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Uni with fish sauce butter at Madame Vo BBQ
Alex Staniloff/Eater

The Hottest Restaurants in Manhattan Right Now, January 2019

These places are burning up the borough

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Uni with fish sauce butter at Madame Vo BBQ
| Photo by Alex Staniloff/Eater

Eater editors get asked one question more than any other: Where should I eat right now? NYC dining obsessives want to know what’s new, what’s hot, and what is going to be the next big hit in the greatest dining city on earth. So here it is, a guide to the hottest restaurants in Manhattan this month.

January adds include: Madame Vo BBQ (a tabletop Vietnamese barbecue in the East Village from the acclaimed Madame Vo team), La Rossa (a Soho Roman pizzeria from a famed Italian pizzaiolo), and Intersect (Danny Meyer’s Meatpacking District collaboration with Lexus that features rotating chefs).

For more New York dining recommendations, check out the new hotspots in Brooklyn and Queens; the Eater 38 lists the essential long-standing restaurants in town.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Leonti

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103 W 77th St
New York, NY 10024
(212) 362-3800
Visit Website

Michelin-starred Dovetail is reborn as Leonti, a grand Italian restaurant on the Upper West Side inspired by bistros in Northern Italy. Chef Adam Leonti’s arrival in an NYC kitchen has been long-awaited, coming now with pastas such as cinnamon fettuccine with a wild boar ragu and meaty entrees like milk-braised lamb with tarbais beans and rosemary. The room has been redone with warm wood and white tablecloths, positioned at farther-spaced tables to seat fewer people.

Carla Vianna

2. Momofuku Noodle Bar

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10 Columbus Cir
New York, NY 10019

Momofuku Noodle Bar is all grown up: The once-subversive David Chang ramen parlor now has a second location. The bad news is that it’s on the third floor of the staid Time Warner Center shopping mall. But the good news is that there are more — and more comfortable — seats and, most importantly, the food is better than ever, with expanded appetizers and barley ramen instead of the wheat variety used downtown. There’s also Chang’s spit-fired meat stall Bāng Bar next door, slinging Korean flatbreads stuffed with meats such as spicy gochujang-marinated pork shoulder for breakfast and lunch.

3. Henry

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at Life Hotel, 19 W 31st St
New York, NY 10001
(212) 615-9910
Visit Website

Chef JJ Johnson nabbed the city’s attention while cooking at Harlem restaurants, and since leaving the Cecil and Minton’s a year ago, his takeover of Henry at the Life Hotel in Midtown is the first time he’s back in a full-service restaurant kitchen. He’s calling the menu here pan-African — an amalgamation of flavors from across Africa, the Caribbean, and the American South. A short rib with millet, hoisin barbecue sauce, and black beans is on the menu, as is a collard green salad and shrimp and pork dumplings with Portuguese sausage. Drinks come from acclaimed former Seamstress bartender Pam Wiznitzer, who’s also drawing flavors from the cuisine of the African Diaspora for cocktails. 

Photo by Bea da Costa

4. Intersect

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412 W 14th St
New York, NY 10014
(212) 230-5832
Visit Website

Is Intersect a future model for restaurateurs? The Meatpacking District restaurant is run by hospitality titan Danny Meyer but owned by carmaker Lexus. Every six months, a big-name chef creates a new menu that Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group executes, and first up is Gregory Marchand, the guy behind acclaimed neo-bistros Frenchie in Paris and London. Dishes right now include foie gras terrine, gnocchi with sweetbreads and mushrooms, and monkfish with celery root, coffee sabayon, and black garlic. There’s a counter-service cafe, too. Despite being backed by a major brand, the restaurant has been packed.

Intersect by Lexus [Official Photo]

5. Hall

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17 W 20th St
New York, NY 10011

Five years of cooking at high-end vegetarian restaurant Kajitsu inform this first restaurant from Hiroki Odo, albeit in a much more casual atmosphere. But meat is on the menu at this all-day entrant, with dishes ranging from pastries in the morning to panko-fried calamari with white miso mustard cream sauce at night. European touches make their way into the food, as well as in cocktails and with French wine.

Cody Rasmussen [Official Photo]

6. Balaboosta

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611 Hudson St
New York, NY 10014
(212) 966-7366
Visit Website

Famed Israeli chef Einat Admony, of Taim fame, has reopened her neighborhood restaurant Balaboosta, this time in the West Village. Originally open in Nolita, the Middle Eastern pioneer serves dishes that span the Mediterranean and Middle East like several hummuses; lamb neck with dates, preserved lemon, freekeh, and chestnuts; and roasted sunchokes with za’atar aioli. The new corner space is a brighter and lighter rendition looking out on Hudson Street.

