New openings from Marcus Samuelsson and The Smith make dining well near Lincoln Center easier than ever.
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When Picholine closed its doors for a renovation earlier this year (and rumors spread that it was done for good), performing-arts patrons knew the restaurant would be leaving a big void in an already underwhelming market of pre-performance dining choices near Lincoln Center. Now, just as Picholine has rather abruptly reopened, there are two new impressive options in the neighborhood, from star chef of the moment Marcus Samuelsson and from the team at The Smith. Here’s the early word.
American Table Cafe and Bar
Marcus Samuelsson, whose comfort food at Red Rooster Harlem transformed that neighborhood’s dining scene, has ventured downtown (relatively) for his latest opening. American Table Cafe and Bar made its debut this month in the glass–walled space in Alice Tully Hall that formerly belonged to at65 Café. Executive chef Charlene Johnson-Hadley, who worked her way up from line cook to chef at Red Rooster, is leading the kitchen with “multicultural American” dishes that range from the Thanksgiving-inspired turkey meatball sandwich with cranberry sauce and mushroom gravy to the Ethiopian–inspired Tacos Doro Wat, which come stuffed with pulled chicken and are served with egg and chives. The setup includes a large communal table surrounded by two-tops and armchairs, an ideal environment for imbibing pre- or post-show cocktails. Try the Fife & Drum, composed of rum and a green tea blend made in collaboration with Harney & Sons. American Table Cafe and Bar at Alice Tully Hall: 1941 Broadway, 212.671.4200
This American brasserie mini-chain continues spreading uptown from its original East Village roots (following its Midtown East opening last fall). The Lincoln Center location, in the old Josephina spot, on Broadway and 63rd Street, is slated to open in early November with a menu similar to those at its other locations—call it farm-to-table with flair. Expect snacks like beer–battered string beans and entrées that include grilled shrimp with jalapeño grits, pilsner butter, and green tomato salad. The Smith’s irresistible twice-baked macaroni and cheese has a devoted following of its own, thanks no doubt to the perfectly crisped golden edges. The team promises the new location will cultivate the same casual, lively atmosphere that’s made its siblings neighborhood favorites. An additional 100 patio seats will certainly help in that regard, and the libations—we recommend the Ginger Smash (rum, pear, and fresh ginger)—won’t hurt either. The Smith at Lincoln Center: 1900 Broadway, coming soon