The summer sun may be setting, but there’s lots on the horizon. After months and months of restaurant closures and uncertainty, things are on the upswing this fall with a flurry of exciting debuts.
Old favorites are reopening, big-name chefs are making bold moves, fast casual is getting fancy, and carbs rule supreme. Have a look at the biggest trends and openings in the months to come.
A carb craze
The vaccine has proven totally ineffective at curbing cravings for glutinous goodies. Thankfully, there are more and more options to satisfy the collective hunger for bready and buttery delights. Parisian patisserie Marvelous by Fred has just unveiled a US flagship (1001 Sixth Ave.), serving the merengue-and-cream cakes known as merveilleux in an assortment of flavors and sizes, along with croissants and buttercream waffles. The massive space will feature a half-ton chandelier and open kitchen where you can watch the confections being prepared. “New York palates have gotten more sophisticated and now they are craving more unique and international breads and desserts,’’ the company’s North American president and baker, Antoine Jacques, told The Post.
“The fact that it’s been so hard to travel to France makes these pastries even more in demand.’’ Also looking to meet that demand are software engineer Gautier Coiffard and his wife, nurse Ashley Coiffard. The couple started selling baguettes and croissants through social media from their fourth floor Cobble Hill apartment during the pandemic; now they’re set to open their own storefront in Brooklyn Heights in November called L’Appartement 4F (115 Montague St.).
“We had no idea so many people would want to buy from us, but I make croissants using a Parisian recipe that takes four days,’’ boasted Gautier. Elsewhere, some of the city’s long-beloved carb purveyors are expanding.
Chelsea favorite Patisserie Chanson is debuting a Tribeca location (355 Greenwich St.), and Rockefeller Center is getting outposts of Breads (1230 Sixth Ave.), known for its sublime chocolate babka, and haute doughnut maker Dough (10 Rockefeller Plaza).
Hudson Yards was just the beginning for the rebirth of the West 30s as a dining destination. Fresh off the success of buzzy Lola Taverna, Will Makris and Cobi Levy will extend the summer vibes with a New England-style lobster shack on the Hudson called Jibs (350 11th Ave.) coming in September. “There is a massive shift in the epicenter of New York,” said Levy. “The buildings in Midtown West are new and fresh with lots of open and green space. I was able to build a 5,500-square-foot restaurant by the water with a retractable roof. That couldn’t have happened on Park Avenue.” In October, Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group will open the 120-seat Ci Siamo (100 Manhattan West Plaza). Former Vic’s chef Hillary Sterling will be in the kitchen, and proteins and seasonal veggies cooked over an open-fire hearth will be on the menu. An expansive outdoor patio will overlook the plaza.
Elsewhere in the complex, Zou Zou’s in the Pendry Hotel (85 Manhattan West Plaza), is also focusing on hearth cooking. Madeline Sperling, most recently chef de cuisine at the Nomad, will offer up Eastern Mediterranean fare with luxe elements, like a lobster tagine. Another new hotel spot, Isla (25 W. 38th St.) on the ground floor of Hotel Hendricks, will highlight Australian fare with Asian influences. Meanwhile, “Top Chef” finalist George Pagonis is opening a new location of the popular Greek taverna Kyma (445 W. 35th St.), and Hudson Yards is getting an express omakase concept called Kamasu (20 Hudson Yards) from Garry Kanfer, who owns the buzzy Kissaki sushi bars.
Some of the season’s most noteworthy openings are reopenings. The 37-year-old institution Gotham Bar and Grill, which closed in March 2020, has been taken over by managing partner Bret Csencsitz. It will return in October as Gotham (12 E. 12th St.) with the restaurant’s longtime pastry chef, Ron Paprocki, at the range. Further downtown, six years after its closing, the beloved Torrisi Italian Specialties will come back to life in the Puck Building as Torrisi Deli and Restaurant (275 Mulberry St.). Expect salumi, cheese, rotisserie meats and such specials as Jamaican beef ravioli.
Uptown, the legendary Carlyle Hotel’s dining room will be reinvented as Dowling’s (981 Madison Ave.) helmed by former 21 chef Sylvain Delpique. The new incarnation, set to premiere in October, will have some dramatic table side preparations, including a steak Diane flambéed with cognac and a signature sundae for two with caramel-pretzel ice cream. “It’ll feel like a throwback to another time, yet uniquely current as well,” said Delpique.
