Grub Street’s Restaurant Power Rankings: Little Alley, Public Kitchen, Parklife, 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. Emily (Last week: 1)
Some behind-the-scenes legal drama doesn’t seem to be hurting business at the new Manhattan outpost of Emily. A mid-week spot check revealed long (but not unreasonable, or unexpected) waits of an hour or an hour-plus, so just make a point to avoid prime times if you plan to check it out.

2. The Grill (3)
Raves keep pouring in for things like a pasta dish made with a duck press, the bar’s super-chilled Martinis, and the “Peconic-style” beef filet. And now: Power Lunch has returned to the former Four Seasons Grill Room. Clear your calendars accordingly.

3. Nur (8)
The hits at this Israeli restaurant include torso-sized Jerusalem bagels, savory date doughnuts, and glazed octopus with carrots. It’s still early for this restaurant, but at the moment it feels like a refreshing addition to the city’s dining scene.

4. Cote (4)
Is New York ready for a restaurant that combines the experiences of the American chophouse and Korean barbecue? Based on the early response to this new Flatiron spot: Yep. There is meat. There are cocktails. Tables are outfitted with those great grills. Get to it.

5. DeKalb Market Hall (2)
It’s hard to get too worked up about yet another new food hall, but still: This latest addition to Brooklyn, which officially opened last week, features some superstar vendors, such as Katz’s, Arepa Lady, Hard Times Sundaes, and the first permanent outpost of Jianbing Company. Grab some food, then head over to the brand-new Trader Joe’s to get some groceries.

6. Parklife (New this week)
The move at this new Gowanus spot is simple: Get some tropical cocktails, a taco or six, sit outside, and enjoy the summer just a little more than you might otherwise.

7. Casa Pública (5)
Williamsburg has a promising new Mexican spot from GM Meaghan Montagano, chef Bob Truitt (who previously ran the pastry program at Altamarea), and partner Daniel Ortiz de Montellano. You’ll find things like queso fundido, crab tostadas with uni, carnitas tacos, and more than a few ambitious cocktails.

8. Public Kitchen (New this week)
Jean-Georges Vongerichten opens new restaurants more often than most chefs redesign their menus. His latest: This spot at the Public Hotel. There’s wood fire, popcorn-cheddar frico, corn-and-basil potstickers, and — this being a hotel — full breakfast service.

9. Little Alley (New this week)
In Murray Hill, chef Yuchun Cheung has opened this new Shanghainese restaurant. Expect soup dumplings and pork buns, plus shrimp in hot sauce, Mongolian beef, tofu with crab meat, and pineapple fried rice.

10. Café Altro Paradiso (Off last week)
What is the very best new thing you can eat right now? Per the Underground Gourmet, that would be the inventive — yet wholly satisfying — burger that Ignacio Mattos serves at his West Soho restaurant.

11. Cecconi’s (11)
The Italian mini-chain — which has locations in jet-set-y spots like Barcelona, Berlin, Miami Beach, and London — has opened this attractive-looking space in Dumbo. Go for the views and spritzes, and maybe order some carpaccio and cavatelli with lamb ragù while you’re there.

12. Don Peppe (Off last week)
Times critic Pete Wells offered his take on this Ozone Park Italian-American staple, and the main takeaway is: arrive hungry. It’s an institution for a reason, and the critic enjoys linguine with clams and shrimp Luciano as much as everyone else.

This post is updated weekly.

Restaurant Power Rankings: Where to Eat Right Now