August is one of the best times of the year for dining out in New York: Resy Notifies tend to pop up more often than not thanks to fellow New Yorkers’ vacation schedules, and it’s also prime season for tomatoes, stone fruit, corn, peppers, and so much more. This month, Resy staffers took full advantage of both the calmer dining scenes and farmers market bounty, and discovered a few New York restaurants (and a few in New Jersey) worth heading back to again and again.
Resy Staffer Spotlight: Koffi Kpetigo
For Resy senior backend engineer Koffi Kpetigo, “food is love.” Having grown up in Togo in West Africa and then moving to the Maryland suburbs as a young child, he says he always grew up with a lot of food, which fostered a deep love of restaurants. He credits friends and coworkers for encouraging him to try new cuisines and restaurants, and is always up for trying something new, whether it’s African food and childhood favorites to Chinese food and French bistros. These are a few of his favorites.
For Upscale Dining: Tatiana by Kwame Onwuachi
One of the frustrations I have of being an African living in such a melting pot like New York City is that it’s hard to find African fine dining. I think Tatiana is a good representation of a lot of African cultures — the food is mixture of all these different cultures across the world, with a lot of African influences. You have egusi dumplings that aren’t traditionally African, for example. However, he has dishes seasoned with suya, which is traditionally Nigerian. My favorite dish was the curried goat empanadas. The menu is a reflection of the chef’s childhood growing up in New York, and all of the things he ate. For my birthday, I always like to dine by myself and go to a place that I’ve really wanted to go to, and Tatiana was it for me this year.
For Everything: Amelie
I discovered Amelie with two other coworkers at another company on a cold winter night when most places were closed, except for this one restaurant. We walked in, and Jacques was there, and he had this very thick French accent. I came to find out he’s from Senegal. We started speaking French immediately, and then he brought over his manager, who also speaks French. I can go there and speak French with the staff, and it takes me out of my world here. It’s the closest I can get to being in France or Togo, and it has a warm place in my heart. I’ve built up a really good relationship with the staff there; when my brother came to New York and I wasn’t there, I told him to go to Amelie, and everyone recognized him as my brother. He had an amazing time. Every time I have Francophone friends who visit, I always take them here for dishes like steak frites. The wine list is great and Fabio, the bartender, can make something for you if you’re not sure what to order.
For Dining with a Crew: Nubiani
It’s this beautiful, super well-designed Korean barbecue spot with woodgrain finishes throughout the venue that doubles as a great date spot and an ideal place to bring a group. The food is amazing, and they have a few packages of meat to choose from, and then they have a chef who comes and cooks it for you. They have this wagyu beef that is to die for — that alone is reason enough to go. The meat quality is one of the highest you can get, and the flavor of the marinade is perfectly balanced between sweet and salty. I also like how it’s on the third floor so it feels hidden. I love to take out-of-towners here; they eat that stuff up.
For a Celebration: Le Bernardin
It’s definitely worth the splurge. We often wait for an extremely special occasion to celebrate, but if you’re even thinking about it, you must go. There’s a story behind every dish. Every ingredient is used with thought. It’s often difficult for me to use another word to describe the tastes other than perfection. Every day is a celebration when you dine at Le Bernardin.
For Brunch: Mathews Food & Drink
I live in Jersey City, and sometimes I don’t want to go all the way to Manhattan for brunch, so this is the perfect solution. I love how the bar is set up with all these plants around, and they are not messing around when it comes to the food and drink. The menu changes a bit from time to time, but they have a really good avocado toast; these great steak and eggs that come with chimichurri, shishito peppers, and greens; and a solid sweet potato and andouille sausage hash. I also love that they use a teapot to serve large-format drinks for brunch.
For Boozy Brunch: Blueprint Café
It’s a Black-owned restaurant in Newark, N.J., that offers a lively brunch experience. They have a DJ that plays upbeat hip hop, R&B, and Afrobeats, creating an energizing atmosphere that makes you want to dance. The food is delicious and they serve boozy brunch cocktails. Although it’s not an all-out party scene, Blueprint Café’s weekend brunch has a really fun, celebratory vibe.
For the Flavors: Wayan
I love the journey of flavors that you take whenever you eat here. For any chef to pay attention and take you on a full journey of all these different tastes — it’s really kind of amazing. I started going there for the flavors of the food, which are drawn from Indonesian cuisine. You must try the lobster noodles when you make it here.
For Date Night: L’accolade
The owners here are super friendly and they make you feel at home. They have a great natural wine list and this prix-fixe menu that’s really simple — it doesn’t feel overwhelming. Their menu is seasonal. Although it’s simple, it changes often, keeping the relationship with the restaurant new when you return. I love grabbing a seat at the bar here, too.
