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5 Restaurants to Try This Weekend in NYC

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Weekly inspiration for last-minute dining

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Saigon on 5th
Dining room of Saigon on 5th
Photo via Facebook

Welcome to your weekend planner, where Eater editors recommend restaurants, cafes, and bars — whether they’re new and hot or the old standbys. Check out 2018’s recommendations here.

December 29, 2017

For splendid Hell’s Kitchen Mexican: Twenty years ago, Mexican bodegas were popping up everywhere in the five boroughs, and they gradually extended their charms with taqueria counters set down smack dab in the middle of the groceries. Named after a mountainous locale in southern Puebla, Tulcingo del Valle was one of our first bodega taquerias and remains one of the best. The guacamole flows like a green river beside a perfectly fried chile relleno, stuffed with cheese and cloaked in a mild sauce, and also over the trio of chicken, beef, and cheese enchiladas. Nor does Tulcingo disdain to serve familiar Tex-Mex fare like nachos, burritos, and fajitas. Sit in the old bodega dining area for extra atmosphere. 665 Tenth Ave., Hell’s Kitchen Robert Sietsema

For an affordable, cozy Chinese-Indian meal in Williamsburg: The quiet space of The Chinese Club is littered with fun decor like a plant-coverd bike and prints of Marvel characters reimagined as people of color. The flavorful, well-priced food makes the restaurant worthy of a weekend hangout. Try the butter chicken or the vegetable Manchurian meatballs. The Hakka-Chinese-inspired dishes — with notes of both Chinese and Indian cuisines — will provide an interesting and fulfilling meal. 208 Grand St., Williamsburg — Serena Dai

For an alternative to pizza in Ridgewood: Tired of the usual round, tomato-cloaked pie? A rare sentiment to be sure, but when it strikes, turn to the burek. This Balkan pie, round like a spare tire on a small car, is made with thin, flaky pastry something like phyllo, then filled with spinach, cheese, cheese and spinach, or ground meat. Simple to be sure, but delightful to eat by the wedge, and share with friends. Burek’s Pizza in Ridgewood is a great place to get bureks, and despite the name, the place sells no pizzas. 6857 Forest Ave., Ridgewood — Robert Sietsema

For a warm bowl of noodles in Park Slope: A Vietnamese restaurant called Saigon on 5th opened in Park Slope earlier this year, and the brisket pho would be a stellar order for a chilly weekend. The meat is thick and tender, and the noodles have just the right amount of bite. It’s a nice addition to the neighborhood, which lacks Vietnamese food otherwise. 383 5th Ave., Park Slope — Serena Dai

For a drink in a sultry space on Saturday: The astrology-themed bar Mood Ring is just as delightful as it sounds — and perhaps less cheesy and even more charming. The Bushwick bar doesn’t serve food, but its drinks are on point, including an outstanding one named for actor Tony Leung with bourbon, egg white, and the sweet nuttiness of pistachio. It’s dark and a little moody, perfect for a drink earlier in the night; for those who want to extend the party, a back room turns into a dance floor later in the evening. 1260 Myrtle Ave., Bushwick — Serena Dai

December 22, 2017

For semi-discount sushi in a relaxed setting: Taking the place of Ushiwakamaru on Houston Street, Domodomo is all sleek blond woods, with a sushi bar hidden deep inside in a square windowed room with venetian blinds. The menu offers a pair of set meals at discount prices; the one that costs a little over $50 features 12 pieces of sushi, a hand roll, and a few small dishes that include housemade tofu, cubed yellowtail salad (with granola!), and a small bowl of hot udon. The idea being that you can’t fill up on sushi alone, and need supplements. The hand rolls are the best part. 138 West Houston Street, Greenwich Village — Robert Sietsema

For a dignified, but affordable brunch: The bustling, charming room at High Street on Hudson feels especially cozy in cold weather, and the windowed corner location makes for excellent brunch lighting. Fill up with the Meatpacker, a $16 platter with spicy coppa, roasted broccoli rabe, two eggs any way, Old Bay potatoes, and homemade malt sausage. Eater’s Ryan Sutton calls the dish “one of New York's finest carnivorous options.” 637 Hudson Street, West Village — Stefanie Tuder

For a hot hero on a cold day: M & O Market’s cavernous and half-lit interior bespeaks the era when factory and construction workers lined up for their humongous hero sandwiches. First on the list is one made with chorizo sausage from Lopes Meats in Newark, New Jersey, but there are daily specials, too. These include hot roast beef, hot reuben, and hot or cold meat loaf (the difference lies in a trip to the to the microwave) with mayo and ketchup. And when was the last time you had a rib-sticking meatloaf sandwich? 124 Thompson Street, Soho — Robert Sietsema

For a soon-to-be-gone grandma pie: Saturday, December 23 marks the last day of GG’s, an underrated Alphabet City pizzeria. Go one last time for the stellar grandma pie, before it becomes another location of Detroit-style pizzeria Emmy Squared. 511 East Fifth Street, Alphabet City — Stefanie Tuder

For a pristine set lunch in Koreatown: A trip to Koreatown usually involves barbecue, and for good reason, but for a different take on the varied cuisine, try a set lunch at Her Name is Han. At $20, it’s a shockingly affordable way to try a bunch of bites, like my favorite order: the mini seafood hot pot which comes with a deep bowl of spicy stew packed to the brim with crab, shrimp, mussels, clams, and more, and accompanied by creative banchan. 17 East 31st Street, Murray Hill — Stefanie Tuder

December 15, 2017

For dependable Italian that pleases crowds: Members of the see-and-be-seen crowd adore Lil Frankies, and to be honest they’re kind of onto something. The food is consistent (flavorful and unfussy), service is quick and nice enough, it’s delightfully priced, and the space is warm and welcoming. Start with a stiff negroni, get the calamari and spaghetti limone, and skip the pappardelle with lamb ragu. Bring a group of friends; bring visiting parents. 19 First Avenue, East Village — Patty Diez

For ’90s rom-com holiday vibes: Eating in Cafe Lalo — made famous in You’ve Got Mail — is always delightful, but especially so around the holidays. The bustling all-day cafe is perfect for catch-ups with friends, quick lunches, and casual dessert dates. 201 West 83rd Street, Upper West Side — Stefanie Tuder

For new noodles in Hell’s Kitchen: Chong Qing Xiao Mian is a small but dramatically decorated cafe that has lately materialized to fill a gap in the availability of Chinese noodles in Hell’s Kitchen. The signature dish, and also the hottest, is ma la noodles, featuring ground pork, scallions, and bok choy in an oily red broth that packs a real Sichuan peppercorn punch. Other bowls are not quite so spicy, showcasing such main ingredients as cowpeas, pork belly, roast duck, and beef viscera. Instead of the usual long and loopy wheat noodles, you can substitute peel noodles, and many of the apps are worth considering, too, including dumplings, spicy cucumber salad, and cold honeycomb tripe. 796 Ninth Avenue, Hell’s Kitchen — Robert Sietsema

For a campy, clubby night out: Tao Group certainly doesn’t need any more press, but I do think it can get grouped into the lame category of dining today. But I unironically went for a birthday party recently, and was reminded just why it’s one of the top-grossing restaurants in New York City. Does anyone do scene better than Tao Downtown? Don’t question it; just give in to the Cosmopolitans and rock shrimp lettuce cups, and dive into the kitsch of it all. 92 Ninth Avenue, Chelsea — Stefanie Tuder

For the return of a fried chicken favorite: Once it was so obscurely located that you needed a map to find it; now Charles Pan Fried Chicken has reopened near 132nd Street on Frederick Douglass Boulevard. Run by Charles Gabriel, this Harlem institution started out as a vending truck that parked various places around the neighborhood in the 1980s. Gabriel is one of the few chefs to cook chicken the old-fashioned way by frying it in cast iron skillets. The menu is filled out with soul food standards, supplemented with daily specials. The chicken is as tender and crisp as always. 2461 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, Harlem — Robert Sietsema

December 8, 2017

For innovative Italian in Brooklyn: In the old Chez Oskar space not far from Fort Greene Park, Evelina is nominally an Italian restaurant, but it’s really far more than that. The space is improvised, the tables are tight, and the room fills with strollers early in the evening, after which dating couples appear. The menu is divided into six sections, and many of the dishes are overtly playful. There are slices of delicata squash treated like tempura and planked with pecorino; a Sardinian pasta called mallorreddus offered in whole wheat form and topped with a pork ragu; and grilled veal tongue, as soft as a kiss, in a Milanese tonnato with a few shavings of black truffle. What a bargain at $15! And nobody skips the desserts. 211 Dekalb Ave., between Adelphi Street and Clermont Avenue, Fort Greene — Robert Sietsema

For a warming lunch with miso soup: Canal Street Market has a lot of dining options, but the one that stands out above the rest is Izakaya x Samurice. It serves drop miso soup in a paper cup — a warm beverage that’s a fine savory alternative to brone broth on a chilly day. Heartier dishes will be filling and satisfying, too. A beef sukiyaki rice bowl packs the right amount of sweetness in each bite of thinly-sliced meat, along with veggies that add a little bite and texture to the meal. Canal Street Market, 265 Canal Street, between Broadway and Lafayette Street, Chinatown/Soho — Serena Dai

For a day trip for Portuguese food: There are at least a dozen Portuguese barbecues in the Ironbound neighborhood, steps away from the terminus of the PATH train at Penn Station in Newark. These are generally barrooms that have a pit at one end, loaded with lump charcoal, with a hand-turned rotisserie. McWhorter Barbecue is the best, filling up with cops, military officers, and other uniformed services regularly. The main products of the pit are chickens and pork ribs, cooked to smoky crispness and presented on massive platters with yellow rice, french fries, and pickled vegetables. And you can fill yourself up for less than $10. 104 McWhorter St., at Green Street, Ironbound, Newark, NJ — Robert Sietsema

For a great cup of coffee and warm chocolate croissant on the UES: Stop by Le Moulin a Cafe. This Yorkville shop is near the Lycée Français de New York, so it's invariably full of French parents speaking French to their toddlers and tweens. Squint, and it's almost like you're in Paris. You will not find single-origin, pour-over coffee made by a person who takes themselves too seriously here; this is a solid cup of American-style black coffee ($3) with a full, round flavor that needs neither cream nor sugar. It's an ideal accompaniment to a chocolate croissant. The petite bundles of pastry filled with molten chocolate come out of the oven several times a day, so chances are you'll get a fresh one no matter when you pop in. 1439 York Ave., between East 76th and East 77th streets, Upper East Side — Daniela Galarza

For standout Burmese food in Brooklyn: I’m always looking for good Burmese food, so I was thrilled when my friend Sam casually mentioned wanting to try a place he’d heard about in Bensonhurst, as though this wasn’t news that should be received with total fanfare. The meal at Together was full of standouts: the obligatory tea leaf salad (common lore suggests that this was only added to the menu after droves of food enthusiasts visited the restaurant only to realize this was the only Burmese dish they actually knew), the curries, the mohinga — a fish soup with rice noodles — and a handful of other great noodle dishes, like the mixed noodle salad in which “mixed noodles” refers to the fact that there are three different types of noodles in the dish. Go there, bring cash if you can (cards are okay), and keep an eye out for the specials board, which recently boasted a truly fantastic egg curry. 2325 65th St., between 23rd and 24th avenues, Besonhurst — Sonia Chopra

December 1, 2017

For solid Greek before or after an UWS show: What if a Greek diner only served Greek food? This seems to be the case at Greek Kitchen, which lurks behind Lincoln Center in a corner space that also looks just like a diner, with a few nautical motifs like carved ship models. The food is superb, and though entrees are mainly in the $10 to $20 range, each includes massive amounts of food. Take the gyro platter, which includes a salad with feta cheese, heap of “Greek fries” that turn out to be skin-on and round, cup of tzatziki that goes well with both the fries and the meat, and generous heap of pork gyro, with pitas. Nothing better after a night of opera. 889 10th Ave, Upper West Side — Robert Sietsema

For a reliable lunch or dinner in Midtown: PizzArte is not new, but it’s mostly fallen under the radar. Open all day, and blessed with a spacious bar, it’s a good bet for weekday dinners and lazy weekend afternoon lunches. Get a pizza and have the charming Italian bartender mix up a bicicletta, a punchy Campari cocktail. Or, opt for a hearty bowl of tagliatelle that’s dressed with pork ragu. It tastes like whole pork chops melted into the fruity tomato sauce; it’s so rich you might not even need the sprinkle of cheese that’s ordered — but then again when did cheese make anything worse? 69 West 55th Street, Midtown West — Daniela Galarza

For tacos and fun cocktails in Brooklyn: Bed-Stuy dive bar-with-a-taco-truck Chilo’s is more of a summer hang than a winter one, but both the tacos and the frozen cocktails still make for a solid weekend hang now that the backyard has been covered up for the chill, too. Carnitas and some very fatty chorizo tacos go great with the frozen painkiller. 323 Franklin Avenue, Bed-Stuy — Serena Dai

For kick-ass fast food that nourishes: Let it be known that the entirely vegetarian, often vegan, massively minuscule, and delightfully subversive Superiority Burger in the East Village is turning out some of the most exciting food in NYC right now. The menu always has the tasty vegetarian burger and very sloppy “sloppy Dave,” but be sure to check out the specials menu for items like a swiss chard melt and potato coconut soup. And whatever you do, get the gelato. 430 East 9th Street, East Village — Stefanie Tuder

For French rotisserie across from Prospect Park: At Risbo, a giant rotisserie oven churns out huge hunks of spit-roasted meats, from which you choose one. The meat is cut, and five side dishes are provided at the discretion of the chef. Dishes are cross cultural, from hummus to candied sweet potatoes. Other side dishes are available, along with a rotisserie special or two, in my case a duck taco with enough meat to make two tacos. As for the main attraction: the lamb can be a bit tough, but flavorful; the half chicken nicely roasted, but not crisp skinned. A separate bar provides cocktails, wine, and beer, and seating is mainly at picnic tables. 701 Flatbush Ave, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens — Robert Sietsema

November 17, 2017

For stylish Sichuan in Flushing: There are a raft of new Sichuan restaurants in Flushing more expensive and stylish than their predecessors. Szechuan Mountain House and DaXi are examples of this phenomenon, and now we also have Alley 41. Located on 41st Avenue, it’s not really an alley, but a place that looks like an underground rock club from the ’90s, with concrete floors, rec room light fixtures, and tables and chairs scattered seemingly at random. The core of Sichuan standards is impressive, but there are also many invented dishes, including a wacky plate of mashed potatoes with spicy meat sauce, and another of sautéed cauliflower with whole Sichuan peppercorns — but skip the steamed okra with peanut butter. 136-45 41st Avenue, Flushing — Robert Sietsema

For an unfussy Brooklyn date night: If you’re a fan of restaurant/wine bar hybrids like Wildair, Four Horsemen, and Estela, I can safely say you’ll love Otway. Aside from the space being wildly aesthetically pleasing, and the staff so lovely you’ll want to move in, the food stands on its own as a reason to visit any day of the week. Snack on aged beef fat chickpeas throughout your entire meal, which should also include the carrots, raw venison, and most certainly a cocktail to start. If the kitchen is running anything special, just get it. 930 Fulton Street, Clinton Hill — Patty Diez

For Ukrainian comfort food in a classic setting: Open since 1954, Veselka is a true New York treasure. The Ukrainian diner serves up rib-sticking fare like pierogis, beef stroganoff, stuffed cabbage, and potato pancakes — the kind of food that feels just perfect come winter. Warm up and support a classic spot all at the same time, at any hour of the day, since it’s open all 24. 144 Second Avenue, East Village — Stefanie Tuder

For bargain Greek in Ridgewood: When was the last time you had a gyro? Gyro World specializes in them, with meat sliced from a rotating cylinder (pick pork or a beef-lamb mixture), then folded into a wonderfully spongy pita with raw purple onions, ripe tomatoes, and that garlicky white sauce called tzatziki. Go with a friend and share an order of oregano-dusted fries. Also available are souvlaki sandwiches and salads galore at this wonderful Greek café, or visit one of the other Queens branches in Bayside and Flushing. Imported Greek beers available. 66-57 Fresh Pond Road, Ridgewood — Robert Sietsema

