BY CAROLINE BENVENISTE |
The Golden Swan, 314 W. 11th St., at Greenwich Street
The Spotted Pig closed in April 2020, the casualty of a sexual harassment scandal. Now the space has been polished up and looks more formal. For the soft opening, only the first floor is open, with a bar in the front room and several tables in a smaller room behind, referred to as “The Wallace Room.” The cocktails have some unusual combinations and ingredients, such as “The Goo Goo Knox” (tequila, raspberry, guava and amaro) and “Sinister Romance” (gin, pineapple rum and peach). The food menu for now is small, with just seven options. The salmon rillettes were nicely composed, served with homemade waffle potato chips, and the carbonara was beautifully presented with a poached egg on top, but on the salty side. The second floor is still under construction and should be opening later in June.
Donna, 7 Cornelia St., just west of Sixth Avenue
Donna is a relaunch of a bar by the same name formerly in Williamsburg. That location closed in December 2020 due to challenges caused by the pandemic. It has now reopened on Cornelia Street, where Uncle Chop Chop used to be. The new incarnation is employee-owned. There are four worker-owners, and the other employees will have a year of buy-in before they will have a say in hiring and firing, products and where to invest the profits. Since the bar has a cooperative model, they work closely with other cooperatives, such as the ones that made the wall hangings, countertops and even some of the alcohol (e.g., Tanteo Tequila and Song Cai Vietnamese Dry Gin). The venue is about half the size of the original, and the rent is lower. The innovative cocktails are $19, and the food menu includes bar snacks, like tostadas, pupusas and vegetable plates, as well as heartier entrées like braised pork shoulder, Uli’s Rice & Beans and a whole roasted fish.
Kolkata Chai Co., 60 Kenmare St., near Mott Street
Brothers Ani and Ayan Sanyal are children of immigrant parents and they found that NYC was lacking in authentic masala chai. They had previously been running a marketing agency, but in 2018, Ayan spent a couple of months traveling in Assam, sampling food, studying the techniques of making chai, and approaching relatives for their recipes. They spent about a year testing their product with friends and family and at farmers’ markets and festivals. Their chai is made by simmering Assam tea, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves and fresh ginger in whole milk (or oat milk). They opened their first location in the East Village at Third Street and Avenue B, a neighborhood they liked because it was affordable (they were self-funded), had a sense of community, and few chains. Their new location has a larger food menu of vegetarian offerings, such as freshly fried samosas, Kolkata egg rolls (fried paratha bread with eggs, pickled onions and mint chutney) and more.
Ariari (119 First Ave., near E. Seventh Street) is the only Korean restaurant in New York City with cuisine from Busan, a port city. As a result, the menu skews heavily toward seafood dishes. There are no banchan (small dishes), but there are raw fish strips, served with lettuce and sauces to make wraps. Some other familiar dishes, like scallion pancakes and bibimbap, incorporate seafood. The restaurant is extremely popular, and it is difficult to get a reservation. Brasserie Viet Nam (282 Bleecker St., between Seventh Avenue South and Morton Street) is a new Vietnamese restaurant with a sleek design that opened in the space that used to house Kumo Sushi. Libertine, a French bistro from Cody Pruitt of Anfora, will open where Gaetana’s used to be (684 Greenwich St., at Christopher Street). When I ran into Pruitt outside the restaurant, he said the opening would take place on May 25, “Department of Buildings and Con Ed willing.” If it does happen, we will report more in next month’s issue. An infused bake shop, Sweetooth, opened at 184 W. Fourth St. (between Jones and Barrow Streets). It is the third Sweetooth to open in the city, but Upper East Site reported on May 20 that all locations were closed in a multi-agency raid for illegally selling unlicensed pot products. The site also reported “the company says it will continue defying a cease-and-desist order.” Robert Sietsema of Eater NY weighed in on new taquito spot TQTO (99 MacDougal St., between Bleecker Street and Minetta Lane) and recommended the potato version.
Brodo (496 Hudson St., near Christopher Street), a bone broth purveyor started by Marco Canora, the owner of Hearth, has closed after seven years at that location. The UWS Brodo also shuttered, but the original takeout window adjacent to Hearth in the East Village is still open.
Southern Charm (523 Hudson St., near W. 10th Street) is a daytime cafe from the Bird Dog folks. It will be located two doors down from the restaurant in the storefront where Ovenly used to be. According to their press release, the focus will be on coffee and biscuits. The opening is scheduled for June 6. Janie of Janie’s Life-Changing Baked Goods (82 Christopher St., between Seventh Avenue South and Bleecker Street) is famous for her Pie Crust Cookie, which will soon be available in the old Flip ’n Toss space. Workers outside the old Dominique Ansel space on Seventh Avenue South (between West 10th and Charles Streets) said that a Wagyu restaurant is coming to that location. Signs are up on Ninth Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets heralding the arrival of H&M in spring/summer 2023. The old Avena space at 260 Sixth Ave. (between Bleecker and Houston Streets) will now be getting a “neighborhood French restaurant helmed by executive chef Nicole Gadjahar, formerly of John Frazier restaurants The Loyal and Nix,” according to the Community Board 2 liquor license application.
Lingua Franca, which was previously on Bleecker Street, has moved to 95 Jane St. (entrance on Washington Street). Lingua Franca sells sustainably-sourced, fair-trade luxury cashmere sweaters, hand-stitched by women in NYC. In June 2019, the window display housed the “Tiny Pricks Project,” a series of needlepoint pieces created by contributors from around the world, in which tweets and quotes from former President Trump were showcased. The store closed briefly in April 2021, then reopened in the same storefront before relocating. Cappone’s Italian Sandwich Shop has signage up at 11 Abingdon Square (Eighth Avenue near Bleecker Street) where Injera, an Ethiopian restaurant used to be. A reader noticed that the Cappone’s in Chelsea Market was shuttered and that they were selling their heroes on the sidewalk on Gansevoort Street. When he asked about the Abingdon Square move, he was told: “We don’t know, still waiting for Landmarks.” And speaking of Landmarks, it seems like they finally approved the changes to the old Riviera Cafe space (225 W. Fourth St., at Seventh Avenue South) because construction has started. About a year ago we had reported that “there is currently an application to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to alter the facade, replace an enclosed sidewalk cafe, and replace window and signage.” The new restaurant will be called Ruby’s, and they use “the freshest local produce balanced with Australian culinary influences.” Chelsea Wine Vault (now Chelsea Wine Co.) has moved from its longtime location in Chelsea Market to 60 Ninth Ave. (between 14th and 15th Streets). The new shop has a lounge in the basement complete with an extensive sound system suitable for events with DJ’s.
Julietta has reopened for the season and is back to serving their colorful gelati. Balkan StrEAT is now open for breakfast with some additional flavors of boureks and other homemade baked goods. F8 (11 Cornelia St.) is a pop-up from the owners of Silver Apricot that will operate until June 18, in honor of AAPI month. The menu features dishes from different AAPI chefs and combines some Asian and Southern elements. The space will transform into Figure Eight at some point in the future, named after an island off the coast of North Carolina.
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