New York City’s restaurant scene has always moved at highway speed, but there have been so many openings in the last few months that it’s hard to keep up! I’m nothing if not enthusiastic about eating out, so I did my best to get out there this summer and check out as many places as possible. (Remember I don’t receive any compensations or discounts, which means my opinions are unbiased and my wallet is unhappy). Here are four new spots that I think are worth a try.
There’s nothing about The Clocktower I don’t like. It’s a well-rounded restaurant that offers that happy-making trifecta of great atmosphere, attentive service and superb food. Oh, and no cacophony or astonishingly loud music. (sadly, a common thing in New York). Since I had to watch my diet that week (for health reasons), I ordered the roasted king salmon, which is not the most exciting choice, but it was perfectly cooked. I did try my friend’s foie gras wrapped in ham, served with a pot of delicious rabbit stew, and I also had a few bites of the best tarte tatin I’ve ever tried. Sigh.
LA PECORA BIANCA
The casually elegant, mostly white interiors made me feel instantly comfortable, but what really impressed me was the quality of the ingredients in this restaurant’s deceivingly simple menu. This might have to do with the experienced team behind La Pecora Bianca: Mark Barak, the restaurateur behind 5th Avenue’s Claudette, and Simone Bonelli, who was Massimo Bottura’s sous-chef at Osteria Francescana, one of the best restaurants in the world.
Not many people are familiar with Portuguese cuisine. At the risk of oversimplifying things, I’ll say that it’s similar to the food of northern Spain: homey, simple yet well seasoned, heavy on seafood. Lupulo is a new Portuguese restaurant and beer bar headed by George Mendes, the chef at Michellin-starred Aldea. It’s a big space with contemporary interiors; the only nod to Portugal are the painted tiles covering the back wall. I liked the grilled whole sardines, and I loved the crushed fingerling potatoes.
Danny Meyer’s latest restaurant is as sleek and functional as the building that houses it: the Renzo Piano-designed Whitney Museum. The food is subtle- no overwhelming flavors here- but extremely fresh. You can tell everything is of the highest quality. I especially enjoyed the housemade duck sausage with honey mustard, and the calamari with pole beans and hazelnuts. It’s a modern and comfortable place that’s good for groups and business meals. You’ll be able to hear each other speak.