The Hit List is where you’ll find our favorite new food and drink experiences in NYC. We track new openings across the city, and then visit as many as we can. While this is by no means an exhaustive list of every good new spot, one thing you can always rely on is that we’ll only include places that we have genuinely checked out.
Our goal is for this list to be as diverse as the city itself—inclusive of a wide range of cuisines, price points, neighborhoods, chefs and owners of all backgrounds, and the multifaceted communities within the industry. If you think we missed a great new place, we want to hear about it. Shoot us an email at email@example.com.
Whether you’re looking for in-person dining, takeout, or delivery, The Hit List is here to help you find a great new spot to support. Read on to find your new favorites.
We can’t help but feel like Stefon when we tell people that the downstairs at Essex Market (also known as The Market Line) is NYC’s hottest restaurant destination. With options like Gouie and Banchan By Sunny at People’s Wine, there are finally as many great sit-down places as there are typical food court-style vendors. The latest addition, seafood spot Essex Pearl, recently reopened with a Southeast Asian menu featuring basically everything from the ocean—and all of the food is well executed. Sit at the long winding bar and go for dishes like deep-fried baby octopus in a spicy lemongrass curry, salmon sashimi bathing in nuoc cham, and a fried dorade that’s one of the best whole fishes we’ve had recently. It’s covered in herbs and a deeply savory and slightly spicy tamarind chile sauce, and it comes out super juicy with a ton of meat on the bones. Despite being in a glorified food hall, the dining area still feels busy but also slightly secluded—which makes it ideal for a date at the bar or a small group dinner where you can pick out a whole lobster or Dungeness crab from the tank and have a lively seafood feast.
Tasting menus can be polarizing. Sometimes, you sit for a few hours, drop a bunch of cash, and eat a parade of uninspired plates that make you feel like you’re in an exhausting meeting that you kind of want to end. You won't feel that way at L’Abeille. This warmly-lit Tribeca restaurant has green velvet banquettes and brass accents, and the servers (all dressed in jackets and ties) attend to your every need. But the impressive food is why you should come here. The $180 six-course tasting menu is primarily French with some Japanese touches—and we especially like the foie gras crème brûlée paired with an onion ice cream and the perfectly-cooked tilefish with crispy skin that you’ll want to eat all by itself. The next time you want to surrender yourself to a two-hour dinner that involves very little decision making, L'Abeille should be at the top of your list.
The menu at Nudibranch in the East Village seems like it was put together by someone blindly drawing cuisines from a pouch like Scrabble tiles. You’ll see frog legs with galangal, pork jowl with ají panca, and turkey neck with mole. The food is all over the place—and we’re into it. Meals here are prix-fixe, and for $75, you get to choose one course from each of the three sections of the menu. We especially like the seaweed crackers topped with raw scallops and the flat iron steak with crunchy taro sticks, but it’s the cauliflower prepared three ways (roasted, puréed, and pickled) that we’re still thinking about. Unlike a lot of East Village spots, the energy here isn’t rowdy, so think of this place the next time you want to have a real conversation with someone who isn’t afraid to try things they’ve never seen before. If you’re a completist, bring a group of four and knock out the whole menu in one sitting.
If you want to casually sip on a cab franc rosé in a warmly lit space while also enjoying some of the best small plates that you can currently acquire in exchange for money, check out Place des Fêtes in Clinton Hill. As the name suggests, this wine bar from the Oxalis team is doing its best impression of something you’d find in Paris’ 11th arrondissement. The wines by the glass are predominantly from Spain and Chile, and the limited food menu revolves around meats, cheeses, and little bites of chilled seafood. You’ll find anchovies, raw scallops on the half shell, and a meaty flounder tartare in a pool of the finest olive oil you’ll encounter all year. Despite how good the food is, we wouldn’t send you here for a full, hearty dinner. Stop by, give a few small plates your full attention, then drink some funky wine from fashionably stubby glasses as you and a friend touch base on your five year plan. The space is long and narrow, with white brick walls and tweed banquettes, and there’s a big bar near the open kitchen for when you can’t snag a reservation. You can assume that will be often.
