food 04.25.06

Hot List

A Voce, 41 Mad [26th] 212.545.8555. Naming your restaurant A Voce, which means 'word of mouth,' is a little like the author Jincy Willett calling her novel Winner of the National Book Award — you're asking for it. But in both these cases, they get away with it. At this major new restaurant, Andrew Carmellini's assured, fine Italian hand in the kitchen and the smooth service have made the word of mouth overwhelmingly positive.

Cafe D'Alsace, 1695 2nd [88th] 212.722.5133. If Bobby Flay, who was born in Manhattan, can cook southwestern, there's no reason why Philippe Roussel, born in Brittany, can't cook Alsatian. Alsace is one of our favorite regions anywhere, so we're grateful to have M. Roussel's flammek¸che (aka tarte flambée aka cheese/onions/bacon pizza) and choucroute in strolling distance.

Country, 90 Mad [29th] 212.889.7100. There were some service kinks in its early days, but seasoned pro Geoffrey Zakarian has settled the place into a winning night in the city, if not actually a day in the country.

Dirty Bird To Go, 204 W. 14th [7th/8th ] 212.620.4836. Husband-and-wife team Slade Rushing and Allison Vines-Rushing have opened this shop, not even old enough yet to be called a spring chicken. The Rushings are out to raise the bar on takeout, with free-range birds, organic greens and veggies, and "fresh-baked bad-ass cookies." Given this much TLC, we hope DBTG KO's KFC ASAP.

Dressler, 149 Bway [Driggs/Bedford] W'Burg 718.384.6343. From the folks behind the incredibly appealing DuMont (and DuMont Burger), Mediterranean-ish cooking with bright, straightforward flavors. The desserts may not be quite there yet, but everything else says 'hit.'

Jean Georges, 1 CPW [60th] 212.299.3900. Thanks to the fairydust sprinkled by Frank Bruni, renewing the four-star status of Jean-Georges Vongerichten's flagship, it's back on the top of the charts — not that it ever really left.

Quality Meats, 57 W. 58th [5th/6th] 212.371.7777. Retiring the somewhat fusty Manhattan Ocean Club, restaurateur Alan Stillman comes charging back with this AvroKo-designed steakhouse. Craig Koketsu remains in the kitchen, which is a very good thing — he may well emerge as one of the city's finest chefs.

Turks & Frogs, 458 Greenwich St. [Watts/Desbrosses] 212.966.4774. This Turkish restaurant, from the brothers who own the T & F wine bar in the Village, has a full menu of meze and mains. Given the paucity of Turkish restaurants in the city, we're rooting for it.

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