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. Pasquale Jones (Last week: 1)
The team behind Charlie Bird, along with chef Tim Caspare from California, are behind this brand-new spot on Kenmare. There are two — count 'em — wood-fired ovens, one dedicated to roasted entrées like a pork shank for two, and the other turning out top-class pizzas. All signs indicate: This place is going to be a hit.
2. Café Altro Paradiso (New this week)
Just west of Soho, the Estela team has opened this casual, airy Italian spot (somewhat fittingly, a Ducati dealership is next door). The menu is full of classic dishes with straightforward presentations, and the wine list is heavy on Italian wines, plus a fair amount of Champagne, because why not?
3. La Sirena (3)
Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich — perhaps you've heard of these plucky young restaurateurs? — have opened their own new Italian restaurant, this one in Chelsea's Maritime Hotel. It is huge and, as of this week, it is also serving breakfast. Get to it.
4. Lilia (5)
Missy Robbins's brand-new kitchen is already humming, and the food — especially the savory cacio e pepe fritters, and some saffron-and-honey-sauced agnolotti that will surely win plenty of fans — is on point. Bonus accolades for soft-serve gelato served, if you'd like, with sprinkles. Also of note: The little back café and takeout space is now open as well.
5. Salvation Burger (2)
April Bloomfield, arguably New York City's most prodigious burger chef, has a new beef-centric spot in the Pod 51 hotel. There's a big, steak-y chef burger, a double-patty ode to fast-food models, and even an of-the-moment veggie burger. Who wouldn't like this?
6. Suffolk Arms (7)
Pegu Club vet Giuseppe Gonzalez's new LES bar looks very promising. Given Gonzalez's experience and pedigree, it will, at least for the time being, almost certainly be the place that curious boozehounds rush to check out.
7. Indian Accent (New this week)
In midtown, this popular New Delhi spot has set up its first American outpost. The idea: modern interpretations of classic Indian food, available in a multi-course prix fixe format. There's roast lamb with ghee, nouveau papadums, and even squid served with "everything chutney."
9. Momofuku Nishi (6)
The crowds have descended on David Chang's Chelsea restaurant, which mashes up Asian and Italian techniques and ingredients. (Grub's take: The combination works better than you might think.) And please do remember: The restaurant takes reservations.
11. Llama Inn (9)
Everyone loves this modern Peruvian restaurant from chef Erik Ramirez. The most recent on-record admirers: New York's own Underground Gourmet, who this week write that the menu's centerpiece, an update to classic Peruvian lomo saltado, is "pure genius."
12. Kossar's Bialys (11)
The bialy, in case you hadn't heard, is back. And it just so happens that this spot, perhaps the most renowned name in the bialy biz, is open once again, selling versions both classic and updated.
13. Freud (10)
In Greenwich Village, the Edi & the Wolf team has expanded its Austrian mini-empire with this new, casual café. There's rye spaetzle, cheese-and-onion tart, and, of course, an Austrian-inspired burger. Like its sister restaurant, it has the potential to turn into a great neighborhood spot.
14. Russ & Daughters at the Jewish Museum (New this week)
There's a brand-new 70-seat restaurant and takeout shop inside the Jewish Museum on the Upper East Side. The people behind the bagels, smoked fish, and classic knishes? Russ & Daughters, the first name in all things appetizing.
15. Acme (13)
The menu at this downtown spot is no longer New Nordic in tone. Instead, it's now much more in the mold of a classic bistro, thanks to incoming chef Brian Loiacono, a veteran of Daniel Boulud's kitchens. Given the pedigree, it should be a great place to drop in to from time to time.
16. 00 + Co. (16)
A "plant-based pizza concept" in the East Village from vegan brand name Matthew Kenney is maybe, possibly, just the kind of veggie-burger-trend evolution that will hit big.
17. The Cecil (Off last week)
Chef JJ Johnson had a bona fide hit with the Cecil, the Harlem restaurant he opened in 2013. And, as of this month, he's revamped the entire menu. As he told Grub, "I want the culinary world to know that Afro-Asian-American cooking is not one-dimensional. It's a big conversation. There's a lot of history. Introducing this new menu is a way to keep the conversation going."
18. Nakamura (15)
Chef Shigetoshi Nakamura's tiny noodle den at the Manhattan base of the Williamsburg Bridge is something of a respite from the freezing weather. There are hot noodles (try the version that's infused with curry), warm teas, and an extremely gracious staff. Just make sure to go early, since the small room can fill up fast.
19. Pizzeria Sirenetta (18)
The Mermaid Inn team has opened this UWS pizza place, and the results look like good news for the area. There are wood-fired pies, of course, and also a menu of simple, Italian-ish food from consulting chef Danny Amend, who made a name for himself at Franny's.
20. El Atoradero (19)
Good news for fans of Denisse Lina Chavez's Cheap Eats favorite, which recently reopened in a space in Brooklyn: There's a brand-new brunch menu full of awesome-sounding tortas, tacos, and plenty of huevos.