Check out the restaurants we’re buzzing about this week:
1 East 35th Street, near Fifth Avenue
A welcomed addition to midtown east, Meli celebrates Greek cuisine with modern interpretations of traditional fare. Standout dishes include sea scallops kataifi, wrapped in shredded filo with honey balsamic reduction; beet salad with garlic feta skordalia; and the braised lamb shank. An impressive Greek-focused wine list nicely compliments the culinary selection. The space is open, airy and modern, with stark black and white décor, scenic Grecian photographs and a massive crystal chandelier. Meli translates to “honey,” a key ingredient in many of the restaurant’s dishes.
The Pod 39 Rooftop Bar
45 East 39th Street, near Lexington Avenue
Dynamic restaurant duo Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield debut a bar and taqueria on the roof of the new Pod 39hotel. Sam Anderson, formerly of Hotel Delmano, presents a menu of fresh fruit and liquor cocktails, and the Spotted Pig’s Carla Rzeszewski is working on the wine. Beginning in a few weeks, Bloomfield’s taco list will include pig’s ear and pastrami varieties. With gorgeous, cathedral-esque brick columns, crawling vines and breathtaking views of the Empire State Building, the Pod 39 Rooftop Bar is a must-visit hangout before the chill sets in.
Pok Pok Phat Thai
137 Rivington Street, near Norfolk Street
Pok Pok, a Portland empire that’s made quite a splash on the New York culinary scene, transformed its Lower East Side space from a wing joint to a noodle mecca. At Pok Pok Phat Thai, chef Andy Ricker’s take on “old-school style” phat Thai (or pad Thai) achieves the perfect balance of sweet, sour and salty. He cooks the noodles in pork fat, adding select ingredients like fish sauce, palm sugar, chili powder and egg. Pork, shrimp and vegan versions will be served, but chicken, according to Ricker, is for tourists.