Ox Cart Tavern takes pride in crafting almost every component of its creative comfort cuisine from scratch, from fresh grinding all meats in-house to handcrafting its own ketchup. Chef David Pitula’s contemporary spin on American classics start with appetite whetters such as chili-coated sweet-onion rings ($4) or roasted-garlic and goat-cheese spinach pies ($7) with zesty chipotle dip. A board of burger options present variations on a beefy 9-ounce theme, with selections as versatile as a hula burger ($12), which dances to its doom with a sweet-savory stack of grilled pineapple, Italian ham, and Swiss cheese, to the bacon, cheddar, and sautéed-mushroom-topped Good ol’ Boy ($12), which attempts to distract diners by singing all 37 verses of “American Pie.” A pastoral version of fish 'n' chips situates beer-battered white fish near a pyramid of pickled vegetables and a heap of hand cut fries ($13), and the Gelato sundae ($6) sweetly caps the meal with a tower of homemade fudge and bourbon caramel, crowned with maraschino cherries, fresh whipped cream, and praline.
PSbklyn's servers slide dishes from a menu resplendent with burgers and brick-oven pizzas down a polished crimson bar. The aromas of wood-fired pizzas such as the Joey G., which asserts a flavorful presence with grilled chicken, barbecue sauce, and avocado-ranch dressing ($12), twist with the warming scents of the Reuben sliders ($6) in a mouthwatering tangle like an Oompa Loompa's game of Twister. In the lively dining area, patrons dress beef, chicken, veggie, or turkey patties ($10) in one of nine different ensembles, such as The Luca's sartorial armor of avocado, smoked-tomato jam and portobello mushroom (an additional $5). Kids hone their future-foodie instincts without crafting Play-Doh sushi by selecting a foundation for their meal from options including gooey grilled cheeses and pigs in a blanket and pairing it with fries, steamed vegetables, or applesauce ($9).
As clocks strike 5 p.m. across the country, happy hours everywhere celebrate the end of another long workday. Every night from 1 a.m. to 4 a.m., however, Black Swan heralds the dawn of a new day with its reverse happy hour. The late night festivity is one of many twists the New American gastropub puts on the traditional bar format. Along with pub staples such as fish and chips, chefs plate internationally inspired treats including a BLT amplified with farm-raised salmon, veggie empanadas, and chicken wings smothered in a sweet and spicy Thai sauce. Innovation continues behind the bar, where mixologists craft such off-kilter cocktails as the Hot "Bacon" Toddy, a blend of bacon-infused bourbon and maple syrup served with a strip of bacon. An extensive selection of liquor, wine, and beer is also available inside the space that was once an auto-body shop, now transformed into a "sleek hall with a long copper bar, jet-black hardwood walls, and hand-worn tables," according to New York Magazine.
The city of Nelson is literally a world away from the hum and hubbub of Manhattan. It sits under cerulean skies on the northern shore of New Zealand’s South Island, its residents epitomizing a laid-back attitude seen so rarely on New York’s crowded streets. As Nelson Blue's self-proclaimed "resident Kiwi," Pauli Morgan doesn’t seem to mind that he’s a bit of an anomaly. When he opened the restaurant and bar in the heart of the Financial District, he wanted to capture everything that he missed about his former home: the company, the cuisine, and the creativity. With the help of chef Eric Lind, he has done just that. New Zealand–inspired lamb skewers and grilled squid share the menu with savory beef pies from nearby Down Under Bakery. Morgan also props up his homeland’s economy by importing many of Nelson Blue’s beers and condiments directly from New Zealand. Homesick Kiwis can find solace in a pint of Moa beer or a glass filled with Wattie’s Tomato Sauce as they take in views of the Brooklyn Bridge from the bar’s patio.
Paying homage to the financial offices nearby, a giant white bull statue guards the dining room, where traders and other diners slip into red booths. Here, they share boards of imported and domestic artisanal cheese, which precede steak frites or Bailey Burgers with applewood-smoked bacon.