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 Restaurants
EDITED BY ROB PATRONITE AND ROBIN RAISFELD
Week of March 4, 2002
Bonita
"We don't like new," says Williamsburg restaurateur Mark Firth. No kidding. Three years ago, he and partner Andrew Tarlow restored a 1927 Brooklyn diner (now Diner), preserving its quaintly dilapidated ambience while applying a veneer of hipness and-most important-assembling a talented kitchen. Until recently, some of that talent stayed backstage: A Oaxacan brunch cook's soft tacos were the undisputed highlight of staff meals, but never made it on to the menu. They can now be found, along with their creator himself, at Bonita, Firth and Tarlow's new cantina, four blocks away. In their trademark preservationist style, they've kept the former Latino lunch counter's sign trumpeting comidas criollas, the row of stools opposite the open kitchen, and a few nods to the old menu, like plantains and rotisserie chicken. But cheese-dusted corn on the cob, fish tacos, and chiles rellenos, not to mention soft light flickering off multicolored tiles, set an entirely different tone.
338 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn
718-384-9500
·
 Cuisine: Latin

 

 

Wondee Siam ll
Given that there are no fewer than six Thai restaurants on the Hell's Kitchen blocks between 49th Street and 53rd Street, we're unofficially calling this neighborhood Little Bangkok. The latest addition, Wondee Siam ll, pushes the boundary a little farther north. Named in classic Mulberry Street fashion after the first tiny Wondee Siam takeout joint, which resides across the avenue and is bathed in enough fluorescent wattage to light Shea Stadium, Siam ll is a relatively posh and low-lit spin-off with 45 seats, linen napkins, a rose on every table, and an expanded menu of tangy, fiery salads like laab gai (minced chicken with red onion, scallions, chilis, and lime juice), crispy-duck salad with cashews and pineapple, and well-balanced curries from subtly spiced to fierce — the sort of thing food snobs refer to as "good for New York" Thai.
813 Ninth Avenue, near 53rd Street
917-286-1726
·
 Cuisine: Thai

 

 

preview
Barocco Hots
For Italian food's true believers, microwaving lasagna is sacrilege. So at Barocco Hots, opening next week, the owners insist on baking and reheating the various meat and vegetable casseroles in the oven. Like all the branches of the popular prepared-foods chain, this new one offers salads, soups, and signature items like chicken potpie. But here, there's table service, pressed panini, and a more extensive menu of made-to-order hot food like pappardelle with green olives and rabbit ragł, spaghetti with red clam sauce, and hanger steak with red-wine reduction. Eventually, there will be breakfast, brunch, and a backyard.
94 Greenwich Avenue
212-366-5936
·
 Cuisine: Italian

 


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Photos: From top to bottom- Patrik Rytikangas, Kenneth Chen, Carina Salvi
 
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