Despite being internationally renowned for his French-based haute cuisine, Jean-Georges Vongerichten swears his favorite food comes from the street carts of Thailand. The Alsace-born chef trained throughout France, but further honed his skills in Asia, slicing and dicing at luxury hotels in Bangkok, Singapore, and Hong Kong. He eventually crafted a signature French-fusion style, swapping out the heavy creams and stocks of traditional European cooking for the lighter juices, essences, and broths of Asian dishes. His inventiveness has launched a legendary career: he owns or collaborates on 35 restaurants around the world, has won two James Beard Awards, and was profiled on the Sundance Channel television show Iconoclasts. Described as the jewel of his empire, Jean-Georges’s eponymous restaurant glitters with the distinction of a four-star rating from the New York Times and three Michelin stars. Though it has risen to lofty ranks, the eatery stays grounded by shopping at local farmers’ markets for its seasonal menu. Dishes have included steamed flounder with roasted pumpkin seeds, spaghetti squash, and soy-yuzu broth, as well as Japanese snapper carpaccio with ginger, white radish, and olive oil. As the signature restaurant of the Trump International Hotel & Tower New York, Jean-Georges boasts a dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows that frame views of Central Park, Columbus Circle, and the city’s most affluent pigeons.
The Magic Pot's menu combines international sauces and chocolates in delicious molten blends. Slices of apples and bread can be slam-dunked into cheesy appetizer dipping bowls, including the queso, a blend of cheddar and monterey jack melted in apple cider with fresh cilantro, roasted peppers, and sweet onions. Burbling like a magma flow, The Magic Pot's entrees overflow with savory bites of beef, teriyaki pork, and honey-garlic chicken to dip in sesame, teriyaki, and Asian-chili sauces. The Magic Pot's dippy desserts are made with Callebaut Belgian chocolate. All fondue desserts are served with fruit, brownies, marshmallows, and rice-krispies treats for dunking. Couples can customize a three-course Magic Feast and bring their own bottle or Stanley Cup full of wine to wash it all down.
After Ithaka’s seven-year stint as the best Greek restaurant in Greenwich Village according to Gayot, chef Harry Hatziparaskevas decided it was time for a change of scenery. Northeastward he went, to Ithaka’s current location on the Upper East Side. He brought with him the same authentic menu, which Time Out New York praises for offering “perfectly prepared traditional Greek dishes," such as moussaka, kapamas, and kalamari scharas—whole marinated squid charbroiled with lemon and olive oil. The new locale is roomy and rustic, with exposed ceiling beams, brick floors, and dreamlike paintings of Mediterranean destinations hanging from white, textured walls.
Gary and Isabel MacGurn met in an ashram in southern India. They had both traveled there to perform seva—an act of selfless service—by cooking in the community center’s kitchen for thousands of hungry mouths. They quickly bonded over a mutual love for chutney and dosa, and after returning stateside the couple teamed up to sell their gourmet chutneys to upscale Hampton markets. When demand inevitably spiked, they decided to open some restaurants of their own. Today, Hampton Chutney Co.’s menu includes sourdough crepe dosas, pancake-style uttapam, and traditional sandwiches inspired by the MacGurns’ time in India. A popular—though less conventional—option is the breakfast dosa, whose combination of eggs and vegetables wakes the mind up faster than a pot of coffee in the face. All entrees arrive, of course, with a selection of chutneys.
From beyond the open doors of its scarlet-shuttered patio, passersby can catch a whiff of exactly what Buceo 95 excels in: tapas inspired not only by the flavors of the Iberian Peninsula but also by those of France, Italy, and Germany. In the kitchen, chef Misha Ryklin uses free-range, organic meats from local sources when crafting a selection of shareable carne plates such as cumin-spiced chicken kebabs, grilled calamari drizzled with squid ink, and baby lamb chops splashed with mint-anise cream. The menu, which is served until midnight, also features a handful of snack-sized pintxos that are perfect for pairing with glasses from the Spain-centric wine list.
Meaning ?Spicy Chinese food? in a loose translation, Chinese Mirch blends the flavors of China with the fiery spices of Indian cuisine to create an MSG-free menu of devilishly spicy chicken, fish, and vegetarian dishes. Third generation restaurateur Vik Lulla has been working in the kitchen since he was 16 years old and living in Bangalore, and brought his traditional fusion cuisine to New York City in 2003. Deep-fried with large chunks of chilis in the batter, the chicken lollipops drew praise from the Boston Globe, the New York Times, and Ear Steamers Weekly, and the smooth, soothing mango lassi offers a sweet way to douse molar fires.