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 – 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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NYC Outdoor Dining – La Mercerie

I admire how much the restaurants in NYC have really hustled to get outdoor dining to work. I watched construction crews sawing away at boards to build makeshift patios in record time. And I’m so glad for it, because outdoor dining really has breathed new life into the city. It used to be depressing walking down the eerie, abandoned streets, but now things are lively again. In Soho, in particular, some stretches remind me of the gaiety of nightlife in the Marais in Paris…in years past.

I really have to hand it to La Mercerie for going the extra mile with its outdoor set up, which is arguably the most attractive outdoor restaurant in the city. It feels like a proper outdoor patio, like it was built with permanent intentions, as opposed to being a quick appendage. That’s why La Mercerie wins the award for best outdoor dining in NYC.

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Osteria Morini in Soho

Osteria Morini is one of Michael White’s lesser known restaurants. It’s been around for awhile, and no one mentions it as a place they really want to check out, but it’s surprisingly doing very brisk business, especially during the late hours. We went to dinner on a Sunday night at 9 pm, and the place was packed. Maybe it’s like an industry place? Or young Millennials like to eat late on Sunday? But that’s what the crowd was like–young Millennials drinking late on a Sunday because they didn’t want to deal with the Monday just around the corner. I’m sure the staff was freaking out seeing a couple with two of their children at their doorstep.

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Middle Eastern Brunch: Shuka and 19 Cleveland

Middle Eastern food is experiencing a surge in popularity these days, particularly downtown. And like many new-wave ethnic restaurants, the food is more refined and inventive than what you might find in a more traditional restaurant. Two additions to this recent wave of modern Middle Eastern restaurants are 19 Cleveland and Shuka, both of which chose to set up shop in the Soho area. Expect to rub elbows with the trendy, fashion-y types who like their avocado toast with a little sprinkling of za’atar on top.

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