It’s one of the most common questions New Yorkers field from friends, visitors, and sometimes, surprisingly, complete strangers: “Where’s the best place to eat a great meal in New York right now?” No matter how you slice it, New York knows great food. Whether you’re dining healthfully, al fresco, or at Sunday brunch, there is always a myriad of options to find deliciously good fare. Though eating well may not be difficult in the city known for its cuisine, getting the inside scoop on the next hottest dining spot can be a fun way to spice up your dining routine. Here are some of our favorite new restaurants in downtown New York.
Three years ago, restauranteur Amelie Kang (the Young Guns award winner and innovative mind behind the MáLà project) opened a new restaurant in the Financial District called Tomorrow. Kang built the fast-casual restaurant to specialize in lesser-known, regional dishes from Northern China, but unfortunately, some of the dishes proved a bit too experimental for the downtown crowd. So, at the start of 2020, Kang rebranded the restaurant under a new name and approach: Chubby Princess. Though the menu still focuses on Northern Chinese dishes, there is a stronger balance between dishes that most American diners have never heard of and more popular American-Chinese plates, like scallion pancakes and savory pork dumplings. Every item from the revitalized menu is guaranteed to deliver on style and flavor, and best of all, all of them fall at or below the $10 price mark.
Another recently opened restaurant in the area is Ernesto’s, the first solo project of Ryan Bartlow, a resident of the Lower East Side with experience working in some of downtown’s most sought after restaurants (think Frenchette and Quality Eats). Now located on the corner of East Broadway and Montgomery St (just a few blocks from the East River), Ernesto’s focuses on dishes commonly found in the Basque region of Spain. It’s clear that Bartlow has been planning on opening Ernesto’s for some time, as his passion for Basque flavor and style shines through his innovative dishes and warm and inviting décor. Go with a large group of friends to make the most of the large menu, but be sure to try the crunchy croquetas and grilled Iberico pork.
Named after the South Korean hometown of chef Jae Lee, Nowon’s playful take on Korean-American fare is worth a trip to this one-of-a-kind East Village spot. Ambitious diners will be best suited to its creative and flavorful menu, with options like mung bean pancakes, honey butter tater tots, and octopus and spam fried rice. But if you have a less-than-adventurous diner in your group, don’t worry, their dry-aged stead double cheeseburger with American cheese and kimchi mayo is one of the tastiest in town.