In a city like New York, where a new restaurant debuts seemingly every hour, the challenge is not finding somewhere to eat—it is finding the right place. Think of this guide, then, as your excuse to cut through the noise and get an insiders’ peek into where to focus your dining energy right now. From a tempting, revamped dessert menu at chef Meir Adoni’s Nur in the Flatiron District, to L’Avenue—a New York outpost of the Parisian culinary hotspot arriving at Saks Fifth Avenue, here are our favorite spots to dine in the Big Apple this month.
Israeli chef Erez Komarovsky made his name with Lehem Erez (Erez’s Bread), a wildly beloved chain of bakeries with more than 30 locations throughout the country. More recently, he has focused his talents on a cooking school held in his gorgeous home and organic garden in the Galilee. This week, Komarovsky, partnering with Zeev Sharon and Assaf A. Harlap, opened his first New York City-based restaurant—an elevated fast-casual spot that features his take on modern Israeli cuisine.
The restaurant’s copper taboon turns out dishes like chicken kofta with Israeli couscous, shrimp kebabs with barley, green leeks, and spicy mango salad, and taboon-fired cauliflower salad with roasted almonds, jalapeno, and date honey. An herb and pine nut matzo ball soup—a specialty he learned from his mother—will also be available. On the sweet side, expect goat milk frozen yogurt topped toasted pistachios, tahini, honey, and pink peppercorns and gazoz—effervescent Israeli sodas flavored with hibiscus syrup and lemon verbena or cucumber, green apple, lemon, and cilantro. 83 University Pl; 646-905-3720.
This month, Saks Fifth Avenue welcomes a New York City outpost of Paris’ celebrity hotspot, designed by Philippe Starck and serving up French-influenced Thai cuisine. The restaurant will be spread across two floors of the legendary department store with an upscale dining room upstairs and a downstairs bar that skews slightly more casual.
Expect dishes like spicy beef tenderloin and tom yum chile sea bass in the French art deco-inspired dining room. The bar and lounge, meanwhile, will be outfitted in apres ski-inspired décor. The all-day menu will feature Parisian dishes with sweets by pastry chef Pierre Herme, and also a cocktail menu by bartender Nico de Soto. L’Avenue will have a private entrance, but Saks shoppers can also access the restaurant via the store. 8 E 50th St; 212-940-4099.
It has been almost 10 years since chef Ricardo Barreras brought his take on Cuban cuisine to Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood with his popular (and critically acclaimed) restaurant, Pilar Cuban Eatery. His newest venture expands on that original vision with a sister business, Pilar Cuban Bakery, which serves sweet and savory Cuban-inspired treats.
Diners can dig into pastelitos filled with ham and cheese or guava and cream cheese, empanada gallega (a Spanish pie filled with cod or chorizo), and pillowy Cuban bread stuffed with sandwich fillings like smoked ham and turkey and jam. Sweet treats include drunken plantain tarts, dulce de leche brownies, and red velvet cream cheesecake flan. And since coffee is central to Cuban life and culture, the bakery will have a coffee window like the ones found in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood. There, diners can grab and go, or stop and chat over toasted bread spread with butter and dipped into creamy café con leche. 397 Greene Ave; 347-350-9037.
Hakkasan New York: Fortune Macarons with Candace Bushnell
Restaurants around the city are finding creative ways to celebrate Chinese New Year, but Hakkasan’s idea might just be the sweetest. The contemporary Cantonese restaurant teamed up with Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell to create “fortune macarons.” The fortune cookie meets French macaron hybrid wraps a sweet almond macaron filled with mandarin orange cream in a red ribbon printed with a fortune. The cookies are served on top of a chocolate coin, which represents the holiday’s associations with luck and prosperity.
Bushnell’s 88 distinct fortunes (the number 8 represents wealth and good fortune in Chinese culture) feature her trademark witty humor and candid love advice. The cookies will be offered through February 19 as an a la carte dessert option and as part of Hakkasan’s prix fixe Chinese New Year menu. 311 West 43rd St; 212-776-1818.
Nur: New Dessert Menu
Chef Meir Adoni takes an innovative approach to desserts at his elevated Middle Eastern cuisine restaurant, which is based in New York’s Flatiron District. His confections often straddle the line between sweet and savory and play with the flavors of the region, blending them in unexpected ways. Last month, Adoni debuted a revamped dessert menu that offers a bevy of sweet ways to close the meal.
The new menu includes a lemon cream tart with anise meringue, kefir lime and Buddha’s hand ice cream, and candied mint—a play on Israel’s popular mint and lemonade drink, limonana. The Banana Bamba, meanwhile, pairs peanut praline with a chocolate peanut butter brownie, banana toffee, and peanut mousse. And coffee lovers can dig into opera cake with Arabic coffee mousse, eggplant chocolate espresso sauce, Mr. Black cold brew ice cream, and a sprinkle of chocolate covered espresso beans. 34 E. 20th St; 212-505-3420.