Foul Witch, From the Roberta’s Team, Opens in the East Village
This restaurant from the Roberta’s team got its start as a pop-up at the 2018 Frieze Art Festivals in New York. It built, in simpler fashion, on the chef Carlo Mirarchi’s much-praised and expensive tasting menu at Blanca. Located behind the original Roberta’s in Bushwick, Brooklyn, Blanca has been closed since the beginning of the pandemic, but there are plans for its reopening. In the meantime, the team, including Mr. Mirachi’s business partner, Brandon Hoy, has been focusing on this endeavor, which, with only 50 seats, delivers more of Blanca’s sleek elegance than Roberta’s rough-hewn vibes. Marble, stone, Murano glass elements and a colorful palette are hallmarks of Mr. Hoy’s design for a setting worthy of some of Mr. Mirarchi’s high-end ingredients. The menu is brief, featuring no more than five each of starters, pastas and main courses. Currently there’s no pizza, but a wood-fired oven is used. Sam Pollheimer, who was at Roberta’s in Los Angeles, is the chef de cuisine in charge, working with Mr. Mirarchi. Jamie Schlicht, the wine director, emphasizes natural small producers in her selection, in addition to some rarities plundered from Blanca’s cellar.
15 Avenue A (Second Street), 718-766-2744, foulwitchnyc.com.
The Office of Mr. Moto
This new spot offers a deep dive into Japanese history, inviting customers to play along. The fictitious Mr. Moto, a connoisseur of food and art who supposedly accompanied Commodore Perry on his voyage to Japan in 1853, sends would-be diners a letter with a code to permit entry. A simple storefront leads to the “office,” decorated with Victorian artifacts and other historic items, and you can enjoy a drink in the downstairs library before or after dinner. The 21-course omakase menu, including many pieces of sushi fashioned in Edomae (Tokyo) style, is served at the six-seat counter; at tables in a gallery with eight seats, there are 23 courses. Each menu is $185 and available at 6 and 8:30 p.m. The executive chef is Toshio Matsuoka.
120 St. Marks Place (Avenue A),dearmrmoto.com.
This market for Japanese-style seafood and other items closed for renovations more than a year ago and is reopening with a sleek new design by Japanese architects. It now includes a hand-roll bar in the market and, beyond a bamboo-lined corridor, a 10-seat omakase counter ($145 for 12 sushi courses). (Opens Wednesday)
1374 Third Avenue (78th Street), 646-669-7435, nozmarket.com.
You are probably more familiar with Balkan street food than you think. Among its offerings are kebabs (cevapi), savory phyllo dough pastries (burek) and filled pitas. Well-seasoned Balkan-style burgers, or pljesckavica (pronounced ples-kah-VEE-tsah), a Serbian specialty, are also on the menu. The chef, William Djuric, whose family is from the region, has adapted their recipes with the head baker Milan Milijancevic. His partner, Jason Correa, was on the management side of the Tao Group.
353 Avenue of the Americas (West Fourth Street), balkanstreat.com.
Lin & Daughters
Becky Lin, who refined her offerings with the help of the Shef platform, which gives fledgling entrepreneurs a showcase for delivering their prepared foods, has now opened her own spot. Her food, mostly dumplings and noodle soups, credits her family, with dishes like mom’s wonton soup, sister Lin’s chicken noodle soup and grandma’s peanut butter noodles. Ms. Lin’s parents emigrated from Fuzhou, in Fujian Province in eastern China, and opened a restaurant, Lin’s Kitchen in Eastport, N.Y., where Ms. Lin, who was born in China, worked as a teenager. (The restaurant is still open, though no longer run by Ms. Lin’s family.) A few salads and side dishes include westernized scallion pancakes made with cheese and inspired by the tastes of her two young daughters.
181 West Fourth Street (Jones Street), 917-645-0229, linanddaughters.com.
The chefs and partners Jesse Merchant Zuñiga (she was at Wildair and Hart’s) and Javier Zuñiga (he did pastry at Contra), started their Bad Habit ice cream during the pandemic. Sold in containers, not scoops, the ice cream, with flavors like miso-raspberry, olive oil, and blood-orange creamiscle, is now sold out of an East Village storefront. In the evening, the space morphs into a 21-seat bar called Caleta for small plates like mussels with gochujang and pork rillettes, desserts and drinks.
131 Avenue A (St. Marks Place), 646-360-4072, caletanyc.com.
With just about every restaurant offering menus for the holiday, there are a couple of new options worth considering. Nonna Dora’s Pasta Bar in Kips Bay will serve a four-course dinner with many choices like fried calamari and baked eggplant. All guests will receive pasta, notably heart-shaped beet and ricotta ravioli, as a midcourse dish to be followed by a full pasta course, $78 per person. (A mandatory $84.92 deposit per person will be applied to the final bill.) Not specifically designed for the holiday, but excellently timed for it, is a weeklong stint by Matteo Morbini, who was the chef and owner of Olio su Tavola di Reaction in Lucca, Italy, at Tom Colicchio’s Vallata in Gramercy. From Feb. 14 to 18, he will prepare a seven-course menu that he created with Mr. Colicchio, $185 per person.
Nonna Dora’s, 606 Second Avenue (33rd Street), 917-261-6544; Vallata, 47 East 19th Street, 212-461-4300, vallatanyc.com.
Originally opened as Hoexter’s Market by Bobby Shapiro in 1977, this popular 1980s steakhouse on the Upper East Side will be revived and reopened in the spring by Mr. Shapiro’s daughter Alexandra. (She also spearheaded the moving and reopening of the family’s Flex Mussels nearby.) Ms. Shapiro said the menu would be broader than a typical American-style brasserie, and planned it as a neighborhood counterpoint to Flex.
174 East 82nd Street.
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