For the most neighborhoody Momofuku experience: It’s been a little over a month since Momofuku Nishi debuted its new, more comfortable look and decided to fully lean into an Italian identity. Thought I hadn’t been before the change, what I encountered after was a true neighborhood restaurant serving updated Italian classics — think spicy bolognese pappardelle with mint — to locals. It’s certainly the most approachable Momofuku spot, in terms of accessibility and ambiance, so head here to see what a David Chang restaurant looks like, all grown up. 232 Eighth Avenue, Chelsea — Stefanie Tuder

November 10, 2017

For a place to bring the kids: Founded in 1989, Cowgirl Hall of Fame is a combination dining room, honky tonk, and museum that commemorates the cowgirls of the Old West and the country stars that sung about them. It came from a time in the West Village when the most popular restaurants were themed, including Gulf Coast and Cottonwood Café. The expansive menu might be termed chuckwagon. The barbecued ribs alone are worth the visit, but then there’s also good fried chicken, quesadillas, and catfish po’ boys — you get the picture. Children love this place, and there’s plenty of room for them to run around. 519 Hudson St, West Village

Air’s Champagne Parlor Photo: Air’s Champagne Parlor

For a civilized catch-up: Is there any better way to catch up with a girl friend than over top-notch cheese, charcuterie, and Champagne? The answer is no, so do just that this weekend at Air’s Champagne Parlor, an excessively chic Champagne bar in the West Village. 127 Macdougal Street, West Village — Stefanie Tuder

For a pizza craving: Though the name might make you think of spies, Ops, a small restaurant tucked away on a side street, is one of the quirky pizza parlors in the quasi-Neapolitan style that Bushwick is famous for. The pies are assembled on the tiniest counter imaginable by two bakers frantically working to keep up with the demand. Sure, there are some normal pies like marinara and margarita, but why not walk on the wild side with the rojo, which features pickled peppers, creamy crescenza cheese, and a final blanketing of mortadella, post-oven? It’s a cross between a pizza and an open-face sandwich. 346 Himrod Street, Bushwick — Robert Sietsema

For a hearty family-style group dinner: East Williamsburg Taiwanese restaurant Win Son has truly hit its stride, and it’s well worth bringing a crew of people to feast on their take on classic Taiwanese dishes. Josh Ku and Trigg Brown’s version of lu rou fan — a dish with ground pork over rice — sings with hearty flavor that will be warming on this cool weekend. Seemingly simple cold dishes like marinated cucumbers and the street salad will be good for sharing with the table as well. Try the stinky tofu if you want, but honestly, it is really okay if you don’t like it. There are plenty of other delicious, traditional items to eat here. 159 Graham Avenue, East Williamsburg — Serena Dai

For solo dining at the bar: Fusco, the comeback fine-dining Italian restaurant from ex-Scarpetta chef Scott Conant, is holding its own on extra-hot East 20th Street. If a cook were to fling a strand of spaghetti from the corner of 5th and 20th it might stick to Sugarfish, Le Coq Rico, Gramercy Tavern, Cosme, or Maialino, all of which will be packed — so try your luck at Fusco’s bar. The seats are comfortable, the bartenders know the wine list well, and the maître d’, Jay, always has a joke to spare. Start with the canapes ($12) — a selection of petite bites, like a beet crisp topped with roe and warm black rice arancini — which burst with flavor. It’s white truffle season, so consider splurging on a few grams shaved over buttery pasta, or stick with Conant’s classic pomodoro, a gentle reminder of summer. 43 East 20th Street, Gramercy — Daniela Galarza

November 3, 2017

For a lower Manhattan back-up plan: Long wait at Uncle Boons? No space at Balthazar or Wildair or Rubirosa or Jack’s Wife Freda? Take refuge in the fast-moving, first-come-first-served service at Uncle Boons Sister. The staff gently corrals diners in and out of 12 short stools faster than you can say “puu phat pong kari.” That’s the crab omelette ($16), which is served with rice, a jumble of herbs, and a spicy yellow curry. Unfold the eggs and drizzle the buttery curry atop the warm crab before eating it with spoonfuls of rice; periodically clean your palate with the herbs. Also be sure to get the milk toast or rama cone for dessert. 203 Mott Street, Nolita — Daniela Galarza

For a trip to Texas without leaving Brooklyn: Mable’s Smokehouse is an often-overlooked Northside, Brooklyn barbecue spot. It has its roots in Oklahoma and Texas, featuring a limited roster of meats, often done well. The brisket and andouille sausage are my favorites, and the sides are pretty good, too, including such classic soul food dishes as collards, cornbread, yams, and potato salad. It also has some Tex-Mex thrown in for good measure: queso, Frito pie, and borracho beans. The interior is laid back, the seating at picnic tables, and no place evokes a Texas small town barbecue quite as well. 44 Berry St, Williamsburg — Robert Sietsema

For a refreshing step back in time: Iconic diners and luncheonettes are quickly disappearing, so rather than ordering Seamless, or trying the hottest brunch spot, consider patronizing Waverly Restaurant instead. The restaurant on Sixth Avenue — beckoning with its large neon sign — is nothing more than just a really good diner that’s open 24/7. Which makes it perfect. 385 Sixth Avenue, Greenwich Village — Stefanie Tuder

For a Thai comfort food lunch: With views of the verdant Jefferson Market Garden, the modest Tue Thai restaurant enjoys a location near the center of Greenwich Village. The portions are large, reasonably priced, unchallenging, and relatively satisfying, which might be just what you’re looking for. Lunch specials are available for under $10, including curries, fried rice, and noodles, of which the best is drunken noodles with chicken, shrimp, or imitation duck. There’s also an expanded menu at dinner, with an especially large appetizer section. 3 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich Village — Robert Sietsema

For cozy Mexican during Sunday’s rain: Mexican barbecue spot Claro may have more seats in the summer thanks to a spacious backyard, but now that it’s cooling down outside, the small, candlelit interior makes for a cozy place to enjoy Oaxaca-inspired fare. The menu is meaty. Moles are the star. But lighter options, like a bay scallop ceviche and squash memela, offer decent enough options for pescatarians. Be sure to order extra corn tortillas, made fresh out back. 284 Third Avenue, Gowanus — Monica Burton

October 27, 2017

For some cozy vibes Argentine: It looks like a damp, cool weekend, so consider Balvanera, a dark, warm, and comfortable restaurant such as one might find in Buenos Aires, serving solid Argentine food with some modern twists, especially where vegetables are concerned. Bring a table of friends and start out with a warm empanada stuffed with beef or sweet corn, or maybe octopus with olive paste. Then enjoy a meat platter that includes skirt, strip, and ribeye steaks, plus chorizo and blood sausage. 152 Stanton Street, Lower East Side — Robert Sietsema

For an intimate date on a quiet Nolita street: The vibe at YN Bar is supremely datey, with a quiet, narrow room that’s filled with locals and regulars — the bartenders will call out anytime a familiar face walks in. It’s exactly the kind of place you’d “stumble on” on your way to something else in Nolita, but very worthy of the pitstop. All the food comes from behind the bar (think Buvette), and the menu leans on salads, flatbreads, and a lot of veggies, but there’s a burger, too. Definitely get the white anchovy crostini. Definitely sit at the bar. 227 Mott Street, Nolita — Patty Diez

For a low-key, but lovely celebratory feast in Dumbo: New Dumbo waterfront restaurant Celestine still has primetime reservations available for Sunday. It’s one of the smaller places with a stunning view, ideal for a celebratory vibe without being flashy. The pan-Mediterranean menu includes simple-sounding dishes like couscous salad and baked hummus that actually level up on their names. The Turkish manti — dumplings stuffed with tender pieces of short rib — come in an appetizer portion but are available in an entree size. Get the bigger version: They’re little flavor bombs that people will not want to split. 1 John Street, Dumbo — Serena Dai

For pastry eating and lingering: Tired of getting the bum’s rush in pastry shops and coffee bars? Hop on the R and head out to Bay Ridge. There, find a branch of Omonia, which sounds like a cleaning product but is really a sprawling Greek bakery and coffee shop outfitted with plush banquettes and gleaming pastry cases, telegraphing its glitz. Choose from a broad selection of Greek, Italian, and French pastries, in addition to espresso beverages and teas, and Greek coffee — gritty, pungent, and sweet. Multiple baklavas are available (including a baklava and cheesecake hybrid), in addition to my favorite, galaktoboureko, or filo filled with a thick egg custard. At Omonia, you can linger as long as you want. 7612 3rd Avenue, Bay Ridge — Robert Sietsema

For an affordable Midtown refuge: Midtown is chock full of expense account restaurants, so finding a place to just eat some good food with friends can be a treasure hunt. Take the guesswork out of it and head to 55th Street, climb up the stairs to Yakitori Totto, and enter a world full of grilled meats on sticks and other tasty izakaya fare. Be sure to get the chicken oysters if they’re not out, the sauced chicken tsukune, and the raw octopus with wasabi — a bright, pleasantly shocking way to begin your meal. 251 West 55th Street, Midtown West — Stefanie Tuder

October 20, 2017

For a simple, sunny breakfast in Bed-Stuy: One of the former partners of shuttered Clinton Hill cafe Tilda All day recently moved down the street to open Golda, a charming and very tiny cafe with a similar all-day dining mantra. It’s mostly a coffee shop, with a slew of in-house pastries with enterprising combinations like in a butternut squash, bacon, and leek brioche bun. But wake up early, and it’s also a fine place to spend a relaxing morning by the window. Try the Turkish breakfast, a smorgasbord of cheese, olives, and frittata. It’s easily split between two people. 504 Franklin Avenue, Bed-Stuy — Serena Dai

For a new steakhouse option in Williamsburg: When you want steak in Williamsburg you might automatically go to Luger or Anselm, but now there is an alternative. Combining features of an izakaya, barbecue, and steakhouse, Japanese restaurant Salt + Charcoal has added a small selection of 50-day dry aged steaks to its menu. Via chef Tadaaki Ishizaki, these are seared on a furiously blazing charcoal fire that you can watch through a window in the dining room. There’s a porterhouse for two or a New York strip for one — and they ain’t cheap. Other attractions of the menu include a seaweed salad, elaborate sushi rolls dabbed with sauces, and charcoal-grilled octopus tentacles that might not taste as smoky as you’d like. 171 Grand Street, Williamsburg — Robert Sietsema

For comforting red sauce fare: Get yourself on up to the Bronx’s version of Little Italy, because Arthur Avenue is still as good as it’s always been. Wander the street and nibble liberally on cannoli, cured pork, and fresh mozzarella while finding your way to Enzo’s, a casual red sauce spot. There’s nothing revolutionary here — chicken francese, veal parm, penne alla vodka — and that’s what makes it so great. (Bonus points if you start your day nearby at the NY Botanical Garden’s imminently closing Chihuly exhibit.) 2339 Arthur Avenue, Bronx — Stefanie Tuder

For antique, affordable Ukrainian fare: Ukrainian and Polish lunch counters once ruled the East Village, but now there are few of these cheap eats wonders left. Located in a cultural center called the Ukrainian East Village Home, behind the down and dirty bar Sly Fox, lies the Ukrainian East Village Restaurant. The food is profuse and satisfying. The menu includes the expected blintzes, pierogi, and kielbasy, plus jellied chicken, stuffed cabbage, apple pancakes, and goulash. Drinks are cheap, too, but don’t expect premium spirits or any invented cocktails. 140 Second Avenue, East Village — Robert Sietsema

For a savory-sweet ice cream after a downtown meal: After a dinner at Uncle Boon’s this week I stopped by ice cream shop Morgenstern’s because my friend had never been. I was thrilled to see salt and pepper pine nut back on the menu — it’s a perfect savory-sweet flavor that had been pulled from the rotation for ages. Now that it’s back, I will almost certainly be making more regular trips. 2 Rivington Street, Lower East Side — Sonia Chopra

October 13, 2017

For some special-occasion roast chicken: There’s no place in town quite like it. Helmed by veteran chef-owner Antoine Westermann, Le Coq Rico peddles roast chickens in a handsome dining room a couple of doors down from Teddy Roosevelt’s birthplace. The chickens are about $100 apiece, but there are several choices of pedigreed birds, each well-browned fowl feeds four. Simple? Yes, and exhilaratingly so for people tired of scanning complicated menus. A duck, a guinea fowl, and a chicken braised in the Alsatian manner with vegetables are also available, as are a number of brasserie standard starters and fries so good you won’t want to share them. 30 East 20th Street, Flatiron District — Robert Sietsema

For some stellar pizza and funky orange wine: Bushwick queen bee pizza restaurant Roberta’s is usually a solid bet, but even more so this Saturday, October 14 when it hosts an orange wine event. There will be 30 eclectic orange wines by the half-glass, flight, and bottle alongside whole-roasted pig, pizza, and more. Half-glasses start at $4; call (718) 417-1118 to reserve. 261 Moore Street, Bushwick — Stefanie Tuder

For some fiery uptown Sichuan: Now that the Sichuan fad is raging, with its ebb and flow of chili oil and dusting of peppercorns, places that serve the cuisine are popping up in many neighborhoods. Up near the terminus of the Q train at 96th Street find A Jiao. In its spacious dining room with views of the street, one can dine on spicy wontons in hot oil snowed with sesame seeds, a tart and garlicky cucumber salad, braised fish with Napa cabbage and roasted chiles, and a sturdy beef noodle soup that will seem even better as the temperatures decline. 1817 Second Avenue, Upper East Side — Robert Sietsema

For a Curry Row standout: Over on Curry Row — a stretch of Sixth Street between First and Second Avenues that plays host to several Indian restaurants — Malai Marke stands out. The menu is over 60 items long, which means there is something for everyone in your party, like lamb vindaloo, damn good chana masala, and supremely creamy chicken tikka. Some of the most satisfying dishes fall under vegetarian and vegan categories, like stir-fried okra with pepper paste and herbs. 318 East Sixth Street, East Village — Patty Diez

For a solid pit stop before romping around Gowanus: The takeout window at My Cuban Spot is a surprisingly robust and delicious meal to grab before going out to bars in the neighborhood. The breakfast fritz is served all day, with a well-spiced pork and beef patty slathered in sauces, onion, garlic, and crunchy little potato sticks that make it a delightfully textured sandwich. The classic Cuban sandwich is on point, too. A decent hack would be to take sandwiches to go and bring them to nearby Mission Dolores, a dog-friendly neighborhood favorite bar with a killer beer selection. 488 Carroll Street, Gowanus — Serena Dai

October 6, 2017

For a quiet, darling refuge during any Midtown plans: Finding the right place to eat in the place where Midtown, Hell’s Kitchen, and Chelsea meet is always a bit of a disaster — which is why tiny Japanese cafe Hanamizuki feels like such a gem. The bright space with greenery and clean lines is a welcome change from the drudgery of the rest of the block. Signature rice balls may sell out, but the rice bowls are worth ordering. They arrive in adorably oversized wooden bowls, topped with sweet meats and pickled vegetables. It’s a warm, hearty meal that will make any visit to the area a little more bearable. 143 West 29th Street, Chelsea — Serena Dai

For a superior wine bar in Williamsburg: Wine bars in several Brooklyn neighborhoods are a dime a dozen, but it’s rare to stumble on one with a wine list of concentrated interest, and food that goes beyond the usual cold cuts and cheese. Denizen draws most of its by-the-glass selections from France, Italy, Iberia, and the Finger Lakes, with special attention paid to whites and oranges, and some New York State barrel wines, too, with good pours at merciful prices. Eats include a nifty grilled cheese with a tomato mousse dip, funky local charcuterie from Ends Meat in Sunset Park, seared yellowfin tuna, and roasted broccoli with cheese sauce. Every evening a prix fixe tasting menu is also available. 88 Roebling Stree, Williamsburg — Robert Sietsema

For a morning pastry or afternoon snack: Each location of Maman is picturesque and faintly French, but its Centre Street location packs in a noteworthy amount of charm. There’s a quiet backyard garden for dining or reading a book, and a market selling flowers, textiles, and ceramics in a space that’s covered in plants and white brick. Get a couple of Maman’s pastries with a beverage, and make sure the chocolate chip cookie is one of them. The quiches are great, too. 239 Centre Street, Little Italy — Patty Diez