Eyval is the newest restaurant from the team behind Prospect Heights’ Sofreh, and it’s next door to Sofreh Cafe (from the same owners) in Bushwick. Starters and small plates are the move here, and you should order as many as your table can agree on. Portions are small, and the plating is chic, so your first impression might be that you’re getting pretentious food at pretentious prices—but dishes like the fava bean borani topped with sprigs of dill and the potato tahdig sitting in a rich plum sauce have a startling amount of flavor for how simple they sound. This restaurant has buzzy energy that keeps the waitstaff on the move, so it’s good for a leisurely night out with a group of friends who want to eat some of the best Persian food in Brooklyn. The energy is also infectious enough to make a solo dinner at the bar surprisingly fun.
Wenwen serves the sort of food you'd want to scarf down before getting horizontal on a couch to watch Forgetting Sarah Marshall for the 17th time. Nothing feels precious at this Greenpoint spot—instead, the Taiwanese dishes like the spicy 886 Noodle (think of a beef noodle soup without any broth) and the extremely tender braised pork belly with big chunks of cuttlefish feel nostalgic and comforting. Unlike Wenwen’s sister restaurant 886, it won't seem like most of the diners here have an NYU student ID, but this place still feels fun, especially when you see the bathrooms that could double as private karaoke rooms and the cartoonishly large Shyboy 4XL cocktail.
Most places either feel like bars (where you can also maybe eat) or restaurants (where you can also maybe drink). But whether you're looking for drinks, dinner, or a bottle of wine and some snacks, Gem Wine has you covered. Natural wines are the focus here—there are no beers or cocktails—but the food isn't just an afterthought. Their bread with salted butter is a great small bite, and we also love the lamb tartare tossed with a creamy oyster emulsion and the hearty white beans with confit albacore. You should know, however, that the menu changes often. This place is only open Monday through Friday, and it's an ideal spot to unwind after a long day of doing that thing you do for paychecks.
photo credit: Una Pizza Napoletana
Una Pizza Napoletana
People walk into Una Pizza Napoletana and immediately tell the host that they’re “so excited to be here” as if those are the passwords required to get seated. And we get it. You’ll have a hard time finding Neapolitan pies that are as good as the ones at this LES restaurant. You should always have at least one margherita on your table. When it arrives, dive in right away, starting from the middle where the mix of San Marzano tomatoes, slightly gooey pieces of buffalo mozzarella, and wet dough will remind you of a simple but perfect bite of pasta. But the crust is the real reason why this pie is so special. Words like airy, soft, light, chewy, and pillowy come to mind, but we’re going to go with “supernatural” for now. You might think you can make your own great pizza, but we don’t care if you own a $5,000 oven that reaches over 1,000 degrees—you’re never going to produce anything at home that tastes like what you can get at Una Pizza Napoletana.
Mena serves the kind of elegant comfort food we eat in fantasies where we dine al fresco at sunset overlooking the ocean, draped in cashmere (like we imagine Meryl Streep does on Sunday evenings). A meal at this “globally-inspired” Tribeca spot feels impressive and of-the-moment—but there are zero gimmicks and many delightful surprises. The four-course prix fixe menu changes every few days, but you can expect dishes like Spanish lentils with salty duck cracklings hidden under a chic pile of crispy mushrooms and a plate of scallops with a thin slice of radish camouflaged on top for extra kick. Tribeca is tragically far from the seaside sunset of our dreams, but the feel of the room here is candlelit and cashmere soft, filled almost exclusively with tables for two. Bring someone you’re serious about, and plan a romantic trip to whichever coastline inspired the food you wind up eating.
If you’ve ever walked across Houston Street and thought to yourself, "I wish there was a good Mexican restaurant around here that wasn’t Dos Caminos," Bar Tulix is for you. In the space on Houston and Greene that was home to Burger & Barrel for about a decade, you'll now find this seafood-heavy Mexican restaurant with food from the chef behind Oxomoco and Speedy Romeo. The menu isn’t traditional—there’s an aguachile turned black with squid ink and a riff on a Caesar salad—but all of the food is tasty. Standout dishes so far include the masa-encrusted fish, the shrimp cocktail tostada, and the roast duck with mole poblano. We could see ourselves coming here for a fun Saturday night involving probably too much mezcal, or for a drink and snack at the bar the next time we're in Soho.
