This past December, I closed on a cozy second home in the village of Fleischmanns, New York. Though I’m always going to be a resident of Manhattan because the lack of ramen joints in the Catskills does not sit well with me, I’ve been spending more time away from the city these past few weeks than ever before. It’s not been all subpar pizza up here though, as exploring the local food scene uncovered delicious local finds like Magpies on Pink Street and Brushland Eating House, which is destined to appear in a Wes Anderson film, Chef’s Table, or a Wes Anderson directed episode of Chef’s Table at some point.
So for this edition of This Guy Eats, instead of profiling one dining experience that might be worth exploring after a day of real estate hunting, I thought it would be more helpful to highlight three new restaurants and drop a few tips about which ones are worthy - and which have a strong chance of leaving you disappointed.
1. Chambers (94 Chambers St #1, New York, NY 10007)
What did I learn while working for Zagat? If you want to know where to go, make friends in the restaurant industry and follow along as they uncover new spots that are about to open to the public. In the case of Chambers, I noticed Yannick Benjamin, owner of The New York Times top 10 new restaurants of 2021 Contento, described his meal there as “magnificent.” Yannick’s also a well known sommelier so his endorsement of Chambers’ should be particularly appealing to the oenophiles amongst us. The restaurant is owned by the same team behind the beloved but now shuttered Tribeca wine bar Racines - it’s in the same exact space too - and if you want a hint on what the hospitality experience is here, just know that the first course of sesame pizza bianca is complimentary. The menu isn’t too extensive - that’s what the wine list is for - but does include entrees like a $28 black sea bass with artichokes and saffron as well as a $28 Berkshire pork loin.
Verdict: Must visit for third date night, wine night, and solo dining.
2. The Noortwyck (289 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014)
Though I love surprises, the safe bet and the one I highly suggest is to review a restaurant’s website and social media channels prior to making a reservation. I know from living in the West Village that The Noortwyck is near a busy intersection, the one where Bleecker Street meets Seventh Avenue South, so if you’re looking for a quiet restaurant or a calm outdoor seating situation, this is not the place. What I learned from reviewing the website is that they hired one of the top restaurant specific PR agencies in NYC to represent them, the chefs have the word “Eleven Madison Park” on their resumes, and the seasonally driven menu offers a $75 whole roast chicken with potatoes meant for two people. At first glance, you might think The Noortwyck has all the makings of a great restaurant, but there are a few red flags for me I have to point out. Reviewing the menu and seeing old reliables like burrata, scallop crudo, and tuna tartare don’t look interesting enough to make me feel good about dining here. Sure, these dishes taste great and are tried and true, but will they be memorable enough to come back? A bucatini with ramps and white pepper is priced at $27 while a kale salad with avocado and macadamia will set you back $18. I’m not here to trash today’s menu pricing and understand there’s a mark up for prestigious ingredients and plating, but reviewing The Noortwyck’s menu, I don’t feel it’s worth going out of the way given the price tag. A good test I suggest is to find a nice quiet place, read through a menu, and ask yourself, “Does this menu and dining room make me want to stop what I’m doing and book a reservation right this minute?” If the answer is “maybe later,” move on to someplace else.
Verdict: Hard Pass. This restaurant will get a bunch of press coverage from outlets like Eater and Grub Street compelling you to visit, but the seasonal American fare is something you can find at plenty of other places.
3. Lord’s (Greenwich Village, exact location is being kept discreet until opening)
The owners of the hit fish and chips driven Dame, Ed Syzmanksi and Patricia Howard, are putting the finishing touches on their second offering, Lord’s, with its opening scheduled for this Fall. Interviews indicate it’s going to be an “ambitious” nose-to-tail bistro still focusing on English fare. They’re keeping things pretty close to the vest as indicated by their lack of Instagram posts which is a big indicator to me this place is going to be a long term hit. This couple is all about taking their time testing dishes, finding the right space and decor, and pushing themselves to outdo what they accomplished during the pandemic. As a recap, they turned a fish and chips pop up shop on MacDougal Street into a full blown restaurant with a massive reservation list and successful merch line while serving as a powerful voice on work-life balance within the hospitality industry. Reading this, you might think I know them well, but the reality is I don’t, I just feel like I do based on the facts that are out there. That’s the warmth you want when thinking about where to dine out. A great restaurant should make you feel something, and Lord’s has plenty of restaurant goers feeling like royalty.
Verdict: Grab a chair and be ready to wait in line before the restaurant opens. If that’s not your thing, then just make it a point to visit here at least once but try to come back as the seasons change to experience new dishes. It’s going to be insanely hard to get in here (though you should always call the restaurant to get the skinny on their walk-in policy) thanks to the success of Dame and the loyal clientele they’ve built up. Subscribe to their email list, follow them, and try walking in whenever you’re around the Village to see what chairs might need a warm body.