For an unexpected solid pairing of banh mi and Spanish wine: The booze and food menu of Jackson Heights newcomer Addictive Banh Mi and Beer both come as a surprise. First, that a beer-centric place would serve the Vietnamese sandwich as its primary viand, of which there are several types, including lemongrass chicken, meatballs, vegan pate, and the classic. Second, that it would also be a wine bar with mainly Spanish wines. Other menu fixations include cider, charcuterie, and quiches. The fact that the place is open for lunch and afternoon grazing is an added bonus. 32-63 87th Street, Jackson Heights — Robert Sietsema

For punishingly tasty Thai at a low price: New York City is currently experiencing a Thai boom, with plenty of new options to try. But here’s a reminder to not forget about Somtum Der in Alphabet City. This oldie-but-goodie is still putting out heady, spicy dishes that all clock in under $15. Bring a friend or three and order a bunch. Don’t miss the fried chicken thigh, any larb, and the salted egg papaya salad. 85 Avenue A, Alphabet City — Stefanie Tuder

September 29, 2017

For Sicilian seafood in Brooklyn: At the end of the R train, Bay Ridge has one of the best collections of reasonably priced restaurants in the city. There are great Greek, Georgian, Yemeni, and Turkish restaurants, among many others, but the largest category is Italian restaurants and pizzerias. One of the most colorful is Leo’s Casa Calamari, where the fried squid that is the signature of Sicilian cuisine is prepared as well as anywhere in the city. The rings are gigantic and cooked just enough to be crisp but not tough. Request the spicy dipping sauce. Other highlights include a vegan broccoli rabe hero, which arrives with plenty of olive oil and crushed garlic, and pastas galore. Look for the neon squid on the marquee. 8602 Third Avenue, Bay Ridge — Robert Sietsema

For a DIY pizza tasting: PN Wood Fired Pizza allows diners to choose pizza by flour as well as toppings. Visit with a friend, stick to the pizzas, and choose among kamut, a farro blend, organic wheat, soft wheat, einkorn, and more: It’s eye-opening. 2 West 28th Street, Nomad — Melissa McCart

For a solo lunch with a hot bowl of soup: Temperatures have suddenly dipped, meaning it finally feels time to have some noodle soup. Hana Noodles in the DeKalb Market food hall is slinging out some solid hand-stretched noodles, which the chef makes in clear display at the back corner of the market. The classic spicy beef noodle soup, at $9.75, fills that craving for a warm meal. It’s super salty, but it hits the spot. 445 Albee Square West, Downtown Brooklyn — Serena Dai

For a farm-to-table sleeper bistro: Open six months, Clay is an ambitious farm-to-table bistro that has thrived with few taking notice outside the neighborhood. Under chef Gustavo Lopez, some dishes — like chicken liver pate served with toast, roasted beets with pistachios, and garganelli with broccoli rabe and sausage — are fairly conventional, while others are more adventurous. In the second category, find gnocchi with maitake mushrooms and patty pan squash, and duck leg confit with smoked farro and blueberry gastrique. The dining room is handsome and compact, the bar convivial and crowded. The wine list favors bottles from the Canary Islands. 553 Manhattan Avenue, Harlem — Robert Sietsema

For a pretty, sweet treat: The gelato at Italian import Amorino — with four locations in Manhattan — is rich, creamy, and potently flavored. It’s good as-is in a cup, but if you order a cone, the scoopers make a pretty ice cream rose on top, making the experience that much more sweet. 162 Eighth Avenue, Chelsea — Stefanie Tuder

September 22, 2017

For lovely wine and simple preparations: Lilia in Williamsburg still hits the high notes, starting with a buzzy dining room and gracious service. Though it’s not an oenophile’s destination per se, the wine list has some straight-ahead pleasers, like a Pecorino on the reserve list that pairs nicely with the artichoke and breadcrumbs starter. What I especially like about this place is that Missy Robbins travels between her kitchen and the dining room where she’s meeting new diners and greeting regulars. It’s a reminder of the days when New York restaurateurs used to just open neighborhood restaurants that served a community, instead of dreaming of scaling up and going the fast-casual route. 567 Union Avenue, Williamsburg — Melissa McCart

For mixian noodles in Greenwich Village: While chef-driven Little Tong was making a splash on Second Avenue in the East Village, Rice Noodle was stealthily opening on Bleecker Street just south of the NYU campus, a more modest enterprise with prices to match. Only six bowls of noodles are offered and no apps, probably closer to what you might find in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan — or so a student from that city told us as he enthusiastically lapped his bowl of noodles. All the generous bowls, of which four are soups, most priced at $8.75, are worth trying, but my crew and I particularly liked Mrs. Tang’s noodles, a dry-noodle dish zapped with two hot sauces and a wad of something off-white, and the beef noodle, which features lots of flavorful sliced brisket and enough bok choy to nicely balance it. 190 Bleecker Street, Greenwich Village — Robert Sietsema

For a new vegetarian South Indian restaurant in Jersey City: In Jersey City’s India Square neighborhood, a struggle has been going on for a couple of years between meat-serving Hyderabadi and North Indian biryani joints and the strictly vegetarian South Indian restaurants. So far, it’s a toss-up who’s winning. Latest entry is Honest, an Indian chain with branches in Thailand and Dubai that traces its origins to a humble dosa cart in Gujarat. The menu features triangular dosas in a dozen styles (including the cross-cultural Sichuan dosa), bread-borne snacks from Mumbai, Indian pizzas, and chaats, as well as a small section of Indo-Chinese cuisine. Lots to explore on the menu. 811 Newark Avenue, Jersey City — Robert Sietsema

For when you’re missing Schiller’s: Keith McNally’s Lucky Strike is one of those restaurants that people often forget about, which is a shame because it can be a fun place on weekends. The menu reads like McNally’s greatest hits, from burgers, to steaks, sandwiches, and bar snacks. The steak frites and NY strip au poivre are particularly safe bets. Like Schiller’s, it’s all about the vibe and downtown setting. 59 Grand Street, Soho — Patty Diez

For fun ice cream flavors after a stroll through San Gennaro: Sam Mason’s offbeat ice cream flavors found a home this summer at the Oddfellow’s Carnival. There are creations like a creamsicle soft serve cone wrapped in orange cotton candy, and one topped with salted caramel popcorn, a personal favorite. The themed pop-up closes on Sunday, and they’ll be celebrating with $1 cones. 62 Spring Street, Soho — Patty Diez

September 15, 2017

For Himalayan food in the great outdoors: Ridgewood’s Nepalese newcomer While In Kathmandu offers a simple Himalayan menu that’s all crowd pleasers, from the sel roti (basically, a sweet rice doughnut served with a bowl of curry) to bulging momo dumplings with several fillings served in soup to a sort of big taco made with a roti flatbread folded over a spicy chicken stew. The hut-like interior is nice enough, but take advantage of the backyard this weekend, while the weather is still warm. 758 Seneca Avenue, Ridgewood — Robert Sietsema

For an intriguing wine selection: I wish that Gloria were in my neighborhood, the newish Midtown restaurant from Le Bernardin/Contra alums Diego Garcia, Phil Johnson, and Leland Meibeyer. Grab seats at the little bar with perfect lighting, and allow the bartender to steer the evening's wine choices. For small plates, consider the Rancho Gordo beans or the crab with sabayon. 501 West 53 Street , Midtown — Melissa McCart

#isnthegorgeous #cocktails #diningatthebar #pennytile #carreramarble #shakennotstirred #limewheel

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For Indonesian fare hits the East Village: Opportunities to sample Indonesian food are few and far between in the city, which is why the advent of Bali Kitchen in the East Village is so welcome. The place is small, with only a couple of tables, but the flavors are big and each dish comes with an array of condiments. Snacks include satays of fish forcemeat outfitted with peanut sauce, and chicken- or tempeh-stuffed fritters called perkedels. While much of the menu is Javanese or Sumatran (in the latter category, the beef rendang is superb), the set meal called nasi campur is Balinese, and not to be missed. 128 East Fourth Street, East Village — Robert Sietsema

For satisfying food with strong neighborhood vibes: Nearly 10-year-old Walter Foods is still serving exactly the kind of food the neighborhood is craving, homing in on comfort food items like fried chicken, eggplant parm, mashed potatoes, and crab cakes. The vibe here is neighborhood-heavy and the staff is just jazzed that you’re there. Get a bottle of wine and stay awhile. 253 Grand Street, Williamsburg — Patty Diez

For dinner in LES, away from LES madness: The Lower East Side can be a pretty unfortunate place to be on a weekend night if you’re just trying to have a quiet dinner, away from Hell Square revelers. On far more quiet Clinton Street, Speedy Romeo is buzzy but still relaxed and cool. Start with the grilled octopus, and get The Speedy Romeo pizza, a refreshing heap of ricotta and the freshest tomatoes on grilled dough. 63 Clinton Street, Lower East Side — Patty Diez

September 8, 2017

For a French brasserie in the Village: For a classic Parisian brasserie experience, try Boucherie, a relatively new West Village spot just south of Sheridan Square that once was a garage. Now, the seating sprawls across a balcony, large main floor, and double tier of sidewalk seats. A beveled mirror of humongous proportions hangs over a well-stocked bar. The place debuted, as the name suggests, offering cuts of meat butchered on the premises, mainly expensive steaks. But you can use the place for much lighter French fare, and a meal at almost any hour. A mid-afternoon repast could include a small serving of steak tartare, an herb omelet served with plenty of fries, or a Caesar salad almost large enough to be an entree. 99 Seventh Avenue South, West Village — Robert Sietsema

For an inexpensive group dinner downtown: Covered in hanging plants, Monroe faintly resembles the Chinatown plant stores a few blocks away, just with far better lighting. The way to ace a visit at Monroe is to bring a group and order a bunch of plates for the table, namely the steak tartare, fried calamari, mussels, and escargot. For pastas, skip the cacio e pepe but do get the carbonara. Along with all those plates, get multiples bottles of wine for the table, all priced under $40. You and your group may not be blown away by the food, but it’s a fun space that’s especially lovely when the doors are open on a cool evening, like the ones this weekend promises. 49 Monroe Street, Two Bridges — Patty Diez

Fo wonderful Turkish food in Bay Ridge: The best Turkish food in the city is found around its edges, in places like Sheepshead Bay, Bath Beach, and, most wonderful of all, Bay Ridge. There, find Istanbul Bay, a brightly lit cafe with outdoor seating on two sides and a Turkish menu designed to please everyone. Find the usual roster of kebabs that may be made into sandwiches or platters, including ground-lamb adana flavored with onions and red peppers, and iskender, a wonderful plate of doner (gyro) kebab layered over buttered pita and topped with tomato sauce and yogurt. Of the appetizing dishes, the little pastry flutes of feta called cigara boregi is one of my favorites. Vegetarian dishes abound on the menu, too. 8002 Fifth Avenue, Bay Ridge — Robert Sietsema

For refreshing ice cream in downtown Manhattan: It’s a personal belief that ice cream is superior when it’s not sweltering out, and instead best enjoyed when it’s like, 68 degrees. (My colleague Ryan Sutton shares a similar belief). The weekend’s weather is predicting a few lovely, light-jacket days and nights that will be ideal for ice cream, and one of the better places in Manhattan is Ice & Vice. They do some over-the-top toppings and flavors here, but it’s really hard to go wrong — though standouts are the Opium Den and Basic B. They’ll even top your ice cream cone with an ice cream sandwich which, honestly, wouldn’t be a bad choice. 221 East Broadway, Lower East Side — Patty Diez

For Thai food in Nolita (that isn’t Uncle Boons): On Elizabeth Street, Lovely Day is serving Thai food that is less creative than Uncle Boons around the corner, but just as memorable. During weekend brunch, they add some egg dishes to the menu. Anything that falls under “Lovely Day Classics” is a smart move. The tom ga is packed with flavor and lingers well after it’s gone, and the pad Thai stands out. Get a beer margarita to go with it all. 196 Elizabeth Street #A, Nolita — Patty Diez

September 1, 2017

For every day brunch in Ridgewood: Just across the border from Bushwick to the north, the Queens neighborhood of Ridgewood is not the first place to go looking for a wine bar. But there it is, way off the beaten track in an area of handsome apartment buildings: Julia’s Beer & Wine Bar. A barroom, a dining room decorated with paintings, and a landscaped sidewalk seating area make up the real estate, and the wine list principally celebrates New York state wines and some upstate mead, too. The food verges on the spectacular at brunch, served every day of the week, including arepas and eggs, mushroom-smothered toast, and whole-wheat pancakes baked in muffin tins embedded with bacon and sausage from nearby Morscher’s Pork Store, a vestige of the days when Ridgewood was German. 818 Woodward Avenue, Ridgewood — Robet Sietsema

For Japanese street snacks in the East Village: It’s something of a miracle that, despite real estate pressures, the East Village’s Little Tokyo continues to prosper and even add new restaurants. The latest addition is DokoDemo, a step-down space where the preparation of snacks in an open kitchen becomes a species of theater. Offerings include okonomiyaki, the gooey, mayo-squirted pancake that can be made with pork, beef, octopus, or shrimp; the noodle stir-fry called yakisoba; and takoyaki, the globular octopus fritters, available in multiples of four. A range of side dishes are also available, mainly featuring vegetables in simple preparations. 89 East 4 Street, East Village — Robert Sietsema

For a treat-yourself meal or a modest sushi splurge: It’s refreshing that O Ya doesn’t strong-arm its guests into going the omakase route, though it is a fine option. There’s an 18-course option for $185, and $245 gets you 24 courses. Both include a wonderful fried kumamoto oyster nigiri, cooly topped with squid ink foam, and a foie gras nigiri with chocolate kabayaki and cocoa. Fortunately, both are available a la carte, too. It’s a beauty of the sushi restaurant — along with its friendly and helpful staff — that it offers a variety of experiences on any given night, but the best move is to sit at the bar. 120 East 28th Street, Nomad — Patty Diez

For a tasting of pastas in the West Village: What everyone is saying is true — Cafe Altro Paradiso has found its footing. The West Village Italian restaurant from Ignacio Mattos and Thomas Carter spent much of its first year with a reputation of being a somewhat boring restaurant, uncharacteristic for restaurateurs who run the exciting Estela. But they made some menu changes, and it has paid off. Appetizers like a nectarine with mustard green dish combine the warm, luscious sweetness of the fruit with the bitterness of the green in a surprising and pleasing way, and the flavor plays in the pasta feel unique, too. Ask for half orders of the pastas and order a bunch, especially the cuttlefish pici and the malfatti. Oh, and it’s easy to get a reservation. 234 Spring Street, West Village — Serena Dai

For a flavor-heavy Peruvian small plates feast in Williamsburg: Chef Erik Ramirez opened Llama Inn back in 2015, and he’s since turned it into quite the special restaurant. It’s in a weird corner in a not-particularly-photogenic part of Williamsburg, but with an open kitchen, a bar in the middle, and lots and lots of plants, the set-up ends up feeling intimate and charming. Go for a bunch of dishes, or just get the octopus ceviche, the duck sausage, and a few cocktails and call it a night. The small plates are sizable; you won’t leave hungry. 50 Withers Street, Brooklyn — Serena Dai

August 25, 2017

For a snack while romping through Chinatown: Old-school Chinatown bakery Mei Li Wah is still firing on all cylinders — at least for its signature baked pork buns. The big, fluffy buns with a sugary top cost just over a buck, and the pork insides still hit the right balance of sweet and savory for an afternoon (or morning, or evening) snack. Alternatively, buy a box of ten for $12, and bring them to be a party. You’ll be the most popular guest of the night. 64 Bayard Street, Chinatown — Serena Dai

For beer and pizza in Brooklyn: Downtown Brooklyn on either side of the Fulton Mall is humming with restaurant activity, and all the new places are trying to compete with nearby DeKalb Market. The latest is Circa, a cavernous brewpub with a wood-fired kitchen. Don’t be deterred by the crowded hallway or the knot of beer fanciers at the front bar : there’s plenty of room and comfortable tables inside the restaurant. The pies are pretty standard for a wood-burning oven pizzeria, with a good $16 margherita and a disappointing $22 clam pie, among eight total choices. Better than the pizzas are a wonderful chicken done in that same oven, accompanied by an Angolan piri-piri dipping sauce. Salads are another high point, while steak tartare was a low one. For a brewpub, the beers are better than average, but the downside of drinking at Circa are all the monitors turned to sports programming — or maybe you dig that. 141 Lawrence Street, Downtown Brooklyn — Robert Sietsema

