To get everyone through the dog days of summer, we've asked our readers to tell us about a favorite, somewhat oddball restaurant, bar, or place of note that perhaps exists mostly off the radar. Please send in further recs to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beacon, 25 W. 56th St., Midtown
Now eleven years old, Beacon has flown mostly under the radar since it received two stars from William Grimes in 1999. Nestled on the restaurant-saturated midtown block that is also home to Má Pêche, Beacon is easy to overlook. The space is very large, and I have never seen it anywhere near full, but it is divided into several smaller rooms and doesn’t feel cavernous. The chef, Waldy Malouf, does a rock-solid job with a menu that emphasizes the open-fire oven: about a dozen items are Wood-Roasted this or Wood-Oven that (the oysters are a specialty). The restaurant’s outlook seems to be stable; still, Beacon offers more specials than a lot of places in its class. A happy-hour special at the bar, offering a burger, fries, and two drinks for just $20, is one of the better bargains in midtown. The burger is thick and juicy, the fries just about perfect.
—Marc Shepard of NYJournal
Winebar, 65 2nd Ave., East Village
Mt three favorite things about Winebar are: the large outdoor seating area, the delicious assortment of flatbread pizzas, and the friendly waitstaff that always remembers you. They also have a large list of European wines by the glass. It's a perfect place in the East Village for a glass of wine after work, as it is never too crowded but never empty. Also perfect for a first date. Casual, sophisticated, and dwarfed by some of the bigger name bars in the area.
Cafe Henri, 1010 50th Ave., Long Island City
Café Henri is great because of everything its not – it’s not expensive, it’s not trendy, it doesn’t serve text book, Jacques Pepin-style French food, nor innovative, cutting edge anything. But this little corner café in Long Island City is a true neighborhood gem, one that serves consistently fresh, satisfying if sloppy takes on French cafe classics. The staff there is friendly and doesn’t care if you order two or three courses, or just sit over a bowl-sized latte for an hour shooting the shit and flipping through the month-old copies of Vanity Fair from their magazine racks. Cafe Henri also rocks a very good, no funny-business brunch that rivals any in North Brooklyn/South Queens.