New York City boasts a myriad of cuisines and great culture from around the world. If you thought New York was all about hotdogs, pretzels, and cupcakes, then you would be wrong. Manhattan is teeming with original dining experiences. Here are some of the best unique and versatile restaurants with creative culinary concepts that should be explored.
Ancolie the epicurean cantine coming soon (fall opening) to 58 W. 8th Street in Greenwich Village serves healthy and wholesome meals in reusable glass jars. They serve delicious breakfast, lunch and snacks cooked in the kitchen daily for ultimate farm to table Their recipes are inspired by traditional french home cooking and international flavors. Pre- opening, they offer business lunches and event catering.They are completely against pesticides, GMOs and artificial ingredients because they believe in food that is good for you and the environment. They say it best: “Gorgeous- Our jars are transparent inside and out: you’ll know exactly what you are eating when you pick one. Authentic- Real meals deserve real packaging. Everything tastes better out of glass. Reliable- It’s the perfect partner for our meals, keeping our cold dishes crisp and our warm ones cozy. Elegant- Our jars replace all the foil, paper and plastic that come with your typical lunch. Green- Billions of pounds of plastic pollute our oceans and landfills. Take a stand, choose glass! Pure- Glass leaves our food just as we found it: natural and chemical-free.”
Ninja New York , 25 Hudson Street between Duane Street &Reade Street in TriBeCa. You take an elevator down from the lobby where you meet your host then travel down a long winding corridor. There is a magic show that happens towards the end of your meal, before dessert. The restaurant itself looks like a feudal ninja village; think fast and watch when dining here. This restaurant is fully loaded with Ninja servers who are trained to deceive with card tricks, fire and trapdoors. Features fine Japanese cuisine served in your own private pagoda.
Eataly Downtown, 4 World Trade Center, 101 Liberty Street, Third Floor, between Greenwich and Church Streets is by Nicola Farinetti, Mario Batali, Lidia and Joe Bastianich, and the rest of Team Eataly. The highly anticipated downtown location of the Italian mega market has arrived. Each Eataly location has a set theme, and this outpost’s is bread; a massive in-house bakery, a fresh-pasta counter and a kiosk dedicated to the Italian flatbread known as piadina. There are six eateries within the space, including a “free university” that teaches daily drop-in classes; the upscale Osteria Della Pace, offering southern Italian fare and cocktails; and four casual restaurants, each with a different focus: Orto e Mare (“the garden and the sea”), Il Pesce (fresh seafood), La Piazza (meat-and-cheese platters) and La Pizza &La Pasta. This is the first Eataly to offer a comprehensive breakfast menu, at Orto e Mare. The bread bakery, of course, is quite impressive. Everything’s baked on premise in a wood-fired oven.
Graffiti Earth at Duane Street Hotel, 130 Duane Street in Tribeca opened in the spring of 2016 and is the latest restaurant from celebrity chef Jehangir Mehta of Graffiti Food & Wine in the East Village. An intimate space seating 20, Graffiti Earth features Chef Mehta’s signature eclectic style of dishes with a strong emphasis on sustainability in an elegant downtown vibe. The menu features vegetable-forward dishes with flavors rooted in Chef Mehta’s Indian roots and Persian heritage. Focus is on “ugly” fruits and vegetables and sustainable proteins.
Daily Provisions, 103 East 19th Street, has an anticipated October opening. “Coffee shop and bakery by day. Dinner party by night.” By Danny Meyer, Sam Lipp, and Carmen Quagliata. Located in a 450-square-foot space next to the new Union Square Cafe, Daily Provisions will serve coffee, breakfast pastries, breads, and a to-go menu of sandwiches, salads, and rotisserie items. The unique part is that they will serve dinner parties; basically an extension of your home.
MEW MEN, 7 Cornelia Street, is a new ramen restaurant in the West Village. The 39-seat restaurant, is an offshoot of the Hand Hospitality Group, known to have brought Izakaya Mew, Her Name is Han and Atoboy. The new dining experience celebrates the balance between music and ramen; a balance of the melody, harmony and rhythm of the music played while the ramen is cooked and eaten. When you enter the restaurant, a music sheet stand holds the menu at the entrance; deconstructed music cases are repurposed as legs for the oak dining tables, and stage light fixtures adorn the ceiling. There is an open DJ sound system that covers the back wall. Visually; the handcrafted tables to the curated art collection by photographer Masayuki Azuma, all design aspects flow together in harmony. There is an open 11-seat chefs’ counter, and communal seating tables in a dining area. The chef’s counter allows guests to watch the chefs at work, as if they were preparing the ramen in sync with the music.
In New York City, we are watching the restaurant scene that’s flourishing and expanding through “pop-up food” and “outposts.” All the new food halls, like Urban Space, Helmsley Building at 230 Park Avenue (E 45th & Vanderbilt Ave), are providing platforms for restaurant brands to try new venues in new neighborhoods for short periods in a small footprint to gain exposure and test the market. Just like for fashion. If it’s all about the experience in shops, the same is now happening at the movies. At the Metrograph, 7 Ludlow Street, on the Lower East Side, where there is great dining, a large bar and lots of modern design, but the movies are all vintage. It’s the experience you pay for today when you have the option to watch anything in the world from your laptop. Nitehawk Cinema, 136 Metropolitan Avenue between Berry Street and Wythe Avenue, in Williamsburg, has new movies, plus dinner in the downstairs restaurant and bar before the show, or be served in your seat as the movie begins! That’s definitely an experience.
Food boundaries are always in flux, hopefully bringing even more creative culinary concepts! Watch for my next edition of Faithful Food! Happy Dining!