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Restaurant Openings

Week of August 18, 2008: Apiary, Pita Joe, and Vintage Irving.

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Apiary
60 Third Ave., nr. 10th St.; 212-254-0888
The furniture company Ligne Roset is known for its modern French designs, not its seasonal American menu. But that might change this week when, in partnership with hospitality veteran Jenny Moon, the retailer opens Apiary, its first New York restaurant (the others are in Vienna, Moscow, and Paris). Ligne Roset is responsible for the space’s design, but the food falls under the culinary jurisdiction of Neil Manacle, former chef de cuisine of Bar Americain and Bolo. It makes sense, given his history, that spice figures prominently in dishes like red snapper crudo and seviche with Persian cucumbers and serrano chiles, smoked-paprika-rubbed pork tenderloin, and spice-crusted lamb with fried hummus (entrées, $21 to $29). Nick Mautone’s drink list showcases seasonal sangrias, 30 New York wines, and 30 wines by the glass or half-glass.


Pita Joe
2 W. 14th St., nr. Fifth Ave. 212-627-7877
At Pita Joe, a falafel-and-schnitzel joint opening this week near Union Square, the focus is on health. Whether this has anything to do with the spot’s location beneath a massive Lucille Roberts is unclear, but don’t be surprised to see spandex-clad ladies, fresh from a Butt and Gutt class, downing falafel salads and hummus-slathered chicken-schnitzel sandwiches. As at Delectica, his Murray Hill café, chef-partner Erez Cohen takes a nutritionally minded, environmentally friendly approach, using organic chickpeas, flour, and eggs, and packaging takeout orders in eco-containers. In addition to Middle Eastern salads and sandwiches, Cohen offers flavored lemonades, dairy-free date brownies, and cardamom-scented Turkish coffee.


Vintage Irving
118A E. 15th St., nr. Irving Pl. 212-677-6300
Vintage Irving shares an address and a kitchen with Sidebar, the lofty sports bar that replaced Link. But unlike Sidebar—and owner Michael Sinensky’s other sudsy ventures, including the Big Easy and Village Pourhouse—Vintage Irving has an intimate, wine-bar feel and a small-plates focus. Chef Jason Bunin, late of Knickerbocker Bar & Grill, doles out cured meats and imported cheeses, plus dishes like arancine with green-tomato compote, a salad of ham-wrapped romaine hearts with brandade croquettes and cilantro-caper vinaigrette, and fresh-fig tempura. There’s also a rotating selection of craft beers and European wines, and a planned monthly guest-chef demo series, with Sam Talbot kicking things off sometime in the near future.


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