New York is…well, that’s a hard sentence to finish. Almost as hard as figuring out which of this season’s new crop of restaurants to try next. The defining element of New York’s dining scene is its endlessness—of range and ambition and new openings—plus a style that eludes easy summation.
It’s a food culture that celebrates a self-consciously genre-referential throwback like Carbone, a West Village spot from Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone that conjures the late, great Italian red-sauces of our collective imaginations.
It’s also one that sustains 12-stool, unapologetically expensive, avant-garde Blanca in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood. There’s no menu and minimal décor (the mounted head of a 700-pound tuna springs forth from one otherwise bare wall), plus an impressively eclectic vinyl selection.
The city welcomes outsiders; Andy Ricker’s Pok Pok and Danny Bowein’s Mission Chinese were both imported from elsewhere and embraced by locals as their own. And also outside thinkers like Ignacio Mattos, whose tapas restaurant Estela is a small wonder.