The discount-dining blowout returns for winter – here are 10 restaurants you should be eating at this Restaurant Week.
While plenty of New York restaurants have lately made the environment a priority—sourcing their ingredients locally and crafting dining rooms from salvaged materials—none have done so with quite as much visual and gastronomic panache as chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s new ABC Kitchen.
Though the restaurant’s sustainable ethos is outlined on the back of the menu like an Al Gore polemic, the cooking, based on the most gorgeous ingredients from up and down the East Coast, delivers one message above all: Food that’s good for the planet needn’t be any less opulent, flavorful or stunning to look at. It’s haute green cuisine.
New York’s French-food revival is alive and well. Koren Grieveson—who nabbed a James Beard Award for her soulful work at Chicago’s Avec—serves as chef de cuisine, collaborating with Rosemary’s toque Wade Moises on a Mediterranean-hopping menu laced with North African and Middle Eastern influences.
Earthy dishes include ratatouille tarte; za’atar-spiced grilled lamb with yogurt vinaigrette; and a bouillabaisse en croûte with monkfish, baby octopus and rouille. Colorful tagines, employed for dishes like chicken with bulgur and harissa, line the shelves of the rustic space, walled with hand-painted tiles.
Buttermilk Channel, that Beyoncé-baiting farm-to-table restaurant, is unabashedly taken with New York, from the Caputo’s pasta tossed with chestnut ragout right down to its name (referring to the strait between Brooklyn and Governors Island). For their follow-up venture, owner Doug Crowell and chef Ryan Angulo look beyond the Empire State to locales slightly more exotic: Francophilic enclaves like New Orleans and Montreal.
Named after Ottawan folk hero Louis Seymour, this French-inspired bistro dishes out smoked sardines with dulse-butter rye toast, foie gras–and-country-ham terrine and flounder grenobloise (in brown-butter–caper sauce). Find French and American wines in the 50-seat spot—furbished with a brass-backed mahogany bar, marble tables and brown banquettes—as well as classic cocktails from drinks man Tim Miner (the Long Island Bar, the JakeWalk).
The cult of Korean food has been steadily building steam over the past few years. Seoul-born Hooni Kim grew up with the food that has inspired so much of this cultural tweaking. His new restaurant, Hanjan, looks much like its Hell’s Kitchen precursor, with Edison bulbs, communal seating, and a menu split down the middle into “modern” and “traditional” halves.
Beyond the cosmetic parallels, though, lies a more soulful endeavor, an update on the old traveler’s taverns—joomaks, they’re called—popular across South Korea in the 1960s and ’70s. Kim, who’s worked at Daniel and Masa, brings fine-dining polish to old-fashioned recipes, without ever straying too far from the roots of the dish.
As New York’s first Laotian restaurant, Khe-Yo brims with trailblazer pride. The restaurant comes from Marc Forgione and his longtime right-hand man Soulayphet Schwader, a Laos native who delivers the cuisine of his homeland with upmarket style.
Fingers grab at gnarled strips of moist sesame beef jerky, with a deep meaty twang. Hands cup lettuce leaves for chunks of whole grilled black bass in one dish, or fragments of fried coconut rice balls in another. After devouring a bowl of earthy chili prawns, use thick triangles of ginger-scallion Texas toast, empty shrimp heads or whatever means necessary to lap up the heady, butter-pumped red curry.
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