For pupusas by the park: Ever seen that lean-to structure that sits opposite Maria Hernandez Park in Bushwick on the southeast corner? Amanda’s Kitchen is only open intermittently, but most weekend afternoons it’s a certainty. The hand-patted pupusas (stuffed masa flatcakes) are wonderful, oozing some combo of beans, pork, cheese, and loroco flowers, which taste something like pickled oregano. Tamales, soups, and fresh fruit juices are also available, and there’s a single table if you want to dine beside the stand: otherwise take your food over to the park. 264 Suydam Street, Bushwick — Robert Sietsema

For a pasta dinner in Hell’s Kitchen: New York is a town that loves its Italian restaurants, meaning it’s flush with delightful restaurants that serve pasta. Any of these 18 restaurants will do for a solid pasta meal, but maybe it’s time to revisit Esca, the Mario Batali seafood-centric restaurant. The linguine with clam sauce still kills. 402 West 43rd Street, Hell’s Kitchen — Eater Staff

For outdoor dining with people watching: Take advantage of one of the last weekends in August by dining outdoors. The sidewalk cafe at Lafayette is spacious, and unlike a lot of patio dining, the tables and chairs are not flimsy and uncomfortable. Order a croque madame and a Great Jones Spritz, a drink that will taste like the last inkling of summer. Beautiful dogs and their beautiful, athleisure-wearing owners will likely pass by in droves. 380 Lafayette Street, Noho — Serena Dai

August 18, 2017

For a try of food from a Queens legend: Word came out this week that street food favorite Arepa Lady will have to close up her brick-and-mortar shop in six months so that her landlord can raze the building. Maria Cano is also retiring. Even though her areaps will still be available at carts and at the Brooklyn Dekalb Market, this weekend marks a perfect opportunity to finally give her slightly sweet corn arepas recipe a try — or to visit again to show support to her family, who is still running the business. A simple corn arepa with cheese will do. 77-02A Roosevelt Avenue, Jackson HeightsSerena Dai

For a solid spicy meal with a group: Numbing, spicy Chinese dry pot restaurant MaLa Project is still one of the most solid dinners to be had in the East Village. Bring a group, and collectively decide on what ingredients will be best for what’s essentially a custom stir-fry. Fish fillet, beef tenderloin, rice cakes, and enoki mushrooms are particularly on-point adds, but the restaurant has a range of ingredients that should please a crowd. Dim sum items like the pig ear in chili oil are also worth trying. Just don’t get too ambitious on heat — even the “mild spicy” still lends a kick, while the “super spicy” is a tad overboard. 122 First Avenue, East Village — SD

For chill drinks surrounded by pretty things: Heads up that the West Village’s Perla has flipped over to an all-day wine bar called Fairfax, and it’s a transition that seems to be working. The small space is now segmented into separate seating areas, seemingly ripped right out of the pages of design catalogues, for groups to chill out on couches and relax over some small plates and funky wines. Don’t sleep on the orange section of the wine list to squeeze out the last bit of summer. 234 West Fourth Street, West Village — Stefanie Tuder

For baklava on the way to the beach: Founded in 1871 in Gaziantep, Turkey, the Gulluoglu bakery specializes in pastries, especially baklava and kadayif, and distributes them around the world. We have four branches in the New York City area, and the one in Brighton Beach makes a perfect pit stop before or after a visit to the beach. You probably didn’t know there were so many types of baklava, including a flaky green version made with pistachios, but don’t neglect other sweet favorites such as date-stuffed cookies and the lokum-based candy called Turkish delight, as well as savory, sesame-studded simit rolls and bureks. Luncheon dishes are also available. Wash them all down with strong and sludgy Turkish coffee. 239 Bright Beach Avenue, Brighton Beach — Robert Sietsema

For a Thai brunch on the Columbia Street waterfront: Now that the hubbub has subsided somewhat, you can just traipse into Pok Pok around brunch time on the weekends and instantly find a seat in the air-conditioned bar and dining room, or in the umbrella-shaded backyard. Enjoy crunchy and herb-laced composed salads, spicy Vietnamese chicken wings, Yunnan-style corn stir fry, boar collar rubbed with garlic and coriander, homemade Chiang Mai sausage, and Isaan roast chicken with two dipping sauces — perfect brunch fare with cold beer and aromatic cocktails. Afterwards, take a stroll around the city’s only working container port. 117 Columbia Street, Cobble Hill — RS

August 11, 2017

Chinese egg tarts in several permutations: The little egg tarts called dan ta that are a specialty of Hong Kong are found in every Chinatown bakery, but rarely made so well as at Harper’s Bread House, which sounds like a Civil War landmark. Not only are the standard smooth yellow dan ta with an English style crust offered, but so are the rustic Portuguese and coconut Brazilian versions, both wonderful. Other Hong Kong bakery standards are worth trying, in addition to more unusual products such as hot dog pastries, and a giant nori roll of cake wrapped in seaweed filled with pork floss, with a flavor that might be described as briny and interesting. Seating provided, and the coffee isn’t bad. 271 Grand St, Lower East Side — Robert Sietsema

For a welcomed update: Having reopened after a flood shuttered the restaurant for a month, Agern has rolled out an updated menu and a spruced-up look. It’s a lighter dining experience, in that it’s less serious in the room and on the plate — though Gunnar Gislason’s food is still great. Grab a seat at the intimate bar and order charred corn with chanterelles and a share plate of grilled halibut with tomatoes, angelica, and smoked butter: simple and lovely. Grand Central Station, 89 East 42nd Street, Midtown — Melissa McCart

Snacks at Agern
Melissa McCart

Punjabi food with some fascinating twists : Add Chawala’s 2 to the list of international chains testing the waters in New York City. Founded in 1960, it describes itself as one of the largest restaurant chains in India, specializing in northern Indian fare from a Sikh perspective, which means all sorts of subtly spiced chicken dishes, lots of tandoori cooking, stuffed and flavored flatbreads, and Mughal vegetarian dishes, available in communal servings and in combinations for one diner featuring daal, bread, and rice. Some highlights include rara mutton (goat in a ground-chicken sauce), a mixed vegetable kurma with a dozen vegetables and paneer, and an Amritsari kulcha stuffed with onions and cilantro that name-checks a Punjabi city near the Pakistani border. 216 Third Ave, Gramercy Park — Robert Sietsema

For a picnic in the park with spicy chicken: The rain should clear up by Sunday — take advantage of it by picking up some jerk chicken from longtime Flatbush spot Peppa’s for a picnic in Prospect Park. The counter restaurant serves juicy, jerk-spiced chicken that has just the right amount of char from the grill. They’ll chop it up for easy sharing, too. Bring some of the hot sauce, and order extra Festivals, the slightly sweet fried dough. They will balance out the smoky heat of the chicken, but they’re delightful on their own, too. 738 Flatbush Avenue, Flatbush — Serena Dai

For buzzy cocktails and a top-notch patty melt: It's been four months since The Spaniard opened on West Fourth Street, and it's safe to say the meat-forward restaurant has fully hit its stride. The bar is always packed with well-heeled millennials on the hunt for a strong whiskey cocktail and an evening's entertainment. The food holds its own, too. For a strong Friday night, fortify yourself with a burger or patty melt before standing up for drinks at the bar. 190 West 4th Street, West Village — Stefanie Tuder

August 4, 2017

For the last weekend of a pop-up oyster omakase: Empire Oyster has taken up residence inside Megu through Saturday night from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m., where visitors can walk up to the standing bar for a selection of Atlantic oysters like Beau Soleils and Pemaquids, as well as Pacific coast oysters like Shgoku and Kumamotos. Go through the entire catalog or stick with a region. Oysters are shucked less than an arm’s length away and can be garnished with wasabi grated-to-order, a variety of mignonettes, or boozy molecular pearls. Oysters run from $3 to $4 a piece. The experience and conversation is fun. 355 West 16 Street, Chelsea — Melissa McCart

For Middle Eastern pastries late into the evening: Open from noon till midnight every day, Bay Ridge’s Nablus Sweets is a great place to relax for an hour with espresso and pastries. This Palestinian bakery makes the city’s best knafeh, a strikingly orange pie composed of cheese and pistachios soaked with rosewater syrup. Also available are the date-stuffed shortbread cookies called ma’amoul, the custard-filled sheet pastry aish as-saraya, and several types of baklava. Survey the glass cases, jammed with dozens of pastries and cookies, before making a selection, and then take a seat at one of the tables, which offer views of bustling Fifth Avenue in this wonderful Middle Eastern neighborhood. 6812 Fifth Avenue, Bay Ridge — Robert Sietsema

For a relaxed meal in East Hampton: A short ride from Main Beach is The Maidstone, a fetching little boutique hotel on East Hampton’s Main Street. The hotel’s in-house restaurant is hosting city influences, like spotless service from an Il Buco vet and all-day menus from Cafe Clover’s chef David Standridge. Seasonal dishes like peaches with ricotta and a white gazpacho are pitch-perfect, and larger plates like a lobster roll and seared Montauk fluke are easy shares. Save time to decide which of the lovely dining rooms to sit in, or opt to eat on the outdoor patio. For dessert, get whatever the day’s pie offering is. 207 Main Street, East Hampton — Patty Diez

For a low-key afternoon with cocktails and fries: Although I cannot advocate ordering the oversized fancy burgers plaguing trendy restaurants, the poorly named but tasty “lady burger” might just be exactly the right order at Long Island Bar in Brooklyn. It costs a reasonable $15 and comes with some of the best fries in the city — crispy, not too thin, not too thick, and slightly seasoned. It’s certainly not a perfect burger, but accompanied by the warm vibes of this historic restaurant and a menu of surprisingly stellar cocktails, it’s a sweet way to spend a late weekend lunch. 110 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn Heights — Serena Dai

For decent sushi in the Theater District: Sometimes you don’t want to pay $100, $200, or more for exquisite sushi, and a good but unspectacular product will do just fine. The wood-clad setting and soft lighting of Natsumi makes it a charming date spot, and the fish is fresh and tasty, even though it’s pre-cut and the selection is limited — kind of like Sugarfish, before there was a Sugarfish. The best part is the price: a top-end sushi/sashimi selection for two, including two apps and two glasses of sake, comes in at $85. And it’s almost more than you can eat. 226 West 50 Street, Theater District — Robert Sietsema

July 28, 2017

For an intimate and unpretentious date with sake options: A darling little restaurant and sake bar called Rabbit House opened across from the park in Chinatown earlier this year, and it’s one of those new places in New York that feels kind of like a secret. It’s very narrow, and with dishes like edamame and artichoke dip, much of the menu reads slightly dated. But don’t be turned off — chef/owner Yoshiko Sakuma knows what she’s doing. Raw fish dishes like the tuna tartare are excellent. Let her help you pick a sake, and enjoy a relaxed night of snacking and drinking. It will start off a quiet night, but eventually, the whole restaurant will come alive. 76 Forsyth Street, Chinatown — Serena Dai

For day drinking with tacos in the outdoors: I’ve been telling anyone who will listen that Parklife is the bar of the summer. It’s a sprawling, picnic-table laden industrial space where it’s somehow not difficult to nab a seat. The drink menu features something for everyone: craft beers, frozen cocktails, beer and shot specials. Best of all, the food is killer. Tacos and cheese-topped fries come from the mastermind Denisse Chavez of El Atoradero. She rose to prominence for her carnitas, but the best thing here is hands down the carne asada. Get a couple and plan to stay for a while. 636 Degraw Street, Gowanus — Serena Dai

For an early weekend breakfast on the Lower East Side: Sometimes you’d rather have a nice early breakfast on the weekends as opposed to wait for brunch and its brunching hordes. Café Petisco is your place. While the breakfast menu includes an egg burrito, short stack of blueberry pancakes, and continental breakfast of a French baguette with butter and jelly, some of the best choices are Middle Eastern and North African. Two of my favorites are Moroccan shakshuka (two eggs poached in chile sauce) and malawach (a Yemenite multi-layer bread). Beer and wine available. Open 8:30 a.m. 189 East Broadway, Lower East Side — Robert Sietsema

For a wood-oven brunch with seating outdoors: Sit outside in the pleasant front courtyard or in the darkened interior of Union Pizza Works, a former garage with plenty of space to stretch out, lit by the flicker of the wood-burning beehive oven. From it fly perfect, soft-crusted, char-stippled Neapolitan pizzas such as the salame picante, made with fiery soppressata, or the oniony white pizza con cipolle. Salads are available in profusion, some featuring oven-roasted vegetables. And there’s also a cheeseburger. There’s brunch, too, with dishes like pancakes, frittatas, and a pizza Bismarck sporting asparagus, scamorza cheese, a runny egg, and bacon. Wine list features plenty of summery choices. 423 Troutman Street, Bushwick — Robert Sietsema

For a lesson in mezcal and stellar Mexican food: Abound with Jesus candles and strung colorful lights, Casa Mezcal may be kitschy, but in a way that feels authentic and so cool. Plenty of Mexican restaurants pay rents with diners just looking to share pitchers of margaritas and bowls of guacamole, but skipping the other offerings here would be a mistake. There are impressive Oaxacan mole tacos — a family recipe made with something like 32 ingredients — that are sweet and tangy, and grilled cod tacos that are packed with citrus. Stick to classic cocktails like a very fine margarita or a mezcal negroni. There’s also flights of mezcal starting at $30 if you want to linger here with a date. 86 Orchard Street, Lower East Side — Patty Diez

July 21, 2017

For delicious dosas in Jersey City’s Little India: At Sri Ganesh’s Dosa House, dosas, — the wonderful stuffed pancakes made with fermented lentils-and-rice batter — are offered in dozens of variations, some filled with potatoes, some with combinations of vegetables and cheese, and still others delivered plain with sambal (a soup) and a chunky coconut chutney made on the premises. Specialties include idli, uttapam, and the cream-of-wheat porridge known as upma. Step up to the counter and order at this lively, strictly vegetarian restaurant, which is a short ride on the PATH train from New York City and a three-block walk north. 809 Newark Avenue, Jersey City — Robert Sietsema

For a date night in Brooklyn with interesting yet light fare: Hidden at the back of Walter’s Fort Greene is a delightful speakeasy restaurant called Karasu, an izakaya-inspired little thing from chefs Yael Peet and Elena Yamamoto. It looks like it was built in a lab for the perfect date night restaurant: dark without being dead, intimate without being crowded, and a murmuring of noise without being loud. The food similarly works well for this purpose. The chefs have light fare that stays interesting, like a Caesar salad with a soy-cured egg. Focus on the small plates, and spend some time perusing the pleasantly expansive sake, shochu, and Japanese whiskey list. Your server will be helpful in picking one. 166 Dekalb Avenue, Fort Greene (enter through Walter's) — Serena Dai

For a family-style Israeli meal: There are still seats available for the Mike Solomonov’s Dizengoff tables for two, the ticketed, prepaid $120 dinner that includes tax and tip, (but not drinks). Thursday through Saturday nights only, it’s a three-course family-style, Israeli-inspired meal that starts at 7:30 p.m. Chelsea Market, 75 9th Avenue — Melissa McCart

For ridiculously good pizza before or after drinking in the LES: The menu offerings at Scarr’s Pizza are limited but there’s not a single dud in the bunch. Owner Scarr Pimentel (Lombardi's and Joe’s) created a space that takes it way back, to a small-scale pizzeria from the 1970s, or the restaurant portion of a suburban roller rink. A fine Caesar salad (developed by Lalito’s Gerardo Gonzalez) is made with a dressing of pureed cashews and nutritional yeast. The Sicilian pie and house salad are also easy orders, and the personal pan pizza, often enough for two, comes with toppings like pepperoni cups, meatballs, anchovies, and cremini mushrooms. The staff is friendly and the music skews hip-hop. 22 Orchard Street, Lower East Side — Patty Diez

For a zero-frills lunch after shopping in SoHo: Mr. Donahue’s is set in an old-school diner, a little gem of a space with a menu of meat-and-threes. Diners select a main, two sides, and a sauce to go with it all. The self-described “grandma cuisine” includes classics like chicken-fried pork cheeks, roast beef, and crab imperial, and inventive sides like rotisserie cabbage and patty pan squash parmesan. Grab a seat on the sidewalk patio and catch this restaurant before it closes on August 5. 203 Mott Street, Nolita — Patty Diez