7. GupShup

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115 E 18th St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 518-7313
Visit Website

Modern Indian food in an opulent space encapsulates Gupshup, a new Gramercy restaurant from relocated Indian chef Gurpreet Singh. Fusion dishes — such as an Indian take on ramen with a tomato rasam broth and mushrooms or roasted bone marrow with five-spice naan — are set alongside colorful murals, gold accents, and several chandeliers. Owner Jimmy Rizvi’s goal is to create a highly stylish and happening atmosphere, with live music, DJ’s, and other performances.

8. Madame Vo BBQ

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Corner, 104 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003
(917) 675-7570
Visit Website

Yen Vo and Jimmy Ly, the pho specialists at Madame Vo, have added barbecue to their repertoire at this colorful new addition to the East Village. Tabletop grills, like the kind found in Korean barbecue, get utilized for Vietnamese-flavored meats and dishes. The idea is to wrap meats such as meatballs and beef tongue in rice paper with a mix of veggies, fruits, and sweet and savory sauces. Other dishes include an oxtail congee or uni with fish sauce butter, accompanied by beer, wine, and sake cocktails. It’s a festive, rowdy place for groups.

9. TabeTomo

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131 Avenue A
New York, NY 10009
(646) 850-6414
Visit Website

Ramen-obsessed New York for some reason hasn’t quite yet caught onto the virtues of tsukemen, the style where room-temperature noodles are dipped into ultra-rich broth. But chef Tomotsugu Kubo — an alum of LA noodle sensation Tsujita — makes it the star at his solo venture TabeTomo, a petite East Village restaurant now open. Expect a rich tonkotsu broth, plus thick noodles to dunk into the pork-based soup. Rice bowls and appetizers like kaarage round out the menu.

Photo by Louise Palmberg

10. La Rossa

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267 Lafayette St
New York, NY 10012
(917) 262-0302
Visit Website

NYC’s love affair with Roman pizza continues to blossom at La Rossa, a Soho entrant from famed Italian pizzaiolo Stefano Callegari. This is his ninth restaurant and first pizzeria in NYC — he also has pizza pocket wine bar Trappizino on the Lower East Side — where he’s making 12-inch round pies inspired by Roman dishes such as cacio e pepe and carbonara. The crust is more Neapolitan style, but it all defies categorization. Other options include pizza quadratta, available to-go during the day, and snacks like fried rice balls. Beer and wine are available in the sit-down, 22-seat space.

11. Joe’s Steam Rice Roll

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265 Canal St
New York, NY 10013
(646) 694-1656
Visit Website

Even among Flushing’s competitive Chinese food market, Joe Rong’s rice rolls stand out — and now, the man dedicated to the dim sum staple has opened a location in Manhattan, too. Housed within the Canal Street Market food hall, Joe’s Steam Rice Rolls serves options filled with beef, curry fish ball, shrimp, and other proteins, with the options to add ingredients like corn and cilantro. Rong grinds rice for batter daily, and one can be had for under $10.

Monica Burton

1. Leonti

103 W 77th St, New York, NY 10024
Carla Vianna

Michelin-starred Dovetail is reborn as Leonti, a grand Italian restaurant on the Upper West Side inspired by bistros in Northern Italy. Chef Adam Leonti’s arrival in an NYC kitchen has been long-awaited, coming now with pastas such as cinnamon fettuccine with a wild boar ragu and meaty entrees like milk-braised lamb with tarbais beans and rosemary. The room has been redone with warm wood and white tablecloths, positioned at farther-spaced tables to seat fewer people.

103 W 77th St
New York, NY 10024

2. Momofuku Noodle Bar

10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

Momofuku Noodle Bar is all grown up: The once-subversive David Chang ramen parlor now has a second location. The bad news is that it’s on the third floor of the staid Time Warner Center shopping mall. But the good news is that there are more — and more comfortable — seats and, most importantly, the food is better than ever, with expanded appetizers and barley ramen instead of the wheat variety used downtown. There’s also Chang’s spit-fired meat stall Bāng Bar next door, slinging Korean flatbreads stuffed with meats such as spicy gochujang-marinated pork shoulder for breakfast and lunch.

10 Columbus Cir
New York, NY 10019

3. Henry

at Life Hotel, 19 W 31st St, New York, NY 10001
Photo by Bea da Costa

Chef JJ Johnson nabbed the city’s attention while cooking at Harlem restaurants, and since leaving the Cecil and Minton’s a year ago, his takeover of Henry at the Life Hotel in Midtown is the first time he’s back in a full-service restaurant kitchen. He’s calling the menu here pan-African — an amalgamation of flavors from across Africa, the Caribbean, and the American South. A short rib with millet, hoisin barbecue sauce, and black beans is on the menu, as is a collard green salad and shrimp and pork dumplings with Portuguese sausage. Drinks come from acclaimed former Seamstress bartender Pam Wiznitzer, who’s also drawing flavors from the cuisine of the African Diaspora for cocktails. 