For Italian Food: Canto West Village
The food is good, and it’s a no-frills kind of place. It’s not very expensive, and the staff is super friendly and they — and the chef — know what they are doing. It’s a solid spot and I love ordering the short ribs, Bolognese tagliatelle, lasagna Bolognese, and the tartare.
No bread has the right to taste as good …
As the Barbari and Komaj breads from Eyval that we had with the Mast o Musir yogurt. I was absolutely blown away. The Komaj was perfectly crisp, and the Barbari was pillowy soft. We also shared lamb ribs and the half chicken Zereshk Polo, both of which were also incredible. I am ready to book another reservation immediately.
— Jonathan Cespedes, Senior Software Engineer
If you want a classic Taiwanese street vendor vibe …
You’ve got to go to 886, the sister restaurant to Wenwen. We ordered almost everything on the menu, but you can’t go wrong with the popcorn chicken, scallion pancake beef wrap, lo ba beng, and beef noodle soup. If you want to be adventurous, I would suggest the pig’s blood cake — it’s probably my favorite dish in the entire restaurant and I don’t even like pig’s blood. The food is always good and the energy here is always a fun time. It will get loud, and it will get rowdy, so definitely be prepared for a good time.
— Liyan Tang, Software Engineer
One of my favorite and beloved new additions to the neighborhood …
Is Winner on Franklin in Crown Heights. From the Winner and Runner Up family, this place took over the old Hunky Dory spot (RIP!) and has upped their offerings to now serve brunch, lunch, and dinner. I popped in for a weekend brunch in their new beautiful back dining room, equipped with a sunroof for the best lighting on all food pictures. I absolutely loved the breakfast sandwich with homemade Chinese sausage and the BLT was so simple, but their focus on fresh ingredients and the best housemade bread take them to the next level. The star of the show was their “hen” and waffles, which was fried mushrooms on scallion waffles topped with a savory syrup — a unique and vegetarian-friendly take on chicken and waffles that was equal parts sweet and savory. Wash it down with a lovely glass of orange wine, and you have yourself a perfect weekend afternoon!
— Charles Zhao, Director of Restaurant Product
I caught up with my cousins for a family meal …
At Nura on a recent Sunday night. We started with their housemade breads and dips, which included garlic coriander naan bigger than our heads and fluffy saffron and perilla parker house rolls. A zero-proof cocktail called Priceless Advice, made with yogurt whey and mint, did not teach us anything, but it did help us cool down after walking around Greenpoint in 90+ degree heat. The half-chicken with butter chicken Hollandaise, collard greens, schmaltzy potatoes, and fenugreek roti was the showstopper of the meal, both in flavors and presentation (I mean, look at that chicken foot!). The orange blossom crème brûlée, which sounds so elegant, reminded us of lemon Fruity Pebbles cereal in a good way.
— Caryn Ganeles, Senior Manager, B2B Marketing
I’m finally ready to stop gatekeeping …
Manhatta. I recently invited two of my out-of-town friends to my go-to-spot on our way to the Comedy Cellar, so we only had time for a few appetizers and some mocktails but they are so good. I always make sure to order the barbecued freshwater eel with bone marrow and it didn’t disappoint. My advice? Time your visit with the sunset if possible; rely on staff recs; and know that they make the best off-menu mocktails.
— Lacey Larson Head of Revenue Operations and Enablement
I will be dreaming about the tomato sourdough toast …
And chef Ileene Cho’s pastries forever. It was my first time dining at Oxalis for brunch and I happened to go there on a Sunday when they had a collaboration with The Noortwyck’s pastry chef, Ileene Cho. Oxalis offers a pre-fixe menu for weekend brunch that’s set at $50 for an egg, starch, vegetable or salad, and a sweet — it’s an incredible deal for beautifully prepared, seasonal food. The staff is incredibly welcoming and so knowledgeable about their food. Pro tip: Don’t skip on the à la carte sides to round out your meal, either. I can’t wait to go back to Oxalis and to The Noortwyck sometime soon.
— Lala Liban, Senior Manager, Revenue Enablement
There were two restaurants I dined at recently …
That felt like the Platonic ideals of summer dining — for me at least — but with two slightly different scenes. The first was Achilles Heel, where chef Sunny Lee is serving up her incredible Banchan by Sunny creations. I’ve always loved how laid-back Achilles Heel is, and the gentle buzz in the room is the perfect backdrop for her soulful dishes. Don’t sleep on the gochujang candied squid, the trout dip, the grilled beef short rib, or the sesame mochi cake.
