Best of the Rest: Food

Merkato 55's fish with red rice.Photo: Bill Durgin

SEPTEMBERAllen & Delancey
Owner Richard H. Friedberg’s second attempt to juxtapose fancy but casual food with a gritty Lower East Side streetscape à la 71 Clinton Fresh Food. This time, it’s Gordon Ramsay sacrificial lamb Neil Ferguson in the kitchen. 115 Allen St., at Delancey St.; 212-253-5400.

It used to be enough that pastry chefs made dessert. No more. The latest to branch out into the wonderful world of savory is Jean Georges vet Jehangir Mehta, who intends to cover all the bases with his new bistro-bakery, from wine bar to children’s party space (not at the same time, we hope). 224 E. 10th St., nr. Second Ave.; 212-464-7743.

Photo: Patrick McMullan

After a veritable archaeological dig in the old Aquavit space, Gray Kunz has emerged with news of brick walls, four fireplaces, and many more remnants of the onetime Rockefeller townhouse. The remodeled space is now fit for festive finger food and cocktails upstairs, and private fêtes below. 13–15 W. 54th St., nr. Fifth Ave.; 212-262-4600.

Market Table
Former Mermaid Inn chef Mike Price joins forces with Little Owl’s Joey Campanaro and Gabriel Stulman to launch this combination market-restaurant, where the same ingredients used in Price’s American dishes (and some of the heat-and-eat dishes, too) can be bought retail. 54 Carmine St., at Bedford St.; 212-255-2100.

Alex Ureña tweaks the décor and whittles the prices of his haute-Spanish Ureña, emphasizing shareable entrées like a sixteen-ounce rib eye. 37 E. 28th St., nr. Park Ave. S.; 212-213-2328.

OCTOBERBroadway East
Former Angelica Kitchen chef Peter Berley brings his plant-based, meat-as-a-garnish philosophy to this eco-friendly restaurant, which will compost its waste and filter and carbonate its own water. 171 E. Broadway, nr. Canal St.; no phone yet.

Irving Mill
Candela’s Gothic, candlelit décor is swept away to shine a spotlight on former Gramercy Tavern chef John Schaefer’s Greenmarket-inspired fare. 116 E. 16th St., nr. Irving Pl.; 212-254-1600.

Photo: Patrick McMullan

Merkato 55
Marcus (Aquavit) Samuelsson wrote an African cookbook, The Soul of a New Cuisine, and this fall, he opens the companion restaurant, showcasing the continent’s diverse foodways with dishes like goat kefta and shrimp piri piri. 55–61 Gansevoort St., nr. Greenwich St.; no phone yet.

2nd Avenue Deli
It’s not on Second Avenue anymore, but everything else will be the same, promise the pastrami pros, and Toidy-Toid and Toid is an excellent address for a delicatessen. 162 E. 33rd St., nr. Third Ave.; 212-677-0606.

Q's barbecued squid.Photo: Bill Durgin

At Snack Taverna and Compass, John Fraser combined local, seasonal ingredients in unpredictable but tasty ways. He’s planning to do the same here, plus offer weekend afternoon tea service and prix fixe Sunday-night suppers. 103 W. 77th St., nr. Columbus Ave.; no phone yet.

Eighty One
Seafood savant Ed Brown takes on the notoriously fickle Upper West Side in a big-ticket-designer (Chris Smith) space with a casual vibe (of course) and a globally inspired menu that emphasizes meticulous sourcing and luxury ingredients, screw the food miles. 45 W. 81st St., nr. Columbus Ave.; 212-873-8181.

The suddenly ubiquitous Anita Lo (of Annisa and the expanding Rickshaw Dumpling Bar) gives barbecue an Asian-American spin, smoking everything from salmon and duck to red-braised beef short ribs. 308 Bleecker St., nr. Grove St.; no phone yet.

Photo: Patrick McMullan

10 Downing
In this age of reality shows and kitchen-hopping chefs, Scott Bryan has been ensconced at Veritas, earning plaudits from food magazines, wine geeks, and Anthony Bourdain, who canonized him in Kitchen Confidential. Next up: a market-driven, Mediterranean-inspired menu in comparatively casual digs. 10 Downing St., at Sixth Ave.; no phone yet.

Jean-Georges Vongerichten swaps 66’s foie gras dumplings for soba noodles, courtesy of three restaurateur brothers from Tokyo. 241 Church St., at Leonard St.; 212-925-0202.

Who better than the fastidious cocktail shakers from Employees Only to revive the spirit of this once-storied space (Marylou’s and, before that, a Prohibition-era speakeasy)? Keith Harry (Chanterelle) is cooking what they’re calling old-world American brasserie, and the name is for the blimpy airships, not the band. 21 W. 9th St., nr. Fifth Ave.; no phone yet.

Best of the Rest: Food