NYC Outdoor Dining: Naked Dog in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Naked Dog is a misleading restaurant. It looks like a pretty low-key, unassuming neighborhood restaurant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, the type you go to when you get turned down by Oxomoco or Paulie Gee’s. And it also doesn’t help that the name is a little strange–is this some sort of British pub you’re walking into? But when you get settled here, all those initial doubts you had about Naked Dog quickly disappear, because the caliber of its homestyle Italian cooking will impress you. The aspirations and skill level are way beyond humble hole-in-the-wall. By the end of the meal, you’ll wish you lived in Greenpoint so that you can take advantage of the better street parking and eat at Naked Dog every night.

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NYC Outdoor Dining: King in Soho

There’s something very elegant and thoughtful about the way the restaurant King in Soho does things. For some reason, I can picture a woman, perhaps an English major, carefully crafting the menu and making sure that each word really counts. This is why she would use the word onglet as opposed to hanger steak, giving this usually masculine sounding dish a daintier feel. And this is why the drinks on the cocktail menu never veer towards the overly dark and smoky. They are citrus-y and herbal, the antithesis of the Don Draper whisky. In fact, the attention to detail is paid even to the operational stuff, like payment processing. King is the only NYC restaurant with outdoor dining I’ve been to that has implemented a truly contactless checkout system.

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NYC Outdoor Dining: Di An Di in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Reinventing the banh mi sandwich is nothing new. Even in Cape Cod now you can get a new fangled banh mi made with cod meat. While all these reintrepretations of the banh mi are pretty good, the banh mi sandwiches at Di An Di in Greenpoint, Brooklyn are in a class of their own. They are offered during the restaurant’s lunch service and are tailor-made for these days of casual, take-out dining.

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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 – Lure Fishbar in Soho

Lure Fishbar has always been an anchor of Soho nightlife. The restaurant is usually packed any night of the week with glammed up downtown revelers. But how would it fare during this time of social distancing? From the looks of it, it looks like it has adapted pretty well. Lure really invested in its outdoor terrace and has designed a nautically-themed cabana that wouldn’t be out of place in a nice resort. If you remember the bar at the Maritime Hotel, it looks a lot like that. And that has been a real draw for the scenesters who fill the outdoor tables every night. NYC is not dead, as they like to scream in the newspapers. At least Soho isn’t. Just come to Lure, Fanelli’s Cafe, Raoul’s, Lola Taverna as examples of restaurants that are persevering in this pandemic. Additional proof is the sighting of one of Drake’s cars cruising down Mercer St. Drake wouldn’t go to a city that is on its last legs.

You go to Lure Fishbar to drink wine with some excellent sushi rolls. The universally admired appetizer has to be the shrimp tempura, which comes with this addicting spicy sesame mayo sauce. Every person I’ve talked to who’s been to Lure Fishbar seems to order the shrimp tempura and loves it. You can’t go wrong with any of the signature sushi rolls. If you want something cooked, they make a great burger. The Bash burger at their sister restaurant Burger & Barrel has won many awards and is currently offered at Lure.

But the best part about Lure Fishbar is that this scenic downtown atmosphere is very kid friendly. It’s not one of those snobbish places that welcome children with looks of horror. They have high chairs and children’s menus so that parents and children can all have a good time together. You can enjoy sashimi while your child happily munches on fries or chicken fingers, it’s a big win for everyone.

Lure Fishbar
142 Mercer St (between Prince and W. Houston St)
New York, NY 10012
Make reservations for outdoor seating here.

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