Spring Forecast

Lake Trout's "cheese fish" sandwich.Photo: Danny Kim

Lake Trout
160 Havemeyer St., nr. S. 2nd St., Williamsburg; no phone yet; April
Williamsburg’s regional American food guru Joe Carroll (of Fette Sau and St. Anselm) takes on another scrumptious icon: the Baltimore-style deep-fried fish specialty typically doused with hot sauce, served with white bread, and known in that city as lake trout. “The thing is,” says Carroll, “it isn’t trout, and it’s not from a lake; it’s whiting.” Also: fried shrimp, crab cakes, turkey wings, and fries.

The NoMad
1170 Broadway, at 28th St.; 212-796-1500; late March
Daniel Humm and Will Guidara consider Miles Davis the creative muse behind Eleven Madison Park; for their first hotel project—the posher, pricier stepsister of the nearby Ace—they’ve cited the “studied” and “deliberate” chaos of the Rolling Stones. Parisian flea-market finds and a 200-year-old French-château fireplace outfit rooms encircling a central atrium.

Gran Electrica
5 Front St., nr. Old Fulton St., Dumbo; 718-852-2789; late March
From the team behind Brooklyn Heights’ Colonie comes the first of two new Dumbo restaurants, this one regional Mexican. Think parsnip esquites, chicharrón gorditas, and the seldom-seen Guadalajaran specialty carne en su jugo, which translates deliciously as “meat in its juices.”

Yunnan Kitchen
79 Clinton St., nr. Rivington St.; 212-253-2527; late March
The southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan borders Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam, and the proximity makes for an extremely varied cuisine. Mushrooms and edible blossoms loom large, and factor into Franny’s veteran Travis Post’s menu, which also features ginkgo with lily bulbs and greens, and rice cakes with salt-cured ham.

Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya at Thompson LES
187 Orchard St., nr. Stanton St.; 212-466-0404; April
The Bromberg brothers’ latest iteration of their sushi-bar concept emphasizes the communal, in both seating and eating, with lazy-Susan-topped tables, whole fish served sashimi style, and their signature fried chicken by the bucket. Also on tap: soju-based highball drinks and a plethora of nose-to-tail animal parts, from beef necks to chicken feet.

Giovanni Rana Pasta Kitchen
75 Ninth Ave., nr. 16th St.; no phone yet; April
If you remember Odette Fada’s exceptional risotto fests at San Domenico NY, where she cooked for over a decade, you’ll welcome her return, this time in the employ of an Italian pasta manufacturer in the Chelsea Market space recently vacated by 202. Prepared foods and fresh pastas will be available for home consumption.

La Vara's coca de cebes.Photo: Danny Kim

La Vara
268 Clinton St., nr. Verandah Pl., Cobble Hill; 718-422-0065; late March
Alex Raij is as much Spanish-food scholar as she is chef, and her third venture with husband Eder Montero is a thesis on the cuisine’s Moorish and Jewish legacies. Their menu evokes the Persian tradition via rabbit escabèche, and explores the kinship between couscous and the Murcian pasta gurullos.
See Also: Slideshow: What to Eat at La Vara

Mile End Sandwich
53 Bond St., nr. Bowery; no phone yet; April
Everyone’s favorite Canadian-Brooklyn cook-it-from-scratch locavore deli crosses the river to focus on the best part of any menu: the sandwiches. They’re all here, from the smoked meat to the mishmash (scrambled eggs, salami, hot dog, mustard greens on an onion roll), plus—if Noah Bernamoff’s wife and partner Rae Cohen gets her way—salads.

Pok Pok Ny
127 Columbia St., nr. Kane St., Columbia Street Waterfront District; no phone yet; April
James Beard Best Chef Northwest 2011 Andrew Ricker whetted New York’s appetite with his Lower East Side wing shop. Next up, a full-scale Brooklyn restaurant serving assiduously researched, authentic but approachable Southeast Asian food that will, we hope, free us from the decades-long tyranny of the generic ersatz stuff.

Porsena Sinistra
21 E. 7th St., nr. Third Ave.; no phone yet; May
By day, this sixteen-stool annex to Sara Jenkins’s Porsena will function as a lunch counter serving soups, salads, and sandwiches; by night, chef Sebastian Jaramillo helms a wine bar dispensing cured meats, raw-milk cheeses, vegetables, and the raw-fish preparations Italians call crudo.

Reynards at Wythe Hotel
80 Wythe Ave., at N. 11th St., Williamsburg; 718-460-8000; May
Whole-animal, wood-fired cooking and daily changing menus from Williamsburg locavore royalty, the team behind Diner and Marlow & Sons. Named for the folkloric French fox, it occupies the ground floor of a century-old former cooperage, with additional seating in an internal courtyard. Bonus hotel amenities: a rooftop bar and “seasonal” minibars.

