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We are pleased to announce that we’ve launched in Nashville, welcoming an impressive range of restaurants to the app. From a bona fide Southern institution to a Germantown mainstay reinventing Italian specialties with local Southern ingredients, these restaurants are bound to keep your calendar full and curiosity piqued. Grab a seat (in Music City).
Rolf and Daughters
Rolf and Daughters
Located in the historic Werthan factory, Rolf and Daughters offers a casual and vibrant atmosphere that pairs well with its treasured share plates, natural wine list, and house cocktails. Since opening in late 2012, Philip Krajeck’s Germantown restaurant has been named one of America’s Best New Restaurants by Bon Appétit and Esquire magazines. Fun, seasonal, and inventive– the menu highlights local farms and Rolf and Daughters’ legendary handmade pasta. Book now at Rolf and Daughters.
At Husk, James Beard Award-winning chef Sean Brock is at the helm, pioneering a seasonal menu inspired by traditional Lowcountry dishes and ingredients – many of which are grown on-site. Chef Brock’s menu shines with new Southern classics, like South Carolina shrimp and Choppee okra stew, served with Carolina gold rice and flowering basil. The location – in a storied 19th-century house – is ideally positioned in Downtown Nashville, just blocks from Historic Broadway. Book now at Husk.
Butcher & Bee
The East Nashville location of Charleston favorite, Butcher & Bee, boasts the same philosophy of carefully sourced ingredients and an ever-changing, inventive menu from chef Bryan Lee Weaver. Open for lunch, Sunday brunch, dinner, and late-night eats, the diverse menu features dishes ranging from mezze to sandwiches, entrees, and vegetables – many of which are meant to be shared. Book now at Butcher & Bee.
Two Ten Jack
Two Ten Jack is an izakaya – or Japanese-style neighborhood pub –aimed at providing a gathering place for the community. Enjoy Japanese-inspired comfort food prepared with local, Southern ingredients, in addition to a selection of yakitori (skewers & grilled items), sushi, and ramen. Finish off a meal of shared plates with an expansive collection of craft beers, wine, sake, shochu, and craft cocktails. Book now at Two Ten Jack.
Epice is a family-owned Lebanese bistro in the heart of Nashville. The interior is modern and sleek, the nuanced traditional fare, which bursts with flavor, utilizes aromatic spices and fresh herbs. To top it all off, the bar offers crisp cocktails and elegant old world wines. Pro-tip: don’t skip dessert. Book now at Epice.
Located in East Nashville’s Inglewood neighborhood, Fort Louise offers a friendly spin on American comfort cuisine. The space — formerly a residential house — is cozy and intimate, and there’s a charming back porch for al fresco dining. Beyond the menu of snacks, salads, and large plates by Chicago chef Greg Biggers, the bar program boasts frozen cocktails, craft beers, and a shareable ewer of punch called “The Test.” Book now at Fort Louise.
City House is Germantown mainstay recognized for its Southern-flecked Italian specialties, like pizza (topped with turnip greens, fonduta, potato, and garlic), and smoked chicken sugo with grits “al forno”– accented with ricotta and kale. The chef is Tansy Wilson, a James Beard Award winner who’s both creative and consistent. Book now at City House.
At Little Octopus, the globally influenced menu calls for sharing. That’s a good thing, because there’s a lot worth ordering — from raw, to cool, warm, and whole. The state of vibrancy extends beyond the food; the space itself is bright and airy, with pops of pink and orange. Put simply: it’s a decidedly fun place for dinner, as well as for brunch. Book now at Little Octopus.
Hemingway’s Bar and Hideaway
Hemingway’s Bar and Hideaway is a restaurant, offering homey tavern fare and a bar serving craft cocktails with names inspired by the writer himself. Enjoy dishes like duck poutine, mussels & clams, and short rib stew, and take your time with the drink menu– there are many good choices. In case that’s not enough, the back seating area is (delightfully) outfitted with three arcade games. Book now at Hemingway’s Bar and Hideaway.
Resy is a reservations platform for the best restaurants. Interested in receiving our regular update on where to eat in Nashville via email? Download and register for Resy today.
Image Courtesy of Hart’s.
It’s true that August is a slow month for restaurants (openings are slim), but now’s the time to make your September plans. So, taste for yourself the few new spots that are conjuring buzz, those that are still sizzling after a hot Spring, or grab a seat at an ever-popular mainstay. Fall is coming.
2/The Grill & The Pool
7/4 Charles Prime Rib
9/Circa Brewing Co.
10/Chez Ma Tante
11/ I Sodi
Because what was once a Bed-Stuy-based sleeper hit is the single New York restaurant on this year’s Bon Appétit Hot 10. If you live in the neighborhood, lucky you; if you don’t, rest assured that a trip on the C train will end with rewards: pancetta clam toast, an anchovy-topped lamb burger (read: umami bomb), and a list full of of-the-moment natural wines. // Bedford-Stuyvesant. Book now on Resy.
2/ The Grill & The Pool
Because let’s face it: If you haven’t been, you’re dying to go, or – better yet – have someone take you. These refined establishments are classic New York– revamped and full of spectacle (think opulent decor, tableside dishes, and Tom Ford-clad waiters). The critics love them, and the food is yes, expensive, but also very good. // Midtown East. (212) 375-9001.
Because if all goes to plan, this East Village pizzeria from Danny Meyer’s empire could be the equivalent of Shake Shack at Madison Square Park — the original fast-casual darling, borne out of tribute for a universally-loved staple. For the record: they’re calling it “fine-casual” not “fast-casual.” Know the facts. // East Village. Walk-ins only.
Because restauranteur Gabe Stulman may have retired a beloved restaurant (RIP, Perla Cafe), but he swiftly transformed the space into a plush living room – where breakfast can be enjoyed over WiFi and ‘drinks’ quickly becomes dinner. 234 West 4th Street is now a flexible, European-inspired concept that offers something new. // West Village. Walk-ins only.
Because it’s Grand Banks, but on the East River. The setting is a stunning, 100-year-old restored schooner docked off Brooklyn Heights’ Pier 6. And with the dining pedigree to match: Kerry Heffernan, the original chef at Eleven Madison Park, is behind the menu of shellfish and raw bar classics. Catch a summer sunset here while you still can. // Brooklyn Heights. (917) 810-8550.
Because Tel Aviv chef Meir Adoni’s New York debut has graced us with dishes that burst with flavor and resemble works of art. Four months after opening, it’s still one of the toughest reservations in town to nab (we recommend setting a few Notifies). // Flatiron. Book now on Resy.
7/ 4 Charles Prime Rib
Because you can now book a table at 4 Charles after midnight. With its ‘nightcap’ seating, this (wildly popular) hideaway’s reputation as a late-night, swanky supper club is now fully realized. // West Village. Book now on Resy.
Because just off the beaten path in Greenpoint, Norman is full of possibilities. Housed in a lofty and minimalist co-working space, with a hidden (albeit large) backyard, there are many places to sit, hang, eat, and drink. New York’s finest New Nordic chefs — Claus Meyer and Frederik Berselius — are responsible for the menu; come for the look and feel, stay for the sourdough with cultured butter and root vegetable salt. // Greenpoint. (347) 966-2092.
9/ Circa Brewing Co.
