The New York Restaurants We Loved in April
A month for all seasons: That’s April in New York for you, with highs in the 80s and lows into the 40s. And through it all, the New York-based staff here at Resy discovered new neighborhood favorites and restaurants to return to that we’d love to share with you.
Resy Staffer Spotlight: Jon Bonné
Chances are you’ve likely seen Jon’s byline right here, and you’ll probably be seeing more of his name in your local bookstore now that his newest book, “The New French Wine,” was just published. The epic two-volume tome took Jon eight years to write and involved plenty of visits to France’s incredible wine regions. When Jon isn’t abroad, you’ll find him here in New York, on a dining rotation that always balances tried-and-true favorites with new, emerging gems. Here’s a look into his personal Resy Hit List or, as he likes to call it, his “Resy mixtape” with his recommended wine orders, too.
The Platonic Ideal: Red Hook Tavern
It’s this perfect New York combo of everything I want in dining. There’s the burger, of course, but also, the best shrimp cocktail in the city. And then you get this epic wine list from Rebecca Flynn. It just feels like such a perfect restaurant — of its place and really beautifully incorporated into the neighborhood. Definitely go for Champagne.
For When I’m Not in France: Bar Bête
No surprise here: Obviously, Resy’s editorial staff has a crush on French food in New York. Bar Bête is the perfect neobistro. You know, it’s classic, but it’s new. It has leeks vinaigrette, and the perfect omelet with snails, and again it’s very much of its neighborhood and yet has truly, truly remarkable cooking. It’s one of those restaurants you wish there were 10 more of in New York. Here, I love to get pet-nat, and they have a great Corsican selection.
The Pioneer: Atoboy
It was the first restaurant that got me viewing dining in a truly different way. Some of that was [owners] JP and Ellia [Park] are so talented at recrafting and rethinking the narrative of Korean cooking. But it was also the Kraftwerk-y concrete interior, and this tasting menu that was just over $40 when they opened — you could experience someone’s very unique, very brilliant cooking in a completely different format. It’s this quintessence of everything that great, inclusive dining is today. When it comes to wine, Atoboy is a grab bag for me, but I usually get something a bit more natural, or I just get white Burgundy.
My Lifelong Love: Sake Bar Decibel
I started going here 30 years ago, and it’s amazing how it’s still there. It’s still vital; it still feels avant-garde. It’s one of these truly only-in-New-York places, or maybe Tokyo, but I don’t even think you would necessarily find a place just like this in Tokyo. There’s something about the East Village that is fused with total New Yorkness. And it still feels special and secret, and illicit in the best way. I almost always pester them for a yamahai or kimoto-style sake.
Worthy of the Hype: Dhamaka
It’s really hard to choose among the Unapologetic Foods lineup: What Semma does is so brilliant (that gunpowder dosa is bonkers) but then there’s the boldness of Dhamaka and its willingness to stake a flag on what [owners] Roni [Mazumdar] and Chintan [Pandya] see Indian food as being: how they want to transmit it, and how they want to share it. Very much like Atoboy, it’s this completely different view of what great dining can be. And I think it just perfectly comes together. It’s one of those restaurants that’s earned every bit of hype that it’s gotten. I like to order Riesling or Beaujolais when I’m here; they have their wine game on lock.
My Neighborhood Go-To: Popina NYC
I could easily put The Four Horsemen in this slot, but I’m going to give it to Popina, again because it’s so perfectly integrated into its community. [Owners] Chris [McDade] and James [O’Brien] are such good restaurateurs; that backyard is magical. The wine list is extraordinary, and it has this view that is so rare in New York: Buy the good stuff and sell it; don’t arbitrage it for finance bros. You get all the good wines and you share them. The hot chicken Milanese will, like the Zuni chicken [in San Francisco], go down in history as one of the iconic dishes. Everything on the wine list is great, but I tend to order Burgundy a lot there because the pricing is so good. A lot of Champagne, too, and then maybe some Barbaresco.
Follow Jon’s wine and dining adventures on Instagram and Twitter.
Next time it’s a 65-degree day in the city …
Head on over to Commerce Street and grab a seat at the bar of The Commerce Inn. It’ll make for the most special day. The street is one of my favorites in the West Village — this little pocket of homeyness — and The Commerce Inn is one of the coziest restaurants and one of my favorite spots. It’s a no-frills, meat-and-potato joint from the team behind Via Carota and I Sodi that fires on all cylinders, and it’s got great cocktails, wine, meat and vegetable dishes, and the most insane potato rolls. It’s one of those places where you can order too much, eat too much, and still find room for dessert — because who can say no to sticky toffee pudding?
