Via Grub Street, Written by Alan Systma:
Welcome to Grub Street's weekly survey of the most-talked-about, must-visit restaurants in New York City. The list below features spots both new and old ranked according to one important, ever-fluctuating (and admittedly subjective) metric: Who has the most buzz? Perhaps a famed chef has taken over the kitchen, or there's a new dish you absolutely must order. Maybe the restaurant is just brand-new, or the critics are raving about it. Whatever the reasons, these are the hottest restaurants in New York right now.
1. Fung Tu (Off last week)
Chef Jonathan Wu's year-and-a-half-old Orchard Street spot got a double dose of review love this week, from both the Times and Eater. (Bloomberg's Tejal Rao also reviewed the spot last month.) There's some critical consensus here: Even though the restaurant took a while to find its footing, it has fully done so now, the team is in the zone, and this has become — most important — one of the city's most appealing restaurants.
2. Untitled (Last week: 1)
At last week's James Beard awards, Michael Anthony took home the outstanding chef honor — one of the biggest there is. And, wouldn't you know it, Anthony is also overseeing the kitchen at this brand-new restaurant in the also-brand-new Whitney. Just as it is at Gramercy Tavern, the menu makes a point to highlight simple preparations of first-class ingredients, and the prices are surprisingly gentle.
3. Grand Banks (Off last week)
As of today, everyone's favorite bar-on-a-boat is back for the season. Hours have expanded, and so has the cocktail list. And, never fear, the excellent lobster roll is back, too.
4. Grand Army (5)
While we're on the subject of charming, welcoming, comfortably crowded spots at which to eat oysters and whet one's whistle, the new bar from Mile End's Noah Bernamoff, Rucola's Julian Brizzi, and Prime Meats' Damon Boelte is off to a great start. The drinks are crisp, the seafood is very fresh, and Grub's going on record that every oyster platter from here on out should come with the sauces in little eyedroppers.
5.Dominique Ansel Kitchen (4)
Dominique Ansel himself just opened his second location, this one in Greenwich Village. True to its name ("Kitchen" instead of "Bakery"), cooking is the theme here, and the majority of the menu is made-to-order. There are sweet and savory options, and it's open all day, so drop in whenever and see what kind of fabulous new creations Ansel and his team are working on now.
6.Bâtard (Last week: 3)
It's official (per the James Beard Foundation). This West Broadway spot from Markus Glocker, John Winterman, and Drew Nieporent was named the year's best new restaurant, a distinction with which it is difficult to argue. Head back in, check it out, and maybe order a French 75 while you're there.
7. Empellón Cocina (7)
Alex Stupak just reopened his East Village spot after a bunch of renovations, and will soon roll out this fantastic-looking tasting menu. Before that happens, though, Stupak is even dabbling in the Tex-Mex trend, turning out somethings like an impressive take on queso.
8. Rebelle (6)
Last month saw the opening of Pearl & Ash's sister restaurant, and — as you might expect — Patrick Cappiello's 1,500-label-strong wine list is nothing short of breathtaking. (Grub's advice: Just tell Cappiello what you like, let him know your price point, and let him go for it.) Chef Daniel Eddy has a menu of hyper-refined food to match. Oh, and there's at least one after-dinner drink that's worth checking out.
9. Ramen Lab (10)
This very tiny Kenmare Street shop has started to bring in a rotating group of chefs. First up is a team from Tampa that's serving some lightly Florida-fied riffs on ramen classics, while salsa music plays in the background
10. Porchlight (Off last week)
Leave it to Danny Meyer's team to pioneer what you might call the half-martini lunch: The new midday menu features low-proof cocktails that you can enjoy with a little food and — in theory, anyway — get back to work without wandering into the office looking like a tipsy Mad Men wannabe. Well played.