We often think of the beginning of the year as a time for all things new. But, as the days get longer, the warmer air starts to rush in, and the flowers in Central Park begin to bloom, don’t overlook spring as a time to also enjoy and experience something fresh and new, including a brand new restaurant. These just-opened and soon-to-be-open spots from both well-known groups and up-and-coming chefs are shaking things up. From outdoor rooftop options to sushi bars that only seat eight people, these are the places you’ll want to check off your spring dining bucket list.
The first U.S outpost of the famed South Korean restaurant, Samwon Garden is bringing its amazing Korean barbeque to Manhattan. Many of your favorite staples including bibimbap, bulgogi, and galbi were made famous by the original and you’ll find them and more on this menu executed by Chef Kwak Young Ho. Amongst these dishes is a wide selection of prime cuts of beef all butchered in house with selects dry aged for 28–40 days. Exclusive to the New York City location is Kimchi Poutine. 37 W. 32nd St., 212-695-3131
We’re already big fans of Fraunces Tavern, the oldest building (not just restaurant) in New York City serving up hearty and rich eats in a cozy atmosphere. So, we were happy to hear that owners Eddie Travers and Dervila Bowlers along with partner Jason Francisco were opening Porterhouse Brew Co., a dual atmosphere restaurant featuring a classic Irish pub and a retro and glamorous gin and liquor bar (called Lovelace), both with historic charm. You’ll find 10 craft beers at Porterhouse (the only place in the U.S to be serving the Dublin-based brewery’s lineup) plus 50 gins, including the company’s own Dingle Gin at Lovelace. 66 Pearl St., 212-425-7171
From the mastermind behind The VYNL and The Late Late, The Woodstock is the brainchild of James Morrissey. This 1960s-inspired bar concept in the heart of the Meatpacking District will be serving up classic cocktails with premium spirits and a menu dedicated to Neapolitan thin-crust pizzas from Chef Nino Coniglio (owner of Williamsburg Pizza). Retro details decorate the space, dreamt up to look like a very chic living room, inviting you to lounge for longer than usual as you sip and savor. 446 W. 14th St., 212-633-2000
You may have previously dined at Italienne, the Northern Italian meets Southern French spot in the heart of Madison Square Park, but on March 20, the restaurant introduced a new concept with changes from the foods to the preparation methods to the ambience and service style. The menu now favors large, shareable portions (famiglia style) over smaller plates unlike their previous selection plus wine carafes, truly embracing rustic Italian dining. You’ll even notice that you can begin and end your evening with Aperitivo Hour and then Digestivo Hour for an authentic Italian experience—no plane ticket required. 19 W. 24th St., 212-600-5139
After the success of Lumos Bar, which brought the Baijiu spirit to New York, Qifan Li’s newest project, Lumos Kitchen in the East Village will blend both French and Chinese flavors with an aim to showcase the refinement of her native cuisine on the dinner menu and the versatility of Baijiu on the cocktail menu. It’s no wonder then that Chef Hok Chin will lead the kitchen since the Hong Kong native is well known for being a pioneer in the art of melding Asian and French dishes. Orson Salicetti, who also helped launched Lumos Bar, will curate the the selection of Baijius and Baijiu cocktails for this new spot. 188 Second Ave.
With the promise of temps above 50 degrees on the horizon, we’re getting excited for this al fresco spot located in the The Great American restaurant at the swanky Crowne Plaza HY36 Hotel. Enjoy spring-ready libations and brews, when the spot opens in late April/early May, plus delectable flatbreads, steaks, and oysters under the retractable glass roof that allows for a lofty, fun experience no matter the forecast. Since it’ll be open for late nights, it’s the perfect place to grab a drink after your dinner plans when heading home early is not on the agenda because let’s face it, as soon as the parkas go back in the closet, it’s too hard to keep cooped up indoors any longer. 320 W. 36th St., 212-651-4842
This hidden gem in Brooklyn is worth the trip to the borough for their authentic margaritas and wide selection of spirits from Mexico that have us daydreaming of tropical vacations. With flavors from all over the country, Oscar Benal, who heads up the bar, has curated a special assortment of Mexican lagers, wines, and cocktails such as El Broucklyn which contains glass-aged Fabriquero Sotol distilled in Durango. Ask for a suggestion to pair with your light bite to start your night out. 41 Wilson Ave., Brooklyn, 212-729-4235
A slice of Japan can be found on the Upper East Side, where Sushi Noz provides an up close and personal dining experience with its Chef Nozomu Abe. Offering just two seatings of eight guests each evening Monday through Saturday, you’ll have the chance to interact and talk with Chef Noz, as he’s known. Beyond the delicious sushi and intimate dining ambience, the interior is designed by Sukiya-style architects, who specialize in building temples. Many of the materials used to design the space have been recycled from demolished temples. 181 E. 78 St., 917-338-1792