photo credit: HAND Hospitality
At LittleMad, you can add caviar, uni, and/or truffles to every dish, sort of like how you’d add parmesan crisps to a salad at Sweetgreen. But this place from the team behind Atoboy and Her Name is Han is actually pretty casual. The mostly-concrete space has an industrial feel—with scuffed floors, an open kitchen, and a soundtrack that leans heavily on Outkast—and the menu is full of French and Korean-inspired small plates that are meant to be shared. Want a crispy pig ear salad with (optional) Burgundy truffle? Or how about a mandu/chou farci mashup in a silky lobster sabyon with a big dollop of caviar? The correct answer to both of these questions is yes. This Nomad restaurant has been open since June of 2021, so it isn’t the newest place on this list—but the customizable food provides a big, unique fun factor. Bring a friend, share a bunch of things, and be sure to get the bowl of rice packed with caramelized mushrooms and big globs of bone marrow. Maybe even add some uni.
photo credit: Kenny Yang
Charles Pan-Fried Chicken
When you stop by Charles Pan-Fried Chicken, an employee behind the counter might shout something like, “I got that cornbread,” and the whole team will reply with “Oooooooh” in unison. This ritual is clearly part of the deal if you work here, and it’ll make you smile. Don’t be surprised if the person taking your order welcomes you with a friendly greeting and introduces themselves by name before asking for yours. (We hear this is how people outside of NYC interact with each other on a regular basis.) The fried chicken here is famously made in a cast iron skillet rather than a deep fryer, and the meat comes out tender beneath a well-seasoned crust. But don’t get fried chicken tunnel vision—both the pork ribs and smothered turkey wings are fall-off-the-bone tender, and we love the collards, black-eyed peas, and cornbread as well.
There are a lot of fried chicken sandwiches out there, and, truthfully, most of them make us wish we were at Popeyes. Rowdy Rooster’s Indian fried chicken sandwiches on 1st Avenue and 9th Street are different, though. They’re crunchy, covered in yogurt and pickled onions, and they come on soft, buttery pao buns with three different spice levels—the highest of which is genuinely sweat-inducing. (Rowdy Rooster also makes a few vegetarian options that are surprisingly exciting for a place with fowl in the name.) We hope more takeout spots follow suit and start serving Indian fried chicken, since the line to get a sandwich here is already pretty long.
Do we need any more sushi omakase counters in NYC? Don’t answer that. It doesn’t matter. They’ll just keep on opening anyway. Matsunori on the Lower East Side stands out because of its reasonable pricing and casual feel. For $68, you’ll get 12 pieces of high-quality and decently-varied fish, plus an appetizer, a handroll, and homemade mochi for dessert. Fish highlights include soft-then-crunchy needlefish and a crispy piece of eel with a tiny square of melted foie gras on top. Matsunori uses their blowtorches more than we’ve seen at other similar places—but slightly charred yellowtail tastes delicious, so we have no problem with that. Book a date at one of their five nightly seatings, and make sure to stop at September Wine & Spirits nearby for wine or sake. This place is currently BYOB.
Normally, Hit List restaurant research doesn’t send us into the depths of ghost hunter Youtube. But that’s where we landed after dinner at El Quijote, the recently-reopened Spanish restaurant in the bottom of the not-quite-yet-reopened Hotel Chelsea. El Quijote originally opened in 1930 and functioned as a clubhouse where people like Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, and Andy Warhol drank sangria and talked sh*t. The new restaurant looks and feels pretty unchanged, complete with red leather booths, a portrait of Don Quijote etched in glass, and a bar where you might see the ghost of a former resident (or just someone who lives in Chelsea seeking croquetas draped with jamon). Make sure to order the plate of anchovies and boquerones, and eat them on top of the crunchy-sweet pan con tomate.
The space where Peaches Hot House used to be in Fort Greene recently turned into a casual Caribbean restaurant serving jerk chicken that we can’t currently remove from our dreams. Whether you get this chicken in wing form or as an entree, it’ll be covered in a smoky dry rub and doused with sticky, spicy sauce. Island Shack’s menu shows a range of influence, with everything from Jamaican oxtails and rice and peas to Trini-style roti and curry goat. Although the restaurant is currently waiting on their liquor license, it’s already a high-energy place to meet a date or a couple friends for a group dinner (and the scene will probably get even rowdier with rum cocktails in the mix).