Because what was previously an area devoid of restaurants now has house-brewed beer, wood-fired pizza, and shuffleboard — all in one space. Circa Brewing Co. is the cornerstone of Downtown Brooklyn’s emerging food scene. // Downtown Brooklyn. Book now on Resy.
10/ Chez Ma Tante
Because two chefs, whose combined record includes M. Wells, Barbuto, and Cafe Altro Paradiso (the latter of which they clocked time at together), are putting out food that warrants a trip to North Brooklyn. Taking cues from French, Canadian, and British cuisines, the menu’s hits include chicken liver paté, Caesar salad, and Falafel Royale, to name a few. // Greenpoint. Book now on Resy.
11/ I Sodi
Because news of a new venture from Rita Sodi (and Jody Williams) — Pisellino is slated to open later this year — has us craving the top-notch pastas and simple Tuscan fare. Tables at I Sodi are some of the most highly-coveted on Resy, for very good reason. // West Village. Book now on Resy.
Resy is a reservations platform for the best restaurants. This list is our regular update on where to eat in New York. To get it via email, download and register for Resy today.
Since its inception in 2011, Sqirl has become synonymous with vibrant California cuisine, thanks to its signature jams, iconic brioche toasts, and sorrel pesto rice. With chef and owner Jessica Koslow at the helm, the quaint Silver Lake breakfast-and-lunch spot has become a beacon– and it’s sprouting wings (with a recent cookbook, a forthcoming fast-casual outpost, and a full-service dinner restaurant, Tel). We sat down with Koslow to chat about the make-or-break moments along the way, her vision for Tel, and what she has in store for us next.
Resy: What was your ambition for Sqirl?
Jessica Koslow: I started Sqirl as a jam company, and it was a pretty honest process, in terms of asking myself what I wanted.
Coming from a background as a pastry chef, and then moving to LA and, for the first time, experiencing produce year-round, I realized how fortunate I was. Marry that with the technique I was learning in the South and jam-making, and, ultimately, the evolution to the cafe made sense.
Iconic Sqirl dishes, ricotta toast and sorrel pesto rice. Photo Credit: Instagram/@sqirlla
Was there a make-or-break moment that made you pursue Sqirl more seriously?
When you are just a jam company, you can hide behind your jars, because you’re not really the face of anything. You’re not putting yourself out there the way that you would if you had a 7-day-a-week service, where the doors are open and people are coming in. So, I had this location and thought, ‘I live in Silver Lake and this is my community. And the thing I’m missing, more than anything, is a place where anyone can come and feel like they are part of the community.’
People would just go to Intelligentsia for coffee, and that was [the place] we all thought was the community space for daytime. As someone who had worked in fine dining and then also in Australia in a very breakfast-and-lunch-centric area of Melbourne, I thought, ‘This is my opportunity to take what I’m doing, which is Sqirl and jam, and transition into something that is a breakfast-and-lunch place for the neighborhood.’ So, that was really the moment I thought– ok, I’m willing to open my doors and meet people, say hello, and be an essential part of the day. And it was a really scary moment – but a really rewarding one.
Resy: It sounds like the evolution happened organically– the demand was there.
Yeah, it was never about [people said] “how will you make a profit? It’s a breakfast-and-lunch spot; there’s no alcohol.” This was the evolution of what I saw as important in my work, and somehow all those other things lined up.
You mentioned the novelty of having access to produce year-round – a stark contrast to cooking in the South. How does this access affect your process for recipe development?
The process of recipe development is two things: one is seeing what’s at the market, so we’re getting peak produce and putting it together – marrying fruits like lemon verbena or kumquats with chamomile, the way people put tomatoes and corn together. But, there’s another layer, which is technique. I could easily do a chutney with Santa Rosa plums and, instead of using dried fruit – which is how a chutney is traditionally made – fold in smoked strawberries. The technique is knowing how to smoke something and layer flavor.
The Food Lab at South Street Seaport.
Much of that technique is attributed to your background [in fine dining], though your style has evolved. Are there certain elements that you continue to rely on as mainstay techniques from your formidable years?
In terms of specific techniques, I’m always reverting to lacto-fermentation (to create Umami-like flavors), as well as smoking and dehydrating. At Tel at South Street Seaport, we’re doing a burnt cabbage dish, and the cabbage itself will be finished with sauerkraut that has been dehydrated and then turned into powder. Those kinds of accents create texture – from the dehydrating and powder form to the flavor from the sauerkraut. That’s the trickery we tend to find ourselves in at Sqirl– layering flavor through fermentation and dehydration.
The pull-apart bagel Koslow is developing for her new Los Angeles restaurant, Tel. Photo Credit: Jessica Koslow/@prosciuttosnacks
Do you have a current food crush or fantasy food ambition– something you’re dying to master?
(laughs) So many things, it never ends! My fear is that I’m going to say it and then tomorrow I’m going to see it. I’m still always surprising myself and my chefs are always surprising me. The menu at Sqirl never stays the same, because it’s really important to push boundaries, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
We’re doing a version of a bagel for Tel [Los Angeles] that is twisted (it’s based on a Polish bagel) and pulls apart, like Armenian string cheese. It’s then oven-boiled and finished with a Montreal wash. And part of the flour for that bagel is actually a charcoal wheat, which we get in California. The seasoning – for a sesame bagel – is actually nigella (a Middle Eastern seed). It’s very New York, meets Montreal, meets Poland– everything is very layered.
At Tel, at the South Street Seaport, we are making Malala, a flatbread that is laminated with Cardamom ghee and finished with nigella. It’s flaky and pulls apart, like a croissant. It’s so insane. I don’t know how we’re going to stop people from asking for seconds, because it is so time-consuming to make– the labor of layering dough like that for 70 people a night. We’re going to need a lot of hands!
I’m also obsessed with Roman pizza, so I want to do something called “Salad Pizza”–a quick-service place that serves square pizza and chopped salads on top of each other.
I’ve become obsessed with the history, the backbone of something; so these dishes are not just based on…what I feel like creating. They’re based on layers of history and technique that have been peeled off to create the final product.
Chef Jessica Koslow’s Malala.
I know you’ve said that even if a dish has straightforward ingredients, nothing is just one step. What are some of the other tenets you live by?
I start at the end and work backwards. In the end, you have to put it in your mouth and be completely oishii– delicious. It has to be something more: vibrant and explosive, but also layered in texture. That is what I’m gunning for.
In terms of tenets:
- Texture: I’m a stickler for texture — I can’t just have a dish be all soft, I need crunch, too.
- Bite: What does that first bite taste like? That’s all the time we’ve got to capture a person. When I see the look of eyes lighting up, that’s when I feel like I’ve succeeded. I look for the eyes.
- Layering: That’s the most important thing! The major tenet — the layers of texture, color, technique, individual flavors — all add up to the “thing.”
- Point of reference: What is the original dish’s inspiration? I always recognize where a dish starts as the road leads elsewhere.
Israeli food is really having a moment. What inspired you to pursue Tel? Is it the natural next step from Sqirl?
Yeah, Tel is the next step for sure; Sqirl is evolving in its own space with Sqirl Away.
The word Tel is Hebrew, and it means a mound, or layers, of settlements– life forms created on top of life forms. So, this Tel is built on not only on my own personal (familial) history, but also my own professional history.
