Trestle on Tenth
242 Tenth Ave., at 24th St.; 212-645-5659
Once a treacherous gastro-no-man’s-land, the mere mention of which could make a strong foodie tremble, lower Tenth Avenue continues its culinary evolution with the opening of Trestle on Tenth. Chef-owner Ralf Kuettel has completely gourmandized the former Chelsea Commons premises, keeping the elegant bar (which originally came from the great jazz club the Five Spot) and sprucing up the backyard garden. He says he’s not sure what to call his menu, which reflects both the time he spent cooking at restaurants like Union Square Cafe and his idyllic Swiss-farm-boy childhood. But it’s chock-full of all sorts of Greenmarket touches and gastropubby delights like pork-shoulder crepinettes and roast lamb saddle with bacon sauce. And as everyone knows, everything’s better with bacon sauce.
111 E. 18th St., nr. Park Ave. S.; 212-260-2020
In the wake of Philly’s Morimoto and Buddakan comes Japonais, the latest out-of-town Asian mega-restaurant to make its big Manhattan debut. The 291-seat Chicago transplant opens July 13 in a space designed by partner Jeffrey Beers and subdivided into a warren of sleek dining rooms and bars. Like any self-respecting French-accented nouvelle Japanese operation, Japonais has two chefs—one for the cold food (and sushi), one for the hot. From the first category come elaborate presentations like monkfish foie gras with octopus and whitefish in house ponzu; from the second, Wagyu-brisket ravioli in Hitachino Nest beer broth, and a riff on Peking duck called Le Quack Japonais.