Many of you are returning to New York these days (and asking for good addresses!). Here is your guide to what’s new, mainly gourmet, in Manhattan and Brooklyn, to rediscover the city that never sleeps. But be careful, biting greedily into the Big Apple is also taking a very big bite out of your wallet!
Open since November 2022, a stone’s throw from Times Square and in the heart of the Theater District, the Civilian is the closest thing to a hotel that’s both “chic” and just about affordable. Prices for the smaller of the two room categories (cozy or spacious) can start at US$189 on a Sunday in June, but go up to US$349 on a Saturday. To note.
The decor of the Civilian is elegant, punctuated with colors and rich materials evoking old theaters. Upon arriving, you wonder where the lobby is — check-in is in a hallway! —, only to discover later that there is an elegant common space upstairs, Rosevale, which comes alive as a cocktail bar in the evening, then a nightclub on the roof, with spectacular views of Manhattan. Already, in the rooms, the beds stuck to a large window overlook the city squarely, at least on the upper floors of the 27-story building. This is a central base camp for exploring what’s new in the Big Apple.
Like all downtown areas, Manhattan’s has suffered from the pandemic. So real estate firm Tishman Speyer, owner of Rockefeller Center, recently invested millions of dollars to lure top restaurateurs to Midtown, in hopes of bringing New Yorkers back. Among those star chefs are Riad Nasr (originally from Pointe-Claire, by the way) and Lee Hanson, who opened Le Rock.
New York is infatuated with French cuisine these days. The inseparable Nasr/Hanson duo probably had something to do with their wildly popular Frenchette, which opened in 2018 in Tribeca, and Frenchette Bakery (Fall 2020).
At Le Rock, open morning, noon and evening, the vast menu offers classics presented with elegance and minimalism: leeks with vinaigrette, poultry liver mousse, snails, minced steak, pudding, baba, among others. In a New York Times article published in 2019, Mr. Nasr declared that he was strongly inspired by L’Express in Montreal. “When I have the blank page, the first thing I see is the menu of L’Express. »
There are several notable openings at the Rockefeller Center. Lodi, Jupiter and Naro are to be discovered, among others. Arrive a little before your reservation time to roller skate (or watch!) the iconic ice rink or ride up to the Top of the Rock. But beware ! This activity is not given. It costs $40 plus tax and service charge. You also have to add $15 if you go during peak hours (total of US$65, so almost C$90!).
Fancy a meal on the go with flavors of Southeast Asia? Urban Hawker (an eight-minute walk from the Civilian and five minutes from the Rockefeller) is a typical Singapore fairground recreation (called the hawker center) and the realization of a dream of the late Anthony Bourdain. The great gourmet stop in Midtown brings together Malaysian, Indonesian, Indian, Filipino and other street food counters.
One of the main draws of Pier 57 is its location. The beautifully restored wharf hosts a large fair (Market 57) overseen by the renowned James Beard Foundation (an association that promotes the culinary arts). It’s a two-minute walk to Little Island, that stunning new concrete “tulip” structure that juts out of the Hudson River, and four minutes to the famed High Line, where you never tire of strolling. The City Winery and its restaurant offer beautiful views of Lower Manhattan, while the Rooftop Park is ideal for picnicking and watching the sunset.
A Thai dinner? It doesn’t get more New York than that! This unlikely restaurant from the owners of the former Uncle Boons, renowned as much for its fragrant sausage breakfast sandwich, wrapped in a roast, as for its green curry, is a real favorite. The crazy decor, the menu of cocktails and natural wines that go well with the cuisine and the friendly service have everything to charm us. As it is a very popular place, it is better to avoid peak hours. The ideal: a watered lunch around 2 p.m.!
The team of the renowned mini pizza chain Roberta’s has just opened this Italian cuisine restaurant. This is the perfect address for a meal of small dishes at the end of the evening. Good luck getting a table before 9 p.m. Better to show up very sooner or later, leave your cell phone number and wait. The “Fire
This massive natural history museum tucked into Central Park (kill two birds with one stone!) has a new wing, the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation. Certainly, the content including insectarium, immersive exhibits and butterfly vivarium is exciting, but it is the container evoking the cave, imagined by the architects of Studio Gang, which is the most talked about.
There are two new observation decks in Manhattan, Summit at One Vanderbilt and Edge. Sure, they’re tall, modern, bustling, but just like Top of the Rock, they’re expensive, a minimum of US$40 per person.
If you plan to visit the museum, Top of the Rock and Edge viewing platforms, or classic landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, Guggenheim, MoMA, and other attractions, consider purchasing a CityPASS for save money.
If there’s one hotel chain that belongs in Brooklyn, it’s Ace! And yet, it took two decades before the brand born in Seattle in 1999 settled in the cradle of hipsterism. But it’s been done since the summer of 2021 and the place was quickly adopted by both visitors and locals.
