When one restaurant’s doors close, another restaurant’s doors open in fast-paced New York City, and every Friday we’ll fill you in on what opened up around town this week. This week: an Italian comfort-food restaurant in Hotel Hugo; the infamous ramen burger finds its home downtown; and an East Village favorite reopens in Williamsburg.
Chalk Point Kitchen, 527 Broome Street; 212-390-0327
Sons of Essex’s Matt Levine and chef Joe Isadori come together to bring us Chalk Point Kitchen. All items on the menu are locally sourced, from the oysters to the grass-fed lamb loin chops. The cocktail menu has something for everyone, whether you like light and sweet or dark and bold. The décor is farmhouse chic, with a chalkboard wall, kitschy signage, and bits and pieces that look like they could have come straight from a ranch house hundreds of miles from the city.
The Gander, 15 West 18th Street; 212-229-9500
Jesse Schenker, the chef behind Recette (one of our 99 Essential RestaurantsTM, has opened the Gander. The menu includes American classics like rotisserie chicken, dry-aged sirloin, and a pork chop. The space mixes leather and wood to create an elegant feel. The Gander is currently open for dinner. Earlier this week we spoke with Schenker, who told us, “I wanted people to come and utilize the restaurant on a daily basis. I wanted to do a restaurant in a neighborhood where people could be there all hours of the day: They could come in for lunch for burger and ice tea, stop at the bar after work for charcuterie and wine, or sit down for dinner and have steak and cabernet.”
Cho-Ko, 59 First Avenue; 212-388-0885
The East Village is quickly becoming the go-to area to satisfy your ramen cravings. The latest addition, Cho-Ko, served a variety of ramen bowls, all priced under $10. The menu also includes soba noodles, rice dishes, and appetizers like gyoza and pork buns.
Il Principe, 525 Greenwich Street; 212-608-1211
Hotel Hugo is now home to Il Principe, an Italian comfort-food restaurant from Sean Largotta. Chef Carlo Bigi, formerly of Sant Ambroeus, uses locally sourced ingredients to create dishes such as spaghetti with leeks, and homemade ravioli. Pair the dishes with Italian wine or one of the custom cocktails like the Tuscan sour, a whiskey sour topped with Italian red wine.
Max, 740 Driggs Avenue, Brooklyn; 347-987-3645
East Village favorite Max closed last year, but it has re-emerged in Williamsburg. The Italian eatery is back to serving up pizza, pasta, and much more. The interior is classic, with an exposed-brick wall, wood elements and white subway tiles lining the bar. The spot is sure to make itself a fixture in its new neighborhood just as it had on the island. Max is open for lunch and dinner.
Orale Mexican Kitchen, 768 Amsterdam Avenue; 212-749-2929
The Upper West Side’s former Café Frida is now Orale Mexican Kitchen. Owners Alex Mendelsohn and Louis Alvarez are offering elevated versions of the classics. Think bone-marrow tacos and enchiladas drenched with hazelnut and almond mole. Happy hour lasts all day until 7:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and for $20 you can spend two hours drinking to your heart’s desire while enjoying Sunday brunch.
Ramen Co., 100 Maiden Lane
The ramen burger was an instant hit at Smorgasburg last summer, but now you don’t have to wait until the weekend for one of the most-talked-about food fusions. Ramen Co. is currently in soft opening mode just a few steps away from our office. (We certainly aren’t complaining!) The menu is simple: ramen, bento, and of course, ramen burgers.
Red Hook Lobster Pound, 16 Extra Place; 212-777-7225
Manhattan now has its own outpost of Brooklyn favorite Red Hook Lobster Pound. The menu is pretty much the same, but customers here can knock back a beer with their lobster roll or clam chowder. According to owner Susan Povich, there will soon be delivery options, as well as outdoor seating.
Reef, 108-02 72nd Avenue, Queens
Hoping to fill the seafood void in Forest Hills is Reef, a 70-seat restaurant serving a menu made up almost entirely of seafood dishes. The fish is fresh and purchased regularly at Hunts Point Fish Market in the Bronx. The restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner.
Tessa, 349 Amsterdam Avenue; 212-390-1974
A space that has been vacant for the past five years is now home to Tessa, an upscale Mediterranean restaurant on the Upper West Side. Chef Cedric Tovar, formerly of Daniel, has developed a menu that focuses on fresh ingredients. Keep it light with grilled swordfish or enjoy a heartier dish such as roasted leg of lamb. The 75-seat dining room is industrial, with exposed brick and wood paneling throughout.
Wangs, 671 Union Street, Brooklyn; 718-636-6390
Wangs is serving up fried chicken with an Asian spin in Park Slope. The name is a playful spin on “wings.” The menu offers Korean-style wings, a fried chicken banh mi, and sides like kimchi and collard greens. Wangs opens every day at 4:00 p.m. and is takeout only.