July’s Hot, but These Restaurant Openings Are Hotter

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Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas, the master duo behind Chicago’s Alinea, finally have a foothold in New York. The two opened an outpost of their Prohibition-style cocktail den, The Office, in the Mandarin Oriental. To pair with the cocktails, there are dishes like beef tartare with edible flowers and a play on a vegetable plate that doubles as a piece of art.

Tucked beneath Dominique Bistro in the West Village is this serene omakase restaurant helmed by longtime Sushi Yasuda alum Tatsuya Sekiguchi, who uses fish from Long Island and Hokkaido. Omakase offerings start at $120.

John Fraser has moved things around at Narcissa to make room for this drinking spot. Though the newcomer is billed as a bar, there is plenty to eat, like drunken clams with shishito peppers and wine; Georgian cheese bread, or khachapuri; and what he calls an “obligatory kale salad” with sunflower seeds, avocado, baby corn and Caesar dressing.

In Israel, the Iraqi dish called kubbeh-meat-filled dumplings, most often wrapped in bulgur or rice to be plunged into soup-is a staple at homey restaurants. It’s rare to find it in the U.S., but Melanie Shurka is hoping to change that with this restaurant dedicated to all things kubbeh.

Skewers are, of course, on the menu at this sparse new robata spot in Highland Park, but there’s also Japanese fried chicken, dried skate wing and blue prawns topped with uni.

This much-buzzed-about Hayes Valley Japanese restaurant offers a locally sourced omakase experience and à la carte options that stretch beyond the standard fish + rice formula. Think: a potato chip nigiri topped with caviar; tilefish served with umeboshi, or preserved plum, and opal basil and grilled lemon; and sesame noodles with black truffle and Japanese chimichurri.

Chopped winner Charleen Caabay’s space is part restaurant and part food incubator for small, local producers. Caabay’s offerings lean Filipino and California, and include sarap tocino (a panino of sweet cured chicken and cheddar with pickled red onion) and Queen Kale Salad.

Celebrity chef Michael Mina’s latest brings a bit of France to the Waldorf Astoria in Chicago. There’s a foie gras parfait (layered with preserved cherries) and tomato tatin. The chef also dedicates a section of the menu to steaks frites, which can be ordered with a choice of several different cuts of steak.

Named for David Kennison, a mythical Chicagoan, The Kennison has a team with a sense of humor. Their website states, “Here, we salute one of Chicago’s greatest con-men.” They do that with date-night-appropriate American fare from Green Zebra alum Bill Walker.

José Andrés is giving diners and fans a look into his R&D process at ThinkFoodLab, where he is testing out fast-casual concepts. First on the docket is a brick-and-mortar version of his food truck, Pepe, which serves several pan de cristal (Spanish sandwiches on crispy bread), tapas staple pan tomate and patatas bravas chips. And as this is the summer of soft-serve, there’s ice cream on tap for dessert.

China meets Korea at this Barracks Row spot. Diners can order chilled acorn noodles, cumin lamb stir-fry and wok-blistered pea shoots from a menu that hangs on the wall, or they can give the cooks a chance to serve whatever they feel like preparing for $50. Those who want to try out the special should make reservations.

Ferndale’s newest addition is a food truck patio (complete with shaded seating) with vendors like Mac Shack and The Pita Post parked together, allowing guests to choose from the trucks they’re most interested in, instead of what happens to be parked nearby their offices. There’s also a sit-down restaurant for those who are looking for something indoors.