New York’s restaurant scene is constantly changing: Even the most hardcore foodies have a hard time keeping up with openings and closings.
We turned to the city’s industry insiders to find out what restaurants, chefs, and projects they’re most excited about for the coming year.
You may want to mark your calendars with these opening dates: It’ll be hard to get a table once they open.
The world’s most Michelin-starred chef will return to New York.
In October, world-renowned chef Joël Robuchon announced he would reopen his famous L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in New York’s Battery Park City.
The new iteration of NYC’s L’Atelier — the more affordable version of Robuchon’s series of eponymous restaurants — will open in March 2015 at Brookfield Place. The new establishment will be 11,000 square feet with both counter and table seating, as well as a bar, lounge, and waterside outdoor area.
“[Famed sushi chef] Jiro Ono himself said that Joël Robuchon has the best palette in the world,” said Rachel Sackheim, director of sales at Brooklyn Winery. “I’m so excited that he’ll be re-opening his namesake restaurant in an area that could use the boost.”
A popular Greek spot will open in Williamsburg, along with a beer hall.
Chef Michael Psilakis serves some of the most inventive and fresh Greek food in the city. He’ll open the fourth iteration of his classic Greek taverna, MP Taverna, in a 10,000-square-foot space in Williamsburg in late December 2014 or early 2015.
The space will also house a beer hall and performance art space, set to open in April 2015.
“Top of my NYC hit list right now is the soon-to-be-opened, latest iteration of Michael Psilakis’ MP Taverna,” said Curtis Stone, celebrity chef and owner of Maude in Los Angeles. “I love the fresh, zippy flavors of Greek food and Psilakis certainly serves up some of the finest in the country; and now in the ultra hip and convenient location of Brooklyn. I can not wait to try this new Greek gem next time I’m out there.”
Gowanus, Brooklyn, will get a Korean barbecue palace/karaoke den.
The Good Fork/Facebook
The duo behind popular Red Hook restaurant the Good Fork are expanding their Korean food empire with a Korean barbecue restaurant and karaoke joint in Gowanus, Brooklyn. The still-unnamed project will open in late 2015, according to Eater.
“It sounds like it’s going to be a really fun place to eat great food, get drunk, and embarrass yourself,” said Aaron Israel, chef and owner of Shalom Japan.
Momofuku Ko will open in a big, new space with a big, new menu.
It’s been nearly impossible to get a seat at David Chang’s chef’s counter since it opened in 2008. But Momofuku Ko reopens in a big new space in the East Village in November 2014, and insiders are psyched about the bigger space (40 seats, compared to 12) and bigger menu (17 courses, compared to 10, according to Eater).
“It’s an obvious one, but there probably isn’t a meal we’re more looking forward to eating than a special occasion meal at Ko, if we can get a reservation,” said Andrew Steinthal, co-founder of restaurant review site The Infatuation. “The space looks awesome, and all the crazy elements they are adding to the menu look ridiculous.”
Jason Soloway, owner of The Eddy and Wallflower, said the space — in an alley off First Street — could be challenging. “It’s essentially a ‘destination’ restaurant in one of Manhattan’s busiest neighborhoods,” he said. “Only an established chef could pull this off. Cue David Chang. I anticipate significant quantities of joy and deliciousness.”
A famous Mexican chef is bringing his talents to the Flatiron District.
Mexican chef Enrique Olvera opened his first New York restaurant, Cosme, in October 2014, and it’s already getting a ton of buzz.
“One of the top Mexican Chefs bringing his skills to New York is great for the city, and really important for the current movement in Mexican cuisine happening here,” said Michael Armstrong, executive chef at Bodega Negra and Bodega Negra Cafe.
Look for modern, high-end Mexican fare like duck carnitas and lobster pibil.
An old Bowery dive bar will get a major upgrade.
“Our friends from Pearl & Ash are partnering with Chef Daniel Eddy, formerly of Spring restaurant in Paris, to open Rebelle on the Bowery,” said Will Malnati, a partner at New York City’s Toro.
While there aren’t many details available surround Rebelle, which will occupy the old R Bar space in SoHo, Eater predicts it will have a French vibe.
Pearl & Ash general manager Branden McRill, sommelier Patrick Cappiello, and co-owner Alessandro Zampedri, have already proven their ability to delight diners with the small plates and extensive wine list; we expect exciting things from Rebelle.
A second location of Italian mega-sub shop Parm will open in downtown Manhattan.
The restaurateurs behind Torrisi Italian Specialties and Carbone created a culinary obsession with Parm, a casual spot that serves up sandwiches and shareable Italian fare.
They’ll open the second location of Parm at Brookfield Place at the World Trade center in 2015.
“With the development of the area around 1 WTC, it makes sense that [the team] threw their hat in the ring,” said Rachel Sackheim, director of sales at Brooklyn Winery.
Semilla, a much-hyped tasting table, will elevate Williamsburg’s restaurant scene.
Semilla, which opened in October 2014, is the permanent version of a popular pop-up restaurant from chefs José Ramírez-Ruiz and Pam Yung. The 10-course menu is heavy on the vegetables.
“It is a vegetable focused restaurant with two really talented chefs collaborating in an intimate space,” said Aaron Israel, chef and owner of Shalom Japan. “It should be really exiting to try some of the food they come up with.”
An East Village spot will introduce New Yorkers to “Acadian cuisine.”
King Bee, an “Acadian-inspired” restaurant in the East Village, opened in late 2014. But we expect to hear much more buzz about the 60-seat space in 2015.
Acadian food is a novel restaurant theme, even for New Yorkers. Acadian cooking dates back to 17th century French colonists, and “aims to connect classic Louisiana country cooking with a French sensibility,” according to Grubstreet.
“I was sold at ‘Acadian-inspired cuisine.’ I also believe that the small guy can do great things,” said Jason Soloway, owner of The Eddy and Wallflower of King Bee’s partners, Chef Jeremie Tomczak, Ken Jackson, and Eben Klemm. “The New York restaurant scene is dominated by the big names. It’s easy to forget that they didn’t start out that way.”
Okonomi will take a fresh approach to omakase.
Okonomi, a tiny 12-seat restaurant in East Williamsburg, opened earlier this year, serving a traditional Japanese breakfast and lunch. But chefs Tara Norvell & Yuji Haraguchi recently added a dinner menu that, in addition to their much-lauded ramen, includes “a bunch of appetizers that incorporate under-utilized seafood, like a Maine sea cucumber dish … in a vinegar dashi,” according to Eater.
Don’t miss the weekend ramen omakase dinner, another recent addition.
“This place is at the top of our internal Hit List here at The Infatuation for 2015,” said Andrew Steinthal, Infatuation co-founder.
Jersey City will get an elevated Neapolitan pizza joint.
Things will also heat up outside the five boroughs. Beloved Asbury Park Neapolitan pizza spot (and dance club) Porta Pizzeria will open a restaurant in Jersey City in December 2014. The menu at the original location goes beyond just pizza: A New York Times review of the Asbury Park location had high praise for a roasted octopus and fennel salad, as well as the meatballs.