TWO weeks ago, the James Beard Foundation announced awards for the top restaurants, chefs, and beverage professionals across the country.
Around 600 culinary professionals cast votes for the Beard awards. (Disclosure: I’m one of them; I sit on the Foundation’s Restaurant and Chef Awards Committee.) This year, those professionals named Tribeca brasserie Frenchette the best new restaurant in the country. But in New York, everyone is a critic.
Finance professionals spend a substantial amount of money eating around the city. One of Wall Street’s most prolific restaurant supporters is David Solomon, chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Solomon eats out at least five times a week when he’s in New York and has his own opinions about the local scene.
Mr. Solomon shared his views on the best new restaurant in a telephone interview, as well as thoughts on some other notable 2018 openings.
• Best New Restaurant: Atomix — The groundbreaking Korean omakase counter offers roughly a dozen courses from chef Junghyun Park. Dishes might include Korean oyster pancakes, with pork sauce and Nuruk lemon purée.
Solomon: “Atomix is an extraordinary experience. It’s a high-end culinary event: The flavors, the taste, the presentation — all of it is unique. The service is very attentive. You’re sitting at a large counter with other people, yet it’s a very personal experience, because of the level of attention.”
• 2018 Notable Openings Misi — A pasta- and vegetable-focused restaurant from chef Missy Robbins and Goldman Sachs alum Sean Feeney — who have become renowned in the food world for their first joint effort, Lilia — Misi has made a remote part of Williamsburg a destination.
Solomon: “I love this restaurant. I thought it would be hard to follow Lilia with something as exciting and as compelling. Misi is where I want to have dinner on Sunday night with family and friends; it’s warm and comfortable, and then there’s the combination of Missy’s cooking and Sean’s hospitality. The food is delicious, and it’s not just the pasta: The vegetables and the flavors are so simple but so good. The tomatoes with hot honey are outstanding when they’re on the menu.”
• Legacy Records — (Disclosure: Solomon is an owner of the restaurant.) From the team behind Charlie Bird and Pasquale Jones, Legacy Records was an early entry in the Hudson Yards dining scene when it opened in 2018. Chef Ryan Hardy offers a Mediterranean-oriented menu that includes an array of crudos and pasta.
Solomon: “I’m one of the owners, so I’m biased. But what the team there is doing is great. I rave about the duck — it’s phenomenal. Besides the restaurant, there’s a good bar upstairs: Ada’s Place.”
• Manhatta — Set on the 60th floor of a Liberty Street office building, this restaurant, from Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, has a French-inspired, $88, three-course menu. The panoramic views of downtown New York are unparalleled.
Solomon: “The space is spectacular. But I like all of Danny [Meyer]’s places and the attention to service you get there. Even one night, when it was raining and there was no view, it was still worth being there.”
• Frenchette — In Tribeca, this buzzy brasserie offers an indulgent menu of French-style dishes, with specialties such as duck frites and rotisserie lobster with curry butter. The vast wine list prioritizes all-natural bottles.
Solomon: “Listen, the food is great. I’ve been fans of those guys since before Minetta.”
• Odo — The small kaiseki counter from chef Hiroki Odo is hidden behind a tiny, all-day café and bar in the Flatiron District. Odo favors unconventional flavors: He’ll fold Korean white kimchi into sushi rolls and throw a course of yuzu ramen into the procession of dishes.
Solomon: “The flavors are very good. It’s one of the more interesting places to eat in the city.”
Solomon isn’t the only financial pro to have opinions about restaurants.
Marc Granetz is the chief administrative officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co., corporate. He also sits on the board of City Harvest, an organization dedicated to fighting hunger. His choice for best new restaurant of 2018 is Manhatta.
Granetz: “An evening at Manhatta even begins like a special occasion: You check your coat on the ground floor and emerge from the elevator at the top of the building, unburdened, to see some very unfamiliar views of Manhattan. Chef Jason Pfeifer’s half-dozen starters and mains are both elegant and satisfying. Service is gracious and friendly, and even if you try to tip the host for showing you to a great table, he will not take it.”
Gregory Buhay, director in corporate credit trading at Barclays and chair of City Harvest Generation Harvest, agrees with Granetz.
Buhay: “Manhatta is one of my favorite restaurants in the city right now. The view is truly mesmerizing, the food is fine dining at its best, the service is extremely attentive and friendly, the prix-fixed menu is digestible when you get the bill at the end of the night. And did I mention the view? It’s the first restaurant that comes to my mind when I’m asked where to go out to eat in Manhattan.” — Kate Krader, Bloomberg