The Hit List: New NYC Restaurants To Try Right Now guide image


The Hit List: New NYC Restaurants To Try Right Now

We checked out these new restaurants—and loved them.

When new restaurants open, we check them out. This means that we subject our stomachs and social lives to the good, the bad, and more often than not, the perfectly fine. And every once in a while, a new spot makes us feel like Vin Diesel at a tank top sale. When that happens, we add it here, to The Hit List. 

The Hit List is where you’ll find all of the best new restaurants in New York. As long as it opened within the past several months and we’re still talking about it, it’s on this guide. The latest addition might be a buzzy new restaurant with caviar priced by the bump. Or it might be an under-the-radar lunch counter where a few dollars will get something that’ll rattle around in your brain like a loose penny in a dryer.

Keep tabs on the Hit List and you will always know just which new restaurants you should be eating at right now.

​​New to the Hit List (9/18): Little Grenjai, Sailor


Little Grenjai

Usually, we give new restaurants some time before we visit, so they can get into the swing of things, or have their gas turned on. But then we saw the krapow smashburger at Little Grenjai, and the whole idea of patience went right out the window. It’s topped with American cheese, holy basil, lemongrass-y giardiniera, and a spicy-sweet special sauce, and if this is what they can do without gas, we look forward to slurping khao soi here once they’re fully open. For now, swing by this small, Thai American restaurant in Bed-Stuy for coffee, burgers, congee, and Thai tea cake.

Sailor looks like a seaside cottage, smells an ocean, and sounds like a mellow afterparty with an R&B soundtrack. From the folks behind Fairfax and Joseph Leonard, the Fort Greene restaurant is the hottest nautical-themed opening of the year, and it’s the perfect place to bring someone who likes fish and sharing. Try the mussel toast, mackerel pâté, and big chunk of flaky cod in a pool of soup. There are also some worthwhile non-seafood options like crispy potatoes, thinly sliced pork, and profiteroles that arrive dripping in caramel.

When a pop-up like Chrissy’s abandons their “off-brand home oven” for a brick-and-mortar, you might wonder if the charm has worn off. It hasn’t. They’ve been doing pre-orders for pick-up at their new East Village home since July, and it’s been impossible to secure a pie. Eventually, we got so desperate that we offered some guy a pint of ice cream from Superiority Burger in exchange for a pepperoni slice. Thankfully, he obliged. Chrissy’s Pizza will be fully open soon, so hopefully we’ll never have to pre-order (or approach some guy) to acquire some of NYC's best new pizza again.

The latest spot at the Chelsea Hotel, Café Chelsea is one celebrity sighting short of a certified scene. At this art deco brasserie, you might end up sampling a bite of your neighbor’s maitake au poivre while at the next table over, a pair of And Just Like That extras work through one entire artichoke and one branzino each. Who else is here? A family sharing post-swim burgers, tourists eating steak frites, Chelsea elders, and you, along with a friend who delights in prime NYC people-watching. Reserve a table in one of three mirror-filled rooms, or walk in for a drink and a bite at the bar. Breakfast is a calmer affair, where you can eat a decadent pain perdu while eavesdropping on hotel guests conversing in various languages.

The first best thing about Wizard Hat Pizza is that they make naturally leavened pies that are crispy, chewy, and excellent. The second best thing about Wizard Hat Pizza is that you can actually get your hands on a pie. This pop-up is now operating regularly out of a space in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, and you can order ahead for same-day pick-up or delivery. But if it does get harder to secure a pizza, we won’t be sad—we’ll be relieved that these pizza wizards are getting the recognition they deserve. On your first visit, pick up a spicy pepperoni pizza, and don't skip the caesar salad.

It’s a boutique. It’s an aperitivo bar. It’s yet another Williamsburg establishment from the folks behind Misi and Lilia that’s going to be annoyingly hard to get into. Open from 11am-10pm, Misipasta is an Italian grocery store and casual small-plates spot where you can pick up a pound of housemade mafaldine, or sit at a table on a spacious back patio and enjoy a few snacks alongside a negroni. The menu is brief, with a single pasta and a few little dishes like smoked sardines and stuffed roasted peppers, all of which are predictably fantastic.

The four-course, $105 tasting at Roscioli, a famous transplant from Rome, feels like an event. You’ll get satisfying Italian classics like burrata, tiramisu, and hard-to-forget carbonara, as well as spot-on wine pairings, which are included in the price of the meal. Your server will present everything like they're doing a TED Talk, but one that takes place in a charming basement space with velvet seating and enveloping leather booths. Come here for a memorable date, and be sure to return for more pastas after September, when the upstairs alimentari opens with an à la carte menu.

Yes, I Sodi still serves its signature lasagna, and that lasagna still comes with roughly 20 sheets of pasta and bits of grated parm the size of shoestring fries. This iconic Tuscan restaurant recently moved around the corner to a new location on Bleecker, and the changes are mostly aesthetic. The food remains simple and perfect, but the space now has twice as much seating, as well as a secluded back patio. Once the weather gets less sweaty, grabbing a table out there will be like trying to win the Powerball.

When you walk into Port Sa’id, the second location of a Tel Aviv restaurant, you feel like you’re intruding on a block party that started several hours ago. The cavernous room in Hudson Square looks like a renovated warehouse, and all the way in the back, you’ll see a pair of wooden speakers large enough to sleep in. Bring a few friends, park yourself at a table covered in brown butcher paper, then listen to a vinyl playlist while you eat the sort of quirky, unpretentious Israeli food the chef behind Miznon has become known for.

Justine’s isn't just another exclusive West Village bistro backed by an UES family. It's a serious little restaurant, with seriously good French- and Filipino-inflected food, but also one with actual personality. If words like crudo and carpaccio cause you panic, try the generous versions here, made with things like translucent green tomato slices, or fresh lychees and wasabi tobiko. Pair them with some old world wines—it's pricey but worth it for an unstuffy, grown-up evening with your soon-to-be-significant other, or your friends who appreciate the finer things.

New York City needed a place where you could feel like you were at your grandma’s house and drink a Passover Seder-inspired margarita. The people at Gertrude’s recognized this, and rectified the situation. In addition to a salty marg shaken with parsley, this Prospect Heights spot from the folks behind Gertie serves eggplant schnitzel, a burger on challah, and juicy pickle-brined roast chicken. All of those things come with your choice of fries or latkes. Both are great options, but the latkes sure are crispy.

Libertine is doing some of the best new French food in the city right now, and word’s spread about the perfect pink duck and smoky jambon persillé at this West Village restaurant. Their obsessive Francophilia is on full display—a huge Serge Gainsbourg poster gives “just got back from abroad”—but once you try the butter flown in from Normandy, you’ll appreciate the dedication. Reservations are tough, but walk-in sometime between 5-6pm and you should be able to get a bar seat.

Superiority Burger started as a humble (aka tiny) East Village shop hawking veggie burgers that caused lines around the corner. They've since gotten a glow-up, moving into what looks like a diner-themed disco in the old Odessa space. The quinoa-based burgers are as good as ever, but the expanded menu is truly unique. We have a hard time choosing between the perfect twice-baked russet and the East Village It Girl of baked potatoes, a white sweet potato topped with chopped pickles and labneh. Decision paralysis truly sets in when it’s time for dessert. Superiority comes from former Del Posto pastry chef Brooks Headley, so anything sweet here kinda rocks, but the psychedelic tapioca pearl pie is by far the coolest-looking dessert in the case.

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photo credit: Nicole Franzen

The Hit List: New NYC Restaurants To Try Right Now guide image