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Mealtime in Manhattan

New York’s most famous borough is already home to some 19,000 restaurants—but there’s always room for more. From old-school Italian to modern French, these new spots are a must-visit on any culinary tour of the Big Apple.

By Natasha Dragun

—Alder

With his destination diner WD-50 celebrating its 10- year mark, forward-thinking chef Wylie Dufresne has turned his attention to his new East Village eatery, Alder. The pared-back dining room—white brick walls, timber floors—belies a menu that shines with signature Dufresne whimsy. Classic pub fare is reinvented in dishes such as Pigs in a Blanket (Chinese sausage, Japanese mustard, sweet chili sauce) and Dufresne’s noodle version of the Reuben sandwich: rye pasta with shaved pastrami, mustard sauce, and pickles. The cocktails are just as fun—try the Applethy, a mix of vodka, horseradish, and green apple (157 Second Ave.; 1-212/539-1900; aldernyc.com).

—Carbone

Hospitality veterans Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi, and Jeff Zalaznick know a thing or two about the restaurant business, and their experience shines through at this Italian-American newcomer. Waiters glide between tables in vintage Zac Posen tuxedos delivering perfect plates of veal Parmesan, off-the-menu meatballs, and a marsala-spiked tiramisu made sweeter by complimentary shots of grappa and limoncello. The dining room’s decor blends modern-day Italy with a touch of American humor: floors tiled to resemble a scene from The Godfather, midnight- blue walls, and abstract Renaissance-inspired art (181 Thompson St.; 1-212/254-3000; carbonenewyork.com).

—ABC Cocina

Done up with  chandeliers and lipstick-pink chairs, Jean-Georges Vongericht-en’s industrial-chic ABC Cocina —the celebrity chef’s ninth New York restaurant—doesn’t cut any corners when it comes to style. There’s plenty of substance here, too, revolving around Spanish- and Latin-influenced sharing plates: mescal-cured salmon with cucumber-yogurt relish; mushroom tacos with mole, kale, and lime; beef tenderloin “burnt ends” with chimichurri. The cocktails are daring—it’s not often that you see rhubarb and banana paired together, but with a good measure of Owney’s gin the muddle proves the ultimate daiquiri (38 E 19th St.; 1-212/677-2233; jean-georges.com).

—Lafayette

Josh Pickard, Luke Ostrom, and Andrew Carmellini (the team behind Locanda Verde and The Dutch) unite again at this modern French bistro and bakery. Chef Damon Wise takes tried-and-tested Gallic favorites and gives them a twist in dishes such as tripe bourguignon and rabbit casserole with pommes paysanne; onetime Per Se chef James Belisle, meanwhile, tackles the organic breads, viennoiseries, and pastries. A stellar selection of French aperitifs and wines complement the food, served up in an intimate, ma-hogany-floored room appointed with toffee-colored banquettes (380 Lafayette St.; 1-212/533-3000; lafayetteny.com).

—Feast

New York has its fair share of raw, vegan, and vegetarian restaurants. Feast is none of these things, although it does deliver an impressive meat-free menu: smoked goat’s-cheese tart with forest mushrooms and kabocha squash agnolotti with gingersnap crumble are among the standout dishes. The farmers’ market offering is one of three multicourse “feasts” here—the other two focus on scallops and nose-to-tail cookery—crafted by chef Christopher Meenan, who teams up with local purveyors for seasonal inspiration. Family-style dishes are available à la carte (102 Third Ave.; 1-212/529-8880; eatfeastnyc.com).

August 2011 – Letters

Food for Thought
My compliments to Leisa Tyler for putting a local spin on her article about Singapore’s fine-dining scene [“Singapore’s New Flavor,” June/July]. Enough already about globe-trotting celebrity chefs. Though I adore Tetsuya Wakuda’s Waku Ghin and the burrata at Osteria Mozza, does the world really need another Robuchon outlet? I accept the premise that high-profile international restaurants motivate their local counterparts to “step up their game,” but when I travel, I seek out distinct, local dining experiences, whatever the price bracket. So thanks for pointing me in the direction of Wild Rocket and Candlenut Kitchen–they’re now on the top of my checklist for my next visit to Singapore. –Karen Gilbert, Bangkok

Don’t Go Changing
I remember many years ago buying Rolling Stone magazine because it was the best there was. Then it lost the plot. Your magazine is completely different, but it had a beauty and sensitivity with its feature spreads of type and images, on par with Rolling Stone, though in a different era. There was never enough of it. With your recent design change, however, DestinAsian is now slick and clean but the creative spark seems to have dimmed. To be honest, I really thought some of your earlier issues made it the best-looking magazine in the world–at least for a while. –David Szabo, Hong Kong

Wine of the Times
Thank you for the story about the wineries of Khao Yai [“Thailand Uncorked,” April/May], which made me thirsty indeed. I’ve been to these hills several times before, usually for the scenery, but the budding wine industry there is definitely cause for celebration. No, it’s not Napa Valley, but for an interesting and friendly side trip from Bangkok, it can’t be beat. GranMonte Estate is definitely one of my favorites. –Sununta Thittichai, Bangkok

Beauty and the Beach
Your fashion spread on the Maldives [“Divine Inspiration,” June/July] brought back wonderful memories of my own trip to the islands two summers ago. It truly is the most beautiful place in the Indian Ocean. I hadn’t heard of the Baros resort before, which is surprising given its longevity, but I’ll be sure to add it to my wish list for the next time I go back. –Cheryl King-Richards, Hong Kong

Samui Stunner
You’re right–the Banyan Tree Samui is gorgeous. I first spotted it in your 2010 Luxe List, though only recently managed to make my way there for a few nights’ stay. The tip-off is appreciated–it’s now one of my favorite places in the region. –Darren Lardner, Singapore

August 2011 – Publisher’s Note

First off, thanks to fans of our Facebook page (facebook.com/DestinAsian.Mag) for the feedback to our posted questions. We love getting your opinions on what’s best around the region. And thanks to followers of our Twitter feed @DestinAsian_Mag, which we hope continues to serve you well.

