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Happening Right Now: New Restaurant Intel

You already have the Hit List, our regularly updated guide to the best new spots in NYC. But based off Team Infatuation's recent restaurant experiences, here’s our newest intel:

10/10/16 Update

  • Cocoron, the fantastic soba spot with two locations within a few blocks of one another, is not new news. But despite its high rating, and the fact that it’s always busy, we still feel like it doesn’t get all the attention it deserves. This is the absolute sleeper hit of restaurants for impressing out of towners (or anyone) - the soba is ridiculously good, the atmosphere is really fun, and for somewhere around $30 a head you’ll have an excellent, unique experience.

  • We’ve been hitting the mean streets of Midtown a lot lately in preparation for something major coming your way soon. In the meantime, you should know about one of our best recent discoveries: Pickler & Co. It’s a “craft deli,” which means it’s a deli that wishes it were in Brooklyn. But for Midtown, it’s great. If you’ve reached your breaking point with that salad place you go to four days a week, give Pickler & Co. a try.

  • Our most trusted source when it comes to new restaurants? You. Which is why, when we received multiple emails about Gristmill, we knew we needed to get there. And after hitting it recently, we can easily say this place is the best thing to happen to central Park Slope in a long time (we know that because one of us used to live two blocks away). The food coming out of the wood-fired oven is a little bit weird (in a great way) - think cornbread served inside a corn husk and black pepper whipped cream on top of a corn & blackberry ice cream sundae - the service couldn’t be nicer, and the back patio should be taken advantage of before it’s too late.

  • We recently revisited Navy, one of those "cute little restaurants" that doesn't get talked about much. It's on a side street in Soho, and feels like a cousin of The Smile. The seafood (the menu is mostly seafood) was all tasty, if not life-changing, and it's overall a great, pretty easy-to-get-into spot for that last minute four-person dinner next Friday for which you forgot to make a reservation. Caveats: it's loud, and they don't have hard liquor.

  • Casa Neta is a new Flatiron tequila & mezcal bar that also serves Mexican bar snacks. We checked it out recently, but you shouldn’t feel the need to do so. We were disappointed by this place all around.

  • Another new restaurant we're underwhelmed by: Fish Cheeks, the Noho Thai seafood place. Despite being all about its fish, everything we ordered came covered in sauce. And the sauces don’t do quite a good enough job of masking the overall bland food.

  • Our search for great, casual neighborhood sushi spots is well documented - but we’re always looking for more. So we checked out the classic (open since 1978) Greenwich Village place Japonica, and left pretty surprised we’d never been before. Not because it's going to blow your mind, but because it’s a good spot to know about if you find yourself in the Union Square area often. Have a favorite casual sushi spot you think we should know about? Let us know by emailing us at

9/14/2016 Update

  • We just checked back in on ABC Cocina, and it’s in a much better place than its sister spot ABC Kitchen. The food is still great, the place is still packed, and the vibe kind of feels like a cross between Manhattan and Vegas - but it works well for a special occasion.

  • If you live in Williamsburg, or your commute back from work takes you through the Marcy J/M/Z, this intel is for you: Kichin, located under that subway stop, is an awesome little Korean place. This is a mostly to-go operation, but there are about five seats if you’d rather eat there. The Korean fried chicken and Bibimbap are standouts for dinner, and the rice ball filled with bacon, egg, and cheese is your new hangover buddy.

  • Still need to try Pasquale Jones, but really don’t want to risk a four-hour wait? The weekend lunch situation (at least right now) is still very under the radar. And during San Gennaro, they'll be doing a $30 lunch menu for the whole week, starting this Friday.

  • Speaking of ideal weather, here is something we cannot currently suggest you do: get ice cream on a Sunday night at Morgenstern's. Yes, the ice cream is awesome, but the lines and ordering process where you have to pay and then wait like ten more minutes for your ice cream, is too much to deal with on a hot day. We literally said the words, "We should have just gone to Red Mango." Which is saying something.

  • We hit up Nom Wah Tea Parlor in Chinatown for a random late night meal recently and found that the quality of dim sum has slipped a bit. It's still a fun throwback environment, but not the best dumplings in town. There are two other Chinatown spots we've discovered and really enjoyed as of late, though: Noodle Village, which has really solid soup dumplings and an incredible wonton soup, and Shu Jiao Fu Zhou, a super cheap hole in the wall with fantastic steamed dumplings.

  • Lighthouse Outpost, the new Nolita spot from one of our favorite casual dinner places, is not only extremely tasty, but also extremely useful. The food here is the healthy-ish, satisfying kind you probably want for lunch right now - but instead of the usual kale salads or avocado toast, there are more unique offerings like whole roasted eggplant with tahini and a pita stuffed with really fresh-tasting duck. Whether you work in the area or just find yourself there to shop sometimes, the very small but pleasant space is great for a quick solo meal. Right now it’s only open from 11am to 4pm, but they’re adding dinner soon. More to come on this topic.

  • We made it over to Zadie's Oyster Bar, in the old Terroir space in the East Village. The oysters come baked, broiled, fried, steamed, poached (and also raw, if you're a purist), with different interesting toppings like seaweed butter or fennel. There are some other bites, as well as a very solid happy hour from 5-7. Drink some sparkling wine while you're there.

