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Week of April 1, 2002
Washington Park
Despite a recent stumble or two -- the short-lived Colina at ABC Carpet & Home, his pre-opening defection from Berkeley Bar and Grill -- Jonathan Waxman hasn't exhausted the devotion of his fans. Far from it: The memory of his mid-eighties chicken and French fries at Jams should be enough to keep the dining room of his new Washington Park booked for weeks. A veteran of Chez Panisse and an opening chef at Michael's in Santa Monica, Waxman belongs to the pantheon of those who revolutionized American cooking. And after more than a decade of consulting, he's finally settled down in a kitchen of his own, where, starting April 2, he'll reprise signatures like red-pepper pancakes with wild smoked salmon and grilled pork tenderloin marinated in brown-sugar brine. (And, yes, chicken.) His fritto misto "River Cafe" -- a daily changing, Ligurian-style fish fry -- is an homage to the London restaurant of that name, not the Brooklyn one. With a $45 three-course prix fixe menu, an $85 five-course wine-pairing menu, and whimsical à la carte selections like foie gras tacos and caviar-laced Belon stews, this time around might just be a walk in the Park. — ROBIN RAISFELD
24 Fifth Avenue
 Cuisine: Eclectic



Wild Lily Tea Room
For almost four years, West Chelsea gallery-goers have taken post-abstraction refuge at the serene Wild Lily Tea Room, an oasis of oolongs and Darjeelings. Now owner Ines Sun and architect David Hu have collaborated once again, in an equally remote part of town. But at Wild Lily Tea Market, a prototype for what Sun hopes will be a chain of tearooms, she offers Alphabet City sippers a less expensive selection of senchas, lapsang souchongs, and caffeine-free herbal tisanes, all quirkily described on the menu. To nibble, there are sweet and savory snacks like Chinese steamed buns and Japanese wheat cakes. And besides selling leaves by the ounce, Sun has accumulated a line of stylish products made both for tea (like the travel kit, pictured above) and from it, like green-tea soap, business cards, and odor-fighting insoles for your shoes.
545 East 12th Street
 Cuisine: Tea



Kitchenette Uptown
Years before comfort food was such a hot-button issue among feisty critics (is macaroni and cheese dumb-guy food or America's greatest culinary achievement?), Kitchenette was quietly turning out delicious outsize portions of the stuff to a grateful TriBeCa neighborhood. With the opening of a new upper Amsterdam Avenue branch, Kitchenette Uptown, score one for the comfort-food clique. The much roomier 2,200-square-foot space next door to Max SoHa might be a reason for the owners to reconsider the "ette" part of the name. But the nearly identical menu and the country-kitchen décor are as small-town quaint as ever. There are peach pancakes, salmon-croquette sandwiches, blue-plate specials, an expanded dinner menu, homemade pie, and, as the sign above the café-side counter says, breakfast, served all day.
1272 Amsterdam Avenue, near 123rd Street
 Cuisine: Comfort food


Industry (food)
What do you get when you mix chefs who worked for Jean-Louis Palladin and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, bartenders and managers from Bungalow 8 and BondSt, and a rustic design that borrows the tree motif from the Park? Apparently, as of April 3, you get Industry (food), a new restaurant that adopts the same parenthetical affectation employed by (The Mercer) Kitchen, where its co-owners met. They've revamped the old Coup space with enough wood to rankle an Earth First!-er: chestnut logs, pine barnwood, and a pair of birch trees growing through the atrium's copper-topped bar. Chef Marco Morillo's French-American menu pays tribute to Palladin, his late mentor, in dishes like cast-iron-grilled skate wing, pea soup with cockles, and braised Kentucky short ribs with bone-marrow flan (entrées, $13 to $19).
509 East 6th Street
 Cuisine: French-American


The late Tapika's urban cowboys have long since saddled up and ridden off into the sunset, and in their place comes Cinnabar, a high-style Asian restaurant that falls somewhere between Shun Lee Palace and Ruby Foo's on the culinary-concept map. To go with the celadon-canvas-covered chairs, the cinnamon walls and floor, and the wispy floral displays is a general manager from Shun Lee, as well as chef Vincent Cheng, who's cooked in Hong Kong and L.A. He's making it hard for indecisive diners, with a 150-item menu of Cantonese, Hunan, and Sichuan dishes like giant steamed oysters with XO sauce, hot-and-sour Napa cabbage, Hong Kong-style Dungeness crab with crispy garlic and shallots, and Peking duck for two.
235 West 56th Street
 Cuisine: Chinese


Remember Moomba? The nightlife impresarios who've taken over Leo's lamented haunt undoubtedly hope that they've also inherited some of its celebrity appeal, which must account for the VIP bathroom. To fuel the frenzy, there's tapas, and to go with the chalet theme, custom-made tables with built-in fondue pots.
133 Seventh Avenue So.
 Cuisine: Tapas


Osteria del Sole
On what might be one of the West Village's prettiest corners, the late EQ has quietly morphed into this lively trattoria, with a moderately priced menu of traditional Italian fare and a boisterous Italian clientele that laps it up. Until the liquor license arrives, the busboys will happily fetch a bottle for you from the local liquor store (as long as you pay up front).
267 W. 4th Street
 Cuisine: Italian


Openings Archive

Week of March 18
Fiamma, Blue Smoke, Rouge, Tournesol
Week of March 11
Elmo, Rochjin Asian Noodle, Soy, Nong, Si Si
Week of March 4
Bonita, Wondee Siam II, Barocco Hots

and more ...

Photos: From top to bottom- Kenneth Chen (2), Patrik Rytikangas (2), Carina Salvi,
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