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Something Curated highlights five of the most exciting new and recently launched restaurants to try in New York this December, taking a closer look at the chefs and proprietors behind the promising food offerings.

Chikarashi Isso || Jonathan Chu, Ivy Tsang, Selwyn Chan, Michael Jong Lim & Atsushi Kono

Fast-casual lunch destination Chikarashi debuts its first ever full-service restaurant at its new location, Chikarashi Isso. Open for dinner, Isso brings a contemporary perspective to the traditions of kappo-style Japanese cuisine, offering an elegant and intimate dining experience with a focus on seasonality. The eclectic menu of composed plates, along with yakitori, chirashi, noodles and tempura, is developed by Chikarashi executive chef and Neta veteran Michael Jong Lim, designed to be enjoyed a la carte or as a “chef’s choice” tasting typical of kappo-style cuisine. Ingredients are sourced locally whenever possible, including from chef Lim’s family farm in Connecticut, while condiments ranging from soy sauce and miso paste to kimchi and gochujang are made by Lim himself.

38 Rector St, New York, NY 10006

Redcrest || Adam Volk

Philadelphia’s Southern-style fried chicken specialist, Redcrest Fried Chicken, has opened its first outpost in NYC at The Starliner bar in Bushwick. Redcrest’s chef and founder, Adam Volk, is personally preparing his crispy, fried chicken recipes that he spent years developing. The menu includes fried chicken served with a buttermilk biscuit, sandwiches, boneless chicken, homemade sides and sauces, as well as a variety of homemade teas and lemonades. Eat-in guests enter via The Starliner to get to the tucked-away restaurant housed behind the bar serving chicken counter-style; there is also an outdoor courtyard dining space for when the weather allows.

1446 Myrtle Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237

Casa Ora || Ivo Diaz, Isbelis Diaz & Luis Herrera

Casa Ora is the brainchild of mother-son duo Ivo and Isbelis Diaz. The newly opened Williamsburg restaurant brings a fine dining flair to Venezuelan cuisine. Along with consulting chef Luis Herrera, of Cosme and Alto, the Diaz family lead the all-Venezuelan kitchen crew at the new eatery. Isbelis prepares classics like arepas and empanadas, alongside less internationally known dishes. While Venezuelan cafes and bakeries are relatively commonplace in NYC (Diaz and his mother used to run one themselves), they have brought in Herrera to create more upscale interpretations of traditional fare from his home of Caracas for this project.

148 Meserole St, Brooklyn, NY 11206

Nowon || Jae Lee

Chef Jae Lee’s pickle-topped, kimchee-mayo drenched burgers, served at his pop-up eatery Him, managed to stand out among the copious NYC burger endeavours of 2019. Named after his hometown in South Korea and located in the East Village, Nowon expands on the ideas Lee worked on at Him. Alongside some popular dishes from Him on the menu, including the honey-butter tater tots with labneh, there are plenty of new innovations from the chef, spiked with international influences. The shin ramyun chicken wings are part Korean, with the gochujang glaze, and part American, owing to the buttermilk dressing, while the octopus a la plancha goes touches on Latin flavours with peanut mole and perilla chimichurri.

507 E 6th St, New York, NY 10009

Friendship BBQ || Lei Chen

Exceedingly popular Chinese barbecue restaurant Friendship BBQ is venturing into Manhattan following the success of their original location in Flushing. ​ Friendship BBQ, which specialises in Chinese skewers, or chuan’er (串儿) in Mandarin, launches a new 90-seat space catering to late night eating, staying open till 2am. The menu is largely influenced by the street food restaurants that have become omnipresent in large Chinese metropolises, where nightlife often revolves around drinking and snacking on items like lamb skewers, garlicky aubergine, and spicy crawfish, rather than bar-hopping.

103 Bowery, New York, NY 10002

Feature image via Chikarashi Isso

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