Mr. Donahue’s
Photo: Nick Solares

July 14, 2017

For a drink with stunning downtown views: Rooftop bars in general tend to be disasters even with the best of intentions, but the one at The Crown at Hotel 50 Bowery manages to be slightly more relaxed. It’s not quite as much of a seen-and-be-seen crowd, and drinks like the Thai basil watermelon margarita hit just the right bright and summery tone to go along with the crazy views. Snacks from chef Dale Talde aren’t bad either, though the chips that accompany the ceviche are more satisfying than the ceviche itself. 50 Bowery, Chinatown — Serena Dai

For ideal Japanese drinking fare: The okonomiyaki at Bar Goto is both gorgeous and deceiving. What looks like a slab of fudge cake is actually a savory cabbage pancake with Kewpie mayo, okonomiyaki sauce, pork belly, rock shrimp, squid, parmesan cheese, and yakisoba. And it's killer drinking food, perfectly paired to Goto's stellar, precise cocktails. 245 Eldridge Street, Lower East Side — Stefanie Tuder

Bar Goto okonomiyaki
Bar Goto okonomiyaki
Stefanie Tuder

For no-buzz brunch in the West Village — Village brunch spots are frequently a noisy hubbub of crowded conditions, slow service, melting frozen drinks, and predictable food that isn’t all that good. How about a laid-back spot with good food and less emphasis on drinking? Hudson Café fills the bill, a sleeper with seating on the shady street, and an interior decorated with museum-mounted photos, with well-spaced (albeit small) tables. The menu offers French toast, breakfast burritos, Balthazar pastries, smoothies, and sandwiches, and even though wine, beer, and prosecco cocktails are served, the emphasis is more on Italian coffee. 628 Hudson St, West Village — Robert Sietsema

For a highly-anticipated Japanese spot: Tokyo-import Mifune has opened and it might be an ideal time to visit before the crowds come. Consider the smoked butterfish ($20), foie gras terrine ($18), and the roasted wagyu ($70) among dishes. 245 East 44th Street, Midtown East— Melissa McCart

For spicy Sichuan dishes in a tucked-away locale: Da Xi (“big luck”) has opened its first branch on the second floor of the New World Mall. The ornate dining room offers plenty of seating at round tables and banquettes. And the menu is compelling, even without a single listing for noodles. “That’s street food,” says the waiter, also noting the restaurant group is opening a hot pot restaurant across the way by fall. Consider the thin-sliced pig ear, tripe, and tofu cold dish; spicy cabbage; and boiled fish in chile sauce for a first visit. 136-20 Roosevelt Avenue, Flushing Melissa McCart

July 7, 2017

For a weekend picnic with a view of the skyline: No place in the five boroughs offers better views of the city than Sunset Park in South Brooklyn, a park that’s really just one big hill, with an eye-socking panorama that includes Manhattan, New Jersey, Staten Island, and downtown Brooklyn. To fortify yourself get one of the humongous tortas (Mexican heros) at Don Pepe Tortas Y Jugos, where you can select from all sorts of conventional and unconventional fillings, dressed with avocado, refried beans, chiles, and mayonnaise. Tacos and other antojitos are also available, along with fresh-squeezed tropical juices. A pleasant dining room is available for those who don’t want to scale that hill. 3908 Fifth Avenue, Sunset Park — Robert Sietsema

For a satisfying Thai fix in Queens: With one entrance for takeout and another for dining in, Ayada Thai is a reliable spot for a wide menu of interesting dishes. Start with the snappy, sour-savory Northern Thai sausage, then choose between the catfish larb or spicy pork larb that gets hotter as you eat it. For a main course, pair a dish of Chinese broccoli with dried scallops for an umami kick, along with the whole fried red snapper topped with papaya salad. For heat seekers: Skip the jungle curry and go for something more adventurous. Service is great, right down to the mango sticky rice for dessert. Another plus: It’s open until 11 p.m., later than a lot of neighborhood spots. 78-03 Woodside Avenue, Woodside — Melissa McCart

For a kind-of-healthy option post-long weekend: The Aussies at Dudley’s are serving plenty of options if you want to eat rather healthy this weekend, but still want a fun and chic vibe. Dinner menu items like rainbow carrots with salsa verde, rotisserie chicken, and delicata squash are all prepared simply but packed with flavor. Even items like the kale, crispy quinoa, cranberry, and pecorino salad are delicious and on the lighter side. 85 Orchard Street, Lower East Side — Patty Diez

For a zero-frills date spot under 14th Street: Underground sake and shochu bar Sake Bar Decibel is quiet and cozy and its very dark setting makes it a solid date-night spot. Come for the sake list that’s over 30 options long and stay for snacks like okonomiyaki (Japanese pancakes), sesame chicken, and tofu salad. 240 East Ninth Street, East Village — Patty Diez

For late-night pizza that’s better than drunk people deserve, probably: Everybody knows Roberta’s, but after a night of reveling in Bushwick, the best bet to really get the vibe of the late night scene in the neighborhood is to go to Archie’s Bar & Pizza instead. It’s a little ridiculous how delicious the pizzas here are considering it is essentially a 4 a.m. bar. They’re cooked in pans and slightly thick, with a not-too-sweet sauce and the option to add tiny pepperonis. Plan to go with friends after a night out, and be amazed at how satisfying they are. They also taste good while sober, but that post-midnight pizza craving is how to really do the new era of Bushwick. 128 Central Avenue, BushwickSerena Dai

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June 30, 2017

For a restaurant that’s otherwise hard to get into: Fact: Fourth of July weekend is one of those holidays where it’s easier to get into that restaurant you’ve been wanting to try for months (years). If you’ve been hearing about Worlds-Best Estela (47 East Houston Street) for months but haven’t been able to get in, this weekend could be your chance. And if you’ve heard your friends and coworkers talk about their $16 Attaboy (134 Eldridge Street) cocktail but every time you go the doordude tells you no, swing by this weekend when the waits are sure to be shorter.

For if you’re still craving a hot dog after watching someone eat 70 hot dogs: Sure, you can find a decent hot dog pretty much anywhere in New York City, but the tiny UES shop known as Schaller's Stube Sausage Bar is serving dogs that are better than your average street cart. No matter if you go with bratwurst, knockwurst, or andouille sausage, all are fantastic and all are served on buttery brioche buns from Balthazar. 1652 Second Avenue, Upper East Side

For refreshing summertime cocktails: When temepratures hit 91 on Sunday you’ll want to cool off at Dante, where the MacDougal Street bar celebrates warmer months with the negroni and the spritz. There’s a classic negroni on tap, plus 11 other versions of the classic cocktail like a lavender negroni and a version with mezcal and cold brew. A list of ten spritzs includes one with Oddfellows Aperol sorbet topped with sparkling rose. 79-81 MacDougal Street, Greenwich Village

For a holiday activity away from the crowds: If wall-to-wall people and loud fireworks sound like a nightmare scenario, small-scale movie theatre Syndicated is a place to be. At 6:20 and 9:30 p.m. on the Fourth, Syndicated is playing the 1997 holiday classic, Independence Day. Sure, a film about the total annihilation of the world’s major cities might be a bit much, but movie tickets are only $4 and you can drink and eat while you sit back and enjoy the show. 40 Bogart Street, East Williamsburg

Dippity Du Da
Mister Dips

For a cold, holiday-themed treat: King’s of collaborations (and William Vale tenants) Andrew Carmellini and Wylie Dufresne are celebrating the Fourth of July with the Dippity Du Da, a vanilla ice cream cone served with a glazed Du’s donut (between the ice cream and cone), and blueberry and raspberry icings. The treat is $7.50, and available all weekend at the William Vale Hotel (111 North 12 Street, Williamsburg). Over in Manhattan, Dominique Ansel is serving an equally cheeky treat dubbed the What-a-melon. The creation is a semi hollowed-out watermelon slice filled with watermelon soft serve and studded with chocolate “seeds.” It’s available Saturday through Tuesday at Dominique Ansel Kitchen. 137 Seventh Avenue South, West Village

— Patty Diez

June 23, 2017

For an all-day option near the Pride Parade route: Mimi Sheraton put the burger at Corner Bistro on the map, where it has remained for decades. The petit bistro can be a bit of a tourist trap but if you’re in the area, stop in Sunday at noon when it opens for a crispy bacon cheeseburger and beer. Or, grab a seat at the bar for the same burger just before dawn after a Sunday spent marching. Decide for yourself where it ranks on the list of New York’s best burgers. 331 West 4th Street, Greenwich Village — Patty Diez

For a full-on Ethiopian feast: Zoma in Lower Harlem stands out in a neighborhood, a minimalist Ethiopian restaurant that’s cranking out massive platters of doro wett (chicken), tibs wett (beef), and awaze tibs (lamb), all served with homey sides like red split lentils, collard greens, and roasted chickpeas with lentils. Start with kategna (spiced injera) and beef sambusas before deciding on which of the platters to split the table. And since you’re in the neighborhood, you may as well visit Levain’s outpost, a four minute walk away for what are New York’s best cookies. 2084 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, Harlem — Patty Diez

Photo: Zoma

For a chill, family-friendly outdoor hang: The sun will come out on Sunday, and Gowanus barbecue restaurant Pig Beach will be a place to be. The pulled pork and cocktails are spot on, but the best reason to go is the vibes. With picnic tables, sprawling space, and open-air cooking, it's a prime setting for summer hangs with friends and fam when you don't have your own yard to host gatherings. Bring kids, bring buddies. 480 Union Street, Gowanus — Serena Dai

For Lebanese fare with flair in the East Village: Who doesn’t like Middle Eastern food with its bread dips, kebabs, and vegetable and dairy mezze (the appetizing dishes that may be assembled into a full meal)? With its hanging lamps, geometric motifs, and logs cut in cross section embedded in the walls, five-year-old Balade is more elegant than most Middle Eastern restaurants in the East Village, a good choice for a weekend dinner or brunch. The mezze sampler is a particularly good deal, and the chicken shawarma, available by platter or sandwich, comes with a pungent white sauce called toum — a cousin of aioli that burns your lips with garlic. One of the best reasons to visit on Saturday or Sunday is the weekend special of molokhia, a verdant stew of chicken and mallow leaves served with rice and vermicelli — a dish that may be more familiar as Rice-A-Roni. 208 First Avenue, East Village — Robert Sietsema

For drinks [wine] on a quiet stretch of Manhattan: Little Italy’s peaceful Centre Street was the perfect place to slide in an outpost of Parisian wine bar La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels. The dark digs are home to a 25-page, French-focused wine list and a smattering of German, American, and even Slovakian wines — the latter in the form of a 2014 Riesling from Egon Müller that’s amazingly $39. Come for the wines and stay for bites like octopus with black rice, and pasta calamarata with squid. 249 Centre Street, Little Italy — Patty Diez

June 16, 2017

For an escape from NYC to the Long Beach boardwalk: In honor of Eater Road Trip Week I’d suggest going to the Long Beach boardwalk where there are four returning restaurants to satisfy cravings. Having opened last year, Rip Tides (1 Edwards Boulevard) serves chowders, fish tacos, oysters, and fish and chips in a hut that offers its own beach seating as well as umbrella-ed bar tables facing the boardwalk. Early birds take note that the place also serves breakfast, opening at 7:30 a.m. Not far away is the beachfront version of a very good coffee bar, Gentle Brew Coffee Boardwalk (1 National Boulevard) that also sells addictive chocolate chip cookies. It’s a charming spot with white subway tile, lots of plants, and a surf video on a loop projected onto the wall. (As far as getting there, it’s probably easiest to take the LIRR Getaway Package for discounted beach admission and less hassle parking.) Long Beach — Melissa McCart

For regional food of New York State — We are accustomed to a smorgasbord of international and regional American cuisines, but often neglect those of our own state. At Buffalo’s Famous just south of the Prospect Park parade grounds, the food of cities like Buffalo and Rochester are showcased. There are Buffalo chicken wings of course, offered in renditions that run from mild to extra hot, but also the iconic beef on weck sandwich — a wad of warm roast beef on a caraway seeded German roll and smeared with horseradish. Sahlen’s hot dogs with a correct constellation of toppings and fried bologna also grace the menu. 1111 Church Ave, Prospect Park South, Brooklyn

For a classic American brasserie on Long Island: You might not have heard of The Brass Rail, a fine American brasserie in Locust Valley, but rest assured, others have; if you don’t book a week or so out you can easily be relegated to a 9:30 p.m. on a Saturday night, which is like 11:00 p.m. in Long Island hours. Getting here is decidedly scenic. You'll drive past sailboats on Oyster Bay and through the salt marshes, or up the Mill Hill Road, which boasts a gradient as steep as a roller coaster. But once you’re here you’ll eat quite well. Start off with a few baked clams, and maybe some sweet-spicy fried calamari, then move onto the epic steak au poivre, a perfectly cooked cut of New York strip over blue cheese mashed with a warming peppercorn sauce and garlic-sauteed greens. Keep an eye out for the miso-marinated tile fish on the specials menu: it's not quite Nobu quality but if you're in this part of Long Island; it'll do just fine. 107 Forest Avenue, Locust Valley — Ryan Sutton

For a solid Cuban breakfast before spending the afternoon in Hoboken: If Road Trip Week has you itching for a mini escape, an easy trip would be just across the river to Hoboken. The original location of La Isla opens every day except Sunday at 7:00 a.m., at which point it starts serving morning options like an egg, bacon, and avocado sandwich (which you should definitely get on Cuban bread); a plantain and queso blanco omelette; and French toast stuffed with the quintessential Cuban pairing: guava and cream cheese. 104 Washington Street, Hoboken — Patty Diez

For a day trip to a winery: The family-run winery Macari Vineyards is about a two-hour drive from Manhattan, and a great place to spend an afternoon tasting multiple wines. Tastings are $30 per person and include five different wines from the vineyard, including Macari’s Horses — a sparkling cabernet franc that is ideal for summer. A snack menu includes cheese and charcuterie, sold a la carte. 150 Bergen Avenue, Mattituck — Patty Diez

Photo: Macari

June 9, 2017

For a ramen that will be great even in this weekend’s heat: Tiny LES ramen shop Nakamura still delivers solid bowls of ramen, and for the summer, they’ve created a chilled version of their popular XO miso ramen — an umami-packed bowl using Momofuku XO. It comes with a yuzu salt sauce, pickled vegetables, and roasted scallion oil, and it’s both vegan and packed with flavor. 172 Delancey Street, Lower East Side — Serena Dai

For a no-frills brunch setting with consistently good food: Arriving before 11 a.m. at Gotan (like everywhere in the city) is recommended for optimal calm and table choice. Try the squash and ricotta toast, shakshuka, or any of the breakfast specials. There are three locations — Tribeca, Midtown, and Williamsburg — and the latter just opened for dinner service with a promising mezze spread. 258 Wythe Avenue, WilliamsburgPelin Keskin, Eater coordinating producer

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For a taste of trailblazing gelato: Perhaps the unhippest restaurant in town is old faithful Otto, but it sure is reliable. Mario Batali's pizza and pasta pusher is always bustling, gives you free bread, and has some of the lowest check averages in its category. But perhaps the top reason to visit this weekend is to swoon over the standout olive oil gelato, originally created by trailblazer Meredith Kurtzman, and still one of the city’s best. 1 Fifth Avenue, Greenwich Village — Stefanie Tuder

For an adult dinner with luxurious-feeling chicken: Chicken is the meat that can most easily swing into mediocre territory at restaurants, but Le Coq Rico manages to make it a rich, luxurious event. The stuffed chicken for two, which comes with lemon gnocchi and crisp spring vegetables, comes topped with a savory jus, and it’s a portion that might even be a tad much for a couple. The menu is also peppered with duck, which comes in a particularly wonderful form on the foies & terrine section. One note: it feels like an adult space with an adult crowd, better for a meal with your parents than with a crew of girlfriends. 30 East 20th Street, Gramercy — Serena Dai

