Hey you! Yes, you there — with the Ruinart Rosé Brut splashed across your front, vision blurred from tinted novelty glasses since smeared with, gosh, was that blue cheese foam? You look like you could use a good meal. Maybe you should get on that, once the ringing in your ears subsides, anyway. Whether it’s a festive gathering or a solitary indulgence, it just feels right to greet the new year with a gustatory bang. Here are 8 solid options for ringing in the new year with a belly full of hope, promise, and calories to undo what you did last night.
8. Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar, 220 East 44th Street, 646-532-4897
If you happen to wake up somewhere near the terrifying hell mouth that is Times Square around New Year’s, follow that evil feeling in your gut and feast on some Donkey-sauced victuals from the neighborhood’s resident Prince of Darkness. Like the person you may have spent your evening with, Fieri’s food also looks better with prescription-strength beer (or booze) goggles. Keep that in mind when you’re staring down a plate of General Tso’s crispy pork shank.
7. Boqueria, 53 West 19th Street, 212-255-4160; 171 Spring Street, 212-343-4255
Both locations of Yann de Rochefort’s venerable tapas dens are offering “Hair of the Dog” brunches featuring unlimited booze and small plates for $39 per person. Quench your dehydrated souls with mimosas and several varieties of sangria and take solace in eggs benedict punched up with serrano ham or hearty pork sausage and beans. Chef Marc Vidal also makes an excellent Spanish omelet with potatoes, onion, and chorizo.
6. Wall & Water at Andaz Wall Street, 75 Wall Street, 212-699-1700
You don’t have to be a wolf to enjoy this gimmicky brunch, where diners who show up in bathrobes get 50 percent off the $50 prix fixe, which includes bloody marys and hefty brunch fare like chicken and waffles or steak and eggs. Treat yourself like the pampered sonofabitch you always knew you were with complimentary massages and makeup application in a secluded “recovery den” adjacent to the restaurant. The power move here is to freeball it and show the owners why gimmicky brunches are a detriment to dining culture, but we can’t deny that the promise of a free postprandial massage doesn’t at least pique the interest of our inner hedonist.
5. MP Taverna, 31-29 Ditmars Boulevard, Queens, 718-777-2187
At Michael Psilakis’ convivial Astoria restaurant, take comfort in one of the better lamb burgers the city has to offer, and make sure to top it with the Cretan sheep’s milk cheese called graviera, which lends a wonderful caramelized richness. The chef’s bright, clean dishes are perfect for adding some optimism to the start of your year — a plate of Greek meatballs with lemon, tzatziki, and plush wedges of pita does just that. Psilakis also offers a feta-fueled Greek macaroni and cheese.
4. Nightingale 9, 345 Smith Street, Brooklyn, 347-689-4699
Robert Newton and Kerry Diamond’s paean to Vietnamese food deals in the kind of vibrant, pungent flavors perfect for snapping Brooklyn partiers out of their post-soiree malaise. Lively green papaya salad and a satisfying breakfast banh mi are great for sharing, and a bowl of congee spiked with crisped pork sausage and fried croutons hits a comfort food sweet spot. If it’s noodles you’re after, you can’t go wrong with a plate of cha ca catfish mingled with dill, peanuts and scallion.
3. Mighty Quinn’s, 103 2nd Avenue, 212-677-3733
No one will fault you for looking like a zombie while waiting in line at Hugh Mangum’s perennially packed meat palace — the crowds of hawkish carnivores who saddle up for a taste of some of the city’s best pulled pork already resemble a dead-eyed ravenous horde as they wait patiently for their turn in front of the meat carvers. We’re willing to bet that 2014 tastes a whole lot better slathered in ‘Texalina’ barbecue sauce. [
2. The Queens Kickshaw, 40-17 Broadway, Queens, 718-777-0913
Inventive takes on grilled cheese are (rightfully) the main draw at Ben Sandler and Jennifer Lim’s funky Astoria café, where the couple also spreads the cheesy gospel with hefty cubes of macaroni and cheese that are baked and then griddled to achieve an estimable crust. Was one of your New Year’s resolutions to eat more vegetables? The dairy bricks come embedded with green beans. Topped with a spoonful of creamy tomato sauce, this is nap-inducing grub.
1. Little Prince, 199 Prince Street, 212-335-0566
This cozy bistro from chef Paul Denamiel offers proficient French fare far enough away from the shadow of Balthazar to be worth a detour when out and about in West SoHo. Ratatouille is an excellent choice most days of the year, but to really creep out from under New Year’s hangover, head straight for the French onion soup burger, a Pat LaFrieda patty crowned with a melting cap of Swiss emmental cheese, caramelized onions, and dijon mustard tucked between griddled halves of an English muffin. Come to think of it, this burger seems to have a bit of an identity crisis. Still, we’ll forgive the cultural inconsistencies for a burger this succulent.