scallops with lamb bacon, red mullet with chicory, and mussels in white wine with Greek saffron. The narrow space, half the size of her last restaurant, is decorated simply, with panoramic photographs of the Gulf of Corinth brightening the walls: 132 West 58th Street, 212-713-0015, loiestiatorio.com.
Blue-and-white Portuguese tiles pave one wall in George Mendes’s latest, a homage to the Portuguese food of his heritage. “There will be sardines, bacalhau gomes de sa, caldo verde and natas,” he said, hitting some of the classics of the cuisine. He also plans to serve a cataplana, the round copper casserole often filled with clams and sausage that is typical in Portugal. There are beers galore, some Portuguese (Lupulo is Portuguese for “hops”), and the wines are all Portuguese, including ports and Madeiras. An enormous bar for drinking and dining fills the center of the high-ceilinged room, and an open kitchen anchors the rear: 835 Avenue of the Americas (29th Street), 212-290-7600, lupulonyc.com.
Massimo Sola, the chef at this branch of Mamo Le Michelangelo, a restaurant in Antibes, France, tosses in an occasional nod to Provence. A classic salade niçoise and stuffed vegetables are on his basically Italian menu. Vintage movie posters, a nod to Cannes, dominate the room: 323 West Broadway (Grand Street), 646-964-4641,mamonyc.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.
Poke and Spam, staples of the Hawaiian table, are rare in New York, but three partners who worked at Per Se are filling the gap. Led by Chung Chow, a chef who grew up in Honolulu, they offer a refined take, with Spam tortellini and mochi-crusted fluke: 128 First Avenue (St. Marks Place), 646-892-3050, noreetuh.com.
Brian Kim and Tae Kyung Ku, natives of Seoul, South Korea, who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and worked at Bouley and Gramercy Tavern, take a creative approach to Korean cooking in their intimate spot. They serve delicate rice flour crepes with the components of bibimbap for guests to assemble at their table; use sous-vide egg yolks and soy sauce to season beef tartare; and toss preserved ramps with buckwheat noodles: 119 First Avenue (Seventh Street), 646-767-9050, oijinyc.com.
When Tim and Nancy Cushman opened O Ya in Boston in 2007, it was a different take on Japanese food for that city, with big-ticket omakase tastings based on Mr. Cushman’s personal approach. Now, they have brought an edition of their restaurant to New York. The gracious room, with a long counter and tables, combines rough brick, satiny wood and well-calibrated lighting. Mr. Cushman, who worked in Japan, offers two tasting menus, at $185 and $245. Both menus start with sushi, segue to some inventive sashimi, a mushroom dish, then wagyu and lastly foie gras. There are also East-meets-West desserts like custard with yuzu sherbet, matcha and fruit: 120 East 28th Street, 212-204-0200, oyarestaurantnyc.com.
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.
For Upper West Siders bemoaning the recent closing of Ouest and the area’s general scarcity of ambitious restaurants, this opening is well timed. It’s the latest entry from the Bromberg brothers, who own eight Blue Ribbon establishments around the city, and has the earmarks of the quintessential neighborhood restaurant. But its fried chicken, served only on Sunday and Monday evenings, may make it a destination. The large menu includes cheese plates, pâtés (and chopped liver), raw-bar items, latkes, rotisserie meats and a burger, but none of the sushi served at some other Blue Ribbons. “We’re going back to our roots: French, but also what we grew up with, like prime ribs at Grandma’s house,” said Eric Bromberg, who owns the restaurant with his brother, Bruce. You enter a spacious dark-wood bar area, with tables; a couple of steps lead down to the big windowed dining room. There’s an open kitchen where the chef, Martin Brock, works behind glass: 20 West 72nd Street, 212-787-5656,theribbonnyc.com.
Michael Chernow, a founder of the many-tentacled Meatball Shop, now has a place to call his own, and the focus is on fish. “There’s a lot of good seafood swimming locally, and I wanted to take advantage of it in a basic way,” he said. The subtext? No salmon or red snapper. A blackboard in the airy white storefront lists local fish like hake, porgy, flounder and sea robin. A wooden spoon hanging alongside the name indicates that it’s on the menu that day, ready to be seared and served in a bowl over greens and quinoa with a sauce. Fish tacos, a few sandwiches (including one beef burger) and dishes like curried mussels are also produced in the open kitchen. The wine list is sourced from coastal areas:390 Broome Street (Mulberry Street), 212-730-6005, seamores.com.
