While there is no shortage of good restaurants in New York, distinctive newcomers continue to build on the vibrancy of Manhattan’s ever-evolving dining scene. Here, we highlight a handful of new openings that stand apart thanks to ambiance and cuisine.
The new anchor of the Jean Nouvel-designed residential tower at 53 West 53rd Street, the aptly named 53 is an exercise in contrast. Embedded in Eastern and Western design influences, the 11,000-square-foot experience sets diners against a backdrop of multicolored slats that descend from the ceiling in a hypnotic crescendo inspired by the element of chi. “The restaurant wants to be sculptural and bold, yet also intimate,” says ICRAVE founder and CEO Lionel Ohayon, who handled the sultry interiors. “The blades make you aware of this duality as you move around.”
Because of its proximity to numerous galleries and next to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the layout channels that of a gallery, as guests are choreographed along watercolor-style carpeting from one scene to the next. The sunken double-height dining room is reminiscent of a landscape diorama, visible from the street and emitting a glow after sunset. Framed by arching slats, the bar commands one end of the interior like a beacon thanks to a glass disc light fixture whose rippling shape serves as an artwork all its own. “All of the elements have different forms, allowing you to see things a different way and learn about it completely anew—from outside, from within, and from below,” Ohayon adds.
The team behind popular New York eatery L’Artusi recently unveiled B’Artusi just down the block from its sister property in the West Village. The new restaurant and wine bar was crafted by locally based studio Carpenter + Mason with a distinctive warmth that conveys a sense of history and place. “We wanted B’Artusi to become a place of celebration and community,” says Sarah Carpenter, principal of Carpenter + Mason, which looked to the aesthetic of 1920s-erea tea rooms to steer the design. An assemblage of patterns and bright colors, including a pea green-hued bar face, floral wallpaper, and marble checkerboard floors, also dress up the space.
To help bring his latest concept to life, restaurateur Danny Meyer sent New York firm Goodrich on a research trip to dine at dozens of restaurants in Tuscany, Paris, and London. The immersive journey led to the creation of Ci Siamo, an Italian restaurant located within the Manhattan West development centered around live-fire cooking. To accentuate the eatery’s cooking process, the firm conjured the idea of “formed by fire” across the space through the use of materials—terracotta, glazed ceramic, blown and cast glass, and forged metal. “The design sets up an analogy between the way the food is created in fire and the artisan processes that give the elements of the décor their final form,” says studio principal Matthew Goodrich. Custom light fixtures, including a chandelier in the entry foyer that comprises slumped sheets of amber glass cascading from a metal armature, further amplify the theme. Special attention was also given to the restaurant’s art program, which features a collection of original works from the 1950s to the 2000s, “lending the space a collected, residential quality,” he adds.
San Sebastián, in Spain’s Basque Country, teems with standing room-only pintxos bars. At the 1,800-square-foot Ernesto’s, on the Lower East Side, designer Michael Groth evokes a similar energy. At the center of the dining room, for instance, diners gather at the bar made of local Vermont Verde stone, its glossy surface reflecting the curved brass, oak, and bronze mirror backbar. Like the emerald-stained wood paneling, its deep green hue calls to mind the waters of the North Atlantic. There is also a daytime café showcasing an open kitchen, chef’s counter, and original vaulted ceilings that morph into an intimate extension of the restaurant at night. Custom light fixtures combine sandblasted blackened steel rings with voluptuous arms and matte white globes to mirror the Joan Miró lithograph on display. Exposed brick walls reference Spanish masonry, but coupled with the full-height glazed storefront windows, they also ground Ernesto’s in its urban setting.
London steakhouse Hawksmoor has made its way across the pond with a New York outpost just steps from Gramercy Park. Located within the Assembly Hall of the United Charities Building, a landmarked structure originally designed by American architect R. H. Robinson and completed in 1892, the space was refreshed by Macaulay Sinclair and Hawksmoor cofounder Huw Gott. “Once we saw the building and understood the history of the space, our job was easy—restore the building to its former glory and use reclaimed building materials and antique lighting to create a restaurant and bar that feel like they belong in the space,” Gott says. The restaurant is characterized by stately 30-foot-high vaulted ceilings adorned with elaborate crown molding, stained glass, mosaic flooring, and wood panels.
Brazilian designer Isay Weinfeld has created a lush escape for chef Daniel Boulud’s Le Pavillon—inspired by the traditional pavilions found throughout France, yet located in the One Vanderbilt building on a bustling Midtown Manhattan corner. “Our intent was to create a welcoming and comfortable ambiance within the grand scale and proportion of the space, where one could spend time and feel protected from the city’s rush,” explains Weinfeld. As Boulud points out, the designer “has a very Zen way about the way he works and cares about choosing the best materials to achieve his vision.” A lush garden winds its way through the length of the restaurant, creating pockets for semiprivate tables, while a fabric ceiling that hangs over the main dining room mixes with warm materials, such as American walnut, Italian sandstone, and brass to create a sense of comfort for diners.
One White Street
One White Street, a former Tribeca townhouse in New York that was once owned by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, has led many lives since it was built in the 19th century. In its latest iteration, the site serves as a restaurant inspired by 17th- and 18th-century Dutch interiors that channel the bygone days of New Amsterdam. Designer Richard Felix-Ashman also examined quaint Parisian eateries and the Hudson Valley vernacular to inform the three-floor eatery’s stone and wood materiality and “create a residential-style experience in the middle of New York,” he says. “We tried to set up more of a poetic reference to history through material.” Blue- and green-hued upholstery offsets the black limestone floors that line the small bar and kitchen on the ground floor, while dining rooms housed across the two upper floors feature reclaimed timber, walnut, and Scandinavian-style seating. The structure’s staircase underwent a major overhaul and now stars gray wood and black steel, while a sculptural, minimalist light fixture suspends overhead. “We wanted that journey to be memorable and not to foreshadow the experience of what the dining room is going to be but actually contrast it,” Felix-Ashman adds.