The Best Of New York
As the concierge at New York's hottest design hotel, The Standard Hotel, Melissa Ettere gives us a candid review of the hottest new restaurants and nightspots to open in New York right now.
1. The Jane Ballroom - The Jane Ballroom first opened its doors in April 2009 and became an instant magnet for New York’s fashionable downtowners and young celebrities. Maybe it was the cutting-edge tunes from the hottest DJs playing everything danceable from ‘80’s to current hip hop, or perhaps it was the fabulously eclectic interiors outfitted with everything from a distressed mirrorball to an illuminated white sheep hanging precariously above the fireplace. However, just when the ballroom party really got started, the party was shut down last fall due to ongoing noise complaints. The doors have just re-opened again yet this time with a near impenetrable door policy, so you'll definitely have to get out your little black book to gain entry. Once inside, sip a Punjab or Hedwig specialty cocktail and head straight for the dance floor, as all of the best action happens underneath the mirrorball.
2. Pulino's Bar & Pizzeria - Legendary New York restauranteur Keith McNally has the midas touch when it comes to opening seriously cool restaurants in Manhattan (Minetta Tavern, Balthazar & Pastis to name a few). His latest venture, Pulino’s, takes him away from his usual French brasserie-style roots in a completely new direction - thin-crust pizza. Having imported San Francisco's pizza extraordinaire, chef Nate Appleman, to roll out the dough, Pulino’s is likely to become one of the alfresco dining “it” spots this summer given its enviable position on one of the Bowery area's most eventful corners. While the all-day dining Italian menu definitely has some highlights, its more about the see-and-be-seen atmosphere here than the food. The stand outs on the menu are the salsiccia breakfast pizza, the “hen of the woods” appetizer, and the baked ricotta & ceci bean bruschetta.
3. Kenmare - Between the social draw of co-owner Paul Sevigny and the foodie-following of chef Joey Campanaro, guests of the perennially packed Kenmare seemed to be confined to New York’s A-list celebrities and well-connected locals since its highly anticipated opening in March 2010. Add nightlife impresario Nur Khan (of Beatrice Inn fame) into the mix and you have a recipe destined for success. As we’ve learned from his other New York restaurants, The Little Owl and Market Table, Mr. Campanaro in the kitchen is a force to be reckoned with. The highlights of his Mediterranean comfort food menu includes the asparagus gratin, the basil gnocchi with short rib ragu, the perfectly tender NY strip steak and any of the fish dishes. The private 'Downstairs at Kenmare' space is currently only open for private events, however it's also becoming one of the hottest new new party spaces in town.
4. Cienfuego - In a novel twist, the owners of New York’s best specialty cocktail bars, Death & Co and Mayahuel, are now turning their attention to rum. Their latest venture, Cienfuego, is a rum social club that is certain to attract New York’s cocktail aficionado crowd to the East Village. Take a trip to Havana in this 1950s Cuban-inspired parlor with grandma’s antique furnishings, electric pink and green walls, and plush velvet lounges to complete the look. The expertly crafted rum concoctions served in either small, medium or large punchbowls will be the perfect remedy for a hot and humid NYC summer afternoon.
The Lion Restaurant - Chef John DeLucie of Waverly Inn fame has opened a new restaurant in a brilliant space on 9th Street with a brooding masculine style. It’s already promising to be the next Waverly Inn, attracting the usual celebrity-peppered and media mogul crowds. Janis Bar - Named after Ms. Joplin who once resided in the building (and actually jammed in this basement space with Jimi Hendrix), enter the unmarked red door into a wooden, unfinished space outfitted with red leather banquettes and cutting-edge tunes (curated by former Beatrice Inn DJs).