New and Noteworthy Restaurants (Photo of All'onda by Nathan Rawlinson)

Top 10 New and Noteworthy New York City Restaurants: January 2014

The January restaurant openings are as strong the polar vortexes sweeping through town this month

Traditionally a slow month for openings, January showed no signs of sluggishness this year as it brought a slew of new restaurants from some high-profile players. This month, we saw the return to the professional kitchen of a popular Chopped judge; two beloved Upper West Siders expanding in to Downtown; and a shellfish-focused offering from the powerhouse team behind The Little Owl and Market Table.

 

All'onda

All’onda (Photo: Daniel Krieger)

All’onda
Call him a culinary Marco Polo, if you will: like the famous Venetian traveler, chef Chris Jaeckle explores the ties between Italy and the Far East in his new partnership with consultant Chris Cannon (ex-partner of Michael White of Fiamma, Marea and others) and Jeffrey Chodorow (he of China Grill management). Arancini, for example, gets a touch of the Orient with squid ink and uni, while miso and sopressata meet on a bed of razor clams in a comfy, brick-and-beamed, bi-level space in Union Square. 22 E. 13th St., 212-231-2236, allondanyc.com

BarBacon
If not for the undoubtedly wonderful aroma wafting from this bar, this opening might have gone unnoticed, as it debuted amid the holiday rush at the tail end of 2013. Pork-piners now have a place of their own in Hell’s Kitchen, with bacon lacing nearly everything on the menu, from a pulled pork sandwich to a bahn mi with egg. When it’s 5 o’ clock somewhere, you can get a beer and bacon flight: four artisanal slabs with four craft suds. Vegetarians and kosher types are looked after, too, with fakin’ options. 836 Ninth Ave., 646-362-0622, barbacon.com

El Born
Tradition meets modernity in the simultaneously ancient and hip neighborhood of El Born in Barcelona, which is why the name perfectly fits this Greenpoint tapas spot. Chef Diego Gonzalez blends the classic and contemporary in dishes such as codfish collar with green peas and squid ink alioli, and quail in spicy chocolate sauce with grapes. 651 Manhattan Ave., Brooklyn, 347-844-9295, elbornnyc.com

 

Empire Diner

The Empire Diner (Photo: Daniel Krieger)

The Empire Diner
Amanda Freitag is one of the more approachable judges on the cooking competition show Chopped – even when she’s sending chefs to the “chopping block,” she does it  kindly and with sincere good wishes. That accessibility now translates to her kitchen at Chelsea’s Empire Diner, the Art Moderne classic reborn under Freitag’s direction. The menu updates greasy-spoon favorites such as lemon chicken with ricotta and charred lemons, oyster pan roast and patty melts and buttermilk pancakes, available all day, and like any good diner, it will eventually be open 24-7. 210 10th Ave., 212-596-7523, empire-diner.com

Hill Country Barbecue Market and Hill Country Chicken
Down-home cooking comes to Downtown Brooklyn with two concepts-in-one coexisting under the vast roof of a historic courthouse. The barbecue market features the signature counter-style service and the specialty dry-rub meats of the Flatiron original, while the chicken spot favors fried birds. A live music venue is also attached. 345 Adams St., Brooklyn, 718-885-4608, hillcountrybk.com

 

Margaux at the Marlton Hotel

The sky-lit atrium at Margaux at the Marlton Hotel (Photo: Courtesy of the Marlton Hotel)

Margaux
Gemma :: Bowery Hotel as La Bottega :: The Maritime and as now, Margaux :: The Marlton, a new boutique hotel and restaurant off Washington Square. Hotelier/restaurateur Sean McPherson is behind them all; and like the others, Margaux is destined to become an instant scene. The Mediterranean menu includes a farmer’s board with red quinoa tabouli, spicy smashed sweet potato, avocado hummus, and beets with grains of paradise, while diver scallops with celery root, Brussels sprout leaves and black trumpet and chanterelle mushrooms stand out among the entrees. A sky-lit atrium makes it a nice place to tuck in for breakfast and lunch, too. 5 W. Eight St., 212-321-0111, marltonhotel.com

Narcissa
Michelin-starred chef John Fraser has helmed the much-admired Dovetail for nearly seven years, and his talent isn’t only for Upper West Siders anymore. Just opened within hotelier Andre Balazs’s East Village branch of the Standard, Narcissa hits the ground with Fraser’s vegetable-forward (though not exclusive) menu, promising carrot fries with jalapeno tofu dip, and rotisserie-crisped beets alongside specialties such as lamb saddle with spinach pie. The inspiration behind the restaurant is two-fold: most of the produce comes directly from Mr. Balazs’s farm upstate, which is home to a treasured dairy cow named Narcissa. 21 Cooper Sq., 212-228-3344, narcissarestaurant.com

Telepan Local
One of NYC’s quiet, steady culinary workhorses, Bill Telepan spent nearly a decade focusing on the quality of his ingredient-driven kitchen on the Upper West Side, a refreshing tenure in a city full of grandstanding chefs. His original, Telepan, became an instant neighborhood go-to when it opened in 2005. Now the chef woos another enclave, Tribeca, with what he calls “American tapas,” dishes such as a grilled cheese pan con tomate, pigs in a blanket with honey mustard and various sourdough pizettes from the open kitchen. 329 Greenwich St., 212-966-9255, telepanlocal.com

The Clam
Guess what chef Mike Price’s (Market Table) favorite ingredient is? He proves there’s plenty to do with the bivalve besides serve it up on a half-shell, devoting a good portion of the menu to clam chowder, clam dip, spaghetti with clams, clam fried rice … you get the idea. Price and partner Joey Campanaro (The Little Owl) ensure that there’s room for earthbound goodies, too — see the roasted half chicken and sliced duck with blood orange and pomegranate gastrique. 420 Hudson St., 212-242-7420, theclamnyc.com

 

The Regency Bar and Grill

The Perfect Day cocktail at The Regency Bar and Grill (Photo: Courtesy of The Regency Bar and Grill)

The Regency Bar and Grill
Chef Dan Silverman brought polish to the Standard Grill when it opened, adding allure to The Standard Hotel’s unveiling in the Meatpacking District in 2009. Now he strives to put the Loews Regency’s restaurant on the map, too, with a dinner menu that promises to overshadow the hotel’s once-famous power breakfast (which is back, by the way). Pan-roasted vela chop with chanterelles, creamed spinach and Madeira wine, and grilled squid with chiles and quinoa make up what will surely become known as the power-supper. 540 Park Ave., 212-339-4050, loewshotels.com 

For more new and notable restaurants:
Top 10 New and Noteworthy Restaurants March 2014
Top 10 New and Noteworthy Restaurants February 2014

Top 10 New and Noteworthy Restaurants January 2014
The Keepers: The Most Promising Restaurant Openings of 2013
Top 10 New and Noteworthy Restaurants November 2013
Top 10 New and Noteworthy Restaurants October 2013
Top 10 New and Noteworthy Restaurants September 2013
Top 10 New and Noteworthy Restaurants August 2013
Top 10 New and Noteworthy Restaurants July 2013
Top 10 New and Noteworthy Restaurants June 2013
Top 10 New and Noteworthy Restaurants May 2013
Top 10 New and Noteworthy Restaurants April 2013