Frederick Twomey is a connoisseur of bars—wine bars, panini bars, coffee bars, and, with the opening this week of Bar Carrera, tapas bars. Like his Italian-flavored Bar Veloce next door, Bar Carrera is foremost a place to drink, in this case primarily Iberian wines and Spanish sherry. But it’s also a place for Twomey to explore the realm of Basque tapas, both traditional (tuna and artichoke pinchos) and experimental (toast with tomato sorbet and olive-oil powder, a riff on pan con tomate). The 25-seat space, formerly occupied by Twomey’s short-lived coffee shop Monkey Royale, was inspired in part by a men’s culinary club he visited in San Sebastián, epicenter of progressive Spanish cuisine. Twomey plans to keep both the plates and the prices small, as befits his bar ideal: “In no way is this a restaurant.”
175 Second Ave., nr. 11th St.; 212-375-1555
Fatty Crab might not be the West Village reincarnation of Williamsburg’s late, lamented Chickenbone Café, but it comes close. There’s the familiar-looking staff, the bold Southeast Asian flavors, and the spirited chef, Zak Pelaccio, who’ll oversee Fatty Crab’s kitchen from his perch at the 5 Ninth mother ship around the corner. Pelaccio lived in Malaysia and fell in love with its food, which he celebrates with a gently priced menu of snacks (sardine-sambal tea sandwiches), salads (watermelon pickle and spicy pork), and noodles and soups (chow fun with shrimp and lardo)—all ideally paired with a selection of offbeat Asian beers and food-friendly European wines.
643 Hudson St., nr. Horatio St.; 212-352-3590
Before it became a performance space, the Zipper Theatre was a belt-and-zipper factory. Now, with the conversion of its ancillary Belt Theatre into the Pan-Latino restaurant Camino Sur, it’s adopted yet another identity. Chef Larry Kolar, a veteran of Sign of the Dove and Arizona 206, cooked at the defunct Bolivar and revives that restaurant’s eclectic South American spirit with duck-confit arepas, bacalao empanadas, assorted seviches, and all manner of parillas (grilled meats), served with farofa, chimichurri, and fries (appetizers, $8 to $12; entrées, $24 to $30).
336 W. 37th St., nr. Eighth Ave.; 212-695-4600
Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue has just gained two new cash-only dinner options, about a block apart from each other in Boerum Hill. Stan’s Place, the Creole café that opened for breakfast and lunch nine months ago, welcomes straight-from-N’awlins chef Robert McManus and introduces a more ambitious dinner menu. Beer and wine license pending (411 Atlantic Ave., nr. Bond St.; 718-596-3110). Mai brings Southeast Asian cuisine to the neighborhood, courtesy of former Cafe Asean cook Daniel Wu. His new spot has 50 seats, a garden, and a menu that culls influences and ingredients from Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, and Vietnam (497 Atlantic Ave., nr. Nevins St.; 718-797-3880).