Hummus - bowls of it - is the main event, rather than something you dip a few sad carrots into on a crudite platter. You can add everything from vegetables to brisket to your bowl of some of the best, creamiest hummus you've ever tried.
Planning your next special occasion dinner/fancy night out? Le Coucou is a new restaurant from Daniel Rose, an American chef who started one of the most popular restaurants in Paris, and Stephen Starr, the restaurateur behind Upland, The Clocktower, and more. So far it's drawing a slightly older, fancier (though not uptight) crowd, especially given its location on the border of Chinatown and Soho - but the food and service are absolutely excellent.
Mediterranean Restaurant in New York, NY, United States
Have you ever found yourself suddenly responsible for coming up with an idea for a 12-person dinner on a Friday night? Two days from now? Bring your crew to Cafe Medi. It's the old Co-Op space in the Hotel on Rivington right in the heart of the party-time Lower East Side, so it does have a slightly Meatpacking-ish vibe. But the food - all share-plates style - is actually quite tasty and not offensively priced.
Great place for wine tasting (the flight is a very reasonable $16, and lets you pretend you went to Sonoma for the night) and small plate snacking - the space works for everything from a low-key date night to a friend group dinner.
Australian Restaurant in New York, NY, United States
This is what would happen if SoulCycle and Two Hands got married and had a baby. It’s yet another Australian daytime cafe serving avocado toast, but it’s also covered in bright yellow and plays the kind of pop music that you’re used to hearing during the cooldown portions of spin classes. Once you get past all that, Coco & Cru is actually a very useful, healthy-ish spot that’s perfect for a solo lunch, breakfast meeting, or coffee and snack on the go.
Ramen / Noodle House in New York, NY, United States
Hao Noodle is a West Village Chinese restaurant that looks like an Anthropologie store. It's an extremely nice (and well air-conditioned) place to sit, and the food also happens to be pretty awesome. The food is fancy in a sense, but it's also quite casual - no need to feel bad about showing up sweaty. Go for the Claypot Dumplings, the beef ribs, and the mung bean jelly.