GUIDE: New York

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    Fort Defiance

    365 Van Brunt St.

    Red Hook

    Cuisine: New American

    $$

    This restaurant possesses that rare ability to transform itself from casual café to romantic bistro after the sun sets over Red Hook’s storied piers, once the workplace of thousands of hungry longshoremen. The owner, Pegu Club alum St. John Frizell, plays keep behind a tidy bar, while an eye-catching crowd from the neighborhood nibbles deviled eggs and sips house-made sodas while guarding the fort against the inevitable onslaught from Manhattan. READ REVIEW

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    Gardenia

    64 Downing St.

    West Village

    Cuisine: Mediterranean

    $$$

    Co-owners Antonio Pezzella and Vitor Proenca have curated the menu into a greatest-hits package of southern European dishes they’ve been eating all their lives. READ REVIEW

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    Gente Ristorante Italiano

    153 E. 45th St.

    Midtown East

    Cuisine: Italian

    $$$

    Great Italian food—from a menu that seems to go on forever—is hiding in plain sight, just around the corner from Grand Central. READ REVIEW

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    Gnoccheria by Luzzo's

    234 E. 4th St.

    East Village

    Cuisine: Italian

    $

    Given the unqualified success of Luzzo’s, Ovest, and DaMikele, Michele Iuliano could have gone on making the Neapolitan-style pizza he’s built an empire around. But sometimes a chef has to follow a new idea—and at Gnoccheria, Iuliano has done just that. READ REVIEW

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    Gradisca

    126 W. 13th St.

    West Village

    Cuisine: Italian

    $$$

    Sexy is the only word to describe the candlelit, subterranean space, with its exposed brick, wide-plank floors, and bloodred walls. As for the food—the centerpiece of which is the traditional pasta made fresh by Galeano’s own mamma—that would do with anything from seductive or satisfying to just plain delicious. READ REVIEW

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    The Greenwich Project

    47 W. 8th St.

    Greenwich Village

    Cuisine: New American

    $$

    This sexy secret—and sibling of the Mulberry Project—serves unique plates that pack big flavor in an intimate and chic 74-seat townhouse. It's a party thanks to a stellar cocktail list, packed with buzzy ingredients like house-made "root" bitters, rose petal infused rye, and maple syrup, which come together to make drinks like the Rye, Roots & Roses. READ REVIEW

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    Hank's Juicy Beef

    84 Chambers St.

    Tribeca

    Cuisine: Sandwich

    $

    The man behind the meat is Henry Tibensky, a Chicago-area native who found himself in NYC over a decade ago with no place to score the beloved Italian beef sandwiches that were a staple during his youth in Oak Park, Illinois. READ REVIEW

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    Hecho en Dumbo

    354 Bowery

    NoHo

    Cuisine: Mexican

    $$

    A light coating of vinegar-spiked oil clings like dew to each julienned strip of radish in the tangy ensalada de rábano. Delicious. But what are those silver-dollar-size slivers with the cherry pink centers, pretty enough to wear as a brooch? The chef, who just made the salad, is but a few feet away, looking out occasionally across the counter from the eat-in bar, so why not ask? Without missing a chop, Danny Mena shoots back: “Watermelon radishes, from Satur Farms on Long Island.” READ REVIEW

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    Highlands

    150 W. 10th St.

    West Village

    Cuisine: Bar, British, Pub, Steak

    $$

    Highlands, a lively gastropub that's both a stellar bar and an excellent restaurant, is so well-regarded for its expert cocktails and brown spirits selection that the food can get overlooked. And that's a mistake, because even the pubbiest selections here are executed with care. Take the Scotch egg, typically a baseball of a bar snack consisting of a hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage and deep-fried. READ REVIEW

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    Hill Country

    30 W. 26th St.

    Flatiron

    Cuisine: Barbeque

    $$

    Hill Country has become the superlative city ’cue, its Texas dry-rub style—smoked “low and slow” over post oak—even making some critics’ national best barbecue lists. READ REVIEW


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