— Natalie Weil, Experiential Coordinator
I went into it a little skeptical …
Because, you know, it’s Vietnamese food in New York, but I had an incredible meal at Saigon Social recently. Everything turned out to be so flavorful and delicious. I absolutely loved their bún chả Hanoi, which was like a little party platter of vermicelli noodles, crab rolls, and pork belly served with a vinegar broth where you create your perfect bite and dip it into the broth. The whole fried fish was covered in a lime leaf chile salt rub that was out of this world. The hospitality was so great, too; everyone took care of us and Helen [Nguyen] the chef and owner even came by to say hello multiple times to check in on us.
— Charles Zhao, Director of Restaurant Product
Certain restaurants deserve multiple visits over and over again …
And da Toscano is one of those places. Everything from the staff (shoutout to Michelle and Sabrina) to the consistently excellent food will keep you going back time after time. Don’t miss the broiled oysters, focaccia with taleggio butter, the garganelli with ragu, the lamb agnolotti, or the steak, and be sure to end with their perfect cheesecake!
— Lala Liban, Revenue Enablement Manager
We love an Asian spot that …
Normalizes white rice being served with steak! It’s the best combo in my opinion. At Karasu, they serve their prime rib eye with white rice. It’s this speakeasy-style spot that’s super intimate, and the bar has so many great drinks you definitely should order to go with your meal.
— Felicity Lin, B2B Senior Marketing Analyst
I do not know how long this special is going to last for …
But if the ramp pie at Stretch Pizza is still there on your next and/or first visit, do not miss it! With a saucy romesco base and a perfectly chewy crust, it’s a killer combo. But fret not, if it is gone by then, the rest of Wylie Dufresne’s pie arsenal is mighty tasty. (Also, shoutout to their twist on dim sum shrimp toast).
— Noëmie Carrant, Senior Writer, Resy Editorial
I’m in plant-based heaven …
After relishing the creatively designed dishes at Planta Queen. I love how the chef replicates non-vegan dishes with natural — rather than synthetic — replacements, such as using watermelon to replace tuna or eel. After going for the first time, I would have said that the crispy rice and rainbow rolls are absolute must-haves. But after trying additional items upon my return, I realized that just about every sushi dish is a standout! I also loved the Japanese sweet potato, udon noodles, and the punny cocktails (particularly the notable “Herb Your Enthusiasm”). For a more intimate vibe, I’d check out the speakeasy lounge underneath the dining room, coined the “Dragon’s Den.”
— Brittany Levy, Product Manager
Get “The Only Pad Thai on the Menu” cocktail …
At Fish Cheeks. It’s complex, savory, balanced, and honestly just all-around genius — I mean, scallion oil and fish sauce caramel?! It’s undoubtedly one of my favorite cocktails I’ve tried in the last year. We enjoyed a late Sunday-night meal for two where we also demolished the grilled pork cheeks, coconut crab curry (it always hits), steamed fish with Thai herbs (a standout), and some ice cream for dessert.
— Kat Hsu, Product Manager
I keep thinking about …
The pulpo from Txikito. You can see the love that’s put into this dish: each piece of melt-in-your-mouth octopus carpaccio has been carefully layered into a multi-tiered mound that holds a glistening pool of spiced olive oil. It’s dreamy. So are the blistered shishitos, double pil pil, and, of course, the burnt cheesecake.
— Alex Johnson, Senior Marketing Manager
You gotta go for happy hour …
At Cozy Royale. Happy Hour is on weekdays from 5 to 7 p.m. and they’ve got great food and drink specials. What I love most about Cozy Royale is how it feels a bit like 1960’s New York (Mad Men-esque) but somehow modern. It’s a great neighborhood spot, and I love to sit outside in the warmer weather. I love ordering a Gibson, oysters Rockefeller, shrimp cocktail, and a smash burger whenever I go there.
— Evan Stein, Regional Director, Sales, Resy New York
As a huge pasta lover …
I knew I had to try the pasta tasting menu at Al Coro. Of the five courses we had, my favorite was the linguine alla vongole – it was perfectly seasoned, and the handmade linguine had the right amount of bite to it. I also loved the tortellini in brodo with the black truffle.
— Elizabeth Vakil, Vice President of Product Development