Fashionistas get asked the same question ten times a day: "Where did you get those shoes?" I get asked a different question ten times a day: "Where should I eat in New York?" As someone who grew up here and has been tracking restaurant trends for longer than some supermodels have been alive, I always have about a hundred answers. Budget, neighborhood, ambiance, and culinary preferences all factor into my answers. So, for those of you I don't see at the Prabal Gurung show for this New York Fashion Week, here is the answer to your question. These five places are high and low, new and semi-new, expensive and well, not as expensive, so strap on your Louboutins and head to one. Each has great food--all else is secondary. After all, each calorie counts, so you might as well make sure it's damn good!
Tertulia: Seamus Mullen, as cute as he is talented, has helmed the stoves at a number of places around town but this spot is uniquely him. Where the Spotted Pig hues to England, this gastropub looks to Spain for its culinary viewpoint, with a heavy hand of old Conquistador flair. The restaurant is, to quote Sam Sifton in The New York Times, "Game of Thrones in J Crew and Uniqlo." All of that coolness would mean nothing if it didn't put its garlic sausage where your mouth is.
Kajitsu: New York has the greatest range of Japanese restaurants of any city in the Western hemisphere. While there are as many sushi joints as there are Marc Jacob knockoffs, there are a dozen or so that stand a breed apart. Kajitsu is one such place, focusing on vegetarian cuisine that is a hallmark of shojin, which is prepared in Buddhist temples in Japan. It eschews fish or meat, and provides a kaiseki meal that stars homemade soba noodles, and vegetable dishes so creative it would impress even the late Alexander McQueen.
Torrisi: Craving a homemade ragu in between Zac Posen and Donna Karan shows? Me too. Carbo loading is what you do at Torrisi, an homage to old-school red-sauce spots but with a decidedly reinvented menu. Homemade pappardelle with pastrami ragu and barbecue lamb with corona beans were on the prix-fixe menu this week and are classic takes on Italian specialties.
La Mar: I've been predicting for years that Peruvian food, with its focus on ceviche, grilled steak and liberal use of corn, avocado, and plantains, would be a hit with everyone. Gaston Acurio, nicknamed the ambassador of Peruvian cuisine, has restaurants in 12 countries, and three months ago, made New York (and the US) his 13th. Located in the former Tabla space, every tidbit, from the fried plantains with a garlicky aioli to the himachi and grilled octopus will put you in the mood for a poncho--which will also hide your lunch bump.
Boulud Sud: In a city of myriad amorphous French dining rooms, Daniel Boulud continues to demonstrate just why he's still on top after all these years. Last summer he opened yet another spin-off, Boulud Sud, right near Lincoln Center. Focusing on the sunny cuisine of the Mediterranean, it offers a flavor-dense tour of the region, from the Turkish walnut salad with pomegranate seeds, to house made ricotta cavatelli with chestnuts and crimini mushrooms. One of the best parts of going to the spacious boite is you can dig into the grilled blue shrimp and an enormous glass of Alsatian Domaine Hugel and still dash back to your front-row seat at the tents.