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Owners of Dhamaka and Semma Open New Filipino Restaurant

Plus, Cafe Boulud is back open — and more intel

A Filipino version of what looks like porchetta.
Lechon Liempo, pork belly, at Naks.
Paul McDonough/Naks

One of the most anticipated restaurant debuts of the year, Naks, opens in the East Village today at 201 First Avenue, near East 12th Street. The Filipino restaurant from Unapologetic Foods, behind Dhamaka and Semma, is the team’s first spot to diverge from the regional foods of India. The kitchen is run by former Dhamaka chef de cuisine, Eric Valdez, who is Filipino.

There are two options for dining. The front room serves an a la carte menu with fried chicken with fish sauce and garlic; Soup No. 5, with beef testicles, pizzle, and a Filipino Chinese sibot spice; pork jowl with soy sauce and banana ketchup, and more. An 18-course kamayan option, with sea urchin and ampalaya, a bitter gourd salad, requires a reservation. (A spokesperson confirms a la carte starts next week; the tasting menu is available now.) Opening hours are 5 to 10 p.m., Tuesday to Sunday.

Cafe Boulud returns after two years

Daniel Boulud’s famed Upper East Side restaurant Cafe Boulud is back open at a new location. The new address is 100 E. 63rd Street, near Park Avenue. Reservations are now open for reservations starting December 14. The popular cafe closed two years ago after the management company at the Surrey hotel, where it had operated since 1998, entered bankruptcy proceedings. The restaurant is one of four Cafe Bouluds, with locations in Palm Beach, the Bahamas, and Toronto; a fifth cafe, in Beverly Hills, is opening next year.

A Brooklyn pizzeria switches things up

Valentine’s Pizza, a Bed-Stuy pizzeria, is passing the baton to Regina’s Grocery, a small chain of Italian sandwich shops. The pizzeria, owned by the same team as Greenberg’s Bagels next door, closed to focus on expanding their bagel shop in Manhattan, says owner Julian Cavin. The space will become the fifth location of Regina’s Grocery: The company has sandwich shops in Nolita, the Lower East Side, the Upper East Side, and Miami.