We’re usually inclined to be suspicious of a place that offers both a dosa and a wild mushroom ragout on their menu under the banner of “uniting cultures.” But the food at Lore is actually good. About half of the dishes at this Park Slope restaurant are Indian-inspired, including items like a dosa with some coriander-heavy coconut chutney and sea bream served with a yogurt sauce blended with mint at peak-freshness. On a menu that also includes a smash burger and brussels sprouts, these things might seem out of place—but as each dish passes the taste test, you’ll stop asking “Why?” and instead shrug and think “Why not?” Stop by this neighborhood restaurant for a casual weeknight dinner with an indecisive friend or a dimly-lit second date when you don’t want to seem boring.
Mari is the most exciting thing to happen to Hell's Kitchen since Alicia Keys lived in the neighborhood. (Or at least since Kochi opened, a place coincidentally run by the same restaurant team as Mari.) This Korean spot serves a $125, 13-course tasting, the bulk of which is dedicated to U-shaped hand rolls filled with marinated meat or fish plus crunchy accessories on top and pickled daikon underneath. Unlike some handroll places you may have been to before—like Nami Nori or Domodomo—Mari incorporates Korean sauces and spices into every two-bite roll. We especially like the piece with scallop that’s marinated in makgeolli then torched and topped with candied anchovies. Come before a show, or plan a meet-in-the-middle date night on the West Side. There are a couple tables in the back, but you should sit at the big rectangular counter in the middle of the restaurant, so you can watch the chefs prep all the pieces.
We don’t normally pay friends to host parties where we get to schmooze with new people, drink wine out of tiny cups, and eat delicious food. But if we were going to pay for such a thing, $75 would be a pretty good deal–especially if it meant eating some of the city’s most exciting new food in a setting that feels like an apartment hang. That’s what’s happening at Dept. Of Culture. This fantastic Bed-Stuy restaurant serves a rotating prix-fixe meal inspired by the owner’s upbringing in the Nigerian state of Kwara. Before each of the four courses – whether it’s a ginger-heavy fish pepper soup, mushroom suya, or pounded yam with efo and spicy pepper and tomato sauce – the chef/owner shares a personal story about the dish you’re about to eat. Like any proper NYC dinner party, the space can only fit about 15 people, most of whom share a communal table up front. There’s always a record playing, and you can BYOB, although you might see a server walking around with some complimentary white wine. Make a reservation through their website. It’ll be a blast.
Even if you’re not hungry, you’ll find it difficult to stop eating at Banchan by Sunny, which is running as a pop-up at Peoples Wine in The Market Line until early spring. Unsurprisingly, the focus here is on Korean side dishes, and standouts include the giardiniera, roasted eggplant, and peppery blanched potato strips with whipped pine nuts. We also love the grilled hiramasa collar and raw fluke with a vinegary gochujang sauce, but the best dish here is the tteok guk. Your last slurp of the meaty broth from this short rib and rice cake soup will give you the same feeling you get when you finish a great movie and realize the sequel is probably three years away.
Jody Williams and Rita Sodi could sell tap water and saltines on a barge in the Hudson, and it’d be one the toughest reservations in town. But, for now, the owners of I Sodi, Via Carota, and Buvette seem content to keep serving unpretentiously delicious food in the West Village. The Commerce Inn is their latest spot in the neighborhood, and it’s a bit of a departure from cacio e pepe and coq au vin. The menu here is full of dishes inspired by the Shakers. You’ll find relatively simple, hearty plates like some juicy leeks topped with bacon bits and a heavily brined pork chop over a bed of vinegary black eyed peas. It’s the sort of food you might eat at whatever the best tavern was in 1823, but it’s served in a small, charming space on Commerce Street with chalkboard menus and servers in matching beige chore coats. Bring a date, or grab a seat in the bar area up front and sample some Shaker delicacies, such as the 50/50 martini.
