The first, best, and most enduring of all New York's great tapas bars, Casa Mono continues to offer, within its tiny space, some of the most concentrated flavors and challenging small plates the city has to offer.
Get it straight: there isn't a better, more straight-forward chef in New York than Marco Canora, whose restaurant is utterly committed to simple, perfectly prepared season food of the very highest order. Also, don't miss out on pasta, which is the open secret of Hearth's greatness.
"Big Box" Japanese restaurants are generally low-quality, off-brand affairs, but EN is as good as it is big. Avoid the New York cliches (e.g. miso cod, etc. ) and ask for the actual Japanese standards at which the place excels.
Degustation is in many ways the very ideal of a New York tapas bar. It's small, it's chill, and the dishes are tiny and rustic and very, very, good, and at a price that's not crippling.
Super delicate, super stark Soto takes an especially high-minded approach to sushi: a combination of the characteristic stripped-down vision of perfect sashimi on the one hand and an almost kaiseki-like approach to small, exquisitely composed and plated dishes. The combination is a huge winner, and more than worth the considerable cost.
Aldea’s talented young chef, George Mendes, brings a refined and inventive take on "modern Iberian" food at this fine, modestly-priced Portuguese-inflected restaurant.
Universally hailed as one of the greatest exhibitions of culinary genius in the USA, this small chef's counter (there are only 18 seats) showcases Cesar Ramirez's exquisite food, but it also asks a lot from its customers, who are required to sit in reverential silence for hours, barely talking, never taking pictures, etc. etc. By all accounts it's the sort of meal nobody goes to twice -- more a touchstone for gastrocrats than a meal to look forward to. At the same time, by all accounts Ramirez is a genius.