5 NYC Haute Winter Dining Options You Haven’t Thought Of

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There’s never a bad time to be in NYC, especially as a foodie. Doors open on a rotating basis as restaurateurs become more adventurous (and ambitious), and we’re forever keeping our to-do list up to date. In the past year, we’ve bid farewell to a handful of city favorites, including Michael White’s Costata, Top Chef Harold Dieterle’s Perilla and Kin Shop, Wylie Dufresne’s Alder and the beloved wd~50, David Santos’s Louro, and many more. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but these neighborhood institutions shutter for a number of reasons and it’s perhaps best to look on the positive side. White’s got his new Upper East Side hotspot Vaucluse (along with something else up his sleeve, always), Santos is diving into the pop-up game while focusing on his supper club concept, Dufresne has a new hotel restaurant in the works due early this year, and Dieterle is undoubtedly planning his next move in the midst of his sabbatical from the restaurant world. Economics are hard on the mom-and-pop model, according to him, and this becomes more and more apparent as we watch the market change from a consumer’s perspective. But this can only enhance loyalty, we presume. wd-50 held its post at 50 Clinton Street for over 11 years, serving as a pioneer and an icon in the modern food movement and earning its place in the hearts of foodies across the globe, but particularly on its home turf. There’s no one more loyal than a New Yorker, is there? That relationship with a favorite restaurant, the admiration for the driving force behind it, that’s got to count for something. And the same goes for every other key player in the business – while one chapter may have closed, the bond remains strong until it’s given a new home. It happens to many on either side of the playing field. And it goes without saying that we’ve always got our eye on the next best thing.

This month, we’re focusing on the new — meet the latest batch of dining destinations from culinary powerhouses of a variety of backgrounds, curated by our team of ever-loyal Attachés, the most passionate foodies in the game.

1 Jue Lan Club

Just like its new home, this dining club has quite the storied past. It starts with Chinese painter Ny Yide, who came to Shanghai in the 1930s with the intent to gather a group of like-minded artists, which ultimately became known as the Jue Lan Society. They met secretly in Paris to trade art outside of the Communist regime of their homeland. Fast forward to 2016: New York City’s most infamous church is reborn once again following its heyday as a nightclub in the ‘80s and ‘90s, thanks to the 21st century reincarnation of the Jue Lan Club. The bi-level dining destination is beautifully curated, with the expansive main floor decked out in rich textures, large industrial chandeliers, and quirky art, with the upper floor serving as a private event space, all styled in homage to the club’s 1930s origins. Chef Oscar Toro (formerly of Del Posto and Buddakan fame) helms the kitchen, turning out Chinese cuisine at the intersection of traditional and inventive. The raw bar shines, especially given its plans to expand into the garden come spring...in the meantime, we’ll be cozied up on the green velvet banquettes with Chef’s bone marrow dumplings, tea smoked chicken, and drunken black bass drowned in “heaven-facing chilis.”
49 West 20th Street at Sixth Avenue

2 Combina

Einat Admony, mastermind behind beloved Balaboosta and Bar Bolonat, leaps into 2016 with the recent unveiling of her latest venture. Combina breathes new life into the space that formerly housed Taka Taka, nestled cozily on its bustling SoHo corner with tables aglow beneath soft ceiling lamps and floor-to-ceiling windows for a perpetually airy feel -- a perfect setting for Admony’s inventive combination of European, North African, and Middle Eastern influences and traditions. Executive Chef Molly Breidenthal (also of Bar Bolonat) joins Admony, turning out the perfectly balanced menu: a collection of idiosyncratic dishes perched confidently between quaintly curated and carefully expansive. Tapas-style dishes range from a mere few bites to comfortably sizeable, all designed for sharing, highlighting extraordinary juxtapositions of contrasting flavors and recipes new and old. Go for the salt cod donuts (trust us on this one), pickled mussels atop matzoh, lamb belly with harissa romesco and a labneh-esque yogurt, pink peppercorn hanger steak with pomegranate tahini, and last but certainly not least, the persimmon carpaccio -- a full plate of vibrance offset by squid ink (both aesthetically and gustatorily). Admony’s fifth NYC project is quickly living up to its older siblings.
330 West Broadway at Grand Street

3 La Chine

Goodbye Oscar’s Brasserie, hello La Chine. The Waldorf Astoria’s elegant dining space welcomes this serene haute cuisine concept, serving up specialties from select regions across China in ways that may surprise even the most discerning diner. Chef Khai Meng helms the kitchen along with Culinary Director David Garcelon, together (with an impeccable staff, of course) reshaping high-end Chinese as we know it. Whet the palate with the already-acclaimed star anise and soy foie gras “cherries” and a selection from the Zhejiang-inspired raw bar, followed by a whole or half duck in chef’s Kong sauce...we could go on. Finish things off with a slice of Illanka dark chocolate and Szechuan pepper cake and a cup of rolled oolong for good measure.
540 Lexington Avenue, inside the Waldorf Astoria

4 Quality Eats

It’s here: the whitewashed brick rendition of the Quality Meats known and loved by all, sans just one letter. Michael Stillman’s Quality Eats has finally opened its doors to the delight of the West Village carnivorous community, taking the traditional steakhouse concept by storm with a more approachable focus and Chef Ryan Bartlow at the helm. The spotlight shines on lesser-known cuts brought to the forefront, all sourced from Creekstone Farms and Brandt Beef, alongside a handful of standout side dishes including baked potato monkey bread, cacio e pepe-style orzo, a savory butternut brioche bread pudding, and more. Not a fan of red meat? Stillman’s menu plays at a variety of alternatives, from seared scallops and lemon-charred chicken to a Mediterranean branzino and, of course, a good old fashioned cheeseburger. A crowd pleaser in the making -- especially if the new outpost’s predecessors are any indication.
19 Greenwich Avenue between Christopher and West 10th Streets

5 The Bennett

The team behind the Raines Law Room and Dear Irving have struck again...and not without the swanky speakeasy feel we all know and love. With each table outfitted in true Raines fashion -- a doorbell at each guest’s disposal to request service -- The Bennett’s charm is off to a good start. Think sleek black bar with gold accents, leather armchairs and deep teal banquettes on either side of smooth, buff high tops, dim lighting offset by candles aglow, and of course, a cocktail menu second to none. Take the Frank of America, for example: a beautifully balanced combination of rye, byrrh, amaro abano, spiced maple, and Angostura, if we ever did see one. Fancy something a bit more indulgent? Go for the Hero of Little Venice, a daring take on a classic flip composed with aged rum, sweet vermouth, whole egg, and root beer. The Bennett’s bill of fare proves a bit heartier than its predecessors, highlighting English and Americana-inspired favorites like spicy grassfed jerky, beef tartare atop a tartine, griddled cheddar cheese “toastie” (served optionally as a croque monsieur with Parisian ham), grilled quail, cauliflower croquettes, and more -- the perfect pseudo-winter menu.
134 West Broadway between Thomas and Duane Streets
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