Tel is a new restaurant with a daytime component, which is an all-day quick service, and a 110-seat dinner restaurant. It’s a Jewish diaspora– an intersection of Jewish foods from all over the world, through a California lens (based on California ingredients).
Sqirl is a California restaurant, and it’s breakfast and lunch without barriers or boundaries; Tel is a little bit more focused on flavors, history, and technique– in its own way.
Jessica Koslow seasons dishes at Tel at the South Street Seaport Food Lab.
At Tel, what are five mainstay ingredients that you can’t live without?
- Pickled rosehips
- Crispy rice
- Cardamom ghee
- Turmeric millet jack – which is this crackerjack concoction we make, but with pressed millet.
- Smoked Santa Rosa plums
- Avocado seed tahini (we’re making tahini from saved avocado seeds).
Image courtesy of Sqirl.
Are there things you’re excited to experiment with on the East Coast that you don’t typically cook with in LA?
We’ve been following the Union Square farmer’s market to see what’s available. We’re doing this eggplant dish for Tel at South Street Seaport, and it’s exciting because there’s a bunch of really beautiful eggplants.
There’s a farmer, James Birch, who has a farm Flora Bella, which is based in LA, but he’s now living part-time in NY. So, we’re able to work with a farmer who has spent the last several years in California, and it’s been really exciting for us to be able to work with his produce on the East Coast.
Chef Jessica Koslow preparing her menu for Tel at South Street Seaport Food Lab.
You always find such unique purveyors!
It’s friendships and relationships, and it’s really important to me to support James, because we’ve supported each other in LA. These are people who have given their lives to farming and the land, and they are supporting us as chefs and championing what we do. It’s like why you would choose to wear a certain designer – the same thing goes for produce. It’s the food that I want to eat, and it’s the produce I want to eat, and I want to share that with you!
It’s like a collection…
(laughs) It is a collection: Fall ’17! You know what’s funny? I’m up here in Northern California, because there’s a variety of apple that’s in Sebastopol called Gravenstein, and it doesn’t come down to Southern California. So we just flew up to Northern California, rented a jeep, and we are driving to pick them up so we can drive them down to LA.
Chef Jessica Koslow, pictured with Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo (L–R)
at Resy & Frankies Spuntino Present the Franks Backyard Chef Series. Photo Credit: Meredith Jenks
If you could create alongside anyone, who would it be?
Oh my God, probably Michele Bras– old-school Michele Bras in the ’90s. I want to make a salad next to him and see how his mind works for a day. He’s got these new quick service concepts in France, and they’re very cool.
Are there cities you are inspired or enchanted by?
I’m always inspired by places in Japan, like Tokyo and Kyoto, just based on the severe and minimal approach to food, and how clean and vibrant the food can be.
I’m very interested in the Baltic and Dalmation Coasts, because of how fresh the ingredients are and how olive oil and tomatoes play a big part. And, obviously, Israel and Poland.
And, of course, I’m very interested in the food of Los Angeles, and how we are evolving the food of LA.
What are some of your favorite restaurants in LA and beyond? Are there places where you are a regular?
I am a regular at this place called Mhzh in Los Angeles: it’s a small, hole-in-the-wall Israeli restaurant in Silver Lake that’s so delicious. They use a coal-burning oven. The vibe is good, and the food is great.
There’s a Japanese restaurant I love called Shibumi, also in Los Angeles. It’s a Japanese bar. The chef lived in Japan for many years, and he worked under Nozawa (he is a master). If this place were in New York, it would be packed every night, but because it’s in LA, it’s just chill. Those are my two places in LA, which I truly have to take everyone to when they come to town.
In Paris, I love Le Baratin. It’s from a husband-and-wife duo: she’s in the kitchen, he’s on the floor. He has some of the best wines on the menu – by the glass – just because he wants to drink them. There’s a huge menu that hangs from the wall, and they’ll bring it to your table and don’t look at you if you can’t speak French. Le Baratin is a special place.
And also that little pincho bar in the Boqueria in Barcelona. Mostly humble places, where the chef is there and you feel the heartbeat of the owner. I think that’s really important: feeling the heartbeat of the owner.
Sqirl’s namesake jams. Photo Credit: Instagram/@sqirlla
What’s been the most surprising discovery with Sqirl?
One of the things that has been amazing about Sqirl is the lack of restrictions. I just got back from a trip, and I saw crispy rice [a signature Sqirl dish] on a menu in Charleston, and that is an indicator of the freedom that Sqirl has. It shows that what we are doing is resonating, and people are listening!
There’s so much joy in the fact that we have the freedom to do a pancake, but instead of being a normal pancake, it’s made with cactus flour and has pudding on top of it. And, it’s one of our best-selling breakfast items! That freedom is power, and it’s been a really incredible experience to realize that it’s real.
Taste it for yourself. Grab a seat.
From August 20th–September 2nd, Chef Jessica Koslow will be bringing her iconic (and bona fide sensational) California cooking to New York for Seaport District NYC Food Lab pop-up. Purchase tickets here.
With not one, but three Japanese restaurants helmed by highly acclaimed chefs, and several notable neighborhood haunts, the latest slew of Resy additions is full of hits.
Image Courtesy of Cafe Luxembourg.
Once a Nordic restaurant, Acme has been transformed into a contemporary, French-Italian bistro, helmed by executive chef and partner Brian Loiacono (formerly executive chef at Daniel Boulud’s db Bistro Moderne). With cocktail and wine programs designed by Dev Johnson and Nicole Hakli (vets of Employees Only and Eleven Madison Park, respectively), this swanky neighborhood NoHo eatery caters to a fashion-forward crowd. Book now at Acme. Book now at Acme.
Alta Calidad signals the owner debut of chef Akthar Nawab, a seasoned veteran of the New York restaurant scene, with runs at Gramercy Tavern, Craft, Elettaria, and La Esquina. In the kitchen, he pairs Mexican flavor profiles with refined cooking techniques to offer dishes like shaved rib eye tacos and queso fundido (with honey, pumpkin seeds, and chiles). The space is modern and clean, and accented with a soundtrack of throwback hip-hop jams. Pro-tip: Ask about the “off-menu” items. Book now at Alta Calidad. Book now at Alta Calidad.
Burger & Lobster Bryant Park
Born in London in 2011, Burger & Lobster is a global conceptual restaurant whose name says it all. This location is the second in New York City, and the same rules apply: a menu of burgers, lobster, and combos of the two, affordable prices, and a spacious dining room primed for group meals. Keep your eyes peeled for the chain’s newest offering: a tower that serves four. Book now at Burger & Lobster Bryant Park. Book now at Burger & Lobster Bryant Park.
Cafe Luxembourg is a timeless institution that has been dishing out French bistro fare since 1983. Owned and operated by Lynn Wagenknecht (The Odeon, Café Cluny), this Upper West Side gem continues to excel as a neighborhood bastion and steak frites destination. In the restaurant’s own words, it’s “a little bit of the Left Bank on the West Side.” Book now at Cafe Luxembourg.
Circa Brewing Co.