  • And lastly, here are some new spots that have just opened (we haven't made it to any of these yet): King (Soho), TsuruTonTan (Union Square), Parm Brooklyn (Williamsburg), and Thursday Kitchen (East Village).

8/22/2016 Update

  • Atoboy is brand new, but we’ve already been three times. The $36/3 plate per person menu is a great concept, especially if you’re with some friends and you all order different things. The food is “modern Korean,” and the room is sort of like a big cement cafeteria. A cool one.

  • Faun is a new Prospect Heights restaurant run by some former Vinegar Hill House people, and that shows, in that it’s good. The menu is also similar, with simple pastas, some veggies, and some meaty things in the mix. Then again that’s the menu for most every restaurant in New York these days. Hit Gold Star for a few heady beers before or after.

  • The old chef from Sushi Dojo is now running his own four-seat, omakase-only outdoor sushi bar called Sushi on Jones, in Bowery Market, a new little collection of food stalls on the corner of Great Jones and Bowery. It's $50 for 12 pieces, and the meal is timed out to last exactly 30 minutes. The timing means that although there are only four seats, they can give you a precise time to return once you put your name down, and they can fit in a good amount of people per night. If you're really into sushi, the (relatively speaking) fairly reasonable price and novelty of the experience makes it worth trying once. Especially for the signature sushi piece - uni on top of seared wagyu beef.

  • There are many NYC places currently doing interesting things with meat-free food. But based on our initial visit, Ladybird, the new Greenwich Village vegetarian small plates spot, isn't yet one of them. The space feels overly formal and none of the food was memorable. We'll try it again in a few weeks.

  • Casa Apicii is the new Italian restaurant in the space where The Lion used to be, and it feels like somewhere you’d take your date before the prom. We’re still trying to figure out if that’s a good or bad thing. The food itself was solid, but there wasn’t anything we wanted to take to the bathroom and eat by ourselves. Also, the playlist was confusing.

  • We recently went back to The Black Ant and (we feel like old people for saying this), but wow that restaurant is very loud. Is that what we get for trying to eat in the East Village on a Friday night? What’s that? We can’t hear you. You’re going to have to speak louder.

  • The tavern attached to the main dining room at Delaware and Hudson is open and ready to receive a bunch of friends catching up over a quick bite. Because that’s what it’s good for. The room is plain and small, and they serve comfort food done up in special ways. If you want to eat a sloppy joe and still feel like an adult, this is the place to do it.

  • We hit the new casual seafood spot Seabird in Greenwich Village recently, and while nothing about it was wrong, we also weren’t super psyched about it. Its most apparent benefit is that it’s a real restaurant you can show up to in your gym clothes. But just because it’s seafood and you might be wearing stretchy pants doesn’t mean you should expect to eat healthily here - most things on the menu are fried or heavy on the butter/fat.

7/29/2016 Update

  • Looking for a spot for your birthday/small wedding reception/any other occasion requiring a killer party? Direct your attention Brooklyn Grange’s rooftop, located (somewhat confusingly) in Long Island City. The views of Manhattan are ridiculous, and you get to eat surrounded by real, live growing produce. The simple, home-cooked food is very pleasing as well.

  • We recently hit the ramen spot Momosan in Murray Hill. While these noodles aren’t going to change your life, the ramen is very solid - especially for a neighborhood that really needs good things. If you can sneak out of work, the lunch deal is also highly useful.

  • We’re a little conflicted about Sauvage, the new Greenpoint restaurant from the people behind Maison Premiere. The food is great, but the restaurant takes itself super, super seriously - if you don’t know anything about Gentian liqueur (we definitely don’t) or you don’t love being called “sir,” this might not be your spot.

  • Instead, if you’re in that neighborhood and looking for low-key drinks and food, we’d remind you about Nights & Weekends just across the street. It’s the bar owned by the Five Leaves people, and we’ve been hitting it for frozen margaritas, guacamole, and tacos lately.

  • We miss the original Perla. We’ve hit the new Perla Cafe a few times recently, and while the food is great, the space just doesn’t have the magic that the original one did. For best success, use it for brunch or lunch, when it's not as loud and the light shines in through the many windows.

  • There's a new Peruvian rotisserie chicken spot on the Lower Lower East Side, called Baby Brasa. It's run by a Peruvian model, who on occasion sits outside the shop shirtless, which is ridiculous. It's also not the reason we're telling you about this place. The reason we're telling you about it is that they serve really good rotisserie chicken and sandwiches. Add it to your casual LES eating rotation.

  • The Wild Son is a new Meatpacking restaurant from the people behind The Wayland, in the space that used to be El Colmado Butchery - right next to The Brass Monkey. It's a "healthy" place, but you can also get burrata on a piece of bread covered in jam. For now, it's only open from 10am - 4pm, so it's best used after a run along the highway, or if you're desperately searching for a decent brunch in the area. Otherwise, we're interested to see what happens here when they extend their hours to dinner and start serving booze.

