Flight to New York City Restaurants
Night after night, the bar at L’Apicio swells with an energised after-work crowd knocking back cocktails. If they’re smart, they stick around for dinner. This sprawling, modern Italian restaurant is located on the ground floor of a condominium. The food isn’t particularly adventurous, but it’s solidly delicious: sausage and fontina-stuffed arancini; juicy pork meatballs over polenta; and half-moons of pasta with cauliflower, capers and pine nuts. Try to come on a night when the divine house-made ricotta is on offer.
Insider Tip: Don’t leave without trying one of the lovely orange wines by the glass.
This circa-1890 brownstone was once home to one of New York’s most buzzed speakeasies, Bill’s Gay Nineties. The five-storey abode is now Bill’s Food & Drink, the latest hotspot from Crown Group Hospitality. Inside, a reverence for its illustrious past is clear. Oil paintings, a fireplace and taxidermy create a clubby, masculine vibe, the perfect setting to dig into a dry-aged steak and crimini mushrooms with escargot butter. In the lively downstairs bar, grab a seat near the piano, a relic from the glorious Bill’s Gay Nineties days.
Insider Tip: A classic cocktail, like a Whiskey Sour, is a must. The one served here is brightened with Meyer lemons and raw honey.
The foraging craze that chef Rene Redzepi kicked off at Noma in Copenhagen has inspired similar veneration in New York. In the Williamsburg neighbourhood of Brooklyn is Aska, a tiny, 30-seat Scandinavian-inspired restaurant, with Swedish chef Fredrik Berselius at the helm. An evening here means partaking in ambitious dishes, maybe a pig’s blood cracker served with sea buckthorn jam, or a bowl of salsify (a root vegetable) and warm lichen broth.
Insider Tip: Take special note of the beautiful earth-toned bowls. They’ve all been hand spun by a potter in upstate New York.
For Top Chef winner Harold Dieterle’s third West Village restaurant, he unites his German and Italian heritage for a distinct hybrid of European comfort food. Here, it is possible to start out with a dish like ethereal baccala gnudi (cod dumplings) studded with pine nuts, golden raisins and spicy cherry peppers, then move on to a hearty duck schnitzel with hazelnuts, cucumber-potato salad and stewed wolfberries. All meals should culminate in a round of Goldschlager (cinnamon schnapps)-spiked doughnuts.
Insider Tip: The wine list is laden with obscure German, Austrian and Italian selections. Consider a glass of the crisp Lucarelli Le Ripe Bianchello del Metauro, a Verdicchio from Italy’s Marche region.
This French-American bistro is an intimate lair with wood banquettes, works from hip-hop photographer Jonathan Mannion and a garden out back. In the kitchen, the mastermind is chef Tien Ho, who serves cassava chips as a vessel for eggplant caponata (stew) and cashew dip, a grilled whole turbot for two and caramelised onion and foie gras potatoes. Kick off the meal with a refreshing T-Model Train Dreams, which marries gin with cucumber, club soda and bitters.
Insider Tip: Waiting for a table is inevitable here, so instead of huddling outside, pop into nearby old-school Irish pub Peter McManus Cafe for a Guinness.