New York
1. Bonnie’s

The gist: This Cantonese-American restaurant in Williamsburg lives up to the media hype. Named after his mother, Brooklyn native chef Calvin Eng (Nom Wah, Win Son) offers his own interpretation of Cantonese cuisine along with recipes inspired from his childhood that make for a very unique dining experience. From updated versions of American classics like honey walnut shrimp, to Fuyu Cacio e Pepe Mein or even his own version of a McRib, a meal here will kick off your 2022 dining adventures on a high note.
The food: Small dishes and starters include Chinese long beans with fermented bean curd garlic butter; chrysanthemum green salad with creamy soy sesame and crispy shallots; fish + shrimp wontons in brodo with superior citrus parm broth; and shrimp with apple, candied walnuts, and honey kewpie mayo. Larger dishes include the Fuyu Cacio e Pepe Mein with fermented bean curd, black pepper, and pecorino; the X.O. Cheung Fun with seared rolled rice noodles and dried scallop-shrimp X.O. sauce; the signature Cha Siu McRib with Chinese hot mustard served on a classic Chinese bun; cold poached half chicken; and a whole stuffed rainbow trout with green mustard condiment. Desserts include the Chow Nai Sundae with malted fried milk, ovaltine hot fudge, and buttered peanuts; and a fruit plate.

2. Zou Zou’s
Manhattan West

The gist: Located at the new Manhattan West development near Hudson Yards, Zou Zou’s is from the same group behind eateries like Don Angie and Smith & Wollensky. Here, chef Madeline Sperling (Gramercy Tavern, The Nomad) and executive sous chef Juliana Latif serve Eastern Mediterranean cuisine inspired by Lebanon, Turkey, Syria, and beyond with beautiful and eye-catching presentation. The gorgeous space is designed by the experts of AvroKO and offers plenty of elbow room, high ceilings, and roomy banquettes ideal for a special celebration with a larger posse. And prepare yourself for a warm olfactory embrace from the wonderful smoky scent throughout that’s wafting from a sizable wood-fired oven via its open kitchen.
The food: Choose from five bread varieties and signature dips come in a set of three with choices like chickpea with black garlic oil; green tahini with aquafaba; whipped ricotta with saffron apricots; ember-roasted eggplant with spiced peppers; and kabocha squash with brown butter. Salads and raw options include the Little Gems with roasted grapes (which are served delightfully cold); Cured Local Fluke with z’houg and pickled radish; and Mushroom Kibbeh with tamarind. Specialties include Moroccan Fried Chicken; the signature Duck Borek with a l’Orange; and Fire-Roasted Leg of Lamb (for a whopping $130). For desserts, choose from Charred Pineapple with rum syrup and lime or Kataifi Cheesecake with candied walnuts.

3. Ci Siamo
Manhattan West

The gist: Also located at the new Manhattan West development near Hudson Yards, Ci Siamo is the latest venture from Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group. Translating into “we’ve arrived,” executive chef Hillary Sterling’s menu of Italian-inspired dishes uses wood-fired cooking as its foundation for comforting dishes reminiscent of what she’d serve guests at her home. Once you’ve worked your way up the super chic staircase, you’ll find a large dining room near the open kitchen (there’s also a private dining room on the third floor). Here, feast on freshly-baked breads, pasta, and hearty mains within a rustic and massive setting with smoky scents wafting from the hearth.
The food: Starters include the signature Pizza Bianca with anchovy and salsa verde; Caramelized Onion Torta with balsamic and pecorino Toscana; and Roasted Mushrooms with thyme and lemon. Pasta includes Stracci with Rabbit and Parmigiano; Rigatoni alla gricia with guanciale and black pepper; and Cavatelli allo Scoglio with lobster, chili, and vermouth. Mains include Pork Milanese with caraway and bagna cauda aioli; Smoked Swordfish with artichoke samoriglio and Calabrian chili; Roasted Chicken with Schmaltz and sunchokes; and Braised Lamb with celery pesto and brussels sprouts. The pastry program by James Beard-award winning executive pastry director Claudia Fleming includes a Lemon Torta with olive oil and meringue; Bomboloni with chocolate amaro; and a Chocolate Budino with espresso zabaglione and smoked almonds.

