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. Nur (Last week: 4)
It seems that everyone Grub talks to lately is dying to check out Meir Adoni’s new Flatiron restaurant, and it’s easy to understand why: Early word of mouth is great; the menu has all sorts of interesting-sounding dishes; and Adoni is already winning lots of fans in New York.
2. The Grill (2)
Phase one of Major Food Group’s Four Seasons revamp is filled with VIPs — which seems fitting, given the space’s history — but if you can swing a table, the early word has it that you will be duly impressed by the entire spectacle.
3. Empellón (5)
In addition to crab-and-uni nachos (great) and that avocado dessert (lovely), Alex Stupak will soon offer his chef’s-table tasting menu here, after closing Empellón Cocina. All of it warrants a trip to midtown, for even the staunchest downtown advocate.
4. The Campbell (3)
This luxe Grand Central bar is open again. Negronis go for like $18 (and the house Martini is $25, which, yikes), but there are certainly worse places to get a drink before you catch your train.
5. Sunday in Brooklyn (Off last week)
The best restaurant for brunch in New York? That would be this (aptly named) newcomer in Williamsburg, where the breakfast sandwich is a thing of beauty and chef Jaime Young’s menu is filled with all manner of top-shelf midday dining choices. (Get the pancakes.)
6. Made Nice (6)
While we’re on the subject of superlatives: What is the best new thing to eat in New York right now? Per the Underground Gourmet, it is the curried cauliflower with tofu and couscous that arrives care of Daniel Humm’s new fast-casual kitchen. The best part: It’s only $11.
7. Atla (7)
A few years back, it seemed like every new restaurant was basically a bar with good food. Now, it feels like many new restaurants are basically coffee shops with ambitious menus. Exhibit A: This café from Enrique Olvera and Daniela Soto-Innes, where dishes like the (excellent) guac and fish Milanese are almost secondary to killer coffee, chia oatmeal, and a much-Instagrammed dish of coconut yogurt with blueberries.
8. abcV (8)
Furthering Grub’s coffee-shop theory: Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s all-day café, where the focus is veggies and grains, plus juices and shakes and all other manner of vaguely healthy choices.
9. Pig Beach (Off last week)
It’s Memorial Day, which means cookouts. For Grub’s money, this outdoor BBQ destination in Brooklyn is among the city’s most charming choices. Get some pork, grab a beer, be happy.
10. Italienne (Off last week)
This week, Pete Wells finds himself — as other critics have — wishing that Italienne’s dual identities (causal taverna up front, more formal dining room in back) made more sense together. Still, the taverna’s food, the thoughtful wine selection, and the desserts are largely appealing.
11. Café Altro Paradiso (Off last week)
New York’s most interesting new burger comes care of Ignacio Mattos. It’s dosed with fish sauce, Gorgonzola, and a radicchio mostarda, and you — yes, you — can go grab one for lunch or a quick dinner at the bar.
12. Hemlock (New this week)
Word has started to trickle out about this relatively new addition to the LES, where the plates are small, the vibe is seasonal, and the wines are “natural.” If you’re in the area, check it out.
This post is updated weekly.