84 E. 4th St., at Second Ave.; no phone yet; May
After a brief Sonoma sojourn to open Restaurant Eloise, chefs Ginevra Iverson and Eric Korsh undertake an East Village mom-and-pop rooted in French and Mediterranean traditions and supplied, if all goes well, by a restaurant-dedicated greenhouse on an upstate farm.

Trendlet: Choice Cut
The scary old deli-case staple is the variety meat of the moment.

Illustration by Janice Wu

There was a time, not so long ago, when a good tongue was hard to find. No more. Braised, pickled, corned, or smoked, tongue is suddenly everywhere, from the Beagle in the East Village, whose kitchen recently concocted the world’s first corned-tongue McMuffin (brunch only), to Terroir in Murray Hill, where the meaty muscle is cured and smoked pastrami style. It embellishes a deep-fried “puffy” taco at Goat Town and gets the French-dip treatment at JoeDough. At Gabe Stulman’s new Perla, it’s charred and served with cannellini beans and broccoli rabe, while over at Pane Panelle, it fills in for the traditional (but harder-sell) spleen on the Sicilian sandwich known as vastedda. It is, if anything, versatile, and, judging by its presence on some of this season’s most anticipated menus, it’s here to stay. Where to get your licks:

1. La Vara’s lengua
Llucmaçanes is two nice-size slabs of Minorca-style braised beef tongue in a stewy tomato-caper sauce.

2. Mile End Sandwich
Hot-brined calf’s tongue, sliced paper thin and served with onion-raisin marmalade, horseradish, and pickled mustard seed on housemade pumpernickel.

3. Gran Electrica
Beef-tongue tacos on housemade tortillas.

4. Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya
Fried rice with sweetbreads, beef tongue, and a poached egg.

Introducing: Matthew Lightner
Portland’s foremost forager-chef puts down roots in Tribeca.

Photo: Nathan Rawlinson/Courtesy of Atera

Nebraska-born Matthew Lightner’s route to Atera, opening March 20 in Tribeca, has been long and circuitous: from a decade cooking up and down the West Coast, to a revelatory year and a half at Mugaritz, the obligatory stage at Noma, and two years transforming Portland, Oregon’s Castagna into what some consider the city’s most exciting avant-garde kitchen. Atera (“to go out” in the Basque dialect) replaces the short-lived Compose, but retains its prix fixe, tasting-menu format (now $150 for ten courses, plus $90 optional beverage pairing). While waiting for the seventeen-seat space to be renovated and a development kitchen built downstairs, Lightner, 31, enlisted Maine forager Evan Strusinski to help source some of the region’s wild foods, a hallmark of the chef’s style. “In Portland,” says Lightner, “all these burly guys with their pants cut off, wearing tie-dyed T-shirts, would be knocking on your door every five minutes.” Lower Manhattan is another story. But that hasn’t hampered his efforts to apply modern and traditional techniques to ingredients like wild ginger, birch sap, and the parsley root he candies and folds into freeze-dried banana ice cream, a banana split for the modernist palate. 77 Worth St., nr. Broadway; 212-226-1444.

Seven Things You Need to Know About Michael White’s New Pizzeria, Nicoletta

Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Courtesy of Nicoletta

Ever since Mike White announced that he’d be getting into the pizza game, the entire crust-munching world has been wondering what the dickens he was up to. Now we know: pizza dough run through some kind of Homer Price–like contraption called a sheeter, and made in the style of some place called Wisconsin. Here’s the multitalented superstar chef on what else to expect.

1. I’m not rewriting the pizza book. I grew up in Wisconsin, and, as a kid, I worked in a pizzeria called Domenico’s. This is the kind of gas-oven pizza we made. Very crisp. Not too thin, not too thick.

2. Sometimes New York–Neapolitan and classic Neapolitan pizza is thin in the middle, thicker toward the edge, so when you pick up a slice, you’ve got to do that pinch thing with your thumb, index, and middle fingers, or the tip is going to droop. Our pizza will not droop.

3. I love it, but one thing about Neapolitan pizza everyone knows: It doesn’t travel well. Ours does. Delivery will be a big part of our business.

4. No matter where you grew up, you remember that smell of tomato sauce, oven, crust, and then that really wafting aroma of Pecorino Romano and basil when you first walk into a pizzeria. It’s that smell. That’s what I really want to bring to the city.

5. There is nothing you can’t put on pizza. Everything goes on pizza. Everything tastes better on pizza too.

6. We all know that pepperoni is the No. 1 topping.

7. No slices.

160 Second Ave., at 10th St.; no phone yet; April

Trendlet: Choice Cut
Introducing: Matthew Lightner
Seven Things You Need to Know About Michael White’s New Pizzeria, Nicoletta

Spring Forecast