Chef Daniel Boulud on New York City
Drew Nieporent has a habit of opening excellent restaurants on West Broadway. In 1985, it was the seminal Montrachet. Last year, he remodeled the kitchen for chef Paul Liebrandt’s 6-foot-5-inch frame, and the pair launched Corton. Liebrandt’s avant-garde French cooking is provocative and delicious—diners might puzzle over how he smokes his truffle pasta, or they might just devour it.
We loved: Squab with spiced milk and chestnut crème.
When chef Michael White opened Convivio, he worked extra-hard on the pasta. “Don’t believe people who say pasta is simple,” he says. “It’s incredibly complex.” White’s is outstanding, and it’s one of the city’s best deals: Diners can get it on the $59 four-course menu.
We loved: Tomato-pancetta tortelli with butter-pepper sauce.
Anyone who’s eaten at this superlative restaurant won’t be surprised by chef-owner Eric Ripert’s philosophy: “We are completely obsessed with fish,” he says. “Twenty-four–seven we think, cook, eat and create around fish.” Also laudable is Ripert’s environmental commitment: He won’t serve overfished seafood.
We loved: Kumamoto oyster tasting.
It’s not easy to describe the greatness of Ssäm Bar to someone who’s never heard of its owner, David Chang (an F&W Best New Chef 2006). Seating is at a counter or at picnic tables, and the signature dish is bo ssäm—a roast pork butt big enough to serve 10. But when details about the brilliant, Asian-oriented, pork-centric menu emerge, the uninitiated are reassured. The bo ssäm, for instance, has been crusted with brown sugar and roasted until it’s falling-apart tender.
We loved: Pork-belly buns.
When the Pig opened in 2005, it was known mostly for its celebrity owners—Jay-Z and Mario Batali, to name two. Now April Bloomfield (an F&W Best New Chef 2007) is famous in her own right for her excellent Italian-inflected gastropub menu. Bloomfield also cooks at the John Dory, an elegant fish restaurant.
We loved: Ricotta gnudi with sage brown butter.
Insider tip: Go for lunch—there’s no wait and the midday menu has a terrific cubano sandwich.
Hot Food Zone Upper West Side
Top restaurateurs are (finally) coming to the UWS. Across from Lincoln Center, chef Daniel Boulud’s deluxe bistro Bar Boulud offers boudin blanc and a fabulous wine list. Danny Meyer’s outpost of Shake Shack has the same great burgers as the original, but shorter lines. And Zak Pelaccio’s Fatty Crab serves Malaysian specialties like chili crab.
New York’s Best Restaurant Values
Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich’s amazing wine bar next to Del Posto’s fancy dining room serves lardo butter with homemade breads and earthy dishes like orrechiette with stewed rabbit. A five-course dinner: $52.
The superb restaurant was already one of the city’s best places to eat before überchef Jean-Georges Vongerichten made it virtually impossible to resist: The $28 lunch menu lists iconic dishes like scallops in caper-raisin emulsion.
Michael Psilakis (an F&W Best New Chef 2008) relocated Kefi to a bigger space but still serves Greek specialties like succulent pork souvlaki ($14). He’s added two key things: a reservationist and credit card machine.