If you’ve subscribed to this newsletter long enough, then you know my motto: Holiday weekends in New York City are the best. The city becomes a little bit hushed, a little bit slow-going, a little bit laid-back — descriptions that are very rarely applied to this string of islands and isthmuses.
It’s also a perfect time to swing by that restaurant you’ve been meaning to check out, but haven’t had the time or the presence of mind to plan for, a problem I also share. Here are six restaurants for you to consider for the Memorial Day weekend, between much-deserved naps and couch potato-ing.
Eastern European in Midtown
Alex Stupak has yet to open a boring restaurant. Mr. Stupak, the pastry-chef-turned-restaurateur of Empellón fame, is synonymous in New York City with upscale Mexican dining, but his latest Midtown project, Mischa, veers in a much more Eastern European and American direction. Go for the kasha varnishkes and apple vareniky dumplings with salt pork and tangy sour cream, and the hot dog (yes, even at $29) with a side of chili. And because this is Alex Stupak, everything is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the stomach.
Let this be your warning that the next year will be a big one for dining in Fort Greene. Oma Grassa has been slinging a tight menu of pizzas and antipasti since July, including a mussels fra diavolo that you simply must order. And we now know that the chef April Bloomfield, formerly of the Spotted Pig and the Breslin, is planning a new spot in the neighborhood with the restaurateur Gabe Stulman, as revealed in an Instagram post from February.
And then there’s Margot, which to me is Brooklyn’s version of King — and not just because the team is led by women. There’s an ease to the place, with every dish delivering on big flavor, like the celery and fennel salad with sweet golden raisins, and the egg yolk raviolo with shallots. Margot also has Manhattan prices — like $85 for a fantastic lamb dish — but they don’t sting as much when you consider the clear ambition streaming out of the kitchen.
Mexican in the Bronx
Another benefit of long weekends? Trying restaurants outside your neighborhood. I’ve been hungrily eyeing the pizzas at Decades Pizza in Ridgewood, Queens. There’s one pie with more pepperonis on it than seems legal.
I would also happily drive up to Tobalá, the eight-month-old Mexican restaurant in the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx that Pete Wells reviewed last week. The pulpo de puerto with salsa, and the sweet tamales are calling my name. Pete also makes a compelling case for this year’s drink of the summer: the carajillo. “An inky brew under a plush cap of foam,” he writes, “it is a union of opposites, bitter and sweet, caffeine and alcohol, liquid and froth, darkness and sunshine.”
And, if the weather is good, I’ll make my way to the Rockaways because, say it with me, New York City is famously a beach town. Try La Cevicheria, a Peruvian food stand at the Rockaway Bazaar at Beach 97th Street and, starting this weekend, at Jacob Riis Park. What could be more refreshing than ice-cold seafood on a sunny day? Not a single alternative comes to mind.
In Other News …
I have two exciting bits of news to share: First, The Times has a new iOS app for audio journalism called New York Times Audio. It features our podcasts, narrated articles and more. You’ll also hear from Times journalists (including myself!), Opinion columnists and cultural critics. Download that now.
And second, the Summer in the City newsletter returns on Thursday in a new monthly format that will give you and your loved ones recommendations to use throughout the summer. You can sign up here.
This week Pete Wells reviewed House Brooklyn, a new French-Japanese restaurant in Greenpoint. With “a shorter menu and lower prices” the cooking would be “just as intuitive, fluid and impressionistic, if not more so,” he writes.
Openings: Restaurant Yuu is now serving a $250 tasting menu in Greenpoint; Libertine is slinging gougères and duck breast au poivre in the West Village; and Mitica, a new restaurant from the couple behind Mariscos El Submarino in Jackson Heights, Queens, has moved into the space that was once Anella in Greenpoint.
Is Dallas the new Dubai? A growing number of fine-dining restaurants with national and international footprints certainly seem to think so, reports Priya Krishna.
If you hate QR menus, Amelia Nierenberg has good news for you.
Horses, a popular restaurant in Los Angeles that is a celebrity magnet, is now at the center of a marital dispute between two of its chefs, Julia Moskin reported.
Email us at [email protected]. Newsletters will be archived here. Follow NYT Food on TikTok and NYT Cooking on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest.