April showers bring May flowers. Until then, there are restaurant openings. Await the Park Avenue tulips at one of these new spots.
The Mussel Pot: The 22 preparations of one-pound PEI mussel pots at this West Village restaurant are divided by country and even paired with regional house-made bread. There's cioppino with focaccia from Italy; red curry, tomato and coconut milk with naan from India; and, in case you're craving a taste of home, barbecue sauce and pulled pork with Texas toast. And, if mollusks aren't your thing, there are dishes like lobster mac 'n' cheese and fried chicken with waffles. Come warm weather, there will be sidewalk seating and an outdoor garden, complete with rock wall, waterfall and koi pond.
174 Bleecker St.; 212-260-2700
Empellón: The inventive tacos at pastry chef Alex Stupak's new West Village spot range from lamb barbacoa to avocado-leaf sausage to beer-braised tongue. For those seeking more traditional Mexican fare, there are also ceviches, salads, quesos and sopes, as well as an impressive selection of tequilas and mezcals. Stupak's wife, pastry chef Lauren Resler, heads the dessert program and pictures of her Mexican relatives decorate the 90-seat dining room. There's also a vibrant mural over the front bar.
230 W. 4th St.; 212-367-0999
Untitled: Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group just opened this restaurant on the lower level of the Whitney Museum, serving breakfast all day and lunch and brunch on the weekends. Chef Chris Bradley (previously the executive sous chef at Gramercy Tavern) dishes up coffee shop-inspired items like a pastrami Reuben and matzo ball soup, as well as a daily "meat and three" special. In addition to the main dining room, there's a cafe space with Stumptown coffee and Four and Twenty Blackbirds pies. Toward the end of April, Untitled will also be open for dinner on Saturdays and Sundays, offering a set market-driven menu.
945 Madison Ave.; 212-570-3670
Walle: Wally Chin serves Chinese food with an American twist at his Midtown restaurant and lounge. Menu items like a burger on a Shanghai pancake bun come courtesy of former Monkey Bar chef Chris Cheung. There are also small plates, including foie gras buns, lobster dumplings and fried oysters, as well as shellfish platters and "blue plate barbecue rice" dishes. Customers can choose to sit in either the lounge, the back dining room or, come spring, the outdoor terrace.
249 E. 53rd St.; 212-371-0888
Tenpenny: From Jeffrey Tascarella (Faustina, Scarpetta) comes this new modern American restaurant in Midtown's Gotham Hotel. The cozy space features a skylight and a long bar, serving cocktails like The Madison -- Woodford Reserve, root beer extract, dry vermouth and bourbon-soaked cherries. Chef Chris Cipollone's menu features Italian-influenced items like crispy artichokes, ocean trout crudo and porchetta ravioli.
16 E. 46th St.; 212-490-8300