Celebrity chefs aren't ones to rest on their laurels. Here, the biggest openings in the Big Apple this fall.
A CHANGE OF SEASONING He's proved his prowess with chilies and peppers; now Bobby Flay is cooking like the down-home boy he plays on TV at Bar Americain (152 W. 52nd St.; 212/265-9700; dinner for two $100), whipping up regional dishes like shrimp-and-grits, New England clam chowder, and Carolina smoked trout.
A CHANGE OF SCENERY Nobu Matsuhisa is now also serving his legendary lacquered miso cod at Nobu Fifty-Seven (40 W. 57th St.; 212/757-3000; dinner for two $150). Although midtown may not be as sexy as TriBeCa, the David Rockwelldesigned dining room is a looker: a 299-seat bi-level palace with wave-patterned stone floors and banquettes fashioned from fishing nets.
A DOWN-SIZE After opening two behemoth Manhattan restaurants last year (Spice Market, in the Meatpacking District, and V Steakhouse, in the Time Warner Center), Jean-Georges Vongerichten has gone intimate, with 60-seat Perry Street (176 Perry St.; 212/352-1900; dinner for two $160), on the ground floor of one of Richard Meier's West Village towers. The food is back-to-delicious basics—roasted chicken, poached cherries with sabayon. You might even glimpse the chef: he lives in one of the apartments upstairs.
AN UP-SIZE Laurent Tourondel has raised the stakes at BLT Prime (111 E. 22nd St.; 212/995-8500; dinner for two $100), pairing his lamb T-bones, duck breasts, and smoked sea saltcrusted American Kobe rib eyes with blue cheesestuffed "tater tots" and towers of golden fried onion rings.
A REBIRTH David Bouley's beloved bakery is back—this time as Bouley Bakery & Market (130 W. Broadway; 212/608-5829; dinner for two $50), a fairy talelike shop and café filled with some of the chef's favorite things: more than 40 types of bread (sweet chestnut, tomato, maple pistachio raisin), chocolate tarts, lobster sandwiches, and pristine hamachi and toro sushi and sashimi. — maile carpenter