For a great, inexpensive FiDi Saturday lunch spot — FiDi is not over-endowed with great Chinese restaurants, but there is at least one. Ho Yip is so big, it has two entrances on parallel streets. There’s an upstairs and a downstairs, painted industrial green and looking like a cafeteria from long ago, with seating for 100 or so. The focus of the main floor is two food lines, one leading to an ordinary steam table where dozens of dishes are laid out in heated, self-service tubs. The food is sold by the pound and on the gooey side. Accordingly, stand in the other line under the sign “Chinatown.” Here the food is fantastic, with dishes you’ll recognize from several regional cuisines. My favorite on a recent visit was called chicken with basil. It was a zingy rendition of Taiwanese three-cup chicken, pungent with ginger and basil. On Saturday afternoons, the place is chill, and you can really relax over your lunch. Closed Sunday. 110 Liberty Street, Financial District — Robert Sietsema

June 2, 2017

For a massive breakfast at picayune price: Not too many Greek diners still exist in downtown Manhattan, and Landmark Coffee Shop — boasting a corner location just north of Canal Street and a bright blue awning — is the only one to concentrate overwhelmingly on all-day breakfasts. Sure, the eponymous pancakes are great, light and well-browned, and why not have eggs, too, as well as sausage, ham, home fries, and toast. Get all of these in the Lumberjack, and walk away holding your bursting sides. Omelettes are a specialty, too, available in 30 varieties. You can even get eggs Benedict, though we’d advise against it. And hey, the coffee ain’t bad, either. 158 Grand Street, Little Italy — Robert Sietsema

For a visit to a winery without leaving New York City: While New York state is home to plenty of wineries on Long Island’s North Fork, and the less nearby Finger Lakes, Red Hook Winery is a wine destination just a subway ride away for New Yorkers. All wines are local, focusing on grapes and varietals from North Fork vineyards like Macari, and the Seneca Lake Wine Trail. Ask nicely, and the wildly helpful staff will let you taste two ounces of something not on the by-the-glass list. Bring a visiting family member, or a gaggle of friends to crowd around a booth. Tastings set you back $15 for four wines (two ounces each). If you’re still thirsty after a tasting, split a bottle with your group, sold blissfully at cost. 175 Van Dyke Street, Red Hook — Patty Diez

For thick, juicy burgers with a Venezuelan twist: Venezuelan street snacks like arepa sandwiches and the corn crepes called cachapas have taken the city by storm the last few years, and dispensaries have been popping up in many neighborhoods. But Venezuelans also love burgers, and Juanchi’s Burger in Williamsburg is proof positive. This humble bar in an out-of-the-way location serves scrumptious hamburgers bursting with juices, either in the usual formats, or with more unusual toppings, such as in the Spanish queen, which comes with pepper jack, chorizo, and pico de gallo. Appetizers like chicken wings and mini arepas — as well as a de rigueur quinoa salad — fill out the menu, and the quirky beer selection makes it a good weekend destination. The french fries are also especially notable. 225 South First Street, Williamsburg — Robert Sietsema

For a quick, counter-service lunch after shopping in Soho: Taim’s Nolita location is quietly located a few avenues away from any Broadway mayhem. Find your fuel in a falafel sandwich or platter, or check out what the guest chef of the month is offering. Grab a barstool inside, or sit in the shade at DeSalvio Playground across the street. 45 Spring Street, Nolita — Patty Diez

Falafel platter with hummus, Israeli salad, tabbouleh, and pita
Falafel platter from Taim
Taim [Official Photo]

For ace tacos while hanging out in Chelsea: If Saturday’s evening weather remains as forecasted, a cool 73 and sunny, consider a walk on the High Line before arguably New York’s best tacos. The lines you’d find during lunchtime at Los Tacos No. 1 will have scattered by the time you arrive in the evening to enjoy a plate of carne asada and adobado tacos. Do opt for a side of chips and guacamole. Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Avenue, Chelsea — Patty Diez

May 26, 2017

For a late-night bite after a Broadway show: The small but mighty kitchen at Caselulla is open nightly until 1:00 a.m., making it a wonderful respite from the tourist traps and countless Thai take-out spots of Hell's Kitchen. It's a cozy space that's ideal for two, with a menu made for sharing (think chicken liver mousse, clam dip, and an octopus salad). Caselulla's hefty wine list has everything from a lightly-sweet 10-year-old spatlese from J. J. Prum, to a rich Malbec blend from Argentina. Luckily, the team here takes its cheese program just as seriously, with well over 30 cheeses hailing from Etivaz, Switzerland; Rhône, France; and Greensboro, Vermont. 401 West 52 Street, Hell's Kitchen — PD

For glorious spring produce pre- or post-Lincoln Center: Travis Swikard has rolled out a captivating spring menu at Boulud Sud, studded with beautiful spring produce, secret-sourced cheeses, and wines that nearly steal the show. The Povencale take on peas and carrots show off the finest of spring in a crown around burrata and dolloped with lavender honey. The taramasalata with smoked cod roe and dill chips is also pretty wonderful. This is a place that offers value and is well worth the splurge. 20 West 64th Street, Lincoln Center — MM

Melissa McCart

For late-night tacos in Bushwick without a crowd: If the weather chooses to brighten up, there’s longtime Bushwick spot, Cocoyoc Taqueria, with an expansive back patio, cheap beers, and great tacos. Go for the goat tacos late night or Huevos a la Mexicana for brunch. 211 Wyckoff Avenue, Bushwick — MM

For solid Korean fare in a trendy Brooklyn space: Any snide joke you might have about the somewhat baffling surf shop-slash-restaurant combo at Tygershark in Prospect Heights will be dismissed after sitting down for a meal. The crab fried rice is the must-get dish. It’s spiced, though not super spicy, and it is the rare version of fried rice that doesn’t feel phoned in and boring. Note: the restaurant is loud. Prepare to say “what’s that?” to your dining partner a couple times. 581 Vanderbilt Avenue, Prospect Heights — SD

For a creative take on Indian fare: It’s worth sampling some dishes from ambitious Greenwich Village newcomer Rahi, now open in the former Tapestry space. The restaurant’s clearly still finding its feet, but the staff is earnest and eager to please, which gives it a family-run feel. Dishes that sounded more challenging to execute were tastiest. Skip the chicken kofta, but don’t leave without trying the chettinad octopus, a dish that ended up being expertly cooked pieces of octopus in what was essentially a coconut-based broth. It’s served in half of an actual coconut and comes with a flower on top. It’s beautiful and delicious. 60 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich Village — SD

May 19, 2017

For a great and affordable fried calzone: Zia Esterina Sorbillo is open in Little Italy, the walk-up pizza fritte place from Gino Sorbillo, one of Naples most famous pizzaioli. Keep it simple with the Italian favorite of provola e pomodoro (smoked mozzarella, tomato, and black pepper), then watch as it’s made and fried-to-order. Here’s betting this giant pocket will be your favorite street food of the summer. And it’s under $10. 112 Mulberry Street, Little Italy — MM

For coq frit au vin in a charming Brooklyn spot: Chef Gillian Clark has landed at The Gentry in Greenpoint, a French-Canadian neighborhood restaurant with more than plenty of options for poutine. But the cooking here is no gimmick: Clark has chops, having run her own restaurant in D.C., helmed a culinary school’s restaurant in Alabama, and wrote a book about her adventures, Out of the Frying Pan: A Chef’s Memoir of Hot Kitchens, Single Motherhood, and the Family Meal. Don’t miss the coq frit au vin. 592 Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint - MM

For expert Japanese-inspired cocktails with comfort Japanese snacks in a hip space: The cocktail guru Becky McFalls Schwartz at the recently opened Bar Moga comes with chops from places like Milk & Honey, and the $14 options here are creative, interesting, and delicious as a result. “Woman in the Dunes” comes with heavy cream and coffee liqueur but comes out light and refreshing instead of dense, and “Sleepwalk,” with lemongrass shochu, a yuzu sake, coconut, ginger, lime, and rose, is dangerously drinkable while staying complex. The accompanying food, luckily, is not phoned in despite the cocktail focus. The stand-out is the omurice, an omelette that’s cut tableside and is already an Instagram hit. 128 West Houston Street, Greenwich Village — SD

For Colombian and Mexican fusion in a brunch-heavy menu: It started out as a Colombian coffee shop peddling South American pastries, but then a magical thing happened. Gradually, Mexican lighter fare and brunch dishes were added to the menu at Jackson Heights’ El Rico Tinto, but with a little extra panache. Tortilla soup comes with fingers of fried tortilla sticking out every which-way, while burritos are presented sliced and artfully arranged on the plate — with a big dab of guac on top. Egg dishes such as huevos divorciados are particularly good, fried and stacked on tortillas with two piquant sauces, red and green. Coffee’s well-brewed, too. Open 6 a.m. 7607 37th Avenue, Jackson Heights — RS

For inexpensive Japanese in fabled East Village location: In the days when the Beastie Boys and Allen Ginsberg were frequent sightings in the neighborhood, the place was called Sapporo, and it served the East Village as a clubhouse, beer hall, and diner serving Japanese food. A few years ago it underwent an identity change, and is now known as Beronberon. The menu is much the same, centered on bento box meals that, for around $20 or less, are almost more than one can eat. Choose any two main dishes from a list that includes sushi, teriyaki, tempura, and donburi, then fill out the box with a couple of sides, all of it preceded by a soup or a salad. Sake deals abound, including Nigori by the carafe for $12. 164 1st Avenue, East Village — RS

May 12, 2017

For an easy mom-pleaser: The ultimate mom-restaurant, The Smith is an easy pick for Mother’s Day dining. That is, the menu is filled with choices if your mom isn’t as adventurous, and prefers to play it “safe” with roast chicken or spaghetti and meatballs. Visit the Lincoln Square location after a Broadway show, or stop by the Nomad outpost after a stroll in the area. It’s no wonder almost every location of the mini chain is near a college dorm. Various locations include East Village, NoMad, Midtown East, Lincoln Square

For a meal with mom that you can pay for: You want to treat mom to a special Mother’s Day meal, but you’ve already spent money on a gift, and you have to pay rent at the end of the month. Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote is a wise choice for a lunch or dinner that is special but costs just $29.95 per person. You’ll want to be sure your mom is into the restaurant’s single menu item, steak-frites. The strong Parisian vibes will feel like you’ve escaped New York for a meal. 590 Lexington Avenue, Midtown East; 40 Thompson Street, Soho

It's The Little Things #Steak #Frites #CôtesdeRhône

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For dim sum brunch in Williamsburg: What could be better for brunch than dim sum, with its plethora of dumplings, noodles, and other savory nibbles? But it hasn’t been available everywhere, and you often had to go to Chinese neighborhoods in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens to get it. Not anymore. Dim sum parlors are springing up in many neighborhoods that never had them before. Witness Dim Sum Bar in Williamsburg. The usual dim sum roster is available — you check off your choices on a pad, as at Nam Wah and Tim Ho Wan — and so are Cantonese and Sichuan main courses. In addition to beer and wine, a broad range of herbal and medicinal teas are available. 167 Grand Street, Williamsburg

For sit-down Italian on Cathedral Parkway: The northern border of the Upper West Side has a new formal restaurant with loads of windows and potted plants, quite unlike anything else in the immediate neighborhood. Maybe that’s why Marlow Bistro is instantly popular with the locals. The chef is Serbian-born Zivko Radojcic, and the menu is variously described as European and Mediterranean. Not that there aren’t Slavic and Middle Eastern elements. The hamburger, for example, comes smeared with the red pepper paste called ajvar (along with some excellent fried fingerlings), while the burrata is sprinkled with za’atar. But most of the choices — which include pastas and pizzas and a small collection of conventional entrees — skew Italian. Cavatelli comes sauced with an asparagus-and-ramp pesto, and the chicken with a porcini puree. Just what the neighborhood was apparently yearning to eat. 1018 Amsterdam Avenue, Upper West Side

For downtown cocktails by a fireplace: The Flower Shop's downstairs den is a fine place for settling in with a cocktail, with a menu that serves updated classics like a cucumber gimlet. You'll quickly pick up on the space's uncle's-basement-vibes (there's a jukebox, pool table, and double sided fire place). Upstairs, a solid cheeseburger with even better fries is there for a pre- or post-drinks bite. 107 Eldridge Street, Lower East Side

May 5, 2017

For elegant Vietnamese on date night: Vietnamese restaurants normally fall into two categories: inexpensive spots peddling pho and the over rice dishes called com dia, and more ambitious bistros located in destination dining neighborhoods like the East Village and Bushwick. But there’s a third option. Specializing in a sort of Vietnamese haute cuisine with an extra proportion of French influence, Le Colonial is located in an East Side townhouse that’s been decked out with furnishings that include tropical storm shutters and cane furniture, with a pair of elegant dining rooms on two levels. At dinner apps are often the street snacks you’re already familiar with, while entrees run to fish steamed in banana leaves sided with glass noodles, stir fried tiger prawns flavored with five-spice powder, and roast duck with a tamarind-ginger sauce. Lunch and lower priced pre-fixe dinner available. 149 East 57th Street, Midtown East

For a non-exorbitant tasting menu: Contra is still firing on all cylinders nearly two years after Eater critic Ryan Sutton awarded it three stars. Fabian von Hauske and Jeremiah Stone are the masters of the neo-bistrot movement in New York, serving up a six-course menu for a very fair price, about $190 for two after tax and tip (but before beverages). The current menu includes an amuse, a bread course, soft egg custard with morels and uni, chewy razor clams with tripe, halibut with green peppercorns, seared wagyu beef with rhubarb and asparagus, strawberry semifreddo with vanilla, and hazelnut ice cream with blackberry. It’s enough food to sate and inspire, but not too much so you won’t be able to have a slice of pizza afterward. Walk-ins are seated at the bar. 138 Orchard Street, Lower East Side

For a cozy, rainy Friday night meal: With no sign of spring this evening, head to the tiny Cotenna, a perpetually-packed West Village pasta shop. Normally it may not be the most fun to sit an inch from the next table, but when it's cold and wet outside, embrace the warmth inside this restaurant. Get big bowls of pasta and some wine, and be out of there for way under $100 for two. 21 Bedford Street, West Village

For a new neighborhood hot spot: Open just under a month and already a new entrant to the Heatmap, Motel Morris is a charming addition to Chelsea. It’s perfect for neighborhood residents looking for the tiniest of scenes, yet still a casual place to dine out. The American food is entirely approachable, even if the prices can creep up. Don’t miss the old-school bathroom. 132 Seventh Avenue, Chelsea

For delicious, affordable vegetarian Mexican: Gather your vegetarian friends and head to Hotel Tortuga, a tiny joint with a hole-in-the-wall feeling that pushes out varied and inexpensive Mexican fare. All the obvious choices are here, such as burritos and nachos, but with options like barbecue tempeh and portobello mole. Don’t worry — there’s plenty of meat, too. Bonus: free, unlimited salsa and chips. 246 East 14th Street, East Village

April 28, 2017

For a healthy meal after shopping in Soho: It’s supposed to storm on Saturday, but when the rain stops and you’re drawn to retail therapy, a visit to bistro Jack’s Wife Freda will round out the trip. The pretty restaurant, which recently debuted a cookbook, looks like it’s meant to be in the neighborhood, and dishes like beet dip and fish with couscous are in the venn diagram of delicious, healthy, and Instagrammable. The menu might look generic at first glance, but it won’t taste that way. 223 Lafayette Street, Soho

For spicy noodles on a rainy day: Chinatown staple Spicy Village and its wide hand-pulled noodles are so beloved by its fans that a group even created a shirt for it last weekend. If you haven’t tried it yet, maybe this weekend is the time. Order the big tray of chicken and sling a couple orders of noodles in it. Cucumbers and pork pancakes are also fan-worthy. 68B Forsyth Street, Chinatown

For a potential go-to Chinese restaurant in Williamsburg: North Brooklyn has a bit of a dearth of really great Chinese restaurants, and that may have changed with the opening of Birds of a Feather. It’s the sister restaurant of the Michelin-starred Midtown Sichuan restaurant Cafe China, and it’s serving a menu of both Sichuan classics and more modern spins on the cuisine. The restaurant has been in soft-opening mode for about a month, so this might be the sweet spot before waits get crazier and after they’ve had some time to settle into the space. 191 Grand Street, Williamsburg

