Latest and Greatest: Best New Openings
In New York, there’s always an overwhelming buffet of newly opened restaurants and bars to try out. But losing your mind over the endless options is unnecessary. In other words, we’re narrowing down the very best of what downtown New York has to offer right now, from an impossibly stylish, celebrity-studded boîte in NoHo to a charming East Village omakase restaurant the size of a Zara dressing room. We’re also throwing in a new nightclub in North Williamsburg with a vibrant dance floor courtesy of nightlife legend Eli Escobar.
Everybody is still talking about Jean’s on Lafayette Street. Dreamt up by industry veterans Max Chodorow, Ashwin Deshmukh, and Bernardo Metsch, the glamorous, celebrity-frequented new-American bistro–replete with a subterranean disco ball-lit cocktail lounge–opened its doors back in October. Moodily lit and oozing atmosphere, the bi-level hotspot’s cavernous, vaulted dining room is decked out with skylights, a rescued working fireplace, and perfect for people-watching walls of mirrors. The menu features bistro-inspired fare, from tuna steak au poivre to a burger with cheddar fondue, with produce sourced from Chodorow’s farm in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Don’t sleep on Jean’s big-on-TikTok dishes–the mini lobster rolls served with a shot of bisque and the massive salt-sprinkled chocolate chip cookie served with a cup of bourbon milk are worth ordering. In the mood for a debauched night? Have one last bite of your French dip sandwich and follow the fashionable crowd downstairs to the red-light-drenched drinking den.
415 Lafayette St, New York
This 75-seat Italian West Village restaurant opened in September with a bang during New York Fashion Week. See also: Janet Jackson and Alicia Silverstone attended a private dinner hosted by fashion designer Christian Siriano. A few days later at the hotspot, all five members of *NSYNC reunited over rigatoni. The menu, helmed by acclaimed Chef John Delucie, is just as delicious as the atmospheric, amber-hued eatery’s feel-fabulous vibes. Start with the antipasti, like veal meatballs or housemade focaccia served with a superb variety of dipping sauces: eggplant caponata, whipped ricotta, chickpea puree, chicken liver mousse, and whipped mortadella. The main courses include a brick-pressed lemon chicken, roasted branzino, and a brilliant cacio e pepe. Be sure to bookend your meal with dessert, or, for a dessert-like cocktail, go for The Apple Pie (cinnamon-infused bourbon, chai-spiced fuji apple, and lemon).
569 Hudson St, New York; T (646) 989-8120
Chef Ron Yan’s restaurant, Tolo, opened in late 2023 at 28 Canal Street in what had been the much-loved, no-frills Hong Kong-style diner Ming’s Caffe for over a decade. Today, the intimate space looks like a shadowy and sexy dining room, outfitted with custom leather banquettes, funky light fixtures, and Instagrammable rattan bar seating crafted by Chinese American designer Danny Ho Fong. Named after the Hong Kong harbor where Yan lived during some of his formative years, Tolo’s small yet mightily flavorful menu includes bites like boiled peanuts, seaweed powder-seasoned fries, and Sichuan oil-drizzled oysters. Larger plates include perfectly seared scallops with puffed rice and garlic puree, sweet and sour crispy fish, and crab and Chinese broccoli fried rice. Wash down the deliciousness with some wine–nearby wine bar Parcelle curated the 300-plus bottle wine list.
28 Canal St, New York
Fans of Jajaja Mexicana, the vegan restaurant that specializes in plant-based variations of classic Mexican dishes, this one’s for you. Make your way to Bar Nena, an underground cocktail lounge that’s discreetly housed beneath Jajaja’s Greenwich Village location. Slip into a velvet banquette or perch at the candlelit copper bar to experience well-poured, inventive serves. When we say inventive, we’re talking about the variety of fermented drinks, such as the Pulque, an ancient alcoholic drink native to Mexico and produced by the sap of the agave. Classic cocktails include a CDMX-inspired Manhattan made with mole-infused rye, whiskey, vermouth, and chile liqueur. Pair your beverage with tasty plant-based bites, from marinated watermelon and pickled red onion tostones to “chicken” (king oyster mushroom) empanadas.
63 Carmine St, New York; T (212) 518-7046
This pocket-sized, oak-walled East Village omakase restaurant from the owners of acclaimed, sustainable sushi-ya Rosella, also in the East Village, opened its doors in September to an onslaught of press coverage. The $250 per person menu, exclusively featuring sustainable, domestic fish and produce, lives up to the hype. Book a seat at the eight-person counter to sip sake that was fermented in Sunset Park and Bushwick while watching the chef artfully prepare dishes involving blue fish from the New York-New Jersey coast, eel head trout from Hudson Valley, anchovies from San Francisco, and eel head trout from Hudson Valley. Wondering about the pillowy sushi rice? It was farmed in the Hudson Valley. And the soy sauce you’re reaching for? Connecticut. As for the desserts, such as caviar-bedecked corn ice cream? Sourced from heaven.
620 E 6th St, New York
Now that the holiday season is behind us, it’s time to focus on self-care. Just kidding. Hop on the L train and head to this newly opened, psychotically stellar nightclub in North Williamsburg. Occupying the old Kinfolk space, Gabriela is DJ, producer, and NYC native Eli Escobar’s first club, which he opened in December in partnership with his childhood friend and Cafe Mogador owner, Rafael Ohayon. Gabriela has everything you need for an unforgettable night out, including a killer vintage sound system and great cocktails. On any given night, you should expect a head-turning lineup of DJs to grace the decks, and your ears to be blessed with a kaleidoscope of music, from synth-pop to hair metal to disco to trance. We suggest enjoying your drink in the swanky mezzanine before hitting the dancefloor where the fog machines are on, the lighting is trippy, and the vibes are fun-filled and flawless. We’d go so far as to say it’s the best spot to dance in NYC right now.
90 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn
WORDS Alex Catarinella