Grub Street’s Restaurant Power Rankings: Martina, Hart’s, and More

Where to eat this week. Photo: iStockphoto

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. Martina (New this week)
Anytime Danny Meyer opens a new restaurant, it’s momentous. And that is exactly what will happen this weekend when he and chef Nick Anderer unveil their new, more-casual pizza place in the East Village. It’s not even really open yet, but it’s very difficult to imagine that this place won’t be a huge success.

2. Atla (Last week: 2)
Is this casual all-day café from Enrique Olvera and Daniela Soto-Innes destined to be the restaurant of the year? It’s pretty much perfect, says the Underground Gourmet, and a midweek spot-check reveals that it hasn’t lost any of its initial charm.

3. Hart’s (Off last week)
This laid-back spot in Bed-Stuy hit Bon Appétit’s list of the country’s best new restaurants, so if you still haven’t stopped by for the now-famous clam toast, get to it. Then, head to Cervo’s, the team’s new sister spot in Manhattan.

4. The Grill and the Pool (1)
Perhaps you’ve heard that it’s mid-August, and on the off chance you don’t spend the dog days of summer in the Hamptons (or wherever), it’s a good time to go to otherwise-crowded restaurants. The Grill and the Pool — a.k.a. the Major Food Group’s Four Seasons revamp — definitely fall into that category. Go give that credit card a workout.

5. Fairfax (3)
Atla may be the current king of the all-day-café phenomenon, but Gabriel Stulman has reworked the corner spot on West 4th and West 10th Streets into his own comfortable hangout spot. The vibe is very much “comfortable living room that happens to have food,” so get there early and get some coffee, and maybe put the half-watermelon on your Instagram.

6. Air’s Champagne Parlor (7)
You know what is very nice this time of year? Some snacks, a few glasses of sparkling wine, and some time to just sort of decompress, you know? What luck, then, that this petite, relatively new Greenwich Village spot specializes in exactly those things.

7. Sola Pasta Bar (New this week)
Chef Massimo Sola is behind this brand-new Soho spot, which — as you may glean from the name — features a lot of bar seating and a menu filled with classic pasta preparations. The corner space has seen plenty of restaurants come and go, but perhaps the purposely pared-down concept is the right move here.

8. Emily (9)
Everyone loves everything at the new Manhattan offshoot of the much-loved Brooklyn pizza mini-empire. (Except, perhaps, the wait for a table — though good planners can make reservations.) The vibe is casual, the pizzas are as good as you’d expect, and the burger is on almost every table.

9. Public Kitchen (6)
Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s newest restaurant is this spot at the Public Hotel. There’s a wood fire, popcorn-cheddar frico, corn-and-basil pot stickers, and — this being a hotel — full breakfast service.

10. Nur (4)
Pete Wells recently offered his take on this Flatiron restaurant from chef Meir Adoni and partner Gadi Peleg. In summation: This is a good restaurant. Of Adoni’s cooking, the Times critic writes, “The plates have energy. At times, in fact, they don’t know when to quit. The sauces and powders and garnishes proliferate so quickly that it’s hard to keep count. But it’s easier for a new restaurant to settle down after an excess of high spirits than to recover from a tentative start.”

11. Smorg Square (New this week)
It’s Smorgasburg, at the intersection of Soho and Tribeca. It kicks off this Saturday and there’s nothing not to like about that.

12. Arepa Lady (Off last week)
The days are numbered for the brick-and-mortar offshoot of this famed Jackson Heights cart, so stop by before it’s too late.

Restaurant Power Rankings: Where to Eat Right Now