Mel’s opens and more New York restaurant news
Snuggled up on one side of the old Del Posto, the cramped food court that was once John Dory is now a pizzeria: Mel’s, the first restaurant in a new food complex here. The name refers to former Del Posto and Daniel chef Melissa J. Rodriguez, who partnered with Jeff Katz and James Kent of Crown Shy and Saga to develop this sprawling space. (Al Coro, a lavish Italian restaurant, and Discolo, a lower-level lounge, will open in the Del Posto space in early summer.) Mel’s is done warmly in orange tones and polished light wood, a bar and a dining counter opens to a rear dining area and a huge wood-fired pizza oven are at the heart of the space. “Everything is wood-fired,” Ms. Rodriguez said. “There is no gas here.” The pizzas start with Margherita but quickly veer into creative territory: mushrooms, smoked mozzarella and shredded shallots; and kale, basil pesto, ricotta and candied lemon. Many appetizers, like roasted parsnips with robiola cheese, roasted maitake mushrooms with soppressata piccante and charred shrimp, are cooked over a wood fire, as are entrees like whole fish, cabbage -whole roast flower and striploin. Unlike most pizzerias, the dessert is neither an afterthought nor skippable. Consider milk chocolate ice cream with a swirl of dark chocolate sand; salted butter caramel ice cream and fior di latte with caramel sauce and shortbread crumble; or an Italian rainbow cookie sundae, a tribute to Little Italy. The timing of the opening is timed so that Ms. Rodriguez, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, has several months to get Mel’s in order before Al Coro is unveiled. (Open Wednesday)
85 10th Avenue (16th Street), 212-970-2202, mels-nyc.com.
The Citizens New York food hall in the Manhattan West complex is booked by Casa Dani, Chef Dani Garcia’s Spanish restaurant, and now this restaurant, which presents its cuisine as Japanese cuisine for the American palate. Chef Katsuya Uechi is in charge. In 2006, Sam Nazarian’s Disruptive Restaurant Group opened the first Katsuya in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. Since then, the group has replicated it around the world, with more locations in the works and Mr. Uechi developing the menus for each one. Sushi variations, hand rolls, hot and cold Japanese appetizers and main courses are highlights of the menu. And there’s an eye for luxury in dishes like king crab tempura, Wagyu gyoza, grilled whole lobster, and Wagyu sukiyaki. The dining rooms are richly decorated and dramatically lit. (Thusday)
398 10th Avenue (33rd Street), 212-920-6816, katsuyarestaurant.com.
Bright, floral decor heralding spring defines the look of this newest member of the Serafina group of restaurants, where you can order at the counter or at a kiosk. The place is laid back and also offers online ordering. The place is laid back. In addition to Serafina’s usual pastas, pizzas, salads and main dishes, there are breakfast dishes, paninis and sandwiches.
922 Seventh Avenue (58th Street), 646-362-6100, cafeserafinany.com.
Brooklyn Chop House
The multi-story building that housed Buffalo Wild Wings until the pandemic lockdown is now a branch of Brooklyn Chop House, a restaurant co-founded by Stratis Morfogen. The main dining room and its mezzanine, seating 300, and the rooftop bar and restaurant, with a further 150 seats, specialize in quirky dumplings and what Mr Morfogen calls LSD: lobster, steak and duck lacquer. There is also a lower-tier dining club, the NFT Private Cellar, where members purchase digital tokens at various tiers for admission, food, and beverages. (Thusday)
253 West 47th Street, brooklynchophouse.com.