NYC’s Best New Restaurants and Bars of 2013 (So Far)

It's shaping up to be another banner year in New York dining—don't fall behind.

chezsardine

Photo: Liz Barclay

Chez Sardine

Neighborhood: West Village
Address and phone: 183 W 10th St (646-360-3705)
Website: chezsardine.com

Chez Sardine is the biggest curveball in Gabe Stulman's "Lil' Wisco" empire, but it's also one of the best. He's called it "a very inauthentic take on a Japanese izakaya," which really translates to a raucous sushi joint for people who don't like the subdued atmosphere of traditional sushi joints. All the Stulman trademarks are in place—easy-to-love cocktails, a buzzy scene in an impossibly small space—but with the unexpected twist of serving some of the city's most inventive morsels of raw fish and rice. Too often "creative" sushi means bizarre monstrosities like mayo-laden Dragon Rolls, but here the pieces are bite-size and delicate, yet surprising in their flavor combos—hamachi is paired with ginger and crunchy chicharrón, while sea-urchin wrapped in nori is a fine match for top-grade chopped beef. All of this is impeccable, as are some of the small plates, like a stack of mini breakfast pancakes with fish tartare, salmon roe, and yogurt (think the best blini ever), and asparagus with miso butter. And while some of the larger items fall flat—a decadent foie gras grilled cheese feels like an unnecessary import from the nearby Fedora—you don't really need them if you're willing to blow out the expense account on sushi (those cocktails help ease the pain of the check, which might not be pretty). — Chris Schonberger

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