Saito, the Sake Bar from Nakazawa, in Nolita

Saito is so nondescript that you would be surprised to hear that Chef Daisuke Nakazawa of Sushi Nakazawa and Jiro Dreams of Sushi fame is one of the backers behind this project. There are really no signs of him at all, other than the small selection of sushi available on the very edited menu. A chef, not Nakazawa, works quietly behind the tiny bar, and he is not making egg custard. A server with a bit of a harried demeanor takes orders and not much more. It all felt a little rushed and unfinished, as if Nakazawa and his business partners had to scramble quickly to meet an opening date and some of the details got lost. Saito bills itself as a sake bar, but it’s not really obvious that this is their strong suit, as no one is really talking up their sake selections or encouraging you to pair this with that.

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NYC Outdoor Dining – Kimika in Nolita

The restaurant space at The Nolitan hotel in Nolita seems to be a death-knell. The prior two occupants–the Usual from Eggslut chef Alvin Cailan and before that, a forgettable Italian restaurant–did not survive. But with the arrival of Kimika, the new Japanese-Italian restaurant from the Wayla team, the veil of bad feng shui seems to have been lifted. Kimika is undeniably a hit. The comfort food fusion dishes combining the best of carbs and creamy, meaty sauces from two cultures are quite impressive. It’s also fantastic that Kimika is a female-led restaurant with great cocktails and an interesting, nerdy wine list. Outdoor dining at Kimika is a fantastic experience, and I’m looking forward to the days when it’s safe enough to eat these meals in the beautiful space inside.

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NYC Outdoor Dining – Wayan in Nolita

It’s been a hot summer. Have you read the recent articles about how New York City is now a subtropical climate zone? I guess we can close our eyes and pretend that we’re somewhere more fun, like Bali or Singapore. Since we’re not getting on a plane to Bali any time soon, the next best thing is to pull up a chair on the outdoor patio at Wayan, the Indonesian restaurant in Nolita run by Cedric Vongerichten (Jean-Georges’ son).

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Gran Tivoli Brunch in Nolita

Gran Tivoli is one of those places that is more of an evening spot, but it’s worth visiting during the quieter brunch hours. The brunch menu is a lot more interesting than the typical pancakes and eggs set list. You have some of that, but there’s also excellent grain bowls and hearty, Italian dishes like pasta and lamb shoulder. So whatever mood you’re in, whether you want to nibble on some charcuterie, or you want to dig into a huge sandwich, there’s something to fit your mood here, and it will taste great.

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Wayan in Nolita

I went to Bali for my honeymoon and have very fond memories of the food, which is why I was so excited to hear about the opening of Wayan, a new Indonesian restaurant in Nolita run by Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s son Cedric. Everyday for breakfast I would eat a soothing bowl of bubur ayam, an Indonesian chicken congee, and dinners would involve either seafood or tasty platters of grilled barbecued meats (I’m especially partial to those from the famous restaurant Naughty Nuri’s). Indonesian food in NYC, however, is quite a niche category, so unless you trek out to Elmhurst or somewhere, it’s hard to come by.

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