Does Williamsburg need a new brunch destination? Not really. But it has one, and we’re glad. Edith’s Eatery is the latest spot from the people behind Edith’s Sandwich Counter (which started as a pop-up at Paulie Gee’s in Greenpoint), and it’s part cafe, part grocery store. You can grab a table up front and eat near a row of shelves stocked with tahini, pickled vegetables, and Sahadi spice blends, or you can walk to the back where there’s a takeout counter with coffee and baked goods. We highly recommend the chicken schnitzel served alongside warm, griddled cornbread, and you should also grab yourself a buttery malawach with a side of bright green zhug. The atmosphere is extremely casual (and 1950s retro), and the tables are first come, first served—so anticipate a wait if you stop by on a weekend. Feel free to peruse the shelves until your table is ready.
After a recent stint in Paris and a few big-deal residencies around NYC last year, this Vietnamese pop-up finally has its own storefront on the Lower East Side. For the next few months, Ha’s Đặc Biệt is selling egg-scallion bánh mì on crusty rolls, oysters glossy with green chili nuoc mam, and ginger-heavy rice porridge that’s comforting enough to make you a kinder, more empathetic person. The setup here is better suited for casual scenarios than hot dates, since you order at a counter and there are only a handful of places to sit. But the food is all exciting enough to warrant a visit, even if it’s by yourself on a random Thursday when you want to spend some quality time with a clam and rice salad coated in fermented anchovy sauce.
Joomak Banjum in Koreatown definitely isn’t cheap. Their six-course tasting menu clocks in at $180 (somewhere in the middle of the NYC fine dining spectrum)—but if you have the cash, this is a great place to eat small, flavor-packed dishes that are executed at a very high level. Your meal here will begin with some custardy butternut squash layered with caviar followed by a range of other impressive dishes inspired by Korean, Chinese, and French cuisine. The squid ink sourdough jajangmyeon with candied Meyer lemon is a highlight, and the cranberry tart topped with homemade Pop Rocks will make you feel like a kid in the FAO Schwarz candy section. Bring a group, do some coordinating, and make sure no one chooses the same dishes from the tasting menu. This’ll be one of the most fun fine dining experiences you’ve had in NYC.
Themed menus based around specific ingredients often read like Iron Chef challenges. But at Chocobar Cortés—a new Mott Haven outpost from a fourth-generation Puerto Rican chocolate company—the chocolate-centric menu feels fun. There’s a club sandwich on chocolate mallorca bread, a grilled cheese with chocolate butter, and even something called a Chocoburger. Grab a chocolate croissant from the adjoining cafe when you stop by, and be sure to order something from the extensive hot chocolate menu. The Puerto Rican dark hot chocolate (served with cheese) is worth a visit all on its own.
When you look around Zou Zou’s, a new Eastern Mediterranean restaurant from the Quality Branded team, you might picture the parties in The Great Gatsby. The dining room is glitzy and high-ceilinged, and every meal here should start with a selection of dips. (The green tahini with a citrusy white foam is particularly impressive.) Next, try the tart raw scallops with dehydrated raspberries and the crispy beef manti with garlicky labneh and just the right amount of oven-dried cherry tomatoes. Portions at this Manhattan West restaurant are pretty big, so share all of these things with a group of friends. If you’re planning an important date, this place is great for that too—especially if you’re looking for something close to Penn Station.
Former Win Son chef Calvin Eng just opened Bonnie’s, a Cantonese American spot in Williamsburg. Reservations will be hard to come by for a while, but try to grab a walk-in seat so you can enjoy some of the best new food in the city. The XO cheung fun arrives with an impressive sear on the noodles, but the surprise hit at Bonnie’s is the yeung yu sang choi bao. This deboned whole trout is stuffed with minced shrimp, and it has a meatloaf-like texture with some crunch from water chestnuts to keep you on your toes. The cocktails also rise to the occasion, especially the tequila-based Riptide that manages to incorporate just enough lychee, an ingredient that’s often show-stealing. We’d like to bring a pitcher of it home.
Comodo, once thought to be gone forever after its MacDougal Street location shuttered in 2017, is making an admirable comeback in the Freehand Hotel in Flatiron. There’s a lot worth ordering on the menu, but we’re here to save you from indecision: Get the lamb sliders on pão de queijo buns and the wild mushroom al ajillo tacos with Oaxaca cheese. The picanha with farofa also exceeds expectations (perfectly-cooked steak isn’t as common as you think), and the rigatoni with huge pieces of littleneck clams is a must-have if you’re into rich pastas. Despite being an obviously convenient option for hotel guests, Comodo is worth a visit no matter what neighborhood, borough, or city you’re coming from.
