Travel without leaving the city – The New York Times
New York has always been a divisive city. Manhattan versus the “outer” boroughs. Districts against each other. The governor against the mayor. The NIMBYs against the YIMBYs. The Yankees versus the Mets. New York natives versus transplants.
Over the past few years, a string of top New York-born restaurants have opened restaurants in other locations: Carbone Miami, Roberta’s Los Angeles, Emmy Squared Nashville. Sometimes with varying success: My colleague Christina Morales reported in February on the rejection of Manhattan’s Café Habana by Miami residents.
But today, I’m focusing on the reverse – restaurants from other cities and countries are opening in our own incredibly expensive backyards. CookNSolo, the Philadelphia restaurant group behind Zahav, Dizengoff, Abe Fisher and Federal Donuts, plans to open a branch of the perpetually booked restaurant laser wolf at the Hoxton Hotel in Williamsburg. (Reservations open April 13, and I recommend tackling their party-centric menu with, at the very least, a party of four. My colleague Florence Fabricator will have more on her “Off the Menu” section a times the restaurant opened.) I personally named Laser Wolf to The Times Most Notable Restaurants 2021 list, so from where I stand, this is a boon to our dining scene.
A taste of home away from home
There are two approaches to bringing a restaurant to New York. One is to serve a taste of home to a nostalgic crowd. This is why the arrival in 2009 of the popular Filipino fast food chain Jollibee and his fried chicken in Woodside, Queens, was an event worth standing in a snowstorm. The same philosophy applies to Tim Ho Wan (East Village and Hell’s Kitchen), a Cantonese dim sum chain that attracts students and others in search of familiar Hong Kong flavors. Try the grilled pork buns and the seared and smoked turnip patties with dried shrimp.
There’s also the arrival of Puerto Rico’s beloved chocolate company and restaurant. Chocobar Cortes NYC at Mott Haven in the Bronx, where I recently learned that chocolate actually belongs in a grilled cheese sandwich, though I was particularly taken with the mofongo chalupitas — basically tacos served in crushed plantain shells and crispy. And the Guyanese restaurant german soup at Crown Heights, which specializes in a rich cow’s heel soup, also serves Caribbean staples like roti, curries and barbecue chicken.
Speaking of chicken, the Lower East Side now has an Atlanta chain outpost Scoville Hot Chicken if you miss the South – or just want to increase your spice tolerance.
With love, from LA, Las Vegas, Chicago, New Jersey, Miami and Ohio
Then there is the second approach: “Well, we are loved in [insert city], so try our hand in New York! Think: By horse at TriBeCa, which has drawn hours of waits for its burgers in Chicago; kumi, the expensive Japanese restaurant that came to Midtown in March via the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas; and the Los Angeles Transplant Breakfast by Salt’s Cure in the West Village, which specializes in oatmeal cakes (including gluten-free versions) and dinner-style breakfast.
Also from Los Angeles: Katsuya, the upscale sushi chain and celebrity hangout of restaurateur Sam Nazarian, which opened a new 400-seat location in the Manhattan West development in March. On Staten Island, Wasabi steak and sushia popular hibachi chain from Ohio, is close enough to the ferry landing in St. George for an after-work dinner, and New Jersey, based House Ani Ramen chain first appeared at Brookfield Place in Battery Park City.
Restaurants for that matter – just like people – will always want to break in and establish themselves. And to their eternal credit, New Yorkers will try just about anything once. We are a bunch of curious people! To leave Nusr-Et Steakhouse of #saltbae fame will always be proof of that.
In other news…
Tune in this Friday, April 8, virtual Where to Eat event with a conversation about the state of restaurants with Priya Krishna and an interview with comedian and late-night host Desus Nice about how he eats in New York City.
AT Menawrites Pete Wells, chef Victoria Blamey has finally been freed from the confines of high-end bar cooking and serves up a surprisingly original tasting menu that puts other restaurants of her kind to shame.
Openings and closings: The lamb club will reopen in the Theater District next week under chef Michael White (formerly of Marea and Ai Fiori); a townhouse in Clinton Hill became party squarea more relaxed restaurant from the team behind the Michelin star wood sorrel; and at Forlinithe Italian-American restaurant that became an unlikely hot spot late in life has closed.
If you find yourself in Paris soon, you might want to spend an evening at the toddler, “a lively restaurant on rue Saint-Sébastien in the 11th arrondissement of Paris,” writes Monica Mendal in T Magazine. The kitchen closes at 11 p.m., but you can dance until the wee hours of the morning.
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