4. Onjium
Meatpacking District

The gist: Located on the second floor of Genesis House, a massive new cultural center in the Meatpacking District backed by the luxury Korean automotive company, Onjium is the recently opened NYC outpost of an award-winning Korean restaurant celebrating royal Korean cuisine. With a focus on the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) and housed within an innovative space with its design inspired by a former palace, here, chefs/artisans Cho Eun Hee and Park Sungbae of the original Seoul location serve a traditional menu with contemporary interpretations for a fresh dining experience that’s an oasis in its extremely busy neighborhood. And be sure to check out the building’s various concepts (futuristic floor-to-ceiling LED-lit stage, car showroom, tea pavilion) along with views of The High Line, Little Island, Hudson River, and more.
The food: Starters include a variety of deep-fried chips and jerky showcasing centuries-old fermentation techniques; and Suranchae, a chilled dish with seafood and sweet Korean pear in a pine nut sauce. Noodles and rice dishes include Sweet Potato Noodles with mushrooms; and House-made Tofu with queen’s gold rice and seasoned soy. Mains include Black Cod and Prawn Skewers; Grilled Wagyu Sirloin with chestnut; Steamed Sea Bream with wagyu and soy & sesame marinated vegetables; and Marinated Young Chicken with gochujang. Desserts include a Chestnut Cream and custard, seasonal shaved ice sorbet, and more. Pair everything with a cocktail program featuring Korean booze like soju and makgeolli.

5. Jack & Charlie’s
West Village

The gist: At Jack & Charlie’s, executive chef/partner, Ed Cotton (No. 9 Park in Boston, Daniel, David Burke Townhouse) brings over two decades of industry experience to his recently opened New American restaurant paying tribute to supper clubs, speakeasies, and icons of NYC’s culinary past. Within the railroad layout that features a teal palette, its walls are adorned with pictures and cozy design details that bring an extra warmth to the place, and the eatery has four different areas: The Bar Room, Turner Room, Astor Room, and Oyster Room. But no matter where you’re seated—from freshly baked popovers and house-made pastas to a Duck Meatloaf or Slow-rRoasted Prime Rib—arriving before you are rich and quality dishes.
The food: Starters include seafood like oysters, crab cakes, and Wood-Fired Littleneck Clams Casino; and bar bites like Black Truffle Toast with smoked bacon; Everything Spice Potato Knishes with a caviar option. Appetizers include Sausage & Clam Chowder with garlic butter and a BLT Wedge Salad with Applewood smoked bacon. House-made pastas include Bucatini Carbonara with guanciale and smoked cured egg yolk; Pappardelle Bolognese with veal and pork & lamb ragu; and Wild Mushroom Agnolotti with brown butter & sage. Mains include Duck Meatloaf with fig jus; Wood-Fired branzino with white miso and preserved lemon broth; a Bacon Cheeseburger made with prime beef; and Special Steak offerings like a Tomahawk or Slow-Roasted Prime Rib. Save room for desserts like Sticky Toffee Banana Pudding with a rum-butterscotch sauce.

6. Soothr
East Village

The gist: Translating to “recipe,” since opening in the summer of 2020, the Thai offerings at Soothr in the East Village have made it a popular destination for many New Yorkers in addition to food and restaurant industry folks. The restaurant’s core concept is centered around family recipes of what locals in Thailand would eat, along with the vibe of street food found in bustling sois (aka alleys) and the energetic area of Bangkok’s Chinatown, Yaowarat Road. Here, chef Nate Lingwan (Fish Cheeks) menu serves everything from small bites and soups to wok-fired or entrees, but a dedicated menu of signature noodle dishes—that include broth-less dry noodle specialties—are some of the most memorable.
The food: Small bites and soup include Roasted Eggplant Salad; Duck Rolls with mushroom; the Soothr Jeeb Dumplings with pork, shrimp, water chestnut; Southern Thai style Hat Yai fried chicken; and Tom Yum Seafood Hot Pot. Signature noodles include Northern-Style Curry with Chicken and crispy egg noodles; Stewed Beef Noodle Soup; and dry noodle varieties like Crab Noodles with a spicy tom yum flavor; Caramelized Duck Breast with house gravy; and Sukothai Tom Yum noodles with pork and fishcake. Entrees include the Koong Karee with sauteed shrimp in a creamy egg curry sauce; the Panang Gai with chicken in a spicy and sweet Panang curry sauce; and the Si-Krong Pad Ped with wok-tossed spicy braised spare ribs. Desserts include sticky rice with Thai Egg Custard or Bua Loy with Thai Taro Mochi Balls in sweet warm coconut milk.

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