Biggest Fall Restaurant Openings in New York

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on September 3, 2019.

Food — and champagne — from the coming Riddler, New York. Bloomberg photo

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Once upon a time, fall marked the major opening season for New York restaurants, a time when the biggest restaurants announced themselves.
Then Hudson Yards opened in spring and sucked up a lot of the city’s culinary energy. And then fried chicken sandwiches drowned out all other food news.
But now it is fall, and New York has a chance to change the conversation. The city will welcome a few renowned masters, from the venerated soba noodles of Sarashina Horii to pizza from the iconic Roscioli in Rome. There will be elite sushi from Toko, located in a subway station, champagne flowing out of the West Village at the Riddler, and reboots of time-honoured New York spots such as Le Veau d’Or, which has been taken over by the professionals from Frenchette and Minetta Tavern.  

September
Catch Steak (Meatpacking district)

Catch Hospitality Group, best known for seafood towers and famous customers, is opening its first steakhouse, in the former La Sirena space. Executive chef Michael Vignola and culinary director John Beatty are searing meat at 1700°F (926.6°C) with cuts like the 12-ounce (340g) bone-in cowgirl rib-eye dry-aged for 32 days. There is also a selection of steaks ordered by the ounce and cooked tabletop, including Olive Beef, a gold medal winner of the Wagyu Olympics, from Kagawa prefecture in Japan, and true A5 Kobe New York strip steak from Hyogo prefecture. To accompany all the dry-aged, prime, American, and Japanese beef, there will be 50-plus sauces, relishes, and marinades. 88 Ninth Avenue.

Gotham Bar & Grill (Greenwich Village)
For the first time in 34 years, the venerable restaurant that helped glorify big, stacked American dishes has a new chef. Victoria Blamey will be introducing a brand-new menu with an emphasis on international flavours. She will serve some version of the 86’d burger she made famous at Chumley’s, with dry-aged beef, bone marrow, mango BBQ sauce, and American cheese with other bar-friendly dishes such as layered foie gras terrine. The beverage programme, from Josh Lit, will include an expanded section of natural wines. The restaurant reopens for dinner on Sept 4. 12 E 12th St.

Feroce Pizza & Bocce Bar (Flatiron district)
Even in a city with no shortage of quality pizza, this news is exciting. Roscioli, the Roman deli/restaurant/institution, has teamed up with restaurateur Francesco Panella and the TAO Group to serve their pies in the US for the first time. On the second floor of the Moxy Chelsea hotel, Feroce will offer tonda-style pies (thin, fermented dough crust) with such options as the A14 (DOP Sam Marzano tomato sauce, prosciutto di parma aged 24 months, arugula, cherry tomatoes) and, of course, a Margherita adorned with buffalo mozzarella. Along with pizzas will be staples like antipasti, crostini, and Italian wines, cocktails, and beer. The Rockwell Group-designed space has a retractable roof awning and bocce. 105 W 28th St, 2nd floor.

The Riddler (West Village)
More than 100 champagnes will be on offer at the Riddler, the East Coast outpost of the terrific San Francisco wine bar, located at Bank Street on a quintessential West Village corner. Owner Jen Pelka, who assembled an all-female slate of investors for her 700 sq ft space, will have major raw bar action coming from the brass-rimmed bar that dominates the space: Oysters, lobster, and a grand aioli (a big, shareable crudite-and-shrimp affair, and, of course, aioli). Other sparkling wine-friendly dishes include caviar, pigs in a blanket, and figs in a blanket, Ritz chicken and famed tater tot waffles. Plus, of course, a champagne brunch. 51 Bank St.

The Jones (NoHo)
In September, this reboot of the Great Jones Cafe, a neighbourhood favourite, will start serving dinner and drinks. Chef Jack Harris will be slathering butter on poached mussel smorrebrod (an open-faced sandwich) and bagna cauda aioli on whole artichokes. The Jones is the latest place from Gabe Stulman, whose downtown empire includes Joseph Leonard, Fairfax, and Simon & the Whale. He has added a handful of signature hangout elements such as a communal table and leather couch. 54 Great Jones St.

Palais by Perfect Pie (Upper East Side)
He was the White House executive pastry chef for George W Bush and Barack Obama. He created four-course dinners for the onstage audience of Network on Broadway. Now, Bill Yosses will open Palais by Perfect Pie. The all-day, European-styled cafe will run from continental breakfast through lunch and dinner. Pies will be front and centre, such as truffled chicken pot pie and a vegetarian version with summer spaghetti squash, Romanesco, and ricotta, plus seasonal fruit pies, all of which Yosses has become famed for. The beverage programme will focus on natural wines, as well as a large selection of non-alcoholic drinks. 134 E 61st St.

