One of Israel's prized chefs, Eyal Shani, has opened his first location in NYC. His restaurants, including outposts in Paris, Melbourne & Tel Aviv command big crowds. His newest venture is located deep inside of Chelsea Market and occupies a bustling fast casual space with counter and table seating. The food focuses on Mediterranean street flavors & the menu is divided into two sections: in a pita, or out of the pita. The "out of" section is a list of simply roasted vegetables like baby cauliflower, smashed potato with sour cream, and charred sweet potato. The pita section is really nothing short of fantastic overflowing with locally sourced vegetables and meat from the butchers inside of Chelsea Market. If you're feeling carnivorous check out the ribeye minute steak or reuben pita otherwise opt for the ratatouille pita with tomato perfume roasted eggplant, tahini and hardboiled egg.
In just four short years The Little Beet has opened 6 locations with more on the way soon. It is a fast casual concept that commands some serious lunch lines and they have recently added breakfast. The concept is to take local, seasonal & natural ingredients to create a menu patrons can feel good about eating. Offerings are all gluten free and there are many vegetarian friendly options. Make your own green or grain bowl and choose from a laundry list of veggies including bok choy, charred sweet potato, roasted mushrooms and white beans. Pick one of six proteins and top with sauces like tumeric tahini, salsa verde, or walnut red pepper spread. You get the gist. Breakfast offers parfaits, sandwiches, and bowls like fried egg, grilled avocado, sweet potato, bacon & salsa verde. Great place to fill up fast and feel healthy.
The Sosta is the newest concept from the Esquared Hospitality group. The restaurant falls into a category that seems to be sweeping NYC dining – fine-casual. You order from the counter, but what you are presented with is carafes of rosé and elevated grab-n-go (or stay) food. The space is designed by the mind of Samantha Wasser who is behind By Chloe as well. She has created a fun & modern atmosphere, complete with a giant pink “mangiamo, baby!” neon sign. The menu is primarily Italian offering massive chef-crafted salads, an over flowing charcuterie board, and fresh-baked focaccia sandwiches. There is a list of 5 freshly made pastas & sauces all under $14 for a substantial portion. You would be hard pressed to find higher quality food at this low price point.
Martina is the newest restaurant concept from the Union Square Hospitality Group team. The venue is supposed to be a paired down version of their upscale pizza place, Marta. The space is casual and you order food at the counter, which comes to you quickly (pizzas cook in under 3 minutes). The menu is inexpensive and manageable with all items costing under $12. There is a small menu of antipasti and salad plus 8 pizza options including margherita, salame, and capricciosa with artichokes, ham, mushrooms, black olives, mozzarella & egg. Pizza crust here is super thin so if you're expecting traditional NYC pizza, you'll be disappointed. Although the food is quick and inexpensive, the team is hoping that people will think of the concept as “fine-casual” as opposed to “fast-casual” because of the elevated service touches and alcohol service.
David Chang is expanding his empire and multiplying his fast casual concept, Fuku. The restaurant has outposts now in the East Village, Wall Street, MSG and Citi Field. The focus is chicken and there is certainly a fuck ton of it on the menu. Since expanding to Fidi, Chang also expanded his menu of chicken offerings. Items include a massive dark meat spicy fried chicken, sticky-sweet fuku fingers and a chicken dip with cucumbers & fiery sauce. The star is the amazing Chimek feast served with a whole fried chicken (1/2 habanero, 1/2 sweet & spicy), fries, pickled daikon, pickle chips, kimchi, all the sauces. Everything is super crave worthy, gluttonous and worth every calorie.