Filé Gumbo Bar
Eric McCree, an audio engineer who worked on Broadway shows, found himself out of work two years ago, the result of pandemic shutdowns. So he moved to Albany, N.Y., started catering and considered opening a restaurant. “It’s something I thought I could do,” he said. Now, at age 34, he is a restaurateur, specializing in Cajun and Creole cooking. He enrolled in an online hospitality business program through Cornell University, found advisers and a business partner, and then, because of Covid, was able to pick up a restaurant space at a reasonable rent. His sliver of a restaurant in TriBeCa is named for filé powder, the ground sassafras thickener often used for making gumbo. But he’s from Boise, Idaho, not the Bayou. He said he grew up eating Louisiana fare, which his maternal grandfather, Aubrey Gaines, known as Tiny, would cook at home. (Though he wasn’t a Louisiana native, Mr. Gaines learned the cuisine in his travels with a construction company.) Mr. McCree’s gumbos, including Tiny’s gumbo based on his grandfather’s style, are cooked to order in kettles behind a counter with a long row of tables opposite. They come with a choice of chicken and andouille sausage; seafood; all the above; and vegetarian. Traditional fare like jambalaya, crayfish étouffée, grilled oysters, shrimp Creole, blackened fish and, at lunch, muffuletta and po’ boy sandwiches, are also served.
275 Church Street (White Street), 917-540-6268, filenyc.com.
Sunchol Lee and Sunbong Lee, twin brothers from Osaka, Japan, have opened scores of their Japanese-style steakhouses, Yakiniku Futago, in Asia and the United States, with one in the Flatiron district. Now, they’re adding this high-end kaiseki restaurant serving only A5 Wagyu beef from Japan, nine courses with accouterments for $320 per person, plus optional sake pairings for $125. The restaurant seats 38 in a series of secluded rooms furnished with tables that have vented grills in the center.
341 West Broadway (Broome Street), nikuteifutago.com.
This Brazilian restaurant, which was on West 46th Street from 1979 until last year, has relocated and is ready for business. Carlos and Victor Pedro, the sons of Alfredo Pedro, the original owner, have taken over. The chef, Giancarlo Junyent, is turning out specialties like the Brazilian fish stew moqueca, as well as a vegetarian version; an elaborate feijoada with pork and beans; and picanha, a cut of sirloin that’s popular in Brazil. Portuguese azulejo tiles cover the floor, and there’s an upstairs cocktail bar. An adjacent cafe, Bica, opened earlier this month.
3 West 36th Street, ipanema.co.
What was the brick-walled, chandelier-lit Brasserie Saint Marc is keeping the décor but has a revised name and new owners, Paige Concepts. The chef is now Nicholas Cox, who was at La Esquina and highlights the menu with raw bar specialties, mezze dips, sausage croquettes, lobster gratin, a strip steak and a burger. Past the entry with cafe-style seating, there’s a stretch of oak-and-marble bar, an intimate semiprivate dining area and the main dining room, which opens into a garden. A speakeasy bar with a V.I.P. room occupies a lower level. (Opens Wednesday)
136 Second Avenue (Ninth Street), 646-490-0099, saintny.com.