Also returning: Hutong (731 Lexington Ave.), the Northern Chinese restaurant that debuted in the former Le Cirque space in 2019 and has been closed for nearly a year; pizza maestro Anthony Mangieri is firing up the ovens again at Una Pizza Napoletana‘s Manhattan location (175 Orchard St.); and the former Four Cuts Steakhouse will be reborn in October as an outpost of the legendary Hamptons restaurant, Old Stove Pub (1076 First Ave.), where Billy Joel and Jimmy Fallon have been known to jump on the piano for impromptu sessions. Over in Brooklyn, Fort Greene’s No. 7., the creative bistro that shuttered over the summer, will find new life in Prospect Heights (627 Vanderbilt Ave.).
Next-level fast casual
You won’t need to put on a sports coat or empty your wallet for a great meal this season. Top toques are cooking casually delicious food. Rick Bayless, the Chicago chef known for his elegant Mexican restaurant Topolobampo (an Obama favorite), is making his NYC debut with a fast casual spot called Tortazo (1123 Broadway). Specialities include warm tortas a la plancha, sweet churros and Oaxacan tlayudas — thin, crispy tortillas with various toppings. “Think of them as an enormous corn masa tostada covered in fresh ingredients like Cotija cheese, black beans, tomatillo salsa, creamy avocado and spicy chorizo,” Bayless explained.
Critical darling Ignacio Mattos, the chef behind Estela and Cafe Altro Paradiso, is launching Lodi (1 Rockefeller Plaza) this month. The all-day cafe will serve panini and tramezzini on house-made breads, traditional Italian cookies and an assortment of fresh breads, from focaccia and baguettes to laminated einkorn loaves. And, Alex Stupak is getting back to his casual roots with a second location of Empellón Taqueria (645 W. 59th St.) in Waterline Square. The rotating roster will include a Brussels-sprout-and-almond taco and a shrimp number with avocado and pumpkin seeds.
Big chefs making bold moves
Follow the trails of gourmet breadcrumbs. Jonathan Benno is giving his casual Italian spot Leonelli in the Evelyn Hotel a makeover. Later this month, it will become a Parisian-style bistro called Bar Benno (7 E. 27th St.). Expect prime rib with Bordelaise, a rotisserie chicken with celery root gratin, mussels frites, French dip and and a strawberry sorbet with crepes dentelles.
Meanwhile, Saga (70 Pine St.), chef James Kent’s follow-up to his Michelin-starred Crown Shy, finally opened at the end of August. Occupying four floors of a 66-story art deco building, it has dramatic wrap-around views, the feeling of a private home, and a hefty $245, seven-course prix fixe with a showstopper course of duck dipped in beeswax. “Sometimes an entree course can be a letdown, but we are trying to break the mold,” said Kent’s business partner, Jeff Katz.
Another long awaited restaurant, the New York outpost of London steakhouse Hawksmoor (109 E. 22nd St.), will open in September off Gramercy Park. Matt Bernero, previously head chef at Minetta Tavern, and Matt Brown, former head chef at Restaurant Marco Pierre White, have created a decadent menu with offerings such as bone marrow oysters and a cast-iron rump steak.
Downtown, Joey Campanaro will soon expand his West Village empire with the Mary Lane (99 Bank St.), an all-day, market-driven American boite, serving king trumpet mushroom tartare and a grilled Hampshire pork loin with caraflex-cabbage sauerkraut. Campanaro and business partner Mike Price’s portfolio includes a string of downtown faves: Little Owl, the Clam and Market Table.
And farther east, Akiko Thurnauer, former executive chef at EN Japanese Brasserie, will be cooking Chinese comfort food with Japanese influences at the soon-to-open Cha Kee (43 Mott St.). Over in Park Slope, Daniel Eddy, who earned a Michelin star with Rebelle in the Bowery and had a recent hit with Winner, is soon to open an upscale neighborhood spot called Runner Up (367 Seventh Ave.). Yes, his famous chicken will be on the menu.