Brooklyn has plenty of Chowhound-worthy Georgian restaurants, but few of their owners will patiently talk newcomers through the menu, the way one 'hound was at Café Caucasia in Bensonhurst. "Service like this was unexpected and very educational," jonkyo writes, and it paid off in a smartly ordered dinner—chicken satsivi in thick, delicious walnut sauce; well-spiced minced-beef lulya kebab; and excellent Georgian bread, baked fresh daily in house. Caucasia's relatively new, but it's already built a loyal following of locals since opening in September. The cooking's one attraction; the hospitality couldn't hurt, either.
A few bucks will buy you a passel of Spanish sandwiches and snacks at 100 Montaditos—especially on Wednesdays, when all the namesake montaditos (pictured) are just $1 apiece. Appetizers, including excellent brava potatoes, are also part of the weekly dollar deal at the first New York location of this chain from southern Spain.
The newish Midtown outpost of Butter serves one stellar Berkshire pork chop. It's nicely seared outside, slightly pink in the center, seasoned with mustard, and crowned with roasted shiitakes, Chowhound coasts reports—a smart order among a lineup of destination meat courses that include an aged tomahawk rib steak (pictured). On the side, try an irresistible Jerusalem artichoke gratin with Gruyère. TV chef Alex Guarnaschelli's Midtown menu is similar to the one at her original Butter downtown, which remains closed for renovations.
For The Arepa Lady, call it an ascension. Maria Piedad Cano, the seasonal late-night cart vendor whose Colombian corn cakes made her a living Chowhound saint two decades ago, plans to open a restaurant. As Serious Eats reports, she and her family will run a year-round spot on Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights, Queens, not far from the corner where she parks her cart from the end of winter until late fall. They hope to be in business by this spring—perhaps with new arepa toppings—and expect to keep the cart on its customary schedule. READ MORE
The small plates just keep on coming at Kopiaste, whose Cyprus Meze combo is a 17-course parade of tasty kebabs, spreads, salads, and more, bargain-priced at $22 for two diners. It's a carnivore-friendly feast—at least half the dishes are nonvegetarian, including knockout house-made pork sausage—though the kitchen will sub out some of the meat courses if you ask. Gastronomos writes on Chowhound that the robust flavors at this year-old restaurant offer a clear contrast to the plainer fare of its Greek neighbors in Astoria, Queens—"really a welcome change."
Chef Raul Leyva, who's cooked at Chowhound favorite Fonda, just opened Tacos El Catrin, where his fresh, lively Mexican flavors are getting attention. Shrimp tacos with chipotle mayo and quesadillas with huitlacoche or chicharrones (especially the latter) are among the early 'hound favorites at this three-week-old restaurant in Kensington, Brooklyn. Also check out a terrific chorizo-enriched hamburger with Oaxacan cheese, guajillo adobo, and avocado mayo—"the surprise of the meal," JackS reports.
Heidelberg is nearly 80 years old, the last German restaurant standing in the once-thriving Germantown of Yorkville, yet it hasn't lost its chops. A recent Chowhound update reports hearty classics served with plentiful good vibes and gemütlichkeit. Among the winning starters are crisp, light potato pancakes; refreshing cucumber salad; and spätzle in rich Emmentaler sauce. Satisfying entrées include jäger schnitzel with a terrific cream sauce full of mushroom and onion, and an occasional special of perfectly done rack of lamb. Portions are generous—keep in mind that desserts like eis kaffe (coffee poured over vanilla ice cream) and palatschinken (crêpes filled with marmalade or Nutella) are worth saving room for.
As one Chowhound observes, "Restaurants are opening in Greenpoint so fast it's hard to keep up." One of the newest is El Born, a month-old tapas spot named after the popular Barcelona district. Early hits on the Catalan-leaning menu include roasted octopus with paprika and potato, seared tuna crusted with olive and mustard, and cod collars with squid allioli (pictured).
Recovery from Hurricane Sandy has been slow and halting at South Street Seaport, where some businesses remain closed more than a year after the deluge, but one encouraging sign last year was the belated arrival of Trading Post. This traditional American restaurant, which opened quietly in June in a one-time ship’s chandlery, brings downtown locals a welcome upscale option in a clubby, multilevel setting. From a menu that highlights standards like raw-bar courses and a hefty tomahawk rib-eye chop for two, Chowhounds have enjoyed a Black Angus burger and a subtly spicy shrimp-tomatillo flatbread pizza.
Rising phoenixlike from the ashes of Hong Kong Supermarket a few weeks back was a mini–Marriott hotel—but more important for home cooks, a new, well-provisioned Asian grocery called Chinatown Supermarket of Manhattan in the building's street and basement levels. It's an upgrade over its predecessor, which burned down in 2009, and a worthy entry in a crowded neighborhood field. Chowhounds report ample, appetizing displays of produce, seafood, dry and canned goods, prepared foods, and frozen stuff—check out the cuttlefish balls, bean curd, and other mix-and-match hot-pot staples, advises small h, who declares this "my first Chinatown grocery stop for the foreseeable future."