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11 Celebrity Chef Restaurants Not to Miss in NYC

It’s always fun watching chefs make delicious cuisine on TV—until you get hungry. Come to New York, and taste the actual dishes that make chefs into celebrities. Whether you’re looking to catch a glimpse of Antoni from Queer Eye or sample Michelin-starred cuisine at Gramercy Tavern, enjoy some of the best food in the city from some of the brightest names in the culinary world at these celebrity chef-run restaurants. 

Marc Forgione’s American Cut

American Cut

Iron Chef Marc Forgione has his celebrated eponymous restaurant in town as well as his own steakhouse: American Cut. With locations in Tribeca and midtown, American Cut brings all the luxury you’d expect from a steakhouse with subtle yet inspired updates from the Michelin-starred chef. Forgione's signature Chili Lobster makes a welcome appearance on the appetizer menu, and raw seafood can be ordered as a crudo or a tower. All steaks, from filet mignon to Wagyu, can be customized with flourishes like a tableside flambé and bone marrow toppings. Don’t miss one of the bar’s martini recipes, like the Lady Lynd made with local gin. Tribeca: 363 Greenwich St., 212-226-4736, americancutsteakhouse.com/tribeca; Midtown, 109 E. 56th St., 212-388-5277, americancutsteakhouse.com/midtown

Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar

Christina Tosi Milk Bar

Milk Bar is the smash-hit dessert offshoot of the Momofuku empire. Christina Tosi sits at the helm and has been featured in an episode of Chef’s Table, describing her playful approach to making expert desserts. Her signature recipes are the buttery Crack Pie and Cereal Milk ice cream, which can be made into a shake with cereal mix-ins at stores. In addition to the original East Village location listed below, Milk Bar can be found at eight other locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. 251 E. 13th St., 347-577-9504, milkbarstore.com  

Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster

Marcus Samuelsson Red Rooster

If you’re in the mood for a more casual sample of celeb-chef mastery, head to Red Rooster. A fixture of Harlem’s booming restaurant scene, this comfort food kitchen makes some of the best fried chicken, cornbread, and mac ‘n cheese (or, in this case, Mac ‘n Greens) around. Chef Marcus Samuelsson has enjoyed an illustrious career, from preparing the Obama Administration’s first state dinner to winning Top Chef Masters. Stick around Red Rooster for the speakeasy at Ginny’s Supper Club, serving the same great food, cocktails, and live jazz on the floor below the main dining level. 310 Lenox Ave., 212-792-9001, redroosterharlem.com

Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s ABC Cocina

Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s name can be found across a wide spectrum of New York fine dining. His namesake restaurant is a given for Michelin-starred tasting menus served at white tablecloths with impeccable service, but we’ll also highlight one of the chef’s three (!) restaurants inside home goods store ABC Carpet. ABC Cocina, located in Flatiron, serves thoughtful Latin cuisine that never disappoints. From the Diablo Margarita to the patatas bravas to the BBQ pork tacos, the seasonal menu hits all the right notes. 38 E 19th St., 212-475-5829, abchome.com/dine/abc-cocina/

David Burke Tavern

David Burke Tavern

Celebrity chef and restaurateur David Burke (David Burke Kitchen, Top Chef Masters) brings his signature pink Himalayan salt not only to the food but also the interior design of David Burke Tavern. This seasonal eatery on the Upper East Side occupies a lovely brownstone where one dining room is lined with pink salt bricks on the walls. Burke’s Clothesline Bacon appetizer also makes an appearance on the menu, plus other perfectly executed proteins like Wagyu short ribs with salsa verde and roasted branzino with artichoke puree. This summer, vegetarians should seek out the goat cheese ravioli with “peas three ways.” 135 E. 62nd St., 212-988-9021, davidburketavern.com

David Chang’s Momofuku Noodle Bar

You might have seen David Chang’s Netflix series Ugly Delicious or tried a dish from his best-selling Momofuku cookbook. In New York you have plenty of chances to sample food direct from Chang’s kitchen, whether fast-casual fried chicken at Fuku or a meal at one of his many Momofuku restaurants (with other locations worldwide). If you haven’t had the pleasure, visit the noodle shop that started it all: Momofuku Noodle Bar in the East Village. You’ll find a huge bowl of ramen waiting for you, if you so choose, or other noodles like the Chilled Spicy Noodles made Sichuan-style. Buns, oxtail, chicken wings, Soju Slushie—it’s all hits on this ever-rotating Asian fusion menu. Additional location at Columbus Circle. East Village: 171 First Ave., 212-777-7773; Columbus Circle: 10 Columbus Cir.; momofukunoodlebar.com

Antoni Porowski’s Village Den 

Antoni Porowski

Netflix’s Queer Eye gave us a new Fab Five to obsess over, and the group’s chef Antoni Porowski has opened a restaurant in the wake of the show’s success. Village Den, located in the West Village, is the ultimate lunch spot for healthy eaters. Paleo, vegan, Whole30, and other dietary lifestyles are catered to with bowls, salads, and updated TV Dinners at this breezy spot on a busy corner. 225 W .12th St., 646-952-0018, thevillageden.com

Danny Meyer’s Gramercy Tavern

Danny Meyer numbers among the city’s most successful and prolific restaurateurs. He made his name with Union Square Cafe and expanded to efforts like Blue Smoke, Maialino, The Modern, and even Shake Shack. Meyer’s Michelin-starred Gramercy Tavern, founded in 1994, boasts an unfussy and consistently excellent fine-dining experience that’s a classic for good reason. Enjoy Chef Michael Anthony’s seasonal cuisine either in the semi-casual tavern room (with a perennial and very good burger on the menu) or the more formal dining room beyond. 42 E. 20th St., 212-477-0777, gramercytavern.com

Morimoto

Iron Chef America’s Masaharu Morimoto can be found at the open kitchen of his restaurant near Chelsea Market. It’s hard to compete with his omakase sushi program, featuring the chef’s daily selections of seafood and other ingredients in an outstanding tasting menu. Other Japanese and fusion dishes on the menu include fine cuts of Wagyu steak and Smoked Ora King Salmon with dew drop cabbage and mustard miso. 88 10th Ave., 212-989-8883, morimotonyc.com

Bobby Flay’s Gato

Bobby Flay Gato

Turn on The Food Network, and chances are you’ll see chef Bobby Flay doing his thing. Come sample his food for real at Gato in NoHo. The moderately priced pan-Mediterranean menu features pizza with lamb sausage, vegetarian orecchiette, and scrambled eggs with tomato confit toast. The vibe is casual elegance, with the added intrigue that maybe—just maybe—you’ll catch sight of Chef Flay himself. 324 Lafayette St., 212-334-6400, gatonyc.com

Sushi Nakazawa

More of a stealth pick than other TV-friendly chefs is Daisuke Nakazawa, who appeared in the 2011 documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Nakazawa apprenticed under the world’s foremost sushi chef, Sukiyabashi Jiro, at his renowned Tokyo restaurant before striking out on his own with Sushi Nakazawa in the West Village. Like most omakase, the daily tasting menu is expensive and heavenly, made with only the freshest ingredients and visible behind an open bar where you can watch the magic happen. 23 Commerce St., 212-924-2212, sushinakazawa.com

About the Author

Merrill Lee Girardeau lives and writes in Brooklyn.

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