The other memorable meal I had recently was at Port Sa’id, where it’s a veritable scene, even on a Thursday night. The room was packed, the vinyl was playing, and at times it felt more like a club than a restaurant, but the food was dead serious in terms of how on point it was. Everything we ordered was great, but the standouts were the charred beetroot carpaccio topped with crème fraîche and horseradish, the bread salad, the Basque cheesecake, and the tiramisu-esque tatami.
— Deanna Ting, New York Editor, Resy Editorial
For our first meal as newlyweds …
My wife and I could only think of one place, our favorite restaurant, Atoboy. We popped in shortly after our civil courthouse ceremony and were welcomed with the warm hospitality they have become famous for. Even the menus were customized with a message for us! And of course, no meal at Atoboy ever disappoints. We were amazed by this season’s menu, with standouts like wagyu tartare with oyster, tarragon, and kohlrabi; or the popular sunchoke with truffle and horseradish; as well as the lamb with gochujang, mushroom, and perilla. Our favorite will always be their famous pineapple brined fried chicken served with jalapeño peanut sauce and gochujang. Atoboy is always a favorite, and we thank them for making our big day even more special!
— Charles Zhao, Director of Restaurant Product
Everything was so thoughtful and thorough …
When I dined at the new Shota Omakase in Williamsburg. Chef Cheng Lin and his staff were great at communicating every detail. I’m no sushi expert — this was my third-ever omakase experience — so I appreciated the small points of guidance and education along the way, like where to place your phone on the counter, how the dashi is made, when to eat a piece of fish in one bite versus two, the different varieties of rice used for sushi, etc. The 18-course meal starts with a couple of small plates like a perfectly marinated King salmon from New Zealand, and a rich and sweet Canadian shrimp topped with caviar, followed by nigiri (my favorite was the middle-fatty tuna), a hand roll, and tamago. I’d highly recommend pairing the nigiri with Champagne.
— Michelle Greenbaum, Social Media
The middle of summer is the busiest time of year …
For Steve & Cookie’s by the Bay at the South Jersey Shore in Margate City, N.J., and it’s got this great, buzzy atmosphere, but the staff was still super friendly and provided great service. Everything was fresh and seasonal and you could tell they rotate their menu items frequently. To drink, I had a Summer Manhattan with rye whiskey, white amaro, vermouth, and orange rind. The fresh Jersey tomatoes in my “Ugly Tomato” appetizer were topped with crispy shallots, crumbled gorgonzola, and a sherry vinaigrette, and finally the bone-in veal chop Milanese did not disappoint. Reservations can be hard to come by during the summer, so if you don’t have a reservation, I’d recommend walking in to the Oyster Bar, which has the full dining room menu.
— Seamus Ralph, Manager, Revenue Operations
I go here every couple of months …
Because I love it so much. Quatorze has the best roasted chicken with mashed potatoes. The chicken is so flavorful, and the potatoes are so rich and decadent, complete with a delicious sauce. I start drooling just thinking about them. My advice is to go there on a nice day — they have large windows that they open up by the bar — and the restaurant has this quintessentially chic Parisian bistro vibe that’s perfect for the Upper East Side.
— Marissa Rinderman, Regional Sales Manager, NYC
Be sure to wear your sunglasses …
If you dine at Laser Wolf Brooklyn before the sun sets. We were there to celebrate my husband’s birthday on a Tuesday night and the service was like white tablecloth, three-Michelin-star level hospitality. At one point, a staffer saw my husband rub his shirt with a napkin and they immediately came over with a Shout wipe — we felt so taken care of. The outdoor rooftop space is incredible and the views of the river are unforgettable, plus the food is so good: You pick a main course and then it comes with a massive plate of salatim, the highlight being the ridiculously creamy and amazing hummus that you eat with the crazy delicious, fluffy pita. The chicken wings with tahini ranch were insane, and I loved that my husband could have “ranch” for the first time since it was dairy-free.
— Stephanie Cohen, Head of Sales
Pro Tip: Here’s how to get into Laser Wolf Brooklyn.
I was finally able to enjoy an incredible meal …
At the ever-so-popular Angel in Jackson Heights because, to my surprise, they take a small number of reservations on Resy! Let me tell you, it’s not easy for a place with so much hype to not only live up to it but exceed it. The chicken tikka was sizzling and juicy, while their famous goat biryani was multi-layered in flavor. My only regret is I didn’t have enough room in my stomach to try more things on the menu.
— Charles Zhao, Director of Restaurant Product
Deanna Ting is Resy’s New York Editor. Some of her other favorite meals this month took place at Kebaya (spring for the tok panjang, a full-on feast served on banana leaves, if you’re with a group), Al Coro (opt for the pasta tasting before it closes on Dec. 31), and Bolivian Llama Party. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter. Follow Resy, too.