James Beard winner Galen Zamarra is the brains behind this seasonal French-American restaurant. Zamarra effectively mixes distinct elements of French and American cuisine to create dishes such as roasted duck breast with beet-radish hash and shrimp-crusted halibut with a fennel-dill fumet. Seasonable, sustainable and local are overarching themes at this elegant restaurant. Mas (farmhouse) offers four- and six-course tasting menus as well as à la carte dishes.
Mas (farmhouse), 39 Downing St, New York, NY +1 212 255 1790
The Little Owl
The little owl occupies the first floor of the building that doubled as Rachel, Monica, Chandler and Joey’s apartment building on Friends. Despite this claim to fame, the restaurant is perhaps best known for its gravy meatball sliders, messy mini sandwiches dripping with thin, rich tomato sauce. The menu is rounded out by an eclectic variety of dishes with a Mediterranean bent, such as braised Italian pork bun and pea risotto. In general, dishes are small but well-executed. The restaurant is quite small, but with a charm characteristic of the neighborhood.
One If By Land, Two If By Sea
One if by Land, Two if by Sea is often touted as one of the most romantic restaurants in New York. The intimate restaurant, which often hosts wedding parties, lives up to its reputation. Chandeliers bearing faux candles illuminate brick walls, while guests dine in plush red chairs at tables lit by a single candle. Large, stately windows offering a view of the garden provide ambience during the daytime. The large menu offers classic fare that complements the atmosphere. Traditional dishes include sole à la meunière and Beef Wellington, while a rack of lamb is modernized with the addition of harissa and an eggplant couscous salad. A reasonably priced weekend jazz brunch makes this elegant dining experience more accessible.
One if by Land, Two if by Sea, 17 Barrow St, New York, NY +1 212 255 8649
Mario Batali opened Pó with friend Steven Crane in 1993. The Trattoria was Batali’s first restaurant in the city, where he established his reputation for excellence. Today, Mario Batali is no longer affiliated with the restaurant, but it continues to serve excellent Italian food. The food and format of Pó is fairly traditional, but the small, cozy restaurant is decidedly charming. Prices are especially reasonable at lunchtime. For lunch, try one of their egg dishes, served with ciabiatta, or the yellow fin tuna panino, which comes with salad. For dinner, make a meal out of their exceptional appetizers, starting with the white bean bruschetta.
Pó, 31 Cornelia St, New York, NY +1 212 645 2189
The Place offers a market-driven menu of creative American cuisine. One standout dish is the Long Island duck confit pie, a combination of duck ragout and crispy phyllo dough which beautifully contrasts textural differences. The seafood and squash chowder, full of clams, mussels and generous chunks of salmon, is also impressive. The restaurant’s stone fireplace and patio seating make it ideal for a romantic dinner no matter the weather. Perhaps best of all, The Place donates a percentage of its profits to children’s and environmental charities.
The Place, 310 W 4th St, New York, NY +1 212 924 2711
Joseph Leonard is an American restaurant offering breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. The restaurant’s casual, friendly environment makes it perfect for socializing. Stop by after a few drinks to sample the dishes on the restaurant’s late night menu, which includes Cuban favorites such as ropa vieja and chicken empanadas. At Joseph Leonard’s weekend brunch, order crunchy country-fried bacon topped with tabasco and honey, which is possibly bacon’s tastiest incarnation to date.
Joseph Leonard, 170 Waverly Pl, New York, NY +1 646 429 8383
This dim sum restaurant provides welcome variety in a neighborhood so inundated with American and Italian options. Try RedFarm’s buzzed-about pastrami egg roll, made with famous Katz’s pastrami and served with spicy mustard sauce. Dim sum standbys dominate most of the menu, but whimsical plate presentations add charm. The Pac-Man dumplings, colorful shrimp dumpling with tiny brown dots for eyes, are undeniably adorable. For something different, try the barbecued duck omelette or the bacon and egg fried rice.
RedFarm, 529 Hudson St, New York, NY +1 212 792 9700
The Meatball Shop
The Meatball Shop is a simple concept elevated to excellence. What could easily be a casual counter concept instead functions as a cozy sit-down restaurant. Using markers and reusable menus to indicate their choices, customers can opt for the ‘naked balls,’ saucy meatballs served with focaccia, or create their own sliders or sandwich. The restaurant has several locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, each offering rotating specials. A recent special of Cajun-spiced chicken meatballs in cream sauce was especially divine, the surprisingly light cream sauce complemented the moist, spicy meatballs wonderfully.
The Meatball Shop, 64 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY +1 212 982 7815
Jack’s Wife Freda
Jack’s Wife Freda has an undeniable panache of cool provided by a diverse clientele that includes Mindy Kaling and The Beastie Boys. However, despite this sense of style, the restaurant’s menu is wholly unpretentious and relies heavily on Israeli and South African influences. These influences are evident in hearty, comforting dishes such as Peri-Peri chicken, grilled haloumi and green shakshuka. Day or night, try the Madame Freda sandwich, a twist on the croque madame, a classic French sandwich.
Jack’s Wife Freda, 50 Carmine St, New York, NY +1 646 669 9888
Piora’s menu is a study in restraint. The restaurant, helmed by proprietor Simon Kim and chef Christopher Cipollone, offers a carefully-tailored selection of dishes composed of just a few elements each. First courses have names such as Forest, Ocean and Egg. Several wonderful pasta dishes showcase Cipollone’s Italian heritage. Two- and three-course prix fixe menus are available in addition to a chef’s tasting menu. At the end of the meal, choose one of the restaurant’s house-infused digestifs, such as the raisin cognac.
Piora, 430 Hudson St, New York, NY +1 212 960 3801