at Life Hotel, 19 W 31st St
New York, NY 10001

4. Intersect

412 W 14th St, New York, NY 10014
Intersect by Lexus [Official Photo]

Is Intersect a future model for restaurateurs? The Meatpacking District restaurant is run by hospitality titan Danny Meyer but owned by carmaker Lexus. Every six months, a big-name chef creates a new menu that Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group executes, and first up is Gregory Marchand, the guy behind acclaimed neo-bistros Frenchie in Paris and London. Dishes right now include foie gras terrine, gnocchi with sweetbreads and mushrooms, and monkfish with celery root, coffee sabayon, and black garlic. There’s a counter-service cafe, too. Despite being backed by a major brand, the restaurant has been packed.

412 W 14th St
New York, NY 10014

5. Hall

17 W 20th St, New York, NY 10011
Cody Rasmussen [Official Photo]

Five years of cooking at high-end vegetarian restaurant Kajitsu inform this first restaurant from Hiroki Odo, albeit in a much more casual atmosphere. But meat is on the menu at this all-day entrant, with dishes ranging from pastries in the morning to panko-fried calamari with white miso mustard cream sauce at night. European touches make their way into the food, as well as in cocktails and with French wine.

17 W 20th St
New York, NY 10011

6. Balaboosta

611 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

Famed Israeli chef Einat Admony, of Taim fame, has reopened her neighborhood restaurant Balaboosta, this time in the West Village. Originally open in Nolita, the Middle Eastern pioneer serves dishes that span the Mediterranean and Middle East like several hummuses; lamb neck with dates, preserved lemon, freekeh, and chestnuts; and roasted sunchokes with za’atar aioli. The new corner space is a brighter and lighter rendition looking out on Hudson Street.

611 Hudson St
New York, NY 10014

7. GupShup

115 E 18th St, New York, NY 10003

Modern Indian food in an opulent space encapsulates Gupshup, a new Gramercy restaurant from relocated Indian chef Gurpreet Singh. Fusion dishes — such as an Indian take on ramen with a tomato rasam broth and mushrooms or roasted bone marrow with five-spice naan — are set alongside colorful murals, gold accents, and several chandeliers. Owner Jimmy Rizvi’s goal is to create a highly stylish and happening atmosphere, with live music, DJ’s, and other performances.

115 E 18th St
New York, NY 10003

8. Madame Vo BBQ

Corner, 104 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

Yen Vo and Jimmy Ly, the pho specialists at Madame Vo, have added barbecue to their repertoire at this colorful new addition to the East Village. Tabletop grills, like the kind found in Korean barbecue, get utilized for Vietnamese-flavored meats and dishes. The idea is to wrap meats such as meatballs and beef tongue in rice paper with a mix of veggies, fruits, and sweet and savory sauces. Other dishes include an oxtail congee or uni with fish sauce butter, accompanied by beer, wine, and sake cocktails. It’s a festive, rowdy place for groups.

Corner, 104 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003

9. TabeTomo

131 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009
Photo by Louise Palmberg

Ramen-obsessed New York for some reason hasn’t quite yet caught onto the virtues of tsukemen, the style where room-temperature noodles are dipped into ultra-rich broth. But chef Tomotsugu Kubo — an alum of LA noodle sensation Tsujita — makes it the star at his solo venture TabeTomo, a petite East Village restaurant now open. Expect a rich tonkotsu broth, plus thick noodles to dunk into the pork-based soup. Rice bowls and appetizers like kaarage round out the menu.

131 Avenue A
New York, NY 10009

10. La Rossa

267 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

NYC’s love affair with Roman pizza continues to blossom at La Rossa, a Soho entrant from famed Italian pizzaiolo Stefano Callegari. This is his ninth restaurant and first pizzeria in NYC — he also has pizza pocket wine bar Trappizino on the Lower East Side — where he’s making 12-inch round pies inspired by Roman dishes such as cacio e pepe and carbonara. The crust is more Neapolitan style, but it all defies categorization. Other options include pizza quadratta, available to-go during the day, and snacks like fried rice balls. Beer and wine are available in the sit-down, 22-seat space.

267 Lafayette St
New York, NY 10012

11. Joe’s Steam Rice Roll

265 Canal St, New York, NY 10013
Monica Burton

Even among Flushing’s competitive Chinese food market, Joe Rong’s rice rolls stand out — and now, the man dedicated to the dim sum staple has opened a location in Manhattan, too. Housed within the Canal Street Market food hall, Joe’s Steam Rice Rolls serves options filled with beef, curry fish ball, shrimp, and other proteins, with the options to add ingredients like corn and cilantro. Rong grinds rice for batter daily, and one can be had for under $10.

265 Canal St
New York, NY 10013

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