Where to Eat in NYC: Winter 2016 Edition

Courtesy of La Pecora Bianca

Winter is a time for warming meals and lingering conversation around the table. With seasonally prepared dishes, classic baked goods, affordable steaks, and a mix of global influences, these Manhattan and Brooklyn hot spots also showcase robust wine and craft-cocktail programs. From smaller niche operations to well-established chefs and owners, here’s a look at our 12 favorite newcomers this season. —Kate Donnelly

Jason Varney

High Street on Hudson

WHERE: West Village

Like its popular sister establishment in Philadelphia, High Street on Hudson features chef Eli Kulp’s housemade breads and pastries, like a red-eye Danish with coffee gravy and ham. Stay satisfied with the aptly named “Best Grilled Cheese Ever” made with cultured butter and Noble cheddar on roasted potato bread, or an eggplant cutlet with charred tahini, cloumage, and pickled cabbage. It’s currently open only for breakfast and lunch, but dinner service is coming soon.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Guide

Evan Sung

Lowlife

WHERE: Lower East Side

The narrow, 70-seat Lowlife subtly pops with midcentury modern flourishes like Jen Risom chairs pulled up to leather banquettes and artwork including an original Robert Rauschenberg lithograph. Chef Alex Leonard’s delicate, expertly plated dishes border on becoming still-life compositions, with options  including textured lamb tartare and, for two, the charcoal-grilled chicken yakitori with scallion and smoked cabbage (which is good enough to stand alone as a side dish).

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Guide

Michael Tulipan

Timna

WHERE: East Village

On St. Mark’s Place, cozy and narrow Timna features a lovely design that fuses natural wood, exposed brick, earth tones, and green plants. Chef Nir Mesika’s vibrant menu of modern Israeli-Mediterranean cuisine includes inventive riffs like fluffy Yemeni breads, quinoa tabbouleh, and lamb saddle that’s almost to pretty to eat, perfectly plated with Persian lemon dust, lentils, and black garlic confit.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Guide

Nicole Franzen

Quality Eats

WHERE: West Village

From the owners of the highly touted Quality Meats and Quality Italian comes Quality Eats, a casual and pleasantly affordable steakhouse. Helmed by chef Ryan Bartlow, the space is outfitted with a long, etched-wood bar, retro light fixtures, and a cozy back dining room. Opt for the bavette bar steak (under $20) with a side of cheesy creamed-spinach hush puppies or a brown bag of crisp fries. If you want to go big, the ultimate combination is a bone-in ribeye with a custom “wine stack” (three mini carafes) and an ice cream sundae for dessert.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Guide

Miki Bodlovic

Blu On Park

WHERE: Upper East Side

Diverging from the traditional dark-wood aesthetic of your typical steakhouse, Blu on Park fills three floors of an Upper East Side 1920s brownstone with a working fireplace and tawny exposed brick. You’ll find traditional classics like the lovely yellowfin tuna tartare with shishito pepper tempura, a jumbo crab cake, and, of course, big steaks like a bone-in Tomahawk ribeye with a side of grilled polenta or creamed spinach and, ideally, a glass of bold red wine.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Guide

Craig LaCourt

Insa BK

WHERE: Gowanus

For all things Korean, the buzzy barbecue spot Insa BK serves short ribs and brisket with creative drinks like the Tiger’s Whisker (blanco tequila, green salt, citrus, and agave). Start with dumplings and move on to the jap chae (a vegetarian noodle dish) and the grilled cuttlefish and octopus before digging in to the meat. Later, head back to the karaoke rooms and belt out your favorite tunes.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Guide

Douglas Lyle Thompson for Llama Inn

Llama Inn

WHERE: Williamsburg

Peruvian food coupled with Chinese and Japanese elements are all the rage at Llama Inn. Commence with the punch on tap (using chica morada, pisco, rum, red wine, grilled pineapple, and pink peppercorn) or a cold weather–appropriate cocktail like the Cumbia, with blanco tequila, quinoa-almond orgeat syrup, lime, grilled pineapple, chuncho bitters, and cinnamon. Chef Erik Ramirez whips up infused classic dishes like housemade duck sausage with rice and butternut squash and a large roasted chicken with fried potatoes and aji sauces.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Guide

Courtesy of La Pecora Bianca

La Pecora Bianca

WHERE: Flatiron District

Bright and airy, La Pecora Bianca (“the white sheep”) operates as a casual Italian restaurant from Mark Barak (Claudette). The 85-seat dining room features wooden tables, custom wall tiles, and marble columns. To drink, there 25 wines by the glass to pair with pastas made with organic flours, such as buckwheat fusilli with ’nduja arrabiatta and durum trenetti with clams, chorizo, and Piennello tomatoes.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Guide

Courtesy of Maman Tribeca

Maman Tribeca

WHERE: Tribeca

The third location of the beloved Maman Tribeca retains its original vision with the help of chef Armand Arnal and co-owners Benjamin Sormonte and Elisa Marshall. The chic, airy space shows off exposed brick, high ceilings, and communal tables in the back. There’s a mix of salads and sandwiches and at supper, beef tartare burgers with avocado, scallions, capers, and savora mustard. Close your eyes and pretend you’re in the south of France.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Guide

Courtesy of Combina

Combina

WHERE: SoHo

Blending Spanish and Israeli cuisines, chef Admony Combina’s eponymous restaurant is a spot for small, shareable plates like salt-cod doughnuts with smoky aioli, persimmon carpaccio with squid ink and sunflower seeds, and a merguez burger. The space is peppered with wooden Wishbone chairs and one wall is adorned with a large poppy mural. Go large with the paella-style mujadara, a Lebanese mix of lentils with onions and sip a healthy dose of sangria and cocktails.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Guide

Courtesy of Kosaka

Kosaka

WHERE: West Village

Kosaka is a sleek and intimate (only 18 seats) new sushi spot on Greenwich Street from acclaimed chef Yoshihiko Kousaka (of Jewel Bako fame). The omakase menu has two options: one features only the freshest sushi (both well-known and seasonal fish), and the chef’s tasting menu includes hot dishes and sake.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Guide

Ka-Man Tse

Pizza Moto

WHERE: Red Hook

A popular mobile pizza operation has landed its first brick-and-mortar location in Brooklyn. At Pizza Moto, there’s exposed brick, wooden tables, and room for 46 diners including at a chef’s table that faces the large open kitchen.  As for those Neapolitan-style pies, order one topped with green-tomato salsa and jalapeño, fontina, and fresh mozzarella;pair it with a Caesar salad made with flakes of smoked trout. Don’t miss the biscuit tortini with amaretti cookies and almond semifreddo topped with maraschino cherries.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Guide