We’re always on the lookout for restaurant news here at Food Republic. And news we often receive — we’re constantly pitched on restaurants that have pledged to open their doors in the near future, only to eventually learn about inevitable roadblocks and delays that have us questioning whether we should cover a restaurant during our fall preview — one that we may have already mentioned in our spring preview, months before. Such is the unpredictable nature of the restaurant world.
We’ve worked diligently to assemble this short roundup of promising restaurants that we are certain have recently opened for business and of the newest announcements we’ve come across regarding restaurants certain to open in the near future. Well, fairly certain. Take a look and be sure to reserve your table today!
Nashville has firmly established itself as one of the country’s most exciting food cities, but as the city’s first dedicated ramen shop, Otaku Ramen broadens the culinary landscape. Located in the heart of the rapidly growing Gulch neighborhood, the restaurant was borne of chef-owner Sarah Gavigan’s pop-up ramen shop, Otaku South, which gained a cult following in the city since its opening in 2013. Locally sourced pork bones give the different ramen offered (paitan, shoyu, Tennessee tonkotsu) a distinctive regional taste, while select Otaku South favorites will make a welcome return, such as hot-chicken buns and okonomiyaki. The 85-seat restaurant, which opened over the weekend, also features a Japanese whiskey bar. 1104 Division St., Nashville, TN 37203; otakuramen.com
New York City
Chef Todd Mitgang has opened his second iteration of Crave Fishbar. Much like the original location (located in Midtown East), the menu of the Upper West Side edition will offer 100 percent sustainable seafood and fresh fish dishes, such as spicy scallop tartare on crispy sweet potato and lobster curry with charred red onion and Japanese eggplant in a Thai choo chee curry. A fully stocked raw bar will feature an oyster happy hour daily from 4 to 6 p.m. The beverage program at the 105-seat restaurant includes local craft beers, sustainable wines and batch cocktails on a rotating tap. Brunch will begin next month, and outdoor seating will be available in the summer. 428 Amsterdam Ave., New York, NY 10024; cravefishbar.com
Las Vegas, Nevada
Jardin is the newest restaurant at Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, introducing a fresh take on seasonal American fare in a sleek and social environment at its opening last week. Executive chef Joseph Zanelli worked with Laurent Tourondel and Andrew Carmellini in New York before relocating to Las Vegas to work as chef at a number of well-known hotel restaurants on the strip. His menu features playful touches throughout, with signature dinner items such as “bacon and eggs” composed of kurobuta pork belly, quail eggs, kimchi fried rice and black garlic aioli. An American wagyu rib eye cap pinwheel is served with arugula salad, duck fat potatoes and au poivre sauce. A three-course prix-fixe menu is also offered nightly, and the restaurant is also open for both breakfast and lunch. Highlights from the full bar include the classic Moscow mule served tableside in a novel bottle service–inspired large-format copper cup with a ladle for sharing, along with Bloody Mary and mimosa cart service. 3131 Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89109; wynnlasvegas.com
Opened last week, Whitfield is located in Pittsburgh’s new Ace Hotel. Pittsburgh-area native Brent Young is the driving force behind the restaurant and hotel’s food and beverage program — he’s the man behind popular Brooklyn butcher shop the Meat Hook and its sandwich offshoot, Meat Hook Sandwich. The meat-centric menu (a large selection of steaks is certainly a highlight) has a Western Pennsylvanian focus, with grass-fed beef and lamb sourced from nearby farms. Charcuterie and sausages are both done in house. Rounding out Young’s team is Bethany Zozula, former executive chef of Pittsburgh’s critically acclaimed restaurant Eleven, and pastry chef Casey Shively, formerly of Del Posto in New York City. 120 S. Whitfield St., Pittsburgh, PA 15206; whitfieldpgh.com
Urban Farmer Steakhouse
With existing locations in both Portland and Cleveland, Urban Farmer Steakhouse is differentiating itself in Philadelphia, with a menu and decor both thoughtfully tailored to the local community. A seasonally driven menu showcases nose-to-tail cuts of naturally raised meats from local purveyors, with steaks butchered and dry-aged in house. A communal charcuterie station is designed to be an interactive and engaging space where guests can “meet their meat,” according to a press release. Seating up to 210 guests, Urban Farmer Philadelphia replaces former city institution the Fountain, which recently closed after 30 years in business in Logan Circle. A collector’s wall features Philadelphia sports memorabilia and an assortment of framed art, including pieces from local flea markets and others created by Philadelphia artists. 1850 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy., Philadelphia, PA 19103; urbanfarmerphiladelphia.com
New York City
Pat LaFrieda, Mario Batali, Marc Forgione and Franklin Becker are part of a new culinary destination offering accessible, convenient, polished and casual chef-driven concepts. The 8,000-square-foot space, set to open on January 7, will house an unprecedented gathering of five of the most beloved NYC food stars on the corner of 33rd Street and 7th Avenue (finally providing quality food to the masses near Penn Station). Renowned butcher LaFrieda is opening his first brick-and-mortar location to sell his famous prepackaged meats and signature sandwiches — his burger blends and high-quality cuts of meat will be available to the public for the first time. Forgione is introducing Lobster Press, his first fast-casual concept highlighting on-the-go lobster creations, while Becker is bringing his veggie-focused, gluten-free fare to a second city location of the Little Beet. Batali will partner with caterer-to-the-stars Mary Giuliani to operate an Italian sandwich and soup shop. Finally, the Cinnamon Snail, one of the nation’s top-rated food trucks, is shedding its wheels to open its first stationary location serving up vegan specialties. The adjacent Bar at the Pennsy will offer a well-rounded menu of cocktails, wine and beers. 2 Penn Plaza, New York, NY; thepennsy.nyc
Scheduled to open in early 2016, the Katharine Brasserie & Bar will combine French technique with classic Southern cooking on the ground floor of the historic R.J. Reynolds building adjacent to the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel. The traditional French brasserie will draw fresh inspiration from local cuisine to feature a number of seasonal items on its menu, as well as regional dishes from other parts of the Carolinas. Executive chef Ed Witt built a reputation for soulful cooking with unexpected touches at The Partisan in Washington, D.C., prior to coming to Winston-Salem. The beverage program will include an extensive wine list, creative cocktails and numerous craft-beer selections. 51 E. 4th Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101; kimptonhotels.com