The New York lights are not so much the ones which punctuate the skyline at dusk, but those with the special amber glow typical of the venues of the Big Apple. Throughout the city, the tables of New York unanimously echo two predominant trends: the Italian and Oriental styles, intersected by Japanese, Chinese and Nikkei contaminations.
Italians do it better
More than ever before – now that carbohydrates have been cleared of their negative stigma – fresh and stuffed pastaspecialties triumph in Manhattan, like everything else that is Made in Italy and finally rendered in a way that does it justice. Roman-style dishes are particularly in vogue at the moment: hence the success of the venues owned by Jonathan Benno, the chef of Leonelli Taberna and the fine dining restaurant Benno, an explosive mix of Italian regional cuisine with a French touch (agnolotti del plin with duck, foie gras or casoncelli stuffed pasta with black truffle). Rigatoni and pappardelle are also on the menu of the recently opened Corso Como 10, in Fulton Street, which probably attracts more design lovers than real foodies.
High-quality ingredients and faultless hospitality reign at the ever popular Antica Pesa, one of the successful restaurants of Williamsburg (Brooklyn), whose twin venue is Roma. It is fun to see young career women sitting at the tables wearing their expensive Jimmy Choo shoes and digging into a creamy tangle of cacio e pepe with a fork. Young Francesco Panella, one of the brothers who owns the venue, dubbed “Brooklyn Man” by Discovery, is also a closely watched businessman owing to his visionary catering projects.
A spanking new restaurant and bar are housed on the premises of the luxury Moxy Chelsea hotel, which occupies an entire skyscraper. This project goes under the name of Feroce and stems from a partnership between the Panella brothers and the mega Tao Group: a fine dining restaurant with an Italian-Roman character, chic vintage design and a focus on sustainability. Italian products mingle in the kitchen with those sourced from organic farms on the outskirts of New York. The project will be crowned by a spectacular bar on the thirtieth floor of the same building, with a view of the Empire State building. Its tables have been booked for weeks, way ahead of the opening date.
105 West 28th Street (6th Ave)Website
Waiting for Thomas Keller in New York
There are great expectations for another new project signed by Thomas Keller, due to open in the spring in the up-and-coming Hudson Yards district: the celebrated chef will run the collection of 25 Tak Roomrestaurants flanked by some of the best chefs in the world, whose team will also include David Chang, Anya Fernald, and José Andrés.
TAK Room New York
20 Hudson Yards, 5th Floor, 500 W. 33rd Street, New YorkWebsite
The best Oriental restaurants in New York
Bondts in Bond Street and Tao Downtown are the most sought-after restaurants of oriental cuisine. The former, located at NoHo (North of Houston Street), is a restaurant and bar patronized by celebs. It is a rare thing indeed to eat well in a venue where people go “to see and be seen”. Sushi is not the only attraction here: must-tries include the tuna tartar with slightly truffled ponzu cream or lobster tempura. Tao Downtown is an immense and apparently chaotic amphitheater, surmounted by an impressive Kali goddess with ten iridescent arms which change color in sync with the music. Here you can order grilled duck, noodles or satay chicken with tamarind and chili pepper. It is not unusual to see diners dancing between the tables.
Delmonico’s in the Financial District continues to be the best steakhouse in all Manhattan. ThePeking Duck Housein Mott Street, on the other hand, is one of the best places, would you believe, for Pekinese duck. At breakfast time, look out for the shop sign of La Colombe: this is one of the most important independent coffee roasters in the country, well known for its exclusive blends and exceptional mono origin coffees, as well as croissants that can compete with any of the most prestigious Parisian patisseries. The authentic Neapolitan pizza, with its unmistakable crust, can be savored at Ribalta in Greenwich Village.
NY artists continue to be enamored of Williamsburg but, without straying from Brooklyn, there is another district that is rapidly becoming trendy: the artists – they are inevitably the ones who determine the value of the various districts – have now discovered Bushwick a neighbourhood to the north of Williamsburg, which is turning into one of the most interesting areas for DIY art spaces, independent stores, venues and art galleries created on former industrial sites, now fallen into disuse. No fine dining restaurant has yet been opened there, but people queue up for Vietnamese food with a French accent, like the dishes served at Little Mo, close to the Myrtle-Broadway station. Among the most popular dishes, there are MO Wangs, organic chicken wings with fish sauce and caramelized garlic and Veggie summer rolls: fried tofu, rice noodles, cabbage, cucumber, mint, and coriander wrapped in rice paper and served with a peanut sauce of the house. Roberta’s offers one of the best pizzas in the area, bread baked in a wood fire spread with ‘nduja or stracciatella; all served on large wood social tables.