But while we crave our online fix, it’s the print magazine we’re most proud of. In our view, nothing beats curling up with a quality travel magazine brimming with beautifully photographed, carefully contemplated articles.

We’ve been delivering just that for nearly a decade now. In fact, get ready for our 10th anniversary issue, coming up next. You don’t want to miss it, believe me.

Meanwhile, sit back and enjoy the fascinating journeys we undertake in this issue. On the Malaysian island of Langkawi, we explore the abundant natural marvels there and luxuriate in some of the region’s finest lodging. Few resorts have a truly cult-like following–The Datai on Langkawi is one that does.

A similar thing could be said about the Eastern & Oriental Express, a legendary train that evokes the golden age of travel by rail. Follow Christopher P. Hill on his journey from Bangkok to Vientiane as he chats it up with luxury train aficionados.

Of course, travel around the region usually involves planes, so we also bring you an in-depth report on the airline industry from Gabriel Leigh. Expect big changes in your flying future-most of them, happily, for the better.

Enjoy your travels, and stay in touch!

December 2010 – Publishers Note

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Donec quis orci enim. Suspendisse felis ligula, auctor tempor facilisis vel, fermentum ac ante. Aliquam bibendum adipiscing lectus, ut vulputate tellus tempus euismod. Aliquam quis turpis vel est gravida ullamcorper. Vestibulum ut est eu elit tristique tempus. Phasellus eget magna est. Mauris dictum fermentum arcu ut feugiat. Cras semper consequat ipsum nec aliquet. Nam ac sem a turpis ornare iaculis. Vivamus posuere mi sed urna suscipit hendrerit. Duis quis leo nisl, sed ultrices ligula.

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December 2010 – Letters

December 2010 letters file Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Pellentesque eu velit et ligula venenatis dapibus. Vestibulum vel aliquam dui. Sed et nunc libero. In faucibus neque eu ligula suscipit ut viverra lorem lobortis. Nullam lacinia mollis nunc, at dictum felis luctus ac. Nunc nisl leo, interdum pretium egestas ut, eleifend quis lectus. Sed tristique, turpis ut tristique congue, augue erat facilisis urna, ut suscipit mauris dui vel turpis. Nunc sit amet est et tellus tincidunt condimentum. Suspendisse ligula sem, tincidunt quis feugiat ac, tincidunt ut diam. Duis eget quam mollis risus tincidunt pretium eget a quam. Nunc sollicitudin felis at ipsum condimentum vitae mollis mauris hendrerit. Maecenas congue urna ut ipsum posuere feugiat. Quisque porttitor ornare viverra. Donec tincidunt fermentum quam nec laoreet.

Aliquam sed augue nec augue bibendum tincidunt non sed neque. Sed fringilla semper viverra. Vestibulum vulputate tincidunt sapien at consequat. Curabitur sollicitudin lorem mi. Duis ut dui tortor. Sed porta elit vitae risus posuere suscipit. Sed felis felis, ornare ac semper id, consectetur et metus. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Duis eget enim quis orci ultricies egestas. Praesent cursus commodo nisi, in fermentum neque venenatis a. Vestibulum ac tellus quam.

Suspendisse a dui a neque dictum pharetra quis eget urna. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Integer nulla ipsum, tempor non sagittis non, cursus ut magna. Aliquam egestas neque sed tortor hendrerit vestibulum. Etiam aliquet placerat nulla eu tempus. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut purus mauris, rhoncus vel aliquam nec, dictum sit amet eros. Phasellus ut interdum nisl. Vestibulum quam arcu, vulputate tempus cursus in, dapibus ac neque. Duis id diam lorem, in rhoncus justo. Donec tristique erat eget augue tristique et tincidunt lorem fermentum. Morbi rutrum ante eu risus porttitor euismod vestibulum elit dapibus. Sed id sapien leo, eget pulvinar purus. Aliquam vel egestas nisl. Vivamus tincidunt tristique velit ac eleifend.

Donec quis orci enim. Suspendisse felis ligula, auctor tempor facilisis vel, fermentum ac ante. Aliquam bibendum adipiscing lectus, ut vulputate tellus tempus euismod. Aliquam quis turpis vel est gravida ullamcorper. Vestibulum ut est eu elit tristique tempus. Phasellus eget magna est. Mauris dictum fermentum arcu ut feugiat. Cras semper consequat ipsum nec aliquet. Nam ac sem a turpis ornare iaculis. Vivamus posuere mi sed urna suscipit hendrerit. Duis quis leo nisl, sed ultrices ligula.

Maecenas quis tortor sit amet lorem faucibus rhoncus. Curabitur tempor quam vel diam commodo sed placerat lacus gravida. Morbi lacinia adipiscing sagittis. Phasellus sed eros turpis. Ut eu pretium ligula. Morbi fermentum ipsum a justo tempus non scelerisque lectus accumsan. Fusce tincidunt pellentesque ante. Nunc gravida congue pulvinar. Donec ultricies, ligula eget ornare viverra, enim purus imperdiet justo, eget tristique tellus purus in velit. Nullam tincidunt accumsan mi, at blandit risus rhoncus sit amet. Cras sodales semper quam, vitae volutpat massa mattis vitae. Suspendisse purus risus, posuere sit amet consequat at, sodales id risus. Donec molestie urna quis nisl accumsan suscipit. In massa dolor, ullamcorper et varius vel, sollicitudin vitae sem.