For dinner near the High Line park: Santina remains one of Major Food Group’s most over-the-top and enjoyable restaurants. Situated inside a Renzo Piano glass cube underneath the High Line, Santina pays homage to coastal Italian tourist traps with waiters dressed as cabana boys and palm fronds that literally sway — thanks to well-placed air-conditioning vents. Dotting most tables are gently greasy chickpea crepes that guests use to scoop up a variety of dips, the best of which is an incendiary Calabrian tuna with tart tomatoes. Order one of those, then move onto Santina’s blue crab pasta — a noble inquiry into how much crustacean flavor a fistful of spaghetti strands can absorb. The correct cocktail pairing in this pastel environment is the Salerno sling, an easy, breezy blend of gin, lemon, and cherry heering that drinks in like two minutes and costs like $17. No, that’s not a tourist trap price, just an everyday upscale Manhattan price, unfortunately! There's your mini-Friday night vacation right there. 820 Washington Street., Meatpacking District

For homestyle Thai without a wait: With so much buzz over the years, SriPraPhai in Woodside can have weekend waits of over an hour. Walk right past and couple doors down for Thailand’s Center Point, a spot that used to be more shop than restaurant that has recently expanded. Get the crispy papaya salad with shrimp and squid for starters, a beguiling pad fresh ginger with an array of mushrooms, and Isan sausage and noodles with chiles for a first visit. Don’t be surprised if you’re given a trio of rice balls, like a Thai version of arancini. When we asked a server about them, she said, “It’s just something my mom made up.” 63-19 39th Ave. Woodside

April 21, 2017

For a handheld snack while day drinking on the LES: If you haven’t tried Roman street food import Trapizzino yet, schedule it into a day drinking itinerary this weekend. The pizza bianca exterior is the bread-pizza dough combo texture you didn’t know you needed to try, and the classic Roman dishes that fill the pizza pocket are just as thoughtful and homey. The chicken cacciatore, dense with warm rosemary flavor, will be particularly satisfying as a reprieve from the cloudy days expected this weekend. 144 Orchard Street, Lower East Side

For a last chance at some of New York’s best Japanese curry: Eater HQ gasped a little too loudly for our open-plan office when we learned this week that Soy — a tiny, cash-only Japanese restaurant on the Lower East Side — will be closing its Suffolk Street location to relocate to Rosendale, NY. If you haven't been yet, there's still eight days to make it in for Japanese curries, whatever appetizers are on special, or the much-loved spicy tuna and avocado bowl. Editor Sonia Chopra’s favorite move: the miso tofu for a solo dinner at the bar. 102 Suffolk Street, Lower East Side

For a lively Vietnamese meal for a night out: Newish East Village restaurant Madame Vo is one of those restaurants where the fun vibe and lively food makes the meal an event in itself. The sizzling platters of ribeye may feel reminiscent of the cheesy ‘90s chain trend of fajitas, but with a killer, slightly sweet sauce, Madame Vo’s version takes all the fun and raises it a level. Also not a bad idea: splitting the wings, which may one day enter NYC lexicon as one of the city’s best. 212 East 10th Street, East Village

For a restaurant that was doing wood-fired cooking before it was trendy: With a hearth built by hand by chef Frank DeCarlo, Peasant, a restaurant that's been open since 1999, has still got it. For an order, consider the asparagus, egg, and grana padano, followed by lasagna with rabbit ragu and bechamel. Be sure to walk back and ogle the open flame before you go. 194 Elizabeth Street, Soho

Repost from @sixxcoronel newest addition to our rotisserie menu stuffed guinea hen #faraona

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For a long-awaited rooftop drink: Luckily the forecast for Saturday, April 22 does not include rain, so take advantage then of this weekend’s reopening of Gallow Green. The rooftop bar, set on top of the McKittrick Hotel, has a new seasonal American menu and springy cocktails to sip amid the lush foliage for a much-needed preview of warmer months to come. 542 West 27th Street, Chelsea

April 14, 2017

For lunch in a sunny West Village space: It’s maybe time to give Cafe Altro Paradiso another shot. Owners Thomas Carter and chef Ignacio Mattos, the esteemed team behind Estela, have made some adjustment to their sophomore restaurant. Mattos says the food “is finally getting where it needed to be from day one.” Expect pastas and appetizers like fish crudo. 234 Spring Street, West Village

For slushie cocktails and tiki drinks on a patio: Warm weather is likely to continue through the weekend, making it prime weather to try Diamond Reef, the Brooklyn tiki bar from the team behind LES speakeasy Attaboy. The bar near the Clinton Hill and Prospect Heights border opened earlier this year with tropical vibes and outdoor seating. Like at Attaboy, drinks are the star. The frozen option is a “Penichillins,” a slushie version of the Penicillin. 1057 Atlantic Avenue, Prospect Heights

For stellar burgers and creative soft serve on a park: Chef Andrew Carmellini’s food truck in an Airstream Mister Dips returns on Saturday, serving burgers, veggie burgers, soft serve, and for the first time, vanilla soft serve floats. The seasonal restaurant at the William Vale Hotel didn’t have a ton of time in the warm weather after opening last fall, and although the hotel itself is somewhat maligned, the food and vibe at Mister Dips is worth checking out. Tip: Don’t sleep on the veggie burger, which might be even better than the beef one. 111 North 12th Street, Williamsburg

For some reasonably priced Japanese food in Midtown: Ise is a Japanese restaurant that dates to the ‘80s, with a wood-clad and maze-like premises that offers plenty of privacy in much of the seating. Convenient to the shops and galleries along Fifth Avenue — and St. Patrick’s Cathedral — this timeworn gem is also steps away from Central Park. Bento boxes and ramen noodles form a large part of the menu, the former featuring tempura, teriyaki, and katsu pork cutlets paired with unusually large portions of very fresh sashimi. Like other full-service restaurants of its era, no sushi is served. The ramen is available in 16 types, some with unusual broths like black sesame, fish, and spicy garlic miso. Beer and sake available. 58 West 56th Street, Midtown

For early spring vegetables and local fish: If you haven't been to Houseman for a stretch, consider this weekend for a revisit. The neighborhood restaurant from Ned Baldwin serves the kind of honest food I'd want to eat any day. Consider a brunch snack of smoked trout with rye crackers, Lani Farms spring greens, or shirred eggs with maitakes and trumpet mushrooms ($20). Dinner offers just-right lighting and a full house that's not too loud, with a menu of snacks like grilled heart with radishes ($11) and mains like mala skate ($28), and roast chicken with artichokes. 508 Greenwich Street, West Village

April 7, 2017

Eat breakfast before an art show in the West Village: The New Yorker featured a fantastic-sounding group art show at Fort Gansevoort, a gallery that sometimes also serves barbecue. The exhibition shows art about the male-dominated world of sports, but from women artists. No barbecue currently, so instead, try one of Eater critic Robert Sietsema’s favorite West Village restaurants. For a low-key diner meal at a neighborhood classic, check out La Bonbonniere, a Greek diner with egg-packed breakfasts. 28 8th Avenue, West Village

Try food from a chef newly declared one of the world’s best: If you’ve written off Dominique Ansel’s bakery post-Cronut craze, it’s not a bad idea to give his other pastries another look this weekend. He was recently named the best pastry chef in the world by the influential (albeit controversial) World’s 50 Best list. Most of the restaurants on the list are wildly expensive, but Ansel’s bakery is not. Feel free to skip trendy items like milk and cookie shot; don’t leave without picking up a kouign-amann. 189 Spring Street, Soho

Like to play pool? And eat at the same time? You can do both at Weekender Billiards & Bar Inc., where the focus is on the snooker tables and the food comes from Bhutan. In fact, it’s one of the few Bhutanese restaurants in town. There are meat or vegetable dumplings, of course, and stir-fries of beef and pork, some of them jerkies, served with big plates of rice. One dish called ema datse features swatches of hot green chile immersed in melted cheese — something like Tex-Mex chili con queso, only hotter. With a beer from the bar, it’s perfect brunch fare. And the place is only a couple of blocks away from the 52nd Street stop on the 7 train. 41-46 54th Street, SunnysideRobert Sietsema

Brunch in a sunny room while it’s still too chilly to dine outside: The weather forecast says it will be sunny this weekend, and even a bit warm. But it’s unlikely it will be quite hot enough for most people to start patio dining. Instead, spend the morning in a warm, sunlit dining room like the one at the Reynard. The menu has an excellent balance of virtuous and indulgent, all of it delicious. The toppings of the cast-iron pancake change regularly, but whatever they are, order it. 80 Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg

Try a quietly ambitious new American meal in a cozy Brooklyn room: Former Instagram darling cafe and bakery Tilda All Day transformed into a restaurant called Otway earlier this year, and now, chef Claire Wells is back to doing what she loves doing — savory foods. The room is still very cute and bright, and early word is that a dinner there feels quite special. Skip the raw lamb dish, but order the hen with brown bread sauce, which is beautifully nested in a garden of greens. For the sugar-averse, the not-too-sweet sunchoke cake dessert is worth ordering as well. Wells might even deliver to your table herself. 930 Fulton Street, Clinton Hill

March 31, 2017

For those who want dessert to drive the dinner decisions: Sometimes, the best part of dining out is ordering a luxurious dessert to top things off. At Narcissa, it’s the mille-feuille that makes the meal. It’s a classic French pastry pumped up with milk chocolate cremeux and malted whipped cream, with honey combs and sea salt sprinkled on top. Chef John Fraser’s vegetable-focused savory foods are special, too. 25 Cooper Sq., Noho

For a Mezcal tasting before a stellar Mexican dinner near Prospect Park: Last December, news came out that Mexican food hit chef Denisse Lina Chavez left the kitchen of her Prospect Heights restaurant El Atoradero, but she recently returned and is still dishing out some of the city’s best Mexican fare. Check in for a table and then go next door to check out the restaurant’s new Mezcal bar Madre Mezcaleria, which has a generous selection of mezcal. Once back at El Atoradero, remember to try one of the specials. Robert Sietsema enjoys the albondigas enchipotladas, which are now a Sunday special. 708 Washington Ave., Prospect Heights

Eat baked goods from the city’s top restaurants, in the name of women’s health: Some of the city’s top pastry chefs will be selling their wares at a bake sale on Sunday at Cafe Altro Paradiso for a Planned Parenthood benefit. Places like Le Bernardin, Gramercy Tavern, Le Coucou, Del Posto, and the Reynard will be offering up treats for sale. Cafe Altro Paradiso and the team’s Upper East Side sister restaurant Flora Bar will also bring some goodies. The event runs from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and is open to the public. 235 Spring St., West Village

While it’s still cold and wet, warm up with some hot pot: Chinese and Korean hot pots have been appearing in various Manhattan neighborhoods, many with little publicity. These restaurants provide bubbling cauldrons of broth and raw materials that run to thinly sliced meat, tofu, noodles, dumplings, and vegetables, letting diners cook their own meals by immersing ingredients in broth sequentially. You judge how long it takes to cook each one, then dip it in a choice of a dozen or so sauces.

Hot Pot Central is one of the first to appear in the East Village, a sunny corner room with seating for perhaps 40 diners. It’s a bit different than most hot pot places, in that it provides individual bubbling pots so that each diner may choose a different broth. While someone in your party may pick an angry red broth bubbling with chiles and Sichuan peppercorns, another may choose a mellow mushroom broth. This makes for a fun communal dining experience, especially in cold weather, and tables can accommodate groups from two to a half-dozen diners. 188 2nd Ave., East Village — Robert Sietsema

Hot Pot Central Robert Sietsema

But if you want to eat food that feels like spring instead: Many restaurants have launched their spring menus, including the recently revamped Momofuku Ssam Bar. The restaurant has a new spring small plates section and is running a special featuring one of the food world’s most fun indicators of the changing season, crawfish. The huge spicy pot of bright red crustaceans, an order for two, is a very messy meal that you eat with your hands. It will feel unorthodox (and maybe a bit unseemly), but spring is about unbuttoning a little. Just wear a shirt that you don’t mind getting dirty. 207 Second Ave., East Village

March 23, 2017

For one last try of an NYC legend: News came out on Thursday that 40-year-old East Village vegetarian restaurant Angelica Kitchen will be closing on April 7. The cash-only restaurant is a pioneer of meat-free, organic dining, and owner Leslie McEachern said increased rent and a struggling restaurant contributed to the decision to shutter. Sample of the hearty veggie-packed dragon bowls or the vegan desserts. Dishes like these might seem ubiquitous in New York now, but they came up in a time when few others were doing them. 300 East 12th St., East Village

For an affordable omakase in Brooklyn: Quality sushi will always cost more than other types of cuisine, but a few restaurants do offer a slightly more accessible way to eat thoughtful fish. Sushi Katsuei in Park Slope is a well-known neighborhood favorite and also considered to some to be among the best sushi in Brooklyn. And at less than $50 for an omakase, it’s a deal. It’s also a pretty big space, so while nabbing a seat at the sushi bar is a bit tougher, a table spot isn’t too bad. For more sushi options, check out Eater’s newly updated sushi map. 210 7th Ave., Park Slope

For a totally solid boozy brunch spot: Latin restaurant Yerba Buena is one of those restaurants that can please a group when looking for a reunion brunch venue, particularly the charming West Village location. The restaurant takes reservations, which can be critical, but it’s not too hard to just walk in, either. Bonuses include not phoning it in for the unlimited cocktails options and dishes that toe the line between adventurous and comforting, which is what people want for brunch. The French toast with bananas and Manchego cheese hits the spot, as does the eggs Benedict made with a sweet corn cake instead of an English muffin. 1 Perry St., West Village

For flavorful grilled meats in an uber-casual setting: For simple, honest cooking of grilled meat, try BK Jani, a stripped-down spot where you walk up and place an order and join fellow Brooklynites for communal dining. Though it’s a fast-casual setup, the place is very warm. It's easy to get lost in the fan mail, love letters, and sketches to owner Sibte Hassan that wallpaper place. Originally from Pakistan, Hassan takes pains to remember regulars' orders, their names, and the details of their lives — like a neighbor in the best sense of the word.

Back to the meats. While Ligaya Mishan describes the burger here as one of the city's best — "with hyperactive green chiles doing battle with fresh, bright mint, white pepper, pomegranate seed, vinegar and lime" — I'm a fan of the half-rack lamb chop (about $19), a grass-fed, juicy thick-cut cut served with grilled vegetables (bring pocket salt), raita, chutney, and paratha. You will go home happy-full. 276 Knickerbocker Ave., BushwickMelissa McCart

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For a low-key Mexican hit in the West Village: Monterrey, Mexico-native and International Culinary Center graduate, Julietta Ballesteros opened La Loteria about a year ago in a space that was previously an all-you-can-eat sushi bar. On a recent visit, some friends and I went for an early supper and were surprised at how the place has garnered popularity as a neighborhood spot without generating much buzz citywide.

Try the fish tacos wrapped in flour tortillas with jicama slaw and squirted with Valentina (Mexican hot sauce) aioli. Delicious! It was the best thing we ate. A fish ceviche came festooned with pea shoots, a green salad with a peanut dressing, and an order of cheese-stuffed mole enchiladas, oddly served on a bed of fried potatoes. It proved a welcome addition when it comes to sharing. 29 7th Ave S, West Village — Robert Sietsema

March 17, 2017

Where to drink this weekend while avoiding St. Patrick's Day-goers: The very dark corners of The Ten Bells will be a safe place when you want to imbibe this weekend but don't want to drink green beer or be surrounded by St. Patrick's Day revelers. Pore over the wine bar's extensive list of natural wines and linger over small plates of cheese and charcuterie. Arrive before 7:00 p.m. to enjoy dollar oysters and $15 wine carafes. 247 Broome Street, Lower East Side — Patty Diez

For a warm bowl of ramen in Greenwich Village: I consider myself a ramen enthusiast, and by that I mean I once studied abroad in Japan and now I think I’m hot shit. Momofuku, Ippudo, Totto — all fine, no complaints. But Mew Men, a small place near Washington Square Park, is good. Walk in and be greeted by a Japanese staff, a vaguely industrial-looking interior, and, if you’re lucky, some Drake song playing in the background. The menu is pared down to the basics, with shoyu-chintan and shio-paitan taking front and center, but I say go for the kara-shoyu if you can handle a bit of heat. The noodles are the perfect thickness, the minced pork savory and moist, and the broth not too heavy or oily, with just the right kick. Bonus: just like in Japan, Mew Men has crates so your bag doesn’t have to touch the floor (a practice that all US ramen restaurants should adopt, honestly). 7 Cornelia St., Greenwich VillageJenny Zhang, newsletter editor

If you feel like eating fancy Japanese after a Broadway show: New York’s only Michelin-starred yakitori joint, Tori Shin accepts guests as late as 11:00 p.m. Diners sit at a blonde counter, sushi-style, and watch chefs grill every chicken part imaginable over the binchotan: hearts, gizzards, medium-rare breasts, thighs, oysters, crunchy knee bones, and even arteries! It’s not cheap; the restaurant charges $65 for 10 skewers or $70 for a heartier omakase of six skewers and a rice bowl, but that’s fairly reasonable by New York splurge standards. 362 West 53rd St., Midtown — Ryan Sutton

For a taste of Tuscany in the East Village: Ten years ago Tuscan food ruled the Italian restaurant roost, but few restaurants actually came with Tuscan pedigrees — it was more a pared-down style of cooking, heavy on the olive oil, fresh vegetables, and rustic pastas. Now an actual Tuscan restaurant has arrived just west of Avenue C in a remote corner of the East Village. Fiaschetteria is the offspring of a Tuscan restaurant of similar name in Pistoia, halfway between Florence and Lucca. The interior is warm in the farmhouse style, and the pastas, especially, are freshly prepared. A manual slicing machine guarantees perfect prosciutto, and the cheeses are well chosen. There’s a short but delightful wine list. Pick the Carmignano.

