Fredi Sandwich Bar, Spasso, Fatty Johnson's, Crif Dogs in Williamsburg, and More in January 2011
Fresh 5: Restaurant Openings to Get Excited About in January
We're four days into the new year, and already, it's a "who's who" on the NYC restaurant opening scene. For my equally hungry foodies out there, here are five openings to get excited about this month. Or in my case, skip breakfast (and maybe lunch) for.
- Fredi Sandwich Bar (28 E. 12th St., 212-242-0444) The family-owned, Italian-inspired sandwich shop meets wine bar serves up an eclectic mix of hot and cold sandwiches — including pork meatball banh mi, tandoori chicken salad, crunchy tilapia, and BBQ beef brisket. Since Fredi just opened over the weekend, you're one of the first to be let in on the sammie hype.
- Spasso (551 Hudson St., 212-858-3838) After a couple weeks' delay, restaurateur Bobby Werhane — well known for Choptank (308 Bleecker St., 212-675-2009) — opens the doors to his West Village Italian eatery today. Werhane has recruited chef Craig Wallen, a Mario Batali veteran, to whip up rustic Italian fare, with a heavy focus on noodles, cured meat, and cheeses. I can't wait to try the much talked about macaroni with lamb ragu!
- Fatty Johnson's (50 Carmine St., 212-929-5050) The space that once held restaurant Cabrito will be turned into a temporary free-form bar with food. Owners Zak Pelaccio and Rick Camac have promised a lighthearted, ham-centric (yes, you read that correctly) dining experience in Cabrito's takeover interim. Expect weekly guest bartenders, inventive cocktails, and a menu consisting of ham sandwiches, a burger, peel-and-eat shrimp, and fried chicken stuffed with ham and cheese. Fatty Johnson's opens tomorrow at 4 p.m.
- Our Other Location This new project gives great chefs the opportunity to stage a private dining experience at an unusual, undisclosed (until your ticket is purchased) venue. All I know, so far: the Our Other Location dinner for Jan. 7 and Jan. 8 will be held in a former school cafeteria in SoHo, and chef Nick Kim (of Masa) will be creating an extensive yet never fussy menu with wine pairings. I love that this dining concept gives the floor to renowned chefs in a blank slate space; even more so, I love that there's a certain mystery to this gathering until you officially opt in. To be a part of the supper club fun, purchase an all-inclusive $75 ticket.
- Crif Dogs (555 Driggs Ave., 718-302-3200) The East Village "haute" hot dog mecca has expanded its empire to Williamsburg. While the decór and menu stay the same (inventive deep-fried dog combos against an arcade-filled, skateboard memorabilia setting), Brooklynites get a morning treat. This location will serve up breakfast sandwiches and Intelligentsia coffee — a huge win for the Bedford L commuter crowd. Slated to open by Jan. 12.