Reynard at Wythe Hotel
80 Wythe Ave. 718 460 8004
It's hard to go wrong with the same team behind Williamsburg darlings Marlow and Sons, Diner etc. Haven't been yet, but everyone I've talked to who's been has loved it.
Marlow and Sons
81 Broadway. 718.384.1441.
New American. Charcuterie, cheeses, oysters and a simple, American menu (muffuletta, roast beef). Takeaway shop (Marlow and Daughters) in the front with a huge selection of teas and baked goods. From the same team behind hotspot Reynard in the Wythe Hotel.
85 Broadway. 718.486.3077.
New American. Daily-changing seasonal menu in the no-frills diner space that backs up onto sister restaurant Marlow & Sons.
247 S. 1st Street. 718.218.8047.
New American. Delicious food and classy cocktails in a lovingly restored old factory space from chef/owner Cal Elliott (formerly of Blue Hill, Gramercy Tavern, and co-chef of Dumont, Dumont Burger, and Dressler when it earned a Michelin star).
135 N. 5th Street. 718.302.5151.
New American. With a firm dedication to farm-fresh, seasonal fare, they even bought a farm in Oak Hill, NY in 2007 so they can start growing their own produce and start rearing animals.
178 Broadway. 718.387.7400.
Steakhouse. Some swear by this place and will trek for the somewhat limited menu and hassle to get a table. As far as NY steakhouses go, yes, it's excellent but I still prefer Palm Too any day.
The Blue Stove
415 Graham Avenue, corner of Withers.
Neighborhood darling for pies, using a stove and recipes that have been passed through the family since the 1920s. Unfortuntaely the website is terribly designed, making it nearly impossible to see the wide range of fruit, custard and cream pies, so I guess I'll just have to drop in :) - the girl working at je&jo just told me about this place. Tip: just highlight the text with your mouse and you'll be able to read it more easily.
369 7th Avenue
As in Dale Talde of Top Chef fame. Anyone who's been has raved about this place so it's probably worth the trek. It's billed as a casual Asian-American, and the house specialities include kung pao chicken wings and the crispy oyster and bacon pad thai.
al di la
248 5th Ave. 718-783-4565
This trattoria is a local favorite for simple, down-home Italian with a concise menu of the familiar (saltimbocca, carpaccio and spaghetti vongole) and more unusual (Tuscan tripe stew or black spaghetti with confited octopus).
Park Slope. 501 11th Street. 718.788.1810/1014.
New American. A popular neighborhood spot for its haute-barnyard, seasonal cuisine and relaxed atmosphere.
Court Street Grocers
485 Court Street. 718 722 7229
Their Rueben sandwich blew my mind - which was too bad for my fellow diner who actually ordered it. I'd gotten the Turkey Club (a perfectly tasty stack of confited dark and roasted white meat and bacon), but it was honestly no match for the dizzying combination of short ribs, sauerkraut, swiss and their so-called "Come Back" sauce. And the shop itself is lovely to poke around in and grab something to takeaway for the subway home.
524 Court Street. 718 852 8490
Another farm-to-table spot, named for the channel between Governors Island and . Hugely popular for brunch, a local source tells me the pecan pie French toast is a must-try.
465 Court Street. 718 254 0327.
Same team behind Frankies Spuntino restaurants ("457" just down the block in Carroll Gardens and "570" on Hudson in the West Village). But while the Frankies Spuntinos are all about seasonal Italian, Prime Meats is about hearty farm-to-table fare, heavy on meats and handmade sausages, inspired by Germanic alpine cuisine. Just like at Frankies, they're all about small, local, artisan food producers like Faiccos, Stumptown, Saxelby and Sixpoint Craft Ales.
COBBLE HILL/BROOKLYN HEIGHTS
255 Smith Street
If only we could actually get a table - it's predominantly walk-in and they are usually fully committed for the evening by 6pm, though they do offer a limited number of tables for chef's tasting menus ($75 or $95) for parties of up to 4, up to 30 days in advance.
333 Henry St. 718 260 8052.
This is a charming neighborhood Japanese, simple and cozy, specializing in Kyoto-style dishes like daily-changing obanzai (simple, homestyle, seasonal dishes), homemade tofu and Hako (box-pressed) sushi. Other more mainstream offerings include a wide selection of sushi and sashimi, broiled miso-marinated salmon, tonkatsu and tuna tataki).
127 Atlantic Avenue. 718 855 7500
It's got the perfect ambiance for a cozy dinner with friends, with lots of brick and wood bathed in candlelight and softened with a lush, green garden wall. The seasonal, locally-supplied food is equally comforting, highlights including the crostini (eg, duck rillette with pickled cippolini and the ricotta honey mint), duck egg with wheatberries and crispy mushrooms, and the pork chop with braised cabbage and mustard jus.
New address as of Nov 2013: 117 Columbia Street
Best time to attempt a visit is a cold, winter Monday - we arrived at 5pm and had to cool our heels at a bar down the block (down a very long block, think 6th to 7th Avenue block) before they opened the doors at 530pm. By the time we left at 8pm, the place wasn't even half full (a sharp departure from the last time I tried to go, there was a 3.5 hr wait at 6pm). This is delicious Isaan-style Thai food - their house specialities are all very good: a perfect papaya salad, sticky spicy Vietnamese fish sauce Amish chicken wings,
And yes, Anna, that water was definitely funky :) apparently flavored with pandanus leaf, as per Northern Thailand custom (we both - basically correctly - thought the water tasted like it had been filtered through a colander full of cooked rice). We also like that they provide a separate menu highlighting potential allergens in all their dishes, from peanuts to gluten.
391 Van Brunt St. 718.643.6636
I can't remember now why I flagged this restaurant as a must-try, but revisiting the menu online, I now remember why: the "steak and eggs" Korean style (with kimchi rice) that was featured in a 2007 issue of Bon Appetit.
Vinegar Hill House
Brooklyn Navy Yard/DUMBO. 72 Hudson Avenue. 718.522.1018.
New American. Seasonal, sustainable fare from two Freemans alumni.
1 Water Street. 718-522-5200
Sandy shut it down for many months after Sandy, but it's now reopened and ready to enchant again with its smashing river-side views of Manhattan. The current menu reads like what I'd expect from a hipster cruise line, marrying classic European dishes (steak tartare, asparagus soup, seared foie gras, souffle) with trendy, local twists (poached scallop with Asian pear, soy and jicama, turbot with yuzu and ginger vinaigrette, Meyer lemon goat cheesecake).
Under the Brooklyn Bridge, 718 858 4300.
A NY institution, churning out their distinctive coal-fired oven pizzas (1000 degrees F) since 1905. Unfortunatley, no slices, no delivery, even at their Limelight and 2nd Ave locations.
200 Schermerhorn St. 718 243 0050
$225 chef's tasting menu from Cesar Ramirez. I would love to give a personalized review here, but still can't find a way through their Monday 1030am booking system.
Mile End Deli
97A Hoyt St. 718 8527510
Hurray! They finally have a Manhattan outpost (in Noho on Great Jones), so I can satisfy my regular cravings for their poutine (duck fat-fried french fries topped with cheese curds and smothered in a rich, peppery gravy. Their sandwiches are delicious too, if a bit cumbersome to eat.
261 Moore Street. 718 417 1118
Perhaps best known for their pizzas, which are of the Neopolitan variety (read: thin crust with a charred but bubbly, chewy border, and sparsely topped), their "kitchen" offerings are meant to be just as good (eg, sea urchin linguine, wagyu flank steak).