That said, the apps cleave much closer to Tuscan cuisine than the primi or secondi do. There is a wonderful and fairly modern Florentine vegetable custard called sformato, and another, more medieval dish that consists of a pap of tomatoes and breadcrumbs, altogether one of the best savory puddings you’ve ever tasted. But the pastas and main courses don’t really stick with the Tuscan formula, a bit disappointingly. Tagliatelle alla Bolognese is, obviously, from Bologna, while gnocchi al pesto is a Genoan phenomenon, though I guess you might find these other regional cuisines in some Tuscan osteria. Still, the welcome is warm, the food is good, and the prices are reasonable. And the owners might be surprised how familiar many of their patrons are with actual Tuscan food. 647 East 11 St., East Village — Robert Sietsema

It's how most things start... with simplicity. Grab some friends and enjoy some of our traditional Tuscan appetizers, from imported prosciutto to Bruschetta alla Parmigiana. #FiaschetteriaPistoia

Posted by Fiaschetteria Pistoia on Thursday, February 2, 2017

For a daytime meal that feels almost luxurious: I finally made it to Khe-yo in Tribeca, which has been on my list since our video team shot an episode of Cooking in America there around Lao New Year. It's one of the only Laotian restaurants in New York, housed in a pretty, soothing space, and now that our office is downtown, I was able to sneak a visit this week. Weekend brunch looks good, too. The daytime menu is really short, with a selection of sandwiches and "market bowls," but my mushroom banh mi was great, and the Vietnamese iced coffee was even better. Ask for some spicy bang-bang sauce on the side of whatever you order so that you don't end up stealing half of your dining companion's. 157 Duane St., Tribeca — Sonia Chopra

March 10, 2017

For a ramen with a view of the Manhattan skyline: Swing by Heidi and Joshua Smookler's righteous ramen spot, Mu Ramen. The restaurant, dotted with $1,400 wooden stools, specializes in tonktosu, the fatty pork broth that's so rich it's fully opaque. Ipuddo, with its two hour waits, is largely responsible for making this style famous in New York, but make no mistake: Mu does it better, skimming the broth more consistently for a cleaner mouthfeel and finish. The right call here is the $20 version with brisket, cabbage, and sour pickles, though the classic tonkotsu at $16 is pretty great too! 1209 Jackson Ave, Long Island City — Ryan Sutton

For a party vibe before you head out for the night: When my friends and I eat at Take31, the sister restaurant of Her Name is Han, we have a bit of trouble ordering from the intensive menu, so we always go back to the dishes we know best. The pork belly rice crepe wrap dish produces perfect bites of fatty pork belly, wrapped in a thin layer of injeolmi, showered with soybean powder, and topped with a bright bonito and onion salad. The crispy "Havana-style" corn pancake, cod roe seafood udon, wasabi cream chicken will also have you running back next weekend for more. Pair all that with a bottle (or two) of soju to cut through all that unctuous goodness and you're ready to start your night. 15 E 31st Street, Koreatown — Nicole Bae, editorial coordinator

For great, non-pizza late night dining: Sometimes it can be harder than you think to locate very late night eats in Gotham. Here’s a suggestion after an evening of clubbing or bar hopping, when you emerge onto the pavement rubbing your eyes and half-crocked, but with a nagging hunger, and not for a slice of pizza or tapas-size tidbits, either. Open until 5 a.m. seven days, Turkiss is a Turkish kebabery that specializes in doner (aka shawarma or gyro). Two kinds are available, chicken and lamb, of which the bird is preferred. Have it made into generously meaty sandwiches heaped with onions and greenery in three sizes depending on bread, or pick one of the other kebabs, which will be grilled to order over flame. For vegetarians and the health conscious, plenty of salads are offered, too, pristine in their freshness. 104 MacDougal St., Greenwich Village — Robert Sietsema

For a reunion with a big group of friends in Brooklyn: The newly opened Dale Talde restaurant near Barclays Atlantic Social has several rooms with huge tables that makes it easy to bring a large group without a reservation, particularly if it’s a diverse crowd with picky tastes. On a recent visit on a Saturday night, the bar room was the more energetic place to be, though the dining room might be a better bet if the group’s looking for a more full-service experience. Pepperoni pan pizza with pickled peppers and General Tso’s chicken wings are both great bets, as are any of the cocktails. 673 Atlantic Ave., Fort Greene — Serena Dai

For a boozy brunch with lively food: Too often brunch means lame prix fixe menus and weak mimosas, but Miss Lily's in the East Village serves what's basically a party brunch with flowing cocktails. The deal is you can add one hour of bellinis, bloodys, and rum punches to your entree for $15. It's the move here, along with a jerk chicken roti, pork banh mi, or crispy fish sandwich. 109 Avenue A, East Village — Patty Diez

March 2, 2017

For a meal at a restaurant that used to have an impossible wait: Long lines aren’t so aggressive anymore at Ichiran, the Japanese ramen chain with a cult following. People used to wait hours to sample the tonkotsu ramen at the restaurant, which is known for its solo dining booths. These days, it’s quite easy to grab a table with friends. Waits for the unique solo booths might take a bit longer, but either way, the ramen is well worth a try. The broth is rich and smooth, coating the thin noodles adeptly. It’s a perfect meal for a chilly day. 374 Johnson Ave., Bushwick — Serena Dai

For a pre- or post-museum meal on the Upper East Side: Few spaces are as versatile as the Flora Bar and Flora Coffee duo inside the Met Breuer. These uptown stunners from the Estela team provide a bevy of options for before or after a day at the museum. Pull up to the counter at Flora Coffee for a beverage and an always-stellar, super nutty sticky bun, or have a luxe lunch at a table or the bar at Flora Bar, feasting on plates of steak with Béarnaise and potatoes, a purple endive salad with pecans, and stracciatella with Meyer lemon. 945 Madison Avenue, Upper East Side — Patty Diez

A black-and-white photo of a dining room, facing floor-to-ceiling windows, with shelves of wine glasses in the foreground Nick Solares/Eater

For weekend arancini and a once-a-week meal: The cookbook shop and cafe, Archestratus Books & Foods in Greenpoint offers a Bierre Ballz happy hour Saturdays from 2 to 7 p.m: buy a drink and choose an arancini for a snack. And every Thursday, there’s a dinner that’s very enchanting and worth booking seats, especially if, like I do, you love visiting a spot that has one delicious dish on the menu — and that is all. Last night, $20 bought a golden, flaky, buttery chicken pie and a radicchio salad, with Fernet Branca balls for dessert from Millicent Souris, who wrote How to Build a Better Pie. Next Thursday it’s Sicilian night.

Whether it’s a weekend visit or a Thursday night dinner, the cafe and cookbook shop could not be more cozy, especially with dining tables among bookshelves, a great playlist, and light just right. As for books, it’s the shop that introduced me to cult-favorite, the 50th anniversary edition of Vincent Price’s A Treasury of Great Recipes as well as the Le Diners de Gala, the Salvador Dali surrealist cookbook. 160 Huron St., Greenpoint, 718-349-7711 - Melissa McCart

For a dinner-karaoke night out in Brooklyn: Gowanus Korean barbecue and karaoke spot Insa has been well-reviewed as a taste of K-town in Brooklyn, but it’s worth another look this weekend after chef Susan Kim started working there as sous chef. She is an alum of esteemed fine dining restaurants like Chez Panisse in San Francisco and Agern here. Robert Sietsema particularly likes the galbijjim and the soondae, or regional blood sausages that are rarely spotted elsewhere in New York. 326 Douglass St., GowanusSD

For a quick and delicious taste of Cajun food: New York City has had a problem with Cajun/Creole restaurants serving the historic food of New Orleans and its western territories. While Harlem had some during its Jazz Age that were reportedly good, by the time Paul Prudhomme established his outpost of K-Paul’s at 622 Broadway — engendering four-block lines and two-hour waits — the city was craving Cajun/Creole fare as never before. Unfortunately, the great chef had toned down his recipes for tender-tongued New Yorkers, and the restaurant was a critical failure.

I was thinking of our checkered history when it comes to this cuisine, and all the times I’d left a restaurant serving it feeling annoyed and unsatisfied. Not so with Gumbo Bros., an extremely modest spot on Atlantic Avenue on the northern edge of Cobble Hill. It succeeds by offering only a short menu: three po’ boys and three gumbos, plus the occasional special. Available in small and large sizes, all the gumbos (sausage and chicken, seafood, and vegetarian) are terrific. I’ve only tried one sandwich, roast beef with “detritus gravy.” It was especially wonderful, on bread that reminded me of examples I’d eaten in the Big Easy. Greens with bacon and potato salad are two of the few side dishes. Don’t miss this place. 224 Atlantic Ave., Cobble Hill — Robert Sietsema

ROUX + OKRA + CHICKEN + ANDOUILLE SAUSAGE =

Опубліковано The Gumbo Bros 10 червня 2016 р.

February 24, 2017

A quick bite before watching Oscar-nominated shorts at IFC: The Oscars are airing on Sunday, and every year, IFC Center shows a bunch of the short films that are up for awards. It’s a prime event for a date night. Grab a quick bite beforehand at Manousheh to try some Lebanese flatbread. They bake it in a huge oven in clear view. Watch it bubble up and then flatten out for fillings like zaatar, avocado and cherry tomatoes, or lahem bi ajine, a ground beef, tomato, and onion mix. It’s a delicious, light, and visual experience, but fast enough to finish before showtime. 193 Bleecker St., Greenwich Village — Serena Dai

Check out a sleeper in the West Village: While it can be impossible to get into some of today’s most popular restaurants — forget about scoring a weekend reservation at Olmsted or Augustine — certain neighborhoods are filled with compelling restaurants that get no buzz. My nomination for sleeper of the week is Boucherie. Occupying a former garage just south of Sheridan Square, it’s all white tiles and brass fittings now, with a soaring ceiling and well-spaced albeit small tables on three levels. It’s hard to imagine a more dramatic space.

The chef is Jerome Dihui, formerly of Pastis. And if you miss that shuttered restaurant, Boucherie might be a good substitute. The menu evokes all the French brasserie classics, such as moules frites, escargot, frisee lardons salad, couscous, and a particularly fine rotisserie chicken with crisp skin implanted in buttery mashed potatoes. But on one side of the main floor lurks a butcher stall, and from it fly a variety of steaks (hence the name Boucherie), including a great steak frites, not based on a skirt or sirloin, but on a New York strip. It’s sliced with green peppercorn sauce, and the serving is large enough to be shared by two. 99 7th Ave S, West Village — Robert Sietsema

For a big group lunch with dumplings and soup: The three dumpling noodle soup at Wu’s Wonton King will be a cozy daytime meal when it’s forecast to rain on Saturday. The restaurant right off the East Broadway F train stop, not too far from Mission Chinese, has tons of big tables to bring a crew and share a feast. Besides the dumpling soup, the restaurant’s duck and clams with black bean sauce are also worth trying. Since Wu’s Wonton King opened, it’s been visited by people like Mario Batali. 165 East Broadway, Chinatown — SD

For stunning architecture in FiDi: The newly-opened Wooly Public in the Woolworth building or Fowler & Wells in the opulent Beekman Hotel offer stunning backdrops in landmark buildings for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. At the latter, breakfast is best for lingering (and it’s the least expensive meal). Try the baked eggs with leeks and black truffle, or ricotta on brioche with orange marmalade. 5 Beekman St.— Melissa McCart

For an unfussy (but still highly instagrammable) brunch in Brooklyn: This cafe and restaurant is helmed by Alex Raij, who's also the mastermind behind the adjacent La Vara. Tekoa delivers the same well-thought out food, but it’s casual enough that stopping by spontaneously (and frequently) seems reasonable. Star dishes include a shamelessly rich eggs mayonnaise served in a "griddled potato roll" and an egg in a hole that replaces the toast with a savory spinach pie from Damascus, another neighborhood gem. If it's a sunny day, grab a coffee to go and take a few steps over to Cobble Hill Park. 264 Clinton St., Cobble Hill — Madeline Muzzi

February 16, 2017

Affordable sit-down: Few restaurants are as reliable as Spaghetti Incident on the Lower East Side. It feels like a typically bustling downtown spot — dark and intimate, with borderline too-cool-for-school servers — but waits are never horrendous. Plus, all the spaghetti dishes arrive in healthy portions (read: not small plates!), and only one of them costs more than $15. Liters of wine also come at a very reasonable price. None of the food is mind-blowing, but the food here is consistently delicious. 231 Eldridge St., Lower East Side — Serena Dai

Last-minute dinner downtown: Thomas Chen’s East Village gem Tuome is still chock-full of hits, two and a half years after opening. The restaurant’s cozy and casual dining room is a fine setting for an evening of crispy deviled eggs, chicken liver with milk bread, and a pig feast for two that comes with spicy peanut noodles and all of the condiments. The restaurant also serves passed dim sum on the weekends, in conjunction with its stellar a la carte dinner menu. It’s the quintessential neighborhood restaurant. 536 E Fifth St., East Village — Patty Diez

Check out a taxi driver’s lunch in Chelsea: From the outside it looks like a convenience store, until you see the cabs parked helter skelter outside. Dil-E Pujab Deli is one of the city’s foremost cabbie’s lunch counters, with a gorgeous steam table of strictly vegetarian curries, including all the trimmings (pilaf, bread, pickle, chutneys) for less than $10. Pull up to the counter and enjoy a spectacular meal that doesn’t stint on the spice levels, then peruse the collection of snack pastries, throat lozenges, and reading material also available. 170 9th Ave., Chelsea – Robert Sietsema

Egg Shop

For a quick sit-down lunch, pre- or post-Soho shopping: The tiny Elizabeth Street storefront known as Egg Shop is popular among the weekend brunch crowd. But at slightly off hours during the week and weekend, it’s easier to snag a table or bar stool. A list of nearly ten egg sandwiches offers a slew of choices like fried chicken with a sunny up egg, smoked salmon scramble on an everything biscuit, and a steak and eggs sandwich. There is also solid version fried chicken and buttermilk biscuit, and a healthful bowl of veggies, eggs, and lentils. 151 Elizabeth St., Nolita — PD

For an interesting place to eat alone at the bar without judgment: Dining solo has its perks — eat where you want and no need to share, to name a couple. The key is finding a restaurant that's busy, where people watching is part of the fun, and the staff takes kindly to solo diners. Some of the friendliest staffers in town find themselves at a Danny Meyer restaurant, and one of the best in the empire is Gramercy Tavern. Enjoy a luxe lunch for one of duck andouille with cabbage, meatballs with Swiss chard, or the restaurant’s always-stellar burger. Find yourself quickly becoming friends with your bartender or server. 42 East 20 St., Gramercy/Flatiron — PD

Past editions of weekend restaurant picks: legit Mexican food that’s cheap and where to lunch near the Union Square Greenmarket.

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