Caviar Russe and The Bar at Caviar Russe
Tucked into a second floor overlooking Madison Avenue since 1997, the luxurious, intimate dining room at Caviar Russe, an importer and seller of caviar, now has a less formal partner downstairs. The company took over the ground-floor space and has turned it into a caviar bar and lounge, with 14 comfortable seats at a white marble counter and another 28 in a richly upholstered area with low tables, all lit by hanging circular fixtures. There’s a small retail area in the front of the space. This new Bar at Caviar Russe, which will open at noon daily, offers small bite alternatives to the executive chef Edgar Panchernikov’s $150 tasting and à la carte menus upstairs. (The original restaurant was awarded a Michelin star.) In addition to various caviar services with all the proper accouterments and utensils, the downstairs dining options, with cocktails, vodkas, Champagnes and wines, feature raw bar specialties, a raw fish chirashi bowl with caviar, mini-lobster rolls, bao buns with eel and foie gras, and a take on tarte flambée, topped, like almost everything else, with glistening sturgeon roe. All of the company’s caviars are farm-raised in northern Germany from stock that originally came from the Caspian Sea, except for the transmontanus white sturgeon, native to California. (Opens Wednesday)
538 Madison Avenue (54th Street), 212-980-5908, caviarrusse.com.
A major dining addition to the Manhattan West development is this ambassador of the Eastern Mediterranean, with vibrant food inspired by Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Israel, Jordan and elsewhere. Designed by AvroKo with intricate wood and tile work, and a big open kitchen with a wood-fired grill, it seats 75 indoors and at least 60 more outside on the plaza. The executive chef, Madeline Sperling, who is from North Carolina and worked at Gramercy Tavern and NoMad, is preparing assorted breads, like honey butter kubaneh, dips, salads, manti dumplings, a lobster tagine and mushroom kibbe. Also on the menu are family-style preparations like black sea bass swathed in grape leaves, and duck borek layered with pastry. Desserts include charred pineapple with rum syrup and lime. Cooking at her side is Juliana Latif, whose roots are Jordanian and Lebanese. The restaurant is under the umbrella of Quality Branded and in partnership with Pendry Manhattan West, which is adjacent to the restaurant. (Wednesday)
85 Manhattan West Plaza, 440 West 33rd Street, 212-380-8585, zouzousnyc.com.
La Devozione by Pastificio G. Di Martino
Pastificio G. Di Martino, founded in Gragnano, in Campania, Italy, in 1912, is known for dry pasta made with traditional bronze dies. It’s still going strong, run by Giuseppe Di Martino, an enthusiastic third-generation member of the family. The company is now putting down roots in Chelsea Market. A casual area called A Tavola, where pastas and other dishes are served, opens this week, as do a cocktail bar and a retail store, selling scores of pastas and other products. A to-go counter with special packaging designed to keep the food hot is also on target for this week. On Dec. 9, a huge oval bar, with 30 seats and four chefs preparing pasta to order on a tasting menu, will open. (Wednesday)
Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Avenue (15th Street), 646-720-0215.
This Palestinian restaurant is the more elaborate sibling to Ayat, a year-old casual place in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, known for kebabs and shawarma. The new restaurant features malfouf (stuffed cabbage), pizzas with Middle Eastern toppings like shawarma, tomato-based stews with beef and vegetables, and a rice specialty called ouzi served with lamb, chicken or beef. The chef is Samer Hassan. Like Ayat, Al Badawi is owned by Abdul Elenani, whose roots are Egyptian. (His wife, Ayat Masoud, for which Ayat is named, is Palestinian.) At Al Badawi, he has a partner, Akram Nassir, the owner of Yemen Café nearby. Mr. Elenani has a farm in New Jersey, where he raises produce and livestock for the meats he sends to a halal butcher for his restaurants. He plans another location of Ayat adjacent to Industry City, and a third in Montclair, N.J.
151 Atlantic Avenue (Clinton Street), Brooklyn Heights, 718-689-5888, albadawinyc.com.