Black Tree Sandwich Shop (131 Orchard Street)
Black Tree bills itself as a “next generation” sandwich shop using “ingredients and techniques more closely associated with a top restaurant kitchen—not a modest sandwich shop,” explains Sandy Hall who runs Black Tree with friend Macnair Sillick, a political reporter for NY1. Their new location on Orchard Street is the sandwich shop's first outpost in Manhattan after finding great success in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Black Tree on Orchard will offer seasonally inspired American sandwiches with ingredients sourced exclusively from local farmers and farmers markets. The spring menu includes a Spring Pig Sandwich made with house smoked ham, Prairie View cheddar, Mona sheep milk cheese, and house made spicy pickles, spicy aioli, and mustard or the Spring Mushroom Sandwich prepared with white wine and herb marinated cremini mushrooms with sautéed kale, onion, garlic, and Landaff cheese. With a hyper-local theme, the Black Tree cocktail assortment is made up of mostly New York-based spirits. With wine mainly from Long Island wineries and beers brewed right in Brooklyn, and house made bitters. Black Tree may be the most locally sourced sandwich shop in the city.
Preserve24 (177 East Houston Street)
Preserve24 is not your standard restaurant found in the Lower East Side. This brand new eatery, opened only last week, is an immersive art installation housed in three 111-year old tenement buildings. On the ground floor you’ll find a café and bar that wrap around an interior courtyard that has been converted into an arboretum with native Manhattan foliage found on the island before 1650. Below is a “warm den-like” restaurant reached by descending a grand staircase created from a cast iron and glass sidewalk from SoHo and a Victorian pedestrian railroad bridge. Found on the cellar level are dining rooms, a pub bar, and exhibition kitchens. All details and materials used to create the Preserve24 space does just that, preserve New York heritage and history. At the kitchen's helm is Sicilian-born, Chef John Parlatore who has designed a menu that is “unintimidating and contemporary.” The menu features seasonal and locally sourced ingredients such as, the Fire Roasted Oysters with herbed garlic butter to showcase how New York Harbor was once the world’s leading exporter of oysters, an Oven-Roasted Whole Porgy with muddle tomato, garlic and olive oil, and Fennel Crusted Upstate Veal Chop with vinegar peppers sourced from the tri-state area.
The Fourth (132 Fourth Avenue)
The newest addition to the restaurants surrounding Union Square is The Fourth, the latest restaurant from husband and wife restaurateurs Jo-Ann Makovitzky and Marco Moreira (of One Five Hospitality). The Fourth marries the area’s “urban elegance with the East Village’s edgy, creative appeal.” The European brasserie has a lively downtown vibe with dishes prepared by Chef Michael William Davis who has designed a menu of American interpretations of classic European brasserie dishes. Comprised of three seating areas: a café with a European-style espresso bar featuring One Five Hospitality’s own coffee brand, Café Quatrième, a 24-seat communal bar and dining space, and an elegant elevated dining room with seating for 45. The sophisticated menu includes an appetizer of Whole Roasted Beet wrapped in beet greens and burrata with pistachio puree and orange vinaigrette. Main courses featured on The Fourth menu include a Cioppino of Lobster & Shellfish with sofrito, roasted garlic jam, and country bread, Hearth Roasted Pork Belly with market onions, rhubarb, and escarole, and a pasta menu (titled ‘starch’) featuring a Paccheri & Pei Mussels dish with Montauk squid and peri peri. The best part of The Fourth is their hours. The eatery will be open every day from 7am until midnight, so no matter what time of day you’re hungry, The Fourth will be there for you.
Harlem Shake (100 West 124th Street)
Harlem Shake embraces its namesake neighborhood by offering high-quality, affordable fare to the neighborhood’s residents and visitors alike. Owner Jelena Pasic, inspired by Harlem’s rich culture and energy, named her burger joint after the iconic Harlem Shake dance realizing the potential of opening a go-to for familiar eats like griddled burgers and hand-spun shakes. Harlem Shake is located in a corner space that was once a dry goods market in the 19th century and later converted to a diner in the 1940s. The space is inviting and comfortable with unique design features such as walls covered in nearly 300 vintage covers of JET magazine, a tobacco and water leak-stained tin ceiling, and two-story tall corner vertical 1970s-era neon BURGERS sign. The playful burger and fries menu at Harlem Shake gives diners a glimpse into what they would have discovered on the menu of a Harlem diner fifty years ago. Menu highlights include the Pigskin Classic Burger topped with crisp fried pork rinds and the Cherry Pepper-bacon Melt, a grilled cheese sandwich with spicy pickled cherry pepper-bacon relish among many other nostalgic diner staples prepared with a modern twist. As the name implies, old-school, handcrafted milkshakes will dominate the drink menu. Thoughtfully made with whole, all-natural, often locally sourced ingredients the lineup includes a classic Chocolate shake, a Red Velvet shake, and more all made using Blue Marble Ice Cream.
Casimir & Co. (1022 Lexington Avenue)
This is going to sound confusing but we promise it isn’t. Casimir & Co. recently opened on the Upper East Side in the old Le Magnifique space. With their new location up and running, they’ll soon close their flagship location on Avenue B for renovations. Once renovations are completed in the East Village, Casimir will be opened as Casimir & Co. along with a mixology bar next door. See? Not too confusing! The new Upper East Side Casimir & Co. space will transport diners from the mean streets of Manhattan to a Parisian bistro clad with daily menus listed on individual chalkboards. Prepared by Executive Chef Richard Krause, plates featured on the traditional bistro menu will be simple and satisfying with an emphasis on seasonality. Appetizers include a Charcuterie Board with Saucisson Sec sausage, duck rillettes, and homemade paté, Escargots au Buerre d’Ail Persillé, and more. A notable entree at Casimir & Co. is undoubtedly the table-side presentation of the Steak Tartate with essential components such as capers and Worcestershire sauce. The tartare is prepared either as is or slightly seared. Other entrees found on the menu include a Half Organic Herb Roasted Chicken with creamy mashed potatoes and a Whole Branzino Roasted in sea salt crust.