This Brooklyn newcomer focuses on two things: pizza and beer. In order to execute both to the greatest success, owner Gerry Rooney (of Putnam’s) roped together a team of well-regarded folks from the borough, plus a pizza maker — Luke Bruckert — from Portland’s Little Oven Pizza. Bruce Dillon (also of Putnam’s) is the head chef; Danny Bruckert (of Sixpoint Brewery) is the head brewer; and bartender Damon Boelte (of Grand Army) is in charge of cocktails and wine. At 6,000 sq. feet, Circa is a fully functioning brewery serving brunch, lunch, and dinner. Book now at Circa Brewing Co. Book now at Circa Brewing Co.
Dante at Genuine
Dante, of Greenwich Village fame, brings its expert take on Italian cocktails and cuisine to Little Italy’s Genuine. Crafted specifically for this new space, chef Rachael Polhill’s menu includes a fritti selection, sourdough flatbreads, and tableside tiramisu service. And yet, still, beverages are the main event: come for the self-serve Negroni fountain, stay for a drink from the #SummerOfSpritz offerings. Book now at Dante at Genuine.
East One Coffee Roasters
East One Coffee Roasters is a bright and spacious multi-concept restaurant, coffee shop, and roastery in Brooklyn’s Carroll Gardens. Enjoy an all-day menu of seasonal comfort food alongside a specialty coffee program, featuring single-origin espresso and nitro cold brew. The leisurely atmosphere makes it highly adaptable as a place to work or hang out with friends. Book now at East One Coffee Roasters.
Egg Shop of Williamsburg
At their second Egg Shop location, husband-and-wife team Sarah Schneider and Demetri Makoulis continue to do what they do best: serve dressed-up eggs. Like its original location in SoHo, Egg Shop of Williamsburg is not just a breakfast restaurant, but also an all-day spot dedicated to the versatile ingredient from which it takes its name. Look forward to a slew of breakfast sandwiches in the morning and dishes like frittata tacos and yolk-stuffed burrata at dinner. Book now at Egg Shop of Williamsburg. Book now at Egg Shop of Williamsburg.
Littleneck Grand Street
The original, Gowanus, location of this rock-solid New England-style seafood shack serves only dinner and weekend brunch; the casual Greenpoint outpost offers only a daytime cafe menu; but here in Williamsburg, they do it all. An all-day menu offers breakfast items (like a smoked trout omelette and lemon ricotta pancakes), sandwiches (hello, lobster roll), salads (try the kale Caesar), and otherwise; dinner’s serves XXX. Drinks like La Colombe coffee, kombucha (on tap), craft beer, and natural wines top it off. Book now at Littleneck Grand Street.
Mathews Food & Drink
Mathews Food & Drink is a modern Jersey City eatery inspired by the unique spirit and dining culture of the South. Simple, approachable dishes dot the menu, like sweet corn fritters; a roasted 1/2 chicken with peas, carrots, roasted garlic whipped potatoes, and pan gravy; and a fisherman’s stew. Cocktails, wine, and draft beer are served all day in a sleek space with a laid back vibe. Book now at Mathews Food & Drink.
A high quality “Washoku” (read: traditional Japanese cuisine with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients) restaurant, Mifune features a menu crafted by Hiroki Yoshitake, the chef-owner of the Michelin-starred Sola, in Paris. Guests can order a la carte, or enjoy the chef’s tasting course. The name pays respect to the famous Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune, who, as the story goes, “crossed the ocean and became appreciated in the world.” Book now at Mifune.
Chef John Keller oversees Minnie’s menu, which is comprised of bright, flavorful dishes inspired by owner Millie Stallings’ family recipes. Mediterranean-influenced American plates, like smoked cauliflower fritto with harissa yogurt, Fresno peppers, and jalapeno; farro pearls with spring vegetables, mint, pine nuts and pistachio; and roasted chicken with lemon-sofrito marinade round out the wholesome menu. Dessert is a family affair: the pink cake is a Stallings birthday staple, and the cookies are baked by Millie’s sister, Cooper. Book now at Minnie’s.
PizzaMoto got its start in 2008, when chef Dave Sclarow began serving up his signature Neapolitan pizzas out of a portable wood-fired oven at the Brooklyn Flea. Fast-forward, and it’s now firmly situated in a cozy, neighborhood joint under the BQE, between Carroll Gardens and Red Hook. The pies, in the words of Pete Wells, are “among the top tier of New York brick-oven pizzas,” and they’re offered alongside fierce, seasonally-changing sides, natural wines, and a rotating selection of cocktails crafted with house-made syrups and bitters. Book now at PizzaMoto.
Last year, the James Beard-nominated chef Anita Jaisinghani came from Houston to open a New York version of her very well regarded pan-Indian restaurant, Pondicheri. Located in Flatiron, it’s an all-day affair where guests can enjoy masala eggs and jaggery coconut pancakes for breakfast, shrimp chutney salad and lamb mint bun kebab for lunch, and tandoori quail and vindaloo ribs for dinner. Rambunctious, nourishing, and vibrant, her cooking stands out in a city where that’s not so easy. Book now at Pondicheri.
Quality Eats UES
Quality Eats has brought its very appealing steakhouse concept to the Upper East Side, and it’s serving unique cuts in a casual and inviting environment. Just like at the West Village location, all chops are offered for less than $30, alongside complementary fare, nice wines, and signature cocktails. Book now at Quality Eats UES.
Red Hook Lobster Pound
Modeled after a Maine seafood shack, this location is the original Red Hook Lobster Pound. The husband-and-wife-owned establishment handpicks lobsters from the best lobstermen in Maine, ensuring the highest quality for multiple kinds of rolls, mac and cheese, and lobster dinners—which are only $25 on Wednesday nights. Fun fact: The water closet here is a sight to behold. Book now at Red Hook Lobster Pound. Book now at Red Hook Lobster Pound.
Taking inspiration from classic New York gastropubs, timeless bars, and steakhouses, The Spaniard serves quintessential pub fare (think Caesar wedge, oysters Rockefeller and patty melts) alongside expert cocktails, with a focus on whiskey (the bar stocks 100 different kinds). The atmosphere is swanky, but modern, with emerald-green booths and velvet-covered bar stools. Primed for the regular dining of neighborhood locals, the kitchen offers lunch, dinner, and anything-but-typical brunch. Plus: it stays open late. Book now at The Spaniard.
Spring Street Natural
Founded in 1973, Spring Street Natural started cooking farm-to-table, locavore, organic, and paleo cuisine long before doing so was commonplace. In fact, at the time, those terms were virtually unheard of in food and dining. To this day, all preparations at this family owned and operated restaurant have one unyielding mission: to serve healthy, carefully sourced and delicious food. Book now at Spring Street Natural.
A restaurant-within-a-restaurant (located downstairs from Mifune), Sushi Amane is helmed by Shion Uino from Tokyo’s highly acclaimed (3 Michelin stars) Sushi Saito. Each night, the chef serves his signature omakase to an exclusive set of diners. With only eight bar seats and a semi-private dining room for four, the focus is on the fish. Book now at Sushi Amane.
Uchu Sushi Bar
Acclaimed chef Eiji Ichimura helms Uchu, where he offers his distinctive omakase to guests at the ten-seat bar. In addition to the choicest cuts of fish, the menu utilizes fresh ingredients from the restaurant’s own rooftop garden. Uchu’s sister restaurant is The Bar at Uchu, also located at 217 Eldridge Street. Book now at Uchu Sushi Bar.