If you live in Crown Heights, visit Agi’s Counter at least twice a week to pick up pastries and an Alpine cheddar egg sandwich on a buttery Hungarian cheese biscuit. Much of the salad-and-sandwich-dominant menu here is dedicated to luxurious takes on Jewish-American classics (Agi’s tuna sandwich comes with horseradish and parsley salad, for example), while other dishes feel more like distinct odes to Hungarian and Austrian food. Try the cheese-stuffed palacsinta crepes or the towering Leberkase breakfast sandwich with an over-easy egg, thick griddled pork pate, and a sweet pear mostarda. Agi’s certainly feels like a spot for grabbing and going, but there are still plenty of places to sit once you’ve placed your order at the counter. Just make sure to get a couple of pastries before you take a seat, and keep an eye out for special Hungarian doughnuts on Sundays.
You might often find yourself around Penn Station for commuting or sports torture needs. (The Knicks may actually be good when you read this, but chances are they’re not.) If so, the latest opening from Union Square Hospitality Group should be welcome news. Ci Siamo is an Italian restaurant in Manhattan West where the starters and pastas will make you ignore the rest of the menu. We recommend you temporarily suspend any no-carb program that you may have joined and order the pizza bianca with anchovies, peppery gnocco fritto stuffed with goat gouda, or the torta with plenty of caramelized onions and pecorino cheese. (Get this torta as soon as you sit down.) The expansive dining room has a live-fire cooking station with unsubtle flames, and the whole space looks like it could be in a modern Italian hotel, so try this place for a somewhat special night out.
There are a few other Korean spots on the Lower East Side, but 8282 serves anju and banju that operate in a different, more upscale lane. Yellowfin tuna tartar gets tossed in sesame oil, showered with grated egg, and served alongside puffed nori chips that feel like the equivalents of seaweed Tostitos scoops. The dakgalbi kimchi-bap is one full crock of cheesy rice and tender chicken thighs, and it’s mighty filling for something under $20. Portion sizes run a bit small, so the plates here should be split between two people max—but sometimes things are best shared with just one other person. Scalding hot gossip, for example, and all the exciting dishes from 8282.
There are always new omakase options in NYC, but it’s harder to find sushi openings that focus on high-quality, relatively affordable stuff (read: under $50 per person). Gouie falls into this bucket, and it’s a spot anybody should try if they like raw fish. Stop by for the $30, seven-piece-and-half-roll special that’s just that: special (and not only because of the price point). The fish here is buttery, the rice is seasoned with just a kiss of vinegar, and the roll that accompanies the special comes filled with a crunchy braised gourd that tastes funky and sweet. The service is excellent as well, and you might even get an impromptu sake tasting while you wait for a seat.
The team behindDhamaka recently opened this exceptional new West Village spot in the narrow space where their restaurant Rahi used to be. Semma focuses on South Indian regional specialties typically found in rural home settings, and the dishes we’re most jazzed about here are the ones no other NYC places offer. Try the soft snails taken out of their shells and mixed with fiery tamarind and ginger, or go for the vat of tender venison drenched in a dark brown sauce that tastes like clove and smoke. If you’re someone who prioritizes seafood, call ahead and secure a $115 whole Dungeness crab for your dinner. Semma only serves three to five of them per night.
Hawksmoor NYC, a London transplant on Park Avenue and 22nd Street, is poised to become the city’s next great steakhouse. It’s the perfect place to have an ice-cold martini doused in droplets of lemon oil followed by some crispy Yorkshire pudding and a strip steak with a side of creamed spinach. The large dining room here seems like a great place to celebrate, but it’s the bar area that feels like a perfect addition to the neighborhood. It’s somewhere you can walk in with a friend and glare at everybody who comes through the door before waddling home full of beef.
