The 1930s romanticized movie-set look of China, with fringed hanging lanterns, vermilion accents, wicker and greenery, has come to Long Island City. The elaborate new restaurant from Vincent Lin and his business partner, Mandy Zhang, who also own Blue Willow in Midtown Manhattan and Ye’s Apothecary in Chinatown, and their executive chef, Bruce Li, showcase Sichuan and Hunan cooking here. The menu is peppered with Sichuan wontons, Xiang Xi fried rice, Chairman’s braised pork, Chongqing braised beef, peppercorn fish stew and a number of Mala dry pot dishes starring ingredients like pork belly, tripe, Spam, potatoes and mushrooms. Traditional Chinese American standbys like kung pao chicken and lo mein are also served. The drinks list is heavy on the baiju, a spirit made from sorghum and often raised in glasses for celebrations; the list of cocktails mixed with the spirit is extensive, devised by Robert Burns, the mixologist for the partners’ three restaurants. The owners selected a Long Island City location for the diversity of the neighborhood.
28-03 Jackson Avenue (42nd Road), Long Island City, Queens, 929-545-2023, redsorghumlic.com.
Fungi had taken both lead and supporting roles at &Beer, a 14-seat East Village pop-up by Ravi DeRossi’s Overthrow Hospitality. Now, enlarged and with more staying power and a new name, the mushroom restaurant has moved into the adjacent storefront darkly done in a Gothic style with 50 seats. The expanded vegan menu offers yellow enoki mushrooms with orange balsamic vinaigrette and couscous, comb tooth mushrooms with celery root purée and pickled hon shimejis, ramen with fried enokis in a sesame coconut broth, and king royal trumpets with green sauce, ricotta and herbs. The list of craft beers has also been extended, as has the wine list. (Opens Thursday)
23 East Seventh Street (Second Avenue), 833-328-4528, ext. 703, thirdkingdomnyc.com.
Cosme Aguilar and his brother Luis — who own Casa Enrique, the Mexican restaurant in Long Island City, Queens, that lost its Michelin star last year — has ventured into Manhattan with a spot for small plates and cocktails. Simply done in black and white, it has a central bar, an open kitchen and a narrow counter. “The whole place is like a chef’s counter with cooking in front of the people,” Luis Aguilar said. The Instagram-worthy star of the show is the so-called lobster ceviche, a whole cooked lobster in a lemongrass-scented broth that’s more stew than ceviche and not something you’d find at Casa Enrique. Fried oysters, shrimp aguachile, tostadas of crab, mixed seafood, and steak tartare, and corn tortillas with chorizo and beans are some other dishes. There’s a long list of cocktails.
27 Bedford Street (Downing Street), 646-590-0960, instagram.com/quiquecrudonyc.
For some time now, when it comes to Thai food, the spotlight has been on the often well-spiced Isan cooking from the Northeastern region. In their new place, pronounced “sep,” Chidensee Watthanawongwatt, Kitiya Mokkarat and Supatta Banklouy, the partners in Soothr in the East Village, are working with the chef Tom Khaengkarn. Expect Isan dishes like salads made with green papaya and another incorporating beef blood; spicy chicken soup; beef tartare; and pan-fried noodles with anchovies, chiles, garlic, morning glory and pork rinds. Ping yang meat and vegetable skewers, and tod (fried) dishes like dumplings and chicken wings, popular throughout Thailand, are also on the menu. Some traditional Thai spirits like herbal Ya Dong are incorporated in the cocktails. The restaurant is decorated with mirrors, neon, Thai stained glass and street signs. There is an open kitchen, and a back room done to replicate a Bangkok railway station will open next month.
240 West 14th Street, 212-466-6361, sappenyc.com.