The best restaurants use Resy. Grab a seat.
From fresh, Southern-inspired fare in the modish Arts District to the handsome nighttime counterpart of a breezy all-day café in Santa Monica, there’s a lot going for Los Angeles’ latest restaurants.
Image Courtesy of Manuela.
Birds & Bees
Located in the historic core of Downtown Los Angeles — and, fun fact: housed in a space that previously functioned as a gym for the LAPD — this mid-century modern speakeasy takes inspiration from the 1950s. Enter through the hidden door and make your way underground, where seasoned bartenders craft excellent cocktails. Book now at Birds & Bees.
Located in Silver Lake at Sunset Junction, Bowery Bungalow operates out of a charming cottage. The homey restaurant features modern Mideast cuisine, a bar pouring craft beer and select wine, and a wood patio for al fresco dining. The menu, which draws inspiration from the food that owner George Abou-Daoud’s mother and grandmother used to cook, pays homage to some of the world’s most ancient flavors. Book now at Bowery Bungalow.
A pioneer of the new wave of Highland Park dining, Cafe Birdie is an ideal neighborhood hangout. It’s big, bright, and airy; it has a marble-topped bar serving craft cocktails; and its food menu has plenty of easy options suitable for any given night, including salads, Moroccan-spiced fried chicken, steak frites, and several pastas. Book now at Cafe Birdie.
Charcoal Venice is inspired by the backyard BBQs that its Michelin-starred chef, Josiah Citrin, hosts on weekends for friends and family. At this inviting neighborhood joint, everything is cooked over live fire, and the food is best enjoyed family-style. Specialties of the kitchen include cabbage, baked in the embers, and kampachi, lightly smoked over the coals. Book now at Charcoal Venice.
Chef Nick Barainca, formerly of Liason and Mélisse, is at the helm of this pop-up dinner series at Santa Monica’s OP Café. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, enjoy a five-course tasting menu for $47. Menu highlights include black garlic bread and pork collar cooked over almond wood. Book now at Gargantua.
Affectionately considered the “handsome” dinner counterpart to its neighboring sister restaurant, Lunetta All Day, both restaurants are owned and operated by chef Raphael Lunetta in Santa Monica. At Lunetta, the charcoal-colored walls are accented with leather banquettes, cozy lounge seating complete with a fireplace, and a brass-topped bar. Best of all, enjoy elevated American fare, like grilled chopped salad and steak & fries. Book now at Lunetta.
Manuela brings Southern charm to the culinary landscape of Los Angeles’ Arts District. Executive chef Wes Whitsell, who has teamed up with Iwan and Manuela Wirth, channels his Texas upbringing by applying artisanal Southern techniques to his food (think in-house smoking, fermenting, preserving, and pickling). Fun fact: the restaurant also houses an on-site chicken coop, home to 12 rare-breed birds. Book now at Manuela.
Chef Maycoll Calderón of the acclaimed Mexico City restaurant, Huset, has set up camp in Silver Lake. And the space does justice to al fresco dining: the vast majority of its 120 seats are located outside, at wooden tables surrounded by lush greenery and hanging lights. The seafood-centric menu showcases the chef’s signature “cocina de campo” (country kitchen) style of Mexican cooking and wood-fired fare, like seabass tostada and roasted red snapper. Book now at Tintorera.
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Image courtesy of Ariete.
Those who are in-the-know, know that this time of year is Miami’s best – even with the summer heat – thanks to Miami Spice. The two-month dining extravaganza offers discounted lunch, brunch and dinner specials ($23 for lunch and brunch, $39 for dinner) at more than 200 restaurants around town. This Hit List is your guide to the city’s finest Miami Spice offerings.
5/db Bistro Moderne
7/Beaker & Gray
8/Lobster Bar Sea Grille
9/La Mar by Gastón Acurio
Because enjoy a taste of Cuba without leaving the Grove. Start with a yucca salad, then dive into Ariete’s famous pepitas-topped frita chorizo burger. For a perfectly sweet ending, opt for the tres leches cake. // Coconut Grove. Book now on Resy.
Because Bazaar Mar is the place to see and be seen. This ultra-swanky Jose Andres seafood spot highlights whimsical favorites on its Spice menu – like lobster croquettes, tuna-topped air breads (filled with spicy mayo!), oyster ceviche, and the most creative key lime pie in town. // Brickell. (305) 615-5859.
Because this Mediterranean stunner boasts an impressive Spice menu, and neither its food nor its scene can be beat. The fabulous dinner feast on offer includes lamb ribs, spicy shakshouka, short-rib kebabs, sweet and tangy jeweled rice, and a pistachio ice cream pizzelle. // South Beach. Book now on Resy.
Because unlimited wine makes Spice twice as nice. After 8:30 p.m., and for just $20 more, add unlimited vino to your carnivore-friendly meal of seafood charcuterie, filet mignon, wagyu brisket pastrami, and coconut cake. Cheers to that. // South Beach. (305) 340-3333.
5/db Bistro Moderne
Because if you haven’t already enjoyed Daniel Boulud’s decadent French classics, now is the time. Indulge in his signature dishes, like steak tartare, coq au vin, and steak frites. The entire table will be saying, “Oui, oui!” // Downtown Miami. Book now on Resy.
Because in Miami, ceviche always reigns supreme. Use that as your starting point and then spring for delicious entrees, like garlic-rubbed ribeye or chanterelle-dotted risotto, and, for dessert, the Nutella mousse (natch). // Wynwood. Book now on Resy.
7/Beaker & Gray
Because what’s better than a cookie butter sundae? Not much– especially when it’s served after a meal of Spanish octopus and melt-in-your-mouth short-ribs. At Beaker & Gray the sundae is the cherry on top of a fantastic meal. // Wynwood. Book now on Resy.
8/Lobster Bar Sea Grille
Because when is lobster not a good idea? The coveted crustacean is the star of Lobster Bar Sea Grille’s Spice menu. Start with the lobster bisque and follow with the signature stuffed lobster, with all the fixings. Vanilla profiteroles with dark chocolate sauce and sugar-roasted almonds complete the meal. // South Beach. (305) 377-2675.
9/La Mar by Gastón Acurio
Because dinner with a seaside view is just what date night calls for. Don’t miss the banana leaf-wrapped paiche (topped with bacon for the perfect amount of smoke) or the La Pina dessert, which is just the right amount of sweet. // Brickell Key. (305) 913-8358.
Because brunch deserves the same love as dinner, and Bakehouse offers its popular take for Miami Spice. Start with the signature quiche before delving into croissant French toast and, finally, the flourless chocolate tart. It’s oh-so worth it. // South Beach. (305) 434-8249.
Resy is a reservations platform for the best restaurants. This list is our regular update on where to eat in Miami. To get it via email, download and register for Resy today.
Image Courtesy of Dante at Genuine.
What’s the best way to beat the New York City heat? Air conditioning and cocktails. The spritz is having its moment (psst: Dante at Genuine offers several iterations), and restaurants throughout the city have upped their bar game; the offerings are plentiful and spot-on. From Mediterranean-inspired cocktails on tap in a Brooklyn backyard, to a fine glass of rosé in a chic Midtown hideaway, this list covers the latest and greatest in food and drink [to help you survive the NYC swelter].
