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 12 hottest restaurants in New York right now.
1. Bar Pisellino (New this week)
Bursting onto the scene (with easily the most … fun name that Grub Street has seen in a while) is this long-awaited casual Italian cafe and bar from Jody Williams and Rita Sodi. Well, “bursting” might be a bit too emphatic. It seems to be more of a slow rollout in these early days, but make no mistake: This will be the place for coffee, snacks, and aperitivi this summer.
2. Maison Yaki (Last week: 2)
So, what does one order at a French restaurant that takes its cues from Japanese yakitori joints? We are so glad you asked. Fresh-baked mini baguettes are a good place to start, as is a cauliflower okonomiyaki that seems to be a 50/50 split of cauliflower and Bulldog sauce. Maybe you’d like some skewered scallops or duck meatballs, washed down — preferably in the backyard – with a yuzu gin-and-tonic?
3. TAK Room (Off last week)
The news this week out of the Hudson Yards megamall is that our critic Adam Platt finds Thomas Keller’s ode to “Continental cuisine in an atmosphere of throwback style and glamour” is pretty good — provided you don’t mind the insane prices.
4. Jungle Bird (New this week)
This weekend marks the unofficial start of summer: Have a drink or three. Perhaps you’d care to get that cocktail in this new Chelsea bar, where the namesake tiki drink is on tap, the vibes are sunny, and the crudité comes with a condiment that is called — enticingly and somewhat mysteriously — “Thai ranch.”
5. Essex Market (3)
The bigger, badder, altogether newer iteration of the Essex Street Market, is ready to welcome you. Old favorites, like Shopsin’s, have made the move, as have a slew of new vendors that fit right in.
6. Le Jardinier (New this week)
Attention, high rollers: Get over to 53rd and Lex to check out this very pretty new restaurant from chef Alain Verzeroli, who previously worked for Joël Robuchon, and whose first solo project seems to maintain many of that chef’s most famous qualities: lots of luxury, sophisticated plating, and a general air of elegance.
7. The Fulton (5)
Way downtown, chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten has opened his 347th restaurant, this one dedicated to all things aquatic, done up with Vongerichten’s signature level of understated panache. And, bonus: Should you find yourself at JFK in the near future, you may want to pop into the chef’s other brand-new restaurant, a revamp of the Paris Café inside the new TWA Hotel.
8. Coast and Valley (6)
While it may seem like everyone you know is moving to L.A., Brooklyn has gotten its own injection of Golden State vibes, care of this new wine bar dedicated to all things California. There is also light, straightforward food that seems designed to appeal to anyone who has a penchant for wellness or Instagram.
9. Chama Mama (Off last week)
Do you enjoy khachapuri? Of course you do. The place to get it, at the moment, is this Chelsea Georgian spot, which the Underground Gourmet calls “gobsmackingly good.” Get to it!
10. Hanon (Off last week)
This week, Pete Wells writes that the idea at this Williamsburg udon shop “is not to slurp and slide out, but to stay for a meal: a chilled French red with the fried chicken and Japanese omelet, maybe, and something a bit brawnier with curry soup. Dessert could be a tofu blancmange, smooth and white and somewhat sweet, but there is more satisfaction in the grainy, earthy bricks of red bean paste.” (At least that will be the idea once the liquor license comes through.)
11. Frenchette and Adda (Off last week)
Who’s praising two of New York’s biggest blockbusters now? Why it’s Food & Wine, which has placed both the lauded Tribeca brasserie and the Long Island City Indian spot on its list of the ten best new restaurants in the country (at No. 3 and No. 6, respectively). If you still haven’t been to these places — what are you waiting for?
12. Rezdôra (10)
It’s a scientific fact that there is no such thing as “too much pasta,” and in the Flatiron, Italian chef Stefano Secchi has opened a brand-new spot dedicated to the food of Emilia-Romagna. And so: There are pasta tastings, a few solid secondi options, and — to start — gnocco fritto, the warm, fried bread that just so happens to be the world’s greatest prosciutto accompaniment. Buon appetito.