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
Peek & Cloppenburg KG Düsseldorf
Bouley Bakery & Market
Named after former chef-owner Laurent Tourondel (BLT stands for Bistro Laurent Tourondel), this lively restaurant is Tourondel’s take on a modern American steakhouse. Set on a leafy side street in Gramercy Park, BLT Prime is furnished with suede banquettes, polished zebrawood tables, and across from the bar, a glass-walled dry aging room. Complimentary Gruyère popovers are followed by USDA Prime steaks such as the porterhouse and rib eye, which are broiled and served with a choice of nine sauces, including the house steak sauce or the classic Béarnaise. Sides include creamed spinach and hand-cut fries with cilantro mayonnaise.
You may have heard of architect Richard Meier’s West Village glass apartment towers, renowned for their famous residents, sleek design, and views of the Hudson. Now you can eat in one, at celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Perry Street restaurant. With a white and glass interior that mirrors the façade of the building, the atmosphere sets expectations for pared-down, modern cuisine, and the menu delivers. From Asian fusion seafood to French-inspired veal chops to simple, flavor-packed cheeseburgers, there’s a wide, interesting range. And you may eat next to a star.
In 2005, Robert De Niro convinced famous Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa to bring his unique style of Asian fusion to midtown New York (De Niro is now a co-owner). Follow the stairs along a wall of imported sake barrels and enter the David Rockwell-designed dining area's soothing riverside atmosphere, which includes abalone shell chandeliers, organically shaped ash tree tables, Japanese quilt fabrics flowing across the ceiling, and softly glowing lanterns. Nobu offers signature dishes such as yellowtail with jalapeno and black cod with miso, and traditional Japanese offerings include hibachi and an extensive choice of sushi and sashimi.
Iron Chef Bobby Flay brings his adventurous style of American nouveau cuisine to Bar Americain, located in midtown west. Like his flavors, the décor is bold with a wide-open dining room, diamond patterns repeated along the bar and floor, and large disk-shaped lights. Flay is known for his focus on regional dishes, and the restaurant delivers with entrees such as Gulf shrimp and grits and smoked chicken with hatch green chile spoonbread and black pepper vinegar sauce. The raw bar has selections ranging from crab-coconut and shrimp tomatillo to yellowtail poke with Hawaiian flavors.