1/Dante at Genuine
2/Mifune and Sushi Amane
4/Air’s Champagne Parlor
9/Aldo Sohm Wine Bar
1/Dante at Genuine
Because the only thing better than the city’s best Negroni is the city’s best Negroni flowing from a self-serve fountain. Zero in on the beverage menu’s “Summer of Spritz” section, and don’t overlook the sourdough flatbreads, house-made pastas, and tiramisu (served tableside). // SoHo. Book now on Resy.
2/Mifune and Sushi Amane
Because it’s not every day that two Michelin-starred chefs, from completely different parts of the world, band together. Upstairs, enjoy upscale Japanese-European cuisine at Mifune; downstairs, savor a masterful omakase at Sushi Amane. // Midtown East. Book now on Resy.
Because it’s a delight to dine at a restaurant that doesn’t try too hard, yet brilliantly succeeds. As Pete Wells writes in his glimmering two-star review, “What Ms. de Boer and Ms. Shadbolt offer is not a wild vision of new ways to cook but a solid vision of how to eat.” // West Village. Book now on Resy.
4/Air’s Champagne Parlor
Because this salon’s mission to re-position bubbly as an everyday libation is admirable. Take note: An impressive selection of sparkling wine is offered alongside snacks like oysters and caviar, all within a pleasingly affordable price range. // Greenwich Village. Book now on Resy.
Because Israeli food is on the rise across the country, and this newcomer offers some of the best in New York City. The outdoor garden at Miss Ada is a pleasant locale for sipping cocktails on tap and snacking on hummus masabaha. // Fort Greene. Book now on Resy.
Because the revamped old-school interior is suave, and the bar stocks 100 whiskey varieties. Nosh on elevated classics, like oysters Rockefeller and a patty melt– best enjoyed while perched atop a velvet barstool, or tucked into an emerald green banquette. // West Village. Book now on Resy.
Because the whimsical Greg Baxtrom has debuted his very own soft-serve, and you can have yours cased in a magical chocolate shell or topped with freeze-dried berries. Flavors like sour cherry and vanilla violet are crafted from ingredients grown in the restaurant’s famed backyard garden. Delightful. // Prospect Heights. Book now on Resy.
Because we crave oysters on hot days, and here they’re served with playful accoutrement-filled droppers. Speaking of playful: barman Damon Boelte’s spot-on summer cocktails are inspired by his favorite Gilmore Girls episodes. // Boerum Hill. Book now on Resy.
9/Aldo Sohm Wine Bar
Because there’s no better place to sip rosé than Le Bernardin’s wine bar counterpart. A rotating list of 40 wines by the glass and 200 by the bottle is complemented by affordable eats from chef Eric Ripert and team. Don’t miss the daily #9PMPOUR, which features a special large-format bottle chosen by Aldo himself. // Theater District. Book now on Resy.
Because if you can’t make it out of the city, this charming Red Hook mainstay will provide just the respite you need. With its elevated comfort fare and strong, tasty cocktails, Fort Defiance serves its haven of a neighborhood quite well. // Red Hook. Book now at Fort Defiance.
Because this beloved pizza restaurant is closing its doors Aug.20 after nearly 15 years on Flatbush Avenue. Franny’s paved the way for a new generation of destination-worthy Brooklyn restaurants, and it will be sorely missed for its trailblazing farm-to-table ethos, impressive wine list, neighborly atmosphere, and above all, its delicious, delicious pies. Grab a seat before August 20th. // Park Slope. Book now on Resy.
Resy is a reservations platform for the best restaurants. This list is our regular update on where to eat in New York. To get it via email, download and register for Resy today.
From one of the world’s finest temples of seafood-based cuisine to Keith McNally’s newest swanky bistro, a 3-star yakitori omakase experience, and an all-day Mexican eatery serving healthy, of-the-moment fare, New York’s latest restaurants boast some serious gems. Read more and grab a seat.
Image Courtesy of Le Bernardin.
Air’s Champagne Parlor
At Air’s Champagne Parlor, sommelier Ariel Arce aims to make French sparkling wine (and the lavish fare it’s typically paired with) a little more accessible. Affordable bottles of bubbly and caviar service grace the menu, along with a picture-perfect cheese cart, and other wine-friendly snacks. Add to that a charming, Art Deco-inspired space and it’s almost too good to be true. Book now at Air’s Champagne Parlor.
Aldo Sohm Wine Bar
Named after the genius longtime sommelier of Le Bernardin, this wine bar is a notable counterpart to the revered fine dining restaurant. The stunning, yet relaxed space includes high top tables and comfortable couch seating. Guests can enjoy lunch specials with pairings, rotating tasting flights, and the famous daily 9pm pour — when a special large-format bottle selected by Aldo Sohm himself, flows. The fabulously affordable food menu, crafted by chef Eric Ripert and his culinary team includes charcuterie, cheese, share plates and more. Book now at Aldo Sohm Wine Bar.
An all-day restaurant from the notable Mexican chef and restaurateur Enrique Olvera and his partner, Daniela Soto-Innes, ATLA is the place to be any time of day. You can order flax seed chilaquiles or split pea tlacoyo off the breakfast menu until 4pm and arctic char tostadas and fish milanese off the lunch and dinner menu from 8:30am onwards. The all-day game isn’t one that many restaurants play, but in the airy and playful space that is ATLA, it makes perfect sense. Natural light pours in through giant windows, and there’s a pleasant, relaxed vibe, whether you’re enjoying a mezcal or a café con leche with coconut milk. Book now at ATLA.
Augustine is the latest and greatest from a certain downtown restaurateur who needs no introduction. In typical Keith McNally fashion, it’s a seductive bistro designed with Paris in mind —although at this point, the style is distinctly New York as well. Vintage mirrors and flowery tiles adorn the walls, dark leather banquettes and white tablecloths fill the room, and, in Pete Wells’s words, “impossibly warm” lighting sets the space aglow. Wells insists: “It’s a space that makes you feel, as Holly Golightly put it, as if ‘nothing very bad could happen to you there.’” The food is classic French, so expect lots of meat — from rotissterie to grillades — and a different specialty served each day of the week. If that doesn’t give you reason enough to come back often, note that Augustine is located in The Beekman Hotel and serves breakfast, brunch, lunch, late lunch, and dinner. Book now at Augustine.
With only 8 seats, Bar Uchu operates as an exclusive den for whiskey and Japanese-food devotees. The kaiseki style tasting menu, which incorporates the freshest seasonal ingredients (including produce from the restaurant’s rooftop garden), is driven by Samuel Clonts, formerly of the Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare. Bar manager Frank Cisneros, who spent a year honing his craft at the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, hits a high note with an impressive selection of rare whiskeys and artisanal cocktails. Book now at Bar Uchu.
The foremost destination for seafood-centric cuisine, Le Bernardin is a restaurant worthy of the most special occasions. Chef Eric Ripert’s flawless flagship restaurant has three stars from Michelin and four from The New York Times
. The service is exquisite, as is the wine list, crafted by expert sommelier Aldo Sohm. And the food? French technique is executed to perfection (hint: sauce), flavors from all over the world are sprinkled across the menu, and the desserts are intricate and delicious. This jewel is the kind of place where you choose to not hold back, and never once regret it. Book now at Le Bernardin.
