“Meet Me Inside”: New Restaurants for April

Friday, April 14, 2017
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In case your raw fish perception was being dragged down (yes, that’s tekamaki at Walgreens), there is another haute sushi palace on the horizon. Toshio Suzuki, who was chef at the renowned Sushi Zen, is unveiling an eponymous spot at 114 West 47th Street. Suzuki will have a bar serving a $250 omakase, including 12 pieces of fish flown in from Japan daily, as well as a 56-seat kaiseki room offering seasonal menus including a full vegetarian option.

Mexican fare is also having a lofty moment. Alex Stupak, known for his celestial tacos, once said he didn’t want to open outside his East Village community, but fame changes things. The chef is about to unveil a grander more upscale version of his Empellón at 510 Madison Avenue. 

TV chef Anne Burrell is headed to Cobble Hill. The spikey-haired blond TV personality is partnering with Philip Casaceli, who owns the Village bar Daddy-O, for a small plates concept called Phil & Anne’s Good Time Lounge. Look for it to open this spring at 196 Smith Street. 

Chinatown Brasserie on Lafayette, which closed in 2012, brings back fun memories for many, and co-owner John McDonald is determined not to let those recollections fade. He is re-creating the celeb-filled room’s famed Sunday dim sum brunch at his hopping SoHo spot Lure Fishbar. Says McDonald, “We’ve been wanting to reopen a Chinatown Brasserie for quite some time, and clearly that has not happened yet, so this is really a way for us to satisfy our personal dim sum craving and do something new for regulars.”

Scarpetta is shuttering its original location on West 14th Street and will be reopening in the new James New York-NoMad hotel this fall. The LDV-run hotel will have a more casual bar menu, which the old location did not. Those of us who need our fix of spaghetti with tomato and basil before that can get it at Scarpetta’s outpost at Gurney’s in Montauk. 

Meanwhile, Chopped judge and celebrity chef Scott Conant, who is no longer with Scarpetta in New York, is finally opening his own restaurant here. Called Fusco, it will occupy the former Veritas space in Gramercy (43 East 20th Street). “I’ve been eyeing this space since the ’90s when it was Da Vittorio, and then when I was a regular at Veritas,’’ reveals Conant. “It’s perfect for what I’ve been wanting to do—really focusing on the food but also the warmth and soul of Italian dining.”

We all love Starbucks, but every now and then, we need to get a little adventurous with our coffee outings. One of the most interesting spots to come along this year is The Good Sort (5 Doyers Street), a twelve-seat bar on Bowery offering gold lattes with turmeric and black latte with sesame and activated charcoal, among other hot drinks. Food items, which are divided into bowls and baked goods, include coconut congee with champagne-poached strawberries, pear crumble congee and pandan tapioca.

Philip Guardione opened his fourth Piccola Cucina in March at 75 Thompson Street (there are two others downtown and one in Ibiza). This one is an estiatorio with both Greek and Sicilian influence. The focus is on crudo and Mediterranean seafood served whole and sold by the pound, but there will also be meat dishes, including wild boar meatballs with porcini and black truffles. 

Let’s call it a relative bargain. Gabriel Kreuther (41 West 42nd Street), where the four-course prix fixe is $142, is launching a pretheater three-course dinner for $98. “We decided to do this because regular guests kept asking for an option that would allow them to come more often, meaning that they would not only come for special dinners or occasions, but also come by when they have theater plans with their friends and want to combine it with a great meal beforehand,” explains Kreuther. “The dishes that we chose are some signatures like the smoked sturgeon tart…the duck. The ones I’m particularly excited about are the smoked eel carbonara and the dorade royale.”

Shelly Fireman also has theater on his mind, and he’s mining some major talent. He was forced to temporarily close his Broadway Italian restaurant Bond 45 last year when the building was evacuated by the landlord, but has found a new location in the Edison Hotel at 221 West 46th Street, and hired Hamilton set designer David Korins to help him with a re-creation. He plans to unveil the bilevel space with a lounge, two fireplaces, bar, antipasto bar and indoor patio seating in May. 

“Every design process is the same,’’ Korins says. “A restaurant happens to have food, but it’s a completely immersive, theatrical experience…and you are constantly refining the script.’’

Let’s Eat

Bond 45

221 West 46th Street, New York




43 East 20th Street, New York



510 Madison Ave, New York




41 West 42nd Street, New York



The Good Sort

5 Doyers Street

New York



Lure Fishbar

142 Mercer Street, New York



Phil & Anne’s Good Time Lounge

196 Smith Street



Piccola Cucina Estiatorio

75 Thompson Street, New York




1170 Broadway, New York




114 West 47th Street, New York




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by Karen MacNeilPhotographed by Billy Farrall