Something Curated highlights ten of the most exciting new and recently launched restaurants to try in New York this December, taking a closer look at the founders and proprietors behind the promising food offerings.
Llama San || Erik Ramirez & Juan Correa
Planned to open at the end of this year is Llama San, a new restaurant created by chef-owner Erik Ramirez and partner Juan Correa. Having already opened restaurants Llama Inn and Llamita, this new concept will feature cuisine that is a hybrid between Peruvian and Japanese cooking, originally created by Japanese immigrants in Peru. The dishes on Llama San’s menu fuse together unique flavours and ingredients, including their tofu served with quinoa furikake, wild sturgeon caviar, and chancaca, which is a Peruvian syrup made from sugarcane.
359 Sixth Ave, Greenwich Village
Mokum || Ben Vaschetti & Tea Zegarac Pollock
Opened by two Upper West Side natives, chef Ben Vaschetti of Le Cirque and health connoisseur Tea Zegarac Pollock, comes Mokum, a restaurant set out to be a neighbourhood favourite offering a locally-focused menu. Mokum’s menu features ever-changing, home-style cooked meals, such as strip steak served with farro-stuffed bell peppers, and red snapper in a pinto-bean stew. Don’t forget to try their artisanal cheese plate complete with locally sourced Hudson Valley preserves, as well as the desert menu serving scoops of butter pecan gelato from New York-based Artigiani del Gelato.
464 Amsterdam Ave, Upper West Side
Japan Village || Tony Yoshida, Takuya Yoshida & More
In this brand-new 20,000-square-foot market in Industry City, diners will be able to get a taste of authentic and diverse Japanese cuisine. Japan Village features over 11 food vendors, a liquor store, an Izakaya restaurant, bar, and a Sunrise Mart selling various groceries and snacks. The concept is designed to feel like an authentic market in Japan as opposed to a Japanese grocery store in Manhattan. Various vendors included are Ramen Setagaya, Moriya, Mika N’ Momo, and Hachi.
934 3rd Ave, Brooklyn
Saint Julivert Fisherie || Alex Raij & Eder Montero
Saint Julivert Fisherie comes from Brooklyn restaurateurs Alex Raij and Eder Montero. The duo are known for their expertise in Iberian cuisine, owning popular restaurants in Brooklyn and in Manhattan such as El Quinto Pino and La Vara. Their new eatery focuses on high quality fish, and the menu is influenced by new flavours from around the world, including Portugal and India. Some of the tempting dishes on offer include a crispy tuna bake with tomato, turmeric, and curry leaf; squid blended with romano bean, salsa verde, and pine nut; as well as pig ear terrine with kombu and broiled oysters.
264 Clinton St, Brooklyn
Taste So Good (Make You Wanna Slap Your Mama) || Tyshawn Jones
Tyshawn Jones may only be 19 years old, but that’s not stopping him from opening his own restaurant. Though one of the most promising stars in the skateboarding world, signed with Adidas and the face of Thrasher magazine, Jones has always dreamed of being a chef. He opened the restaurant in the neighbourhood near his childhood home and school, after noticing that the only food available nearby were fast food or burger and pizza joints. Overseen by Robert Bailey, a versatile chef originally from Jamaica, the Carribean-American menu features dishes such as jerk chicken and curry goat, tender oxtail, hearty mac n’ cheese, and “Rasta Pasta”; a heaping serving of penne pasta topped with an assortment of spicy sauces and sautéed vegetables.
1752 Lafayette Ave, Bronx
Oxalis || Nico Russell, Piper Kristensen & Steve Wong
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After winning over the hearts of diners in Brooklyn with its hugely popular pop-up dinners, Oxalis has found a permanent home for their ever-rotating, five course menu in Prospect Heights. Previously serving Michelin-starred restaurants Daniel and Mirazur, chef Nico Russell’s dishes use local ingredients and seasonal produce. This season, diners can expect to see lots of sweet potatoes, squash, burrata, and duck.
791 Washington Ave, Brooklyn
Hill Country Food Park || Marc Glosserman & Kristen Glosserman
Hill Country Food Park, an indoor food hall modelled after the food truck parks that are popular in Austin, Texas, is founded by Marc and Kristen Glosserman, the owners of popular Hill Country Chicken and Hill Country Barbecue, with help from Ash Fulk, who will serve as culinary director. Downstairs, diners can choose from six stalls, including a Tex-Mex taco stand, a pizza stall with pies featuring barbecue toppings, and an all-day coffee stand serving donuts and ice cream, all while sitting at classic wooden picnic tables under glittering string lights. Upstairs, Hanks Saloon, a popular dive bar in Boreum Hill, will open next year, complete with live country music and, of course, beer.
345 Adams St, Brooklyn
Shoo Shoo || Shimon Maman
Shoo Shoo is a new restaurant channeling Tel Aviv’s bohemian café culture with a New York perspective, designed to foster the simple act of bringing people together around a common table. The cuisine will focus on organic proteins, whole grains, and seasonal vegetables, with an emphasis on Israeli staples. Born in Israel, Maman is a chef and restaurateur who is the former co-owner and operator of 12 Chairs Café, a Middle Eastern restaurant in The East Village and Brooklyn. Shoo Shoo’s menu features dishes such as their Octopus alla Plancha on grated tomatoes, black olives, charred potatoes, oregano, and labneh; as well as Shakshouka with baked eggs, broiled tahini, za’atar, olives, and tomatoes, served with a side of challah bread.
371 Broome St, NoLita
Nittis || Will, Arben & Kuj Durollari
Owned by father Will Durollari and his two sons, Arben and Kuj, this new concept brings together classic Italian recipes with a modern touch and aesthetic. The name comes from Will’s nickname, “Nitti,” given to him by his grandmother. Arben and Kuj, owners of the clothing label BOND, will be cooking the meals along with chef Andrea Cinus Napolitano, the family fulfilling their lifelong dream of operating a restaurant together. The menu includes Italian classics such as mozzarella sticks and lasagne, but also features dishes with a twist, such as their cacio e pepe arancini and the vermicelli vongole topped with sautéed manila clams and white wine sauce.
523 9th Ave, Hell’s Kitchen
Joe’s Steam Rice Roll || Joe Rong
Joe Rong is bringing his famous rice rolls to The Canal Street Market in Chinatown, which will be his first location in Manhattan. Though the menu will reflect the original location in Flushing, with beef, shrimp, curry fish balls, and pork rice rolls, diners should still expect to find a few new surprises on the Canal Street menu. Rong will be serving up Chinese crepes and the new “Joe’s Signature” roll, made up of his choice of pork, beef, dry shrimp, egg, and lettuce. Customers will also be able to add corn, lettuce, bean sprouts, scallions, and cilantro to their orders.
265 Canal St, Chinatown
Words by Jane Herz | Feature image via Saint Julivert Fisherie