Highlighting one whitewashed, reclaimed wood wall of this new Turkish restaurant is an impressionistic painting by Lia Ali of Rumi, the mystic poet and scholar who lived and is buried in the city of Konya. The fervid scene, also reflected in mirrors across the room, contrasts the light turquoise banquettes that calmly suggest the Aegean coast. The menu covers more of Turkey, emphasizing familiar fare like mezze, dolma, imam bayaldi, sausages, bastirma, kebabs and braised lamb shank. There are also less typical skewered quail, bone marrow and grilled tiger prawns. It’s the work of the restaurateur Andy Arkun, who co-owned Anatolia Restaurant; Erhan Bahceci, who co-owns a few locations of Amish Market; and Zeynep Tansug, an expert on Turkish ingredients. They created and oversee the menu, and have brought along two chefs from Turkey, Gözde Boran and Semih Tasdemir to execute their vision. There are a number of Turkish wines on the list (most made with French vinifera), and some cocktails that involve ingredients like raki and Turkish tea. The food is halal-certified, and the name means pomegranate
34 East 20th Street, 917-388-3195, narrestaurant.nyc.
The Chinese name means something along the lines of simple and unadorned. It’s the approach taken by this new vegetarian restaurant in a minimalist setting. The executive chef, Owen Liu, whose experience is mostly in hotel kitchens in Xi’an, China, summons Shanghainese, Cantonese and Northwestern Chinese influences for his diverse menu. Specialties include tricolor cold noodles, sweet and sour “beyond pork,” spinach stack with mustard oil, mapo tofu pumpkin stew and, as a bar snack, deep-fried mushrooms with salt and pepper.
318 Bedford Avenue (South First Street), Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 347-889-5555, pusuvegetarian.com.
The Tipsy Baker
There are two sides to Pain d’Avignon’s latest project. By day, it’s a bakery done in traditional boulangerie style with the company’s usual loaves, rolls, sandwiches and such. In the evening it morphs into a Mediterranean restaurant, serving wine and dishes like roasted peppers in raspberry vinegar, seared shrimp with romesco sauce, seared cobia with braised runner beans, and crispy pork belly with piquillo peppers and fennel. It’s spacious enough to accommodate both cafe and restaurant, with a full bar.
30 Rockefeller Plaza, Rink Level (50th Street), 646-449-0954, cafedavignon.com.
What was originally a bar has been upgraded to restaurant by the chef Raphael Khutorsky and his partners Jeckson Leonardo, Ilan Khutorsky and Thatcher Schultz. The décor has been dressed up with leather, marble and mirrors, and the menu now includes cavatelli with lobster, porchetta for two and Basque cheesecake.