Named after a century-old tree located in nearby Prospect Park, Camperdown Elm is the debut restaurant of Chef Brad Willits (formerly of Agern and Atera). His menu of refined New American fare is ever-evolving and both locally and seasonally-focused. Dishes like grilled cucumber, ikura, and smoked buttermilk; octopus and mocilla with tomatillo and smoked potato; and beef with brassica and Camperdown steak sauce are complemented by an eclectic wine and beer list. And in typical Park Slope fashion, the casual space is warm and welcoming. Book now at Camperdown Elm.
And so the story goes: Chumley’s was resurrected– not as the hideaway dive bar it once was, but as a meat-centric, swanky restaurant with Alessandro Borgognone and chef Victoria Blamey running ship. Located behind an unmarked door in the West Village, it still feels like a secret worth stumbling on, except now the treasure is the gastronomical fare. The “impressively satisfying” burger — a favorite of New York Magazine
critic Adam Platt — comes with two patties, melting bone barrow, and crispy shallots; the bar offers a series of scotch and soda variations; and framed vintage photos of old, famous regulars line the walls. Book now at Chumley’s.
Emily West Village
Maybe you’ve been to Emily and Matt Hyland’s original location in Clinton Hill, where excellent Neapolitan pies are served alongside well-known, dry-aged burgers. Or maybe you’ve enjoyed the duo’s second, Detroit-style pizza spot in Williamsburg, Emmy Squared. Now, the husband-and-wife pair have ventured into Manhattan to inhabit the former Blue Ribbon Bakery space, and they’re serving a menu of typical Hyland-style eats, including round pies, grandma pies, a “lammy burger,” and a pressed duck sandwich. Book now at Emily West Village.
Tucked into an unassuming corner of Red Hook’s Van Brunt street, Fort Defiance exudes the vibe of the neighborhood in which it lies. A local’s paradise, it’s cozy and quirky, with friendly service. A lot of attention is paid to the beverage program, from brunch drinks to after-dinner cocktails. The Southern-influenced food offerings range from brunch to dinner and feature satisfying fare, like Creole red beans on toast and chicken liver paté with bacon-onion jam. Best of all, specials are taken seriously here: burgers on Mondays, dollar oysters on Wednesdays until 11pm, and “a weekly celebration of all things tiki”– otherwise known as The Sunken Harbor Club – on Thursdays. Book now at Fort Defiance.
While not quite a full restaurant, Grand Army is far more than a nice place to drink; and what it does, it does well. The oyster selection is always top-notch, as are the snacks and small plates, like deviled eggs, charred octopus, charcuterie, and seared scallops. The bar program, which is run by the seasoned former Prime Meats bar director Damon Boelte, includes a bevy of craft cocktails. Book now at Grand Army.
This chic Upper East Side bistro from Chef Xavier Monge, a Minetta Tavern alum, draws a local crowd. The environment is welcoming, and the contemporary French fare is creative, yet comforting. Try the specialty of the house– a whole Normandy duck flambé for two, served with Asian spices, summer greens, and poached pear. Book now at Little Frog.
Vietnamese-born chef and owner Don Pham has been working in premier New York City sushi restaurants for over 17 years. At his solo debut, Sushi Ishikawa, on the Upper East Side, Pham offers innovative omakase in a modern and inviting space. Each guest is treated to a personalized sushi experience — customized by Pham himself. Sit back and enjoy the show. Book now at Sushi Ishikawa.
Yakitori Torishin Select Counter
Praised by The New York Times
(3 stars) and the Michelin Guide (1 star), Yakitori Torishin is a stellar Japanese restaurant focused on high-quality yakitori meals. The Select Counter offers a skewer-based omakase meal (influenced by the styles of kaiseki, kappou, and robatayaki) plus appetizers comprised of seasonal ingredients (including the finest seafood carefully selected from the Tsukiji market in Tokyo). Best of all, the chefs serve each course right off the Kishu Binchotan grill behind the counter. Book now at Yakitori Torishin Select Counter.
Image Courtesy of Kismet.
Celebrate summer the right way– by snagging an al fresco table at one of the city’s hottest restaurants. New kids on the block are popping up from Hollywood to Pasadena, along with tried-and-true classics. Bring on the spritz– the Resy Hit List LA is up.
3/EP & LP
5/Friends and Family
Because maestro Evan Funke’s pasta will have you feeling felix! When the primi piatti are divided by Italian regions, you know the food is legit. Two types of in-house bread will direct your voyage – and all roads lead to Rome – so don’t miss the Cacio e Pepe. // Venice. Book now at Felix.
Because Food and Wine’s Best New Chefs know how to serve summer on a plate. Cool off with a crisp white, then dig into the clams with red peppers and confit lemon. Pro-tip: extra bread to soak up the sauciness is a must. // Hollywood. Book now at Kismet.
3/EP & LP
Because how do you make a cocktail even better? Add boba. Dine downstairs with Chef Louis Tikaram’s “Asian eating house” menu (which happens to be gluten-free), then head to the rooftop for a cocktail to finish the night on a high note. // WeHo. Book now at EP & LP.
Because “against all odds, Michael’s feels alive again,” says Jonathan Gold in his LA Times review. Share-plate dining is the idea, and the Pork Milanese is not to be missed. // Santa Monica. (310) 451-0843.
5/Friends and Family
Because Thai town has a brand new addition, and…. Cooks County fans rejoice: chef duo Roxana Jullapat and Daniel Mattern have opened for daytime service, and dinner is on the horizon. Expect tasty za’atar spreads, the Hippie Sandwich with – you guessed it – smashed avocado, and plenty of killer baked goods. // Hollywood. Walk-ins only.
Because are you really doing summer right if you’re not sipping a cocktail on a rooftop while the sun sets? Hollywood’s latest watering hole, Filifera, offers poolside drinks, small bites (charcuterie and the likes) and an It-crowd, 22 stories above the city bustle. Cheers to LA living. // Hollywood. Book now at Filifera.
Because this family-owned Southeast Asian spot dishes out innovative riffs on Indonesian cuisine from mashup-master Chef Tjahyadi (his food truck “phorrito” fused pho and burritos). The menu delivers with dishes like ube gnocchi with duck confit, apricot cubes, and roasted mushrooms. // Pasadena. (626) 795-5702.
Because it’s “Mexican food with a different point of view,” according to Jonathan Gold, and now it serves brunch. The quintessential esquite corn is topped with toasted chapulines (yes, grasshoppers) and the lamb barbacoa melts in your mouth. // Pasadena. Book now at Maestro.
Because let the summer sake flow. Daily specials of wild-caught fish are offered as sashimi and braised whole nitsuke style, and happy hour means tonkatsu sandwiches Tuesday through Friday. Pro Tip: the gyoza are on point. //Echo Park. (213) 900-4900.
Because Japanese food in a mini mall means you’re in for the real deal. Every plate is picture-perfect, and omakase is the only option. So sit back, relax, and let Chef Jonathan Yao take the lead. // Sawtelle. (424) 535-3041.