After a night of boozing, there are stranger things to wake up to than a leather bag with half a mutton burger tucked inside, but that’s just one of the many possibilities Seamstress brings to the table. One-half lounge, one-half bar, topped with a dash of vintage general store, the new Upper East Side watering hole marks another neighborhood retreat from The Gilroy’s Steve Laycock and Josh Mazza, who together are helping rebrand the Upper East Side’s nightlife options. Behind the bar, Pam Wiznitzer oversees a list of nearly 50 classic cocktails — plus, one from cocktail historian David Wondrich, thrown in for good measure — while Will Horowitz of Ducks Eatery is taking care of the kitchen: 339 East 75th Street; 212-288-8033
John McDonald has added this hotel restaurant with coastal Italian fare to his SoHo holdings, which include Lure Fishbar and B&B Winepub. The chef, Jordan Frosolone, formerly at Hearth and Momofuku, will serve dishes like sausage meatballs dressed with honey; grilled swordfish with artichokes; and fennel tortelli with pine nuts and fried sardines. Mr. McDonald has also opened the Gordon Bar on the second floor: Sixty SoHo Hotel, 60 Thompson Street (Spring Street), 212-219-8119, sessantanyc.com.
The food of Spain and the Mediterranean arrives on small plates at this bright Greenwich Village place. The chef is Willy Ono, whose résumé includes Noma and Mugaritz: 127 1/2 Macdougal Street (Third Street), 212-598-1809, cocinadelsol.nyc.
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.
New York’s first fine tempura tasting restaurant is owned by America Ootoya, part of a Japanese restaurant company. Diners can devote a couple of hours to eating delicately fried seafood and vegetables, one modest piece at a time, just as it is done in Japan: 222 East 39th Street, 212-986-8885, tempuramatsui.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.
This cross-cultural burger group, which has two successful outlets in Beijing, is opening its third, in Midtown. The signature patty is piled with sautéed mushrooms, Swiss cheese and Chinese oyster sauce. Bradford Thompson, who worked with Lever House and Miss Lily’s, is the consultant here: 307 Fifth Avenue (32nd Street), 212-213-3938, unclesamsburgers.com.
Danny Meyer’s restaurant in the new downtown home of theWhitney Museum of American Art puts the visitor on display, through floor-to-ceiling glass walls anchored with industrial cables, all designed by Renzo Piano. Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern’s executive chef, and his chef de cuisine, Suzanne Cupps, deliver a seasonal menu — spring onion and bacon tart; smoked clams with cucumbers and yogurt — that strives for lightness. The restaurant and its sheltered outdoor seating are open to the public, without museum admission. For those who have paid, the museum’s top floor features a jewel: Studio Cafe, an informal restaurant serving soups, salads and open-faced toasts. An outdoor terrace has rooftop and High Line views: Whitney Museum of American Art, 99 Gansevoort Street (Washington Street), untitledatthewhitney.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.
Proof that the Upper East Side is not prepared to abandon elegance in favor of salvaged barn siding comes with this palatial new restaurant from Michael White and Ahmass Fakahany, partners in the Altamarea Group. With well-mannered neutral-toned surroundings and white tablecloths, they have turned to France for inspiration instead of their usual Italy. Mr. Fakahany pointed out that several French restaurants, including Voisin and Le Périgord Park, have anchored the space, and Mr. White has cooked in France with Roger Vergé and Jacques Chibois. “I can now use lavender, thyme and bay, ingredients that I don’t get to use often,” Mr. White said. Though the name refers to a region of Provence, the food is not Provençal. The menu is broad brasserie-style, offering sections devoted to chilled seafood, vegetables, starters, fresh pastas, main courses and a list of daily specials like blanquette de veau (Tuesdays). The executive chef is Jared Gadbaw. The bar area on the mezzanine has been widened, and a stunning vaulted ceiling has been uncovered; the light fixtures suggest Art Deco. The dining room on the upper level is somewhat less formal-looking than the main room and is accented with cushy dark-sea-green leather chairs: 100 East 63rd Street, vauclusenyc.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.
With pedigrees that include Per Se, Charlie Trotter and Locanda Verde, Christian Ramos, the chef, and Reed Adelson have opened this American spot. Check out the framed menus from world-famous restaurants: 647 East 11th Street (Avenue C), 212-658-0152,virginiasnyc.com.
This new restaurant and bar strikes several of the right notes. It’s on the Greenwich Village block that’s fast becoming the newest restaurant row, and joins a growing list of places whose food looks to the South. It has a spirits, craft beer and cocktail focus. The owner, George Garrity, knew Old World whiskeys well, but then became acquainted with the bourbons and Tennessee styles in America. This is his first restaurant, created with Blackwood Hospitality, a restaurant consultant and developer: 35 West Eighth Street, 646-726-4476, whiskeysocialnyc.com.
The Contra team (Jeremiah Stone, Fabian von Hauske and Thomas Martin) has collaborated on this spot, a few doors from the mother ship, for à la carte dining and drinking, not just tasting menus. The brief food lineup goes from small plates like radishes with seaweed butter and beef tartare, to more substantial fare, including a $75 steak for two. Biodynamic wines are poured: 142 Orchard Street (Rivington), 646-964-5624.