October
Sarashina Horii (Flatiron)

A 230-year-old purveyor of soba for Japanese royalty, Sarashina Horii is opening a much-anticipated location in New York City, its first international spot. The brand, which has three locations in Tokyo, is revered for its signature white soba made from polished buckwheat seeds. Ninth-generation soba maker Yoshinori Horii will offer a menu with more than a dozen cold and hot soba dishes, including clam and their famed duck and leek noodles. There will also be non-soba appetisers and entrees, and a beverage programme that includes cocktails, sake, and wine. 45 E 20th St.

Thai Diner (Nolita)
Ann Redding and Matt Danzer of Uncle Boons fame will open this all-day-into-night Thai-American diner in October on the corner of Kenmare and Mott, in Nolita. Redding says the menu will focus on simplicity, with a strong Thai influence on new and old classics, such as Thai disco fries, with curry replacing gravy. Their offerings will also include signature wok-fried omelettes, hot roast beef sandwiches, and Thai fried rice. The interior will be characteristically zany, with teak textures and such traditional American diner surfaces as chrome and glass. 186 Mott St.

The Market Line (Lower East Side)
Spanning three Lower East Side blocks with connecting tunnels, this 150,000 sq ft space will eventually have 100-plus vendors and be the largest market in the ever more crowded food hall space. Phase One opens on Oct 23 with about 30 food spots representing old-school New York, including the iconic Eastern European hangout Veselka, Chinatown’s Nom Wah tea parlour, and the German butcher Schaller & Weber. Phase Two, with more food vendors and a music venue, is slated for 2021. 115 Delancey St.
A highlight opening there in October will be Dhamaka, from chef Chintan Pandya and owner Roni Mazumdar, who also run the wildly popular Adda Indian Canteen in Long Island City, New York. The 60-seat space will focus on Indian home cooking and be open for lunch and dinner. 88 Essex St.

Francis & Staub (Flatiron)
In the former Les Halles space made famous by Anthony Bourdain, this new spot is from Francis Staub, well-known to cooks as the enamel cookware designer and to chicken fanatics as the owner of Le Coq Rico in New York. Chef Richard Farnabe will serve an array of brasserie greatest hits such as escargot, steak frites and dover sole. 411 Park Avenue S.

Portale (Flatiron)
Storied chef Alfred Portale, who made Gotham Bar & Grill a Wall Street clubhouse for decades, has moved from modern American to modern Italian cooking. His kitchen will highlight pasta, polenta, and bread made from house-milled flour, as well as grilled meats and fish and lots of seasonal vegetables. The wine list will skew Italian, French, and American; in addition to the 100-seat dining room, there will be a 40-seat private dining room. 126 W 18th St.

Once (Brooklyn)
Peruvian chef and cuisine booster Ricardo Zarate is opening his first New York restaurant and the second outpost of Once, in Carroll Gardens. The chef will feature his take on Nikkei cuisine at the 60-seat space with dishes like arroz con pollo a la huanciana (chicken and rice with Peruvian feta and aji amarillo) and causa sushi, which is made with potato dough instead of rice and served sushi roll-style with nori and toppings like spicy tuna. The bar programme highlights South American piscos and cocktails. 315 Smith St, Brooklyn

Toko (Midtown)
The idea of eating anything in a subway station, let alone sushi, is not compelling to New Yorkers who have never been to Tokyo. Toko is here to change their minds. Located below the entrance of the hectic Herald Square station at Broadway and West 32nd Street, it is the brainchild of Baekjeoung BBQ’s Bobby Kwak and Joseph Ko. There will be two menus — sushi and composed omakase — overseen by J Trent Harris and Nami Song. The sleek, 1,500 sq ft space has suede leather walls, an 18-seat white ash counter, and a glass-walled wine room. 49 W 32nd St.
Meanwhile, in Korean barbecue news, Kwak and Ko will also be opening a branch in November of the Ahgassi, a popular Los Angeles spot that specialises in grilled nose-to-tail meat cuts such as beef intestines. 315 Fifth Avenue at 32nd Street, 3rd floor

J Bespoke (NoMad)
Hidden behind the entrance to Devocion Cascara + Coffee, which is opening later in September, J Bespoke will be a sports bar/speak-easy mash-up. The 50-seat lounge from Jesse and Eric Jacob will offer drinks like the Bespoke Old Fashioned and Nitro Cold Brew Martini, along with a lot of buzzword small plates such as spicy honey pizza with soppressata and karaage-fried chicken bites with yuzu kosho aioli. 121 E 27th St.

November
The Pineapple Club (East Village)

The East Village is known for intimate cocktail spaces such as PDT and Death & Co. Now here comes a bi-level, 140-seat tropical cocktail bar with two dining rooms from partners Travis Odegard (Jean-Georges), Panos Kourakos (Catch Hospitality Group), and Nazar Hrab (Yves). The bar programme will include large-format beverages and a menu of Polynesian-influenced small plates. 509 E 6th St.

Le Veau d’Or (Upper East Side)
Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr are taking charge of the uber-classic French dining room. The chefs have said they will try to keep some menu staples such as garlicky escargot. “You can’t cut that French connection. It’s what made it part of the landscape,” Hanson says. 129 E 60th St. — Bloomberg