Because when Nonna’s tagliatelle al ragu’ bolognese is on the menu, you know what to order. Chef Steve Samson grew up spending summers in Bologna (in the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy), where tortellini in brodo reigns supreme. Qui si mangia bene – you’ll eat well here! // Downtown. (213) 749-1099.
Resy is a reservations platform for the best restaurants. This list is our regular update on where to eat in Los Angeles. To get it via email, download and register for Resy today.
Resy: How does New Orleans’ geography affect what you serve?
Alon Shaya: We are always influenced by our location, and look to what’s nearby [to cook], and the season and geographic location have so much to do with it. So, in New Orleans, we are influenced, of course, by the amazing seafood that we have– shrimp, crab, trout, flounder – all of these great things that we get to include in everything we cook. We have all this great crab, you just want to use it; so we make corn-and-crab bisque, crab ravigote, soft-shell crab po’ boys, and crab cakes.
You are cooking in pop-up dinners throughout the country, how do your preparations change by location – what would you serve in New York, for example?
When we go to places like New York, we take notice of what New York has that we can really embrace. So [while we are in New York], it’s going to be right in the summertime – when our summer in New Orleans gets a little too hot, and the great vegetables that we love to cook with die down a bit. In New York, that’ll just be kicking off. So, we are really looking forward to cooking with fresh eggplant, using fresh heirloom tomatoes from the markets, and allowing the produce that’s growing around New York to drive our menu.
Can you tell us what influences are incorporated into your cooking style?
My life story. That’s kind of how I cook. So, I go from being born in Israel to growing up in Philadelphia, to moving and embracing and falling in love with the South. And so, all of those things touch on everything I do and how I cook. There’s no script to it, it’s just a matter of everywhere I go, I’m influenced by where I was born, by where I live, and by what my mother and my grandmother cooked for me. I’m also influenced by what I see at markets when I travel, or at restaurants in different places when I visit… All of it adds up to this crazy algorithm that will never be solved.
What’s your process for recipe development?
For recipe development, the first thing I ask myself is ‘What’s in season? What do we have locally?’ Then I take all the ingredients I want to cook [for the dish I’m preparing], and I lay out twice as many ingredients as I may actually need to make that dish. So, if I’m making Shakshuka, I might have some green chillies, red chillies, ginger, garlic, shrimp, snapper, tomatoes, and eggs. I’ll lay all those things out and I’ll weigh everything to the gram and I’ll cook. At the end of making the dish, when I have it where I want it, I’ll weigh the remainder of the ingredients and the difference is the recipe.
In spite of Shaya’s success, what have been the biggest challenges?
You know, the biggest challenge is staying still for a little bit. There has been so much going on – a lot of attention – but we have to remember what’s most important: being here with our guests, cooking food, teaching our chefs. So, time management has been a challenge and finding ways to balance life and our success with our reality. The reality is that we have 500 people a day showing up and they’re going to be hungry, so that is our biggest priority.
What’s been the most surprising discovery along the way?
I think the biggest surprise would be how much people have really kind of embraced what we do here – not just the guests, but the servers and cooks, too. We have such an amazing team– they love this food, they love the style of service, and they’ve been very excited about it. To me, it was awesome to see so many people really embrace the story (and make it their own), and create something they’re really proud of selling.
How do you stay inspired?
I stay inspired by surrounding myself with people that are smarter and better-looking than me (laughs) – people I really admire, respect, and learn from. I travel a lot and get to see a lot, and it’s always really inspiring eating at restaurants you’ve been studying or reading about, or even exploring a new city. I was recently in Mexico City and it’s incredibly inspiring down there. It’s a completely different culture, a completely different cuisine, but so much of it felt right to me – so much of it felt familiar.
What would you like to try next?
I don’t necessarily have any plans to do anything other than focus on what Shaya’s doing right now, and how we can continue to improve, but I enjoy having some fun by going and doing [the pop-up dinner] events like the Food Lab at the Seaport and the partnership with Resy.
Five ingredients you can’t live without:
I can’t live without: extra virgin olive oil; a good, fresh-milled flour (to make bread, of course); burrata mozzarella (laughs); Louisiana shrimp, crab, and oysters; and Sriracha hot sauce – it’s my guilty pleasure.
First food memory:
My first food memory was my grandmother roasting peppers and eggplant over our gas stove, when she would come from Israel to visit us in Philadelphia, and I was about five years old.
Are there cities you are inspired or enchanted by?
There are several cities that have affected my life. One of those cities is Tel Aviv; I think the energy there and the creativity is a growing organism – like it hasn’t even reached infancy yet, and there is so much more there that is going to continue to happen. Mexico City was really inspiring for me, because of the beauty and the simplicity of the food. A fresh corn tortilla could be so complex, but also so simple. Barcelona has always been a city that has stood out as having a great strong story and food culture. Bergamo, Italy in Citta Alta (the old ancient part of Bergamo) is where I first kind of experienced real Italian food. Then, of course, Parma, Italy – where I staged and apprenticed – had so much influence on everything that I do.
How do you motivate and inspire your staff?
I motivate and inspire [my staff] by allowing the conversation to keep going. We work together as a team, and I like to look at it like a community table. When I sit down with our executive team, we bounce ideas off each other, building and improving on each other’s ideas, and never settling. We are always finding ways to do things better and I think that is motivational and inspirational in its own right; you never get bored and there’s always something else to do.
Tell us what’s on the horizon this year:
One thing that I’m really excited about, when we’re in New York with the Seaport pop-up, is to start talking about a book that I’m about to release in March of 2018 (pre-sale is on now). It’s my entire life story, and it’s called Shaya: An Odyssey in Food, My Journey Back to Israel. It’s 26 short stories throughout my life that chronicle my identity crises, the mentors and the people I had along the way who lifted me up, and how food played in the central part of each of those moments, pivoting me from one place to another. All of the recipes just kind of organically flow from these short stories. I hope that people will find it interesting and find the connection to the food that they’re cooking, and be able to relate it to a story in their own life.
Can you tell us about a pivotal moment in your career?
There are so many moments, but one of the most important moments in my life was cooking through Hurricane Katrina. I was here in New Orleans right after the storm – days after – cooking red beans and rice for people who had been stuck on top of their houses, or people who had been rescuing other people who had been stuck on their houses. The city was destroyed. I was wearing jeans I had been wearing for a week, standing in the parking lot of a Walmart with a propane tank, cooking vegetarian red beans and rice. There was no meat and no produce, so it was all it could be.
It wouldn’t be the way that I would make red beans and rice today – when I have access to the food around me – but then there was nothing available and that was one of the most important meals that I’ve ever cooked in my life.
And it reminded me why I began cooking – which was to put a smile on people’s faces and to bring comfort to people and I kind of reconsidered the entire trajectory of my career at that point.
That’s when I decided that I needed to go and apprentice in Italy and learn from grandmothers who have been perfecting the same dish their entire life. I wanted to simplify everything I knew about food at that point. So, after a few years rebuilding the city, I went to Italy to apprentice and came back to open Domenica restaurant. It was all because I had that moment during Katrina that reminded me what it was about food that I loved so much.
Taste it for yourself. Grab a seat.
From July 30th-August 12th, Chef Alon Shaya will be bringing his James Beard Award-winning cooking to New York for Seaport District NYC Food Lab pop-up. Purchase tickets here.