New York is famously a city of immigrants – and nowhere is that more fabulously clear than in our cuisine. Fusion may be a trend in other cities, but for restaurants in NYC, it’s a way of life. Here are seven hotspots that combine two cultures to make something deliciously unique. We’ve included a range of pricepoints, as well as a couple of treasures only New Yorkers know about.
- 87 Seventh Avenue South, Manhattan
SushiSamba has been an ‘It’ place for so long that it was featured in Sex and the City, as the place where Samantha threw a martini in Richard’s face. Its haute mix of Brazilian and Japanese cuisine trained NY scenesters to seek out new combinations and inspired some of the chefs on this list. It’s a steadfast favorite of scenesters and continues to be downright delicious. If you get friendly with the bartender, they may make you an off-the-menu fruity concoction of their own creation, undoubtedly the best part of any meal. There are several NYC locations, but the best place to eat is the roof deck in the West Village.
- 113 Ludlow Street, 2nd Floor, Manhattan
The other venerable entry on this list started when the Lower East Side was so wild you could start a restaurant in an apartment. Kuma Inn took the opposite path from SushiSamba. Despite a legion of fans, Kuma Inn continues to serve small Filipino-Thai plates in its elegant-but-tiny original space. There’s no advertising; there’s not even a sign beyond red lettering on the building’s concrete doorframe. Nonetheless, every night the BYOB restaurant is packed. You can spot diners at a nearby corner store killing time by choosing a wine or beer to bring. Call ahead for a reservation and check out the last holdout from the cutting-edge LES.
Turks and Frogs
- 323 West 11th Street, Manhattan
This charming Turkish and French wine bar is buried in the heart of the West Village. Turks and Frogs is so beloved by its neighbors that the tables remain full of locals long after the post-work rush dies down. The food menu is largely Turkish and the wine menu largely French, although there’s some inspired cross-pollination. The atmosphere is a mix of the vivacity of a Parisian café with Turkish hospitality.
Bô Cà Phé
- 222 Lafayette Street, Manhattan
If Kuma Inn is the last stand of the old guard, Bô Cà Phé is the best of the new. At the intersection of Soho, Chinatown, and LES, Bô Cà Phé straddles the line between modern French and Vietnamese cuisine. The delicious results keep it packed with hipsters throughout its opening hours. A dessert of chocolate soufflé with a Vietnamese coffee perfectly embodies this addictive flavor profile. I once took a vacationing friend to Bô Cà Phé for brunch and she went back every single day of her trip!
- 253 Church Street, Manhattan
On the west side of downtown, TriBeCa’s cultural heart is showcased at Kori. The décor is a tasteful New York layout of historic Korean elements. Mellow electronic music perfectly underscores all the action, though it’s hardly audible. The food is a health-conscious, American Noveau take on traditional Korean. The result feels like taking all five of your senses on a date. Be sure to try the homemade infused soju, a potato-based liquor, for a refreshing complement to your meal.
- 4720 Center Blvd., Long Island City
What do you get when the Taiwanese heirs to a Chinese culinary institution open a restaurant with chefs trained in Hong Kong, Vietnamese, and Thai cuisine? In Shi, you get a restaurant even the most die-hard Manhattanite will cross the river for. And the decor is even trendier than the patrons. The cocktails and cuisine keep ahead of the latest fads. Most importantly, the windows and outdoor seating give you a fantastic view of the Manhattan skyline, an essential part of any trip.
Macao Trading Company
- 311 Church Street, Manhattan
Macao Trading Company offers a decadent take on contemporary Portuguese and Chinese dishes. The atmosphere is inspired by 19th-century gambling dens: dark wood, red velvet, and a hint of forbidden enticements. Depending on when you go, there may even be burlesque dancers. The food takes the most extreme Portuguese seafood and marries them with Chinese flavors. Or vice versa. Where Kori soothes the senses, Macao overwhelms them.