The Whiskey Cola
A drink from Budapest’s Pink Pony Club.
These are the restaurants our editors loved in February.
FEBRUARY IS A stellar month to eat. The holidays are long gone, spring is nowhere in sight, and warm-weather vacations and winter-sport getaways are in full swing. Meals seem to punctuate this month like none other — the connection between food and our emotions is thicker than ever. So whether you’re enjoying a cold ceviche on a far-flung beach, dipping fondue slopeside, or simply huddled over hot stew in your coziest sweatpants, I encourage you to savor the precious communion of food: its ability to heighten our sense of place and bring comfort to these final weeks of winter. — Sophie Mancini
HOUSE Brooklyn is the latest offering from the gorgeous culinary concept at 50 Norman Avenue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The sprawling, light-filled industrial space is dedicated to all things Japanese — from a dashi broth bar to a lifestyle store filled with items such as artisanal chocolate studded with candied fruit, glassware, ceramics, and textiles. In the very back, behind a sliding shoji paper door, lies a new secret: an intimate omakase counter before a warm, open-concept kitchen, where chef Yuji Tani prepares a French-Japanese-inspired tasting menu. The experience feels reverential in nature and playful in taste. Dishes go from smoked Japanese amberjack marinated in salt to burrata under a crunchy strawberry net, highlighting a honed approach to both Eastern and Western influences. The last course I experienced on my visit was a hearty pile of foie-gras rice: nutty and creamy, tossed with aromatic scallions and served tableside from one big pot by chef Tani. Dinner here is more like dinner and a show — the theater of the chef’s elegant preparations is as pleasurable as eating his food. — Sophie
Eataly cheesemonger Tess McNamara and Ci Siamo chef Hillary Sterling share their...
Walking into Lord’s in Manhattan, I wasn't surprised to find a packed house — even on a Monday night. The English country-style bistro tucked away in the West Village is the follow-up project to chef Ed Szymanski and his partner Patricia Howard’s wildly popular English seafood spot, Dame. I marveled over the vintage plates that came with each dish and the Scotch egg, which was encased in spiced lamb kofta and had a golden, runny yolk. The ox cheek, carrot, and stilton pie was rich and savory. Though I shared it (in an attempt to try a little of everything), it certainly could have been enjoyed solo. As the meal came to an end, I was intrigued by the menu’s nonalcoholic Pentire white negroni, and when my sweet tooth got the better of me, I decided to pair it with the queen of puddings: a traditional jam and custard pudding peaked with meringue. The decor is accented by swathes of British racing green, which gives the space a sense of pedigree. And while the marble tables and stately bar set against exposed brick speak to a modern audience, Lord’s feels like it’s been here for ages (and I hope it will be). — Lisa Lok
Who doesn’t like fondue with a view? Whether you prefer to ski in during the winter, hike to it in the spring, or just take the ski lift, Paradiso Mountain Club is a gorgeous establishment located on the peaks of St. Moritz in Switzerland’s Engadin Valley that pairs exceptional service with down-to-earth alpine cuisine. Curl up on a sheepskin throw, sip Champagne while you bask in the winter sunshine and 360-degree mountain views, or people-watch while you unwind after the day’s activities. Note: Paradiso Mountain Club members also have exclusive access to the Gucci Lounge, an impeccably designed space for basking in the region’s rugged beauty. — Elissa Polls
Since my partner doesn’t drink alcohol, we have taken to searching for restaurants in New York City that have interesting cocktail menus with ample nonalcoholic options. This is how I heard about 53, a sprawling contemporary Asian restaurant in Midtown Manhattan. The incredible space — with vaulted ceilings, curved surfaces wrapped in glowing neon, and hand-painted wallpapers — occupies three floors and is directly below several MoMA galleries, so it makes sense that the restaurant also houses revolving art installations curated by the Friedrich Petzel Gallery. Aside from the sumptuous environs, 53 offers a stunning menu and impeccable service. After sampling some drinks from the Zero Proof menu (the Godai was a standout — a nonalcoholic “whiskey” drink that is served with a smoldering piece of licorice root), we enjoyed an incredible toro tartare, a variety of steamed clams and scallops, and a show-stopping black cod served in a hot clay pot. In a city full of beautiful, buzzy restaurants, 53 is the rare dining experience in which the only thing better than the impeccable surroundings is the food itself. — T. Cole Rachel
I braved ice and snow for this long-awaited post-holiday meal with a friend at Silvia in Woodstock, New York. The family-owned restaurant’s sister establishment, Goodnight, has been a favorite of mine since I moved to the Hudson Valley from Brooklyn, but this was my first time exploring its predecessor. The glow and chatter of the packed dining room didn’t disappoint. My friend and I started our meal with house-made ginger beer and red wine, respectively, before moving on to oysters with a marinated cucumber-chive-seaweed mignonette. We split the seared Brussels sprouts with hot honey-chili garlic and crispy shallots ahead of our entrées: local mushroom and pasta rags and tender steelhead trout packed with citrus — all of which was remarkable. — Hailey Andresen
Sophie Mancini is an editor at Departures. Born and raised in New York City, she holds a degree in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University and has a background as a writer in brand and editorial.
Lisa Lok is the visuals director of Departures. A Brooklyn-based creative, she enjoys collaborating with photographers and illustrators from around the world.
Elissa Polls is the senior director of content production for Departures. A producer who typically stays behind the scenes, she has worked with creatives from around the world, helping bring their ideas to life. Polls has over 15 years of production experience and lives in Berkeley, California.
T. Cole Rachel is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and teacher with over 20 years of experience working in print and digital media. He is currently an editor-at-large at Departures.
Hailey Andresen is the guides editor at Departures. A New York–based writer and editor, she founded the digital lifestyle publication Household Mag and has spent more than a decade in the hospitality industry.
Jess Rotter is a Los Angeles–based illustrator and artist. Rotter’s work has frequently featured in the Washington Post. Her clients range from Natalie Portman to Questlove.
Analiese Gregory left fine dining for a rugged life in Tasmania — and never looked back.
A drink from Lyaness in London.
A drink from The Court at Rome’s Palazzo Manfredi hotel.
Julia Sherman visits the bakeries (and bakers) redefining the art of French pastry and bread.