We arrive at the hotel late on Saturday, after an 11am train ride. Here, the foyer becomes festive in the evening. So there is a lot of action when we put our suitcases there. So much for the quiet cocktail at The Lobby bar, but so much the better to get in the mood for a week that promises to be filled with great discoveries. During the day, this same Lobby is a haven for teleworkers.
It’s not easy to get a reservation at this superb restaurant or its upstairs cocktail bar. But it’s worth signing up for the Resy website’s waiting list (like any New York restaurant, by the way). Places are regularly freed up at the Gage
The history of The Gage dates back to 1879 when Charles M. Gage opened his Fulton Street eating establishment. Five years later, cigar seller Eugene Tollner became his business partner. There will be many owners thereafter. You can read all the twists on the restaurant’s website.
The premises had been vacant since 2016, having housed a TGI Fridays and an Arby’s. Not his finest years! Fortunately, the G
In the room team, there is the Quebec sommelier Étienne Guérin, who worked alongside chef Hugue Dufour in New York, at M Wells, for several years. On his good advice, we drank a superb trousseau from the Californian estate Forlorn Hope and ate a whole feast: oysters, snails, shrimp, steak, salad, soft “Parker House” rolls, chocolate tart, sorbets!
For an even more complete experience, it is imperative to come and have one (or two) cocktail(s) at the Sunken Harbor Club, as an aperitif or digestive. The maritime-themed little bar will make you feel like you’re feasting among the pirates!
This gourmet wine bar is owned by the team at the renowned Oxalis restaurant, also in Brooklyn. Its Catalan-influenced cuisine and superb, almost exclusively Iberian wine list has been on everyone’s lips (and lists) since it opened in March 2022. Crispy mushrooms with black garlic fudge are a signature dish, but above all we ate among the best pasta with pesto of our lives and a toast with smoked butter topped with the prettiest of sardines.
We bet that few Quebecers venture as far as Sunset Park, known for its Chinatown, its Latin American shops and, in recent years, the impressive Industry City. This row of industrial buildings is being transformed into a real city. You can find everything there ! A Japanese food fair (Japan Village), indoor petanque courts, a tattoo parlour, a multitude of restaurants, cafes, small designer shops, activities of all kinds. There’s even a dedicated liquor building that houses a sake brewery, distillery, wine shop, beer brewery, bars, and more. In summer, the terraces between each building come alive. But Industy City is also the perfect plan for a rainy day in Brooklyn.
There are now a good number of hotels in this area which for a long time had only one, the always magnificent Wythe. With its rooftop pool overlooked by a replica water tower with a bar, the Williamsburg Hotel is something to entice, if you can afford it. That said, prices vary wildly by date at most hotels. For example, you might pay $272 USD per night the week of June 25 for a basic room at the Williamsburg, but the same room will cost you $404 on Tuesday June 6 and $559 on Friday June 9.
The same goes for POD Brooklyn, which we chose because it’s one of the more affordable options. That said, it’s also the smallest hotel room we’ve ever experienced! On weekends, the price can still go up to US$334 for 110 square feet and a shower/toilet. There are Queen POD Plus rooms at the hotel, which still has the advantage of being very central, but for the price, we’d recommend the brand new (but very festive) Moxy instead.
Opened in March, the Moxy is the “boutique” brand of Marriott Bonvoy. It’s also a place where the youth of Williamsburg and surrounding areas go to socialize, at the Jolene Sound Room. So if you go to bed early or are sensitive to noise, skip your turn.
We told you about this restaurant in the lively Greenpoint district a few weeks ago, because Quebecers Patrice Demers and Marie-Josée Beaudoin are making a residency there until June 24. Open since May 2021, this unique house changes chef every two months. A former “resident”, the rising chef Alexia Duchêne, has just opened the restaurant Margot, in the Fort Greene district. It’s so new that we couldn’t try it!
Unlike Manhattan, Brooklyn does not prevent teleworkers from arriving with their laptops. There are even very large cafes that seem to welcome them with open arms. The five addresses of the Devocion chain (three are in Brooklyn, including the new kid in Dumbo) are filled from morning to night with people strumming on their keyboards. The coffee here is very good and the croissant stuffed with guava will knock your socks off. The author of these lines also worked at the Freehold, a beautiful bright space during the day that turns into a nightclub at night.
Leo was serving his first sourdough pizzas just before the pandemic. It is a place where it is as good to bite into a tip at lunchtime as to have a full meal of salads, pasta, pizzas and natural wine in the evening. And when it comes to great pizza, L’industrie’s isn’t new, but god it’s good! The “signature” tip is topped with burrata. The chocolate chip sandwiches and cookies are also worth a try.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t try Ramirez’s tacos, due to incompatible schedules (the place is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays), but we are assured that it is “muy rico”! The taqueria even earned a spot on New York Times critic Peter Wells’ list of New York’s 100 Best Restaurants.