Grub Street’s Restaurant Power Rankings: Veggie Burgers, Chicken Sandwiches, and a Lot of Natural Wine

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Welcome to Grub Street’s weekly survey of the most-talked-about, must-visit restaurants in New York City. The list below features spots both new and old ranked according to one important, ever-fluctuating (and admittedly subjective) metric: Who has the most buzz? Perhaps a famed chef has taken over the kitchen, or there’s a new dish you absolutely must order. Maybe the restaurant is just brand-new, or the critics are raving about it. Whatever the reasons, these are the hottest restaurants in New York right now.

1. The Stonewall Inn (Off last week)
Sure, it’s not a restaurant, but if there were ever a time to head over to the legendary — and just-landmarked — bar, today is the day.

2. Superiority Burger (New this week)
After months — possibly years? — of veggie-burger appearances at industry parties and pop-ups, Brooks Headley finally opened his first Superiority Burger outpost in the East Village this week and the hype build-up seems to have worked. There are veggie burgs, sloppy joes, gelato, and, almost certainly, a long line of customers when the spot opens for business tonight.

3. Fuku (Last week: 1)
Of course, Superiority Burger isn’t the only new sandwich counter in town these days, as David Chang’s two-week-old fried-chicken-sandwich shop is basically around the corner from Brooks’s burger depot. Since Fuku is lunch-only, you can bet that today will be the first day (but almost certainly not the last) when someone grabs Fuku for lunch and Superiority Burger for dinner. It’s inevitable.

4. Untitled (6)
Adam Platt this week offered two stars to the new Whitney Museum restaurant from Danny Meyer and chef Michael Anthony, where there’s a concise, focused menu and the “carefully curated dishes are brought to the table by swarms of smiling hospitality professionals, wearing neatly pressed button-down shirts and the trademark butcher’s bibs.”

5. Gabriel Kreuther (5)
This place looks swanky, and Grub means that in the most flattering way possible. Big, ambitious restaurants don’t open all that often, and if Kreuther can deliver on the promise of this midtown spot, it could be the city’s next blockbuster.

6. Wildair (3)
The new, comfortable place from the Contra team gets it: Affordable bottles of relatively obscure natural wine are the stars of the show, and the short, simple food menu is full of items that complement the vino and tweak things just enough to not feel like the same old dishes you’ve had at other wine bars.

7. The Four Horsemen (2)
Another awesome wine bar, this one in Williamsburg, sort of famously owned by James Murphy, with an impressive lineup of food from Franny’s expat Nick Curtola.

8. Lupulo (14)
George Mendes’s Portuguese gastropub is winning fans left and right, and it’s easy to figure out why: The casual food is elevated without being overwrought, the vibe is very bar-ish, and it’s all complemented by a bunch of nice beers, wines, and cocktails.

9. Atera (8)
In Tribeca, Danish chef Ronny Emborg has taken full control of the celebrated tasting counter at Atera. His 18-course menu has some very impressive moments and there’s even a mocktail — seriously — that you really should check out.

10. Leyenda (4)
This is the new Latin-leaning “coctelería” in Carroll Gardens from bar superstars Julie Reiner and Ivy Mix, with none other than Sue Torres in the kitchen. The drinks are good, the food is way better than it has to be, and now there’s even a new back garden that’s just right for summer.

11. The Happiest Hour (18)
This popular after-work hangout is still going strong in the West Village, and now there’s a new serious-minded cocktail bar called Slowly Shirley to go with it. Something for everyone, in other words.

12. Babu Ji (10)
This kulfi is the latest ice cream you need to try this summer. Oh, but before you get to dessert, check out chef Jessi Singh’s savory menu, full of street-food-inspired Indian dishes like gol gappa and Tandoori-blasted trout.

13. Noreetuh (Off last week)
The Times’ Pete Wells heads to this refined Hawaiian spot from some Per Se vets and offers up a star for the winning dishes, great wine list, and service that’s “exceptional for the prices and location.” (He does wish the place would loosen up a little and maybe the dining room could be a little more charming — so there you have it.)

14. The Eddy (Off last week)
Also on Wells’s review agenda this week, this small, “sophisticated” East Village spot where everyone is “extremely pleasant,” the vibe is entirely comfortable, and chef Brendan McHale’s food is (mostly) very well done. Wells says the place “gets so many little details right that your main course can be a little shaky and you can still walk out happy.”

15. Perla (Off last week)
Gabriel Stulman’s Minetta Lane restaurant has softened its prices, brightened its paint, and just generally become a more casual place to spend an evening. And, based on a visit earlier this week when the dining room and two bars were comfortably full, it seems people are quite pleased with the way everything has come together.

16. Rose’s (12)
Here’s a solid neighborhood joint, the weeks-old bar and grill in the original Franny’s space (from the couple that also owns Franny’s). There are burgers, spit-roasted pork, and veggies that you can wash down with a few well-made cocktails.

17. Rosie’s (11)
And then there’s this similarly named East Village spot, which is a big, open corner restaurant with solid margaritas and reliable Mexican food to match. It’s not breaking the mold by any means, but it’s from Vicki Freeman and Marc Meyer, two people who definitely know how to run a busy, cheerful restaurant.

18. Dante (15)
The Caffe Dante reboot is open and, well, it’s not exactly the same as it used to be. Instead, it’s a handsome-looking Italian-inspired aperitivo bar with lots of light cocktails and some nice-looking crudi. It could be a good place to settle in as the sun sets and you figure out what your plans will be for a late dinner.

19. Mission Cantina (Off last week)
If you follow Danny Bowien on Twitter, you know that he might change the whole menu at this LES spot at literally any minute, so there’s no telling what you might get. However, at the moment, it looks like superlative burritos and an excellent hamburguesa are safe bets, and who doesn’t love those?

20. o ya (13)
In the Park South Hotel, Tim and Nancy Cushman have opened up the NYC outpost of their hit Boston Japanese spot o ya. At the moment, it’s an omakase-only affair, with prices starting at $185 per person. It isn’t cheap, but if the crew can maintain the high standards of the original, it could rank among New York’s other heavy-hitting sushi destinations.

Grub Street’s Restaurant Power Rankings: Veggie Burgers, Chicken