One White Street is very, very good-looking. As far as the eye can see, there’s a luxe surface: marble, suede, fancy wood, glossy ceramic tile. But this two-part restaurant located in a Tribeca townhouse is more than good looks. The food is impressive as well. On the upper floors, One White Street serves a reservations-only, six-course, $148 set menu, while the ground floor and outside are à la carte and mostly left for walk-ins. Most of the produce here comes from a single farm upstate, and outside the restaurant on Thursdays, you’ll find a farmers’ market selling whatever’s in season. The place is run by a former chef de cuisine at Frenchie, the restaurant that has been on every list of Paris restaurants for the past decade, as well as the master sommelier who was in the documentary Somm and now also runs the wine shop Verve. We say all that to convey that this place is run by pros, and it shows. If you’re doing a downstairs walk-in, don’t miss the scallop skewers and the focaccia with onion jam.
Taqueria Ramirez in Greenpoint is serving the city’s best new tacos. This taqueria models itself after Mexico City’s legendary spots, complete with colorful plastic plates as well as a choricera and comal custom made in CDMX. Their tacos—which all cost $4—range from velvety, shredded suadero and al pastor to longaniza with bright orange porky juices. But our favorite taco is the tripa, which has such little chewy toughness it’s almost unidentifiable as a cow’s stomach lining. The restaurant’s space only holds about 10 people, so you’ll probably have to stand outside while you enjoy these exceptional tacos and simultaneously plan your return trip.
Lodi, Ignacio Mattos’ new cafe in Rockefeller Center, is a daytime restaurant that’s perfect for people who freak out over high-quality ricotta or anyone smitten with the excellent but simple-seeming cooking style of Cafe Altro Paradiso or Estela. Lodi works equally well for Midtown citizens who have begged the NYC gods for a place to eat a trio of anchovies, butter, and peppers or some fennel-pollen-sprinkled porchetta on a crusty baguette made with grains milled in-house. You should know, though, that this cafe feels sort of like an Au Bon Pain for the 1%—somewhere that’s billed as a place to retrieve a market salad even though the majority of the menu necessitates a sit-down experience with a napkin splayed across your lap. Come here for the meat platters and bread products, and sit on Lodi’s outdoor “terraza,” which is a nice name for a covered front patio with about a dozen tables and full service.
If there were a Venn diagram with sushi omakase restaurants on one side and debaucherous party hubs on the other, Sushi On Me would exist in the tiny middle zone. This is an eight-person sushi spot behind an unmarked basement door in Jackson Heights where you’ll be greeted with statements like “Are you okay with wasabi?” and “I’m Lucas, and it’s my job to get you drunk.” If there’s one thing to know about Lucas and his co-pilot Woody—the two-person Thai-born team with a fondness for the song “Mambo No. 5”—it’s that they don’t kid around. For $89 in cash, you’ll get 15 pieces of nigiri, a couple of appetizers, and unlimited sake. Bring a friend for a night that combines sparklers in eel-toro handrolls, torched white tuna topped with chili garlic crisp, and lots of drunken fun.
Mariscos El Submarino could serve their aguachile negro in the middle of traffic on the GW Bridge and we’d still implore you to seek it out. Fortunately for you and tri-state area commuters at large, all you need to do is stop by this Mexican seafood spot in Jackson Heights. Served in a molcajete as large as a classroom clock, this place’s aguachile negro gets its color (and name) from a blend of smoky, charred green and red chiles that you’ll see flecked in the loose water-and-lime based sauce. After a couple earth-shattering bites straight from the bowl, build your own tostada with acidic tilapia, shrimp, and octopus. There’s also everything from a sweet shrimp cocktail and a burger with shrimp on top to several different kinds of ceviche. Order at the counter, and seat yourself at a stool next to a relatable sign that reads “el amor puede esperar el hambre no.”
We first learned about KIT when we stopped by Dacha 46’s Banya Brunch. Now, the mixed-used Prospect Heights restaurant in the former Meme’s Diner space hosts a wide range of queer-run pop-ups every week. On a recent visit, we tried some dishes from the HAGS team that made us want to bombard our group chats with photographic evidence. The tender pork po’boy served on a soft and chewy hero from Partybus Bakeshop is a succulent sandwich masterpiece, and the creamy banana pudding has several sweet layers of wafers that hold their own in their light and fluffy surroundings. These dishes might not be available when you go, but with all of the exciting things happening at KIT you’ll definitely have a great experience of your own. So stop by for coffee and pastries in the morning, a basket of fries and some natural wine curated by Black Cat Wines in the evening, or a sculptural jelly cake from Solid Wiggles on your birthday.