New York’s restaurant scene is on the upswing, and this May promised an exciting summer of dining ahead. From a new vegan omakase to a chef doing stand-up comedy, here are the openings and news you need to know to navigate it all like a pro.
A completely plant-based omakase, Omakaseed at Plant Bar, offers a vegan sushi experience in Nomad at an eight-seat counter with just five seatings per night. Expect a tight menu of nigiri, miso soup, pulled oyster mushroom salad, watermelon tuna with pickled kelp, plus additional seasonal courses inspired by Japanese flavors and techniques for $85 per person.
Al fresco tasting season is back. Bronx Night Market, Harlem’s Uptown Night Market, and Queens Night Market have all returned for the summer. Come hungry and expect to fill up on local bites such cones of decked-out Belgian fries (Bronx), Colombian hot dogs (Uptown), Persian stew with crispy rice (Queens), and so, so much more.
Cafe Spaghetti brings a new all-day cafe with a spacious garden to Carroll Gardens, where patrons can sip espresso in the mornings, munch on lemon and anchovy spiedini for lunch, and indulge in a pasta-centric dinner menu, with gluten-free options available.
Beloved Eastern European takeout vendor Dacha 46 is doing a pop-up in Park Slope through June. Stop by 487 7th Avenue for walk-up purchases of pelmeni, Borodinsky soft serve, and more menu drops.
Beach Dunes Eats & Arts, a new culinary arts training center and cafe, combines a training center with a community venue in Far Rockaway. Here, meals are prepared with local produce and products by cooks-in-training, and vended at affordable prices. Where else can you get an $8 fish po’ boy in NYC?
News to know
Those in need of a laugh should head to the world-famous Comedy Cellar, where chef Einat Admony (Balaboosta, Taim) has launched a brand-new menu at the stand up venue’s Olive Tree Cafe. The James Beard Awards semifinalist also dabbles in being a comic herself, but her mezze-style menu featuring excellent hummus, crisp falafel and roast cauliflower with raisins is seriously tasty.
Award-winning cookbook author, culinary historian, filmmaker, and activist Grace Young won the eighth annual Julia Child Award. She plans to use the $50,000 grant to continue promoting the value of Chinese-American culture and cuisine, supporting family-owned Chinatown legacy restaurants, and helping feed those in need within the AAPI community.
Manhattan West restaurants such as Zou Zou’s, Ci Siamo, Casa Dani, Katsuya, and more will now be donating excess food to people in need, rather than letting the food go to waste. The new initiative through landlord Brookfield Properties is a collaboration with ReThink Food, who will collect food daily and redistribute it as needed. So if you needed another excuse to go to Zou Zou’s, this is it.