7/12/2016 Update

  • If you’re the kind of person who gets excited about hidden bars, you should get Karasu on your radar. Walk all the way to the back of Walter’s in Fort Greene and you’ll find this Japanese cocktail spot. There’s Japanese food here, too, but most of the dishes are snack sized. For a perfect one-two punch, hit Karasu for drinks and bites, and follow them with the burger at Walter’s.

  • Tygershark sells coffee and surfboards, and also excellent, modern Korean food. If you’re looking for an awesome, funky new spot to try, this is it.

  • We may have found the best tacos in NYC, and they come from a truck in the back of a divey mezcal bar in Bed-Stuy called Chilo’s. Don't think. Just go.

  • Marlow & Sons is as fantastic as ever. We went recently and were reminded that this is still one of the best restaurants in Brooklyn.

  • By CHLOE's second location is officially open and serving vegan guac burgers, as well as new breakfast items, to the people of Flatiron. If you live or work around here and care about eating mostly healthy things, consider your life improved.

  • St. Anselm has always been a spot we depend on for impressing out of towners with the best $18 steak they’ve ever eaten. Which is why we were so disappointed to find that the price has now jumped up to $23. (If you care to know the history, the St. Anselm butcher’s steak was only $15 back in 2012.) Inflation’s a b*tch.

  • Annisette is a casual new French spot in Gramercy. Use it for your any occasion that requires drinking rosé outside in this neighborhood and you will be pleased.

  • We know this one isn’t exactly breaking news, but Thai roll-up ice cream is suddenly, truly everywhere. If you're unfamiliar, this creation involves frozen sweet cream mixed with toppings, then shaved into rolls, placed in a cup, and topped with more toppings. It’s like Cold Stone, but significantly more scientific. The original NYC shop, 10Below, opened last summer, but we’ve seen what feels like a dozen more places open around the Lower East Side and Chinatown in the past few months. If you’re wondering whether those lines are worth it, the ones we’ve tried have been interesting and fun, but not worth waiting in line an hour for.

6/22/2016 Update

  • If you live or work near Chelsea, get Dizengoff on your radar. It’s a new counter in Chelsea Market specializing in truly excellent hummus, plus great toppings and bread to go with. If you’re not already passionate about mashed chickpeas, Dizengoff might convert you.

  • Remember Rye? It was one of those original "cool Williamsburg restaurants." Not only is it still alive and well, but it's also serving an unbelievably good happy hour: weekdays 5:30-7:30pm, $5 Old Fashioneds and $5 cheeseburgers.

  • We recently ate at Le Coucou, a relatively fancy but not fussy new French restaurant in the Howard Hotel in Soho. The chef here owns Spring, a famous restaurant in Paris that we also love - and our first visit at Le Coucou was great, too. Consider using it for your next special occasion where serious food is a priority.

  • Still haven’t been to Lilia? Get on it, but not without a reservation. This place is still insanely slammed every night of the week. 

  • Lighthouse is our current favorite place for a weeknight meal in Williamsburg. Healthy-ish, affordable food (plus one really great burger), indoor/outdoor space, and affordable prices. More to come on this topic soon.

  • We’re in the business of planning perfect one-two punches, so here’s a new one for you. Start at The NoMad Bar - it's great for a ball out meal, and while they don’t take reservations, we haven’t had any trouble recently walking right in. For your second step: get tickets for the Magician at TheNoMad, which is cooler than it has any right to be.

  • Haven’t felt like trekking to Greenpoint on a weekend morning to try Frankel’s? It’s now open until 9pm Tuesday-Saturday, so you have no excuse.

  • The ice cream sandwich at Freek’s Mill.

6/1/2016 Update

  • The Llama Inn rooftop is officially open. Ceviche outside, anyone? (Just ignore the fact that you're basically under the BQE and you can almost pretend you're in Lima.)

  • Poke has been making its way into NYC over the last few months, but we had yet to find any really worth talking about. Until now. Meet Chikarashi, our current favorite poke spot in NYC. It's a single room on Canal St., with no chairs, so unless you want to eat standing up you'll have to take it to go. But it's worth it.

  • Barano is a new Italian spot right under the Williamsburg bridge that's strangely fancy, and the vibes are a little stuffy. As for the food: the pasta is great, the pizza is not. More to come as we figure this place out.

  • For those of you in Gramercy or Murray Hill, we've discovered a very viable, new-ish brunch option in your neighborhood: Midwinter Kitchen.

  • We recently made it to Insa, the Korean BBQ (and karaoke) spot in Gowanus. We can't say we sang any Whitney Houston songs, but we did eat some excellent Korean food. The next time your group suggests another pasta place for your Friday night dinner, steer them here instead.

  • Le Coq Rico is the American outpost of a popular Paris restaurant by the same name. The idea is that you pay around $90 for a roasted bird that they’ve hand selected from a fancy bird farm. Not sure that’s an idea we can get behind. The food is tasty, but the price tag is hard to swallow.

  • We found ourselves back at Wildair last week, and you should know that the food is only getting better. This is quickly becoming one of the best restaurants we have in this town.

  • But after revisiting Vinegar Hill House, we can't say the same thing. The pork chop has slipped a bit. Here's hoping it was just an off night.

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