Out of This World

Out of This World

Photo: Cititour.com

Type of Place: NYC Restaurants

Out of This World

With the surprisingly dreary days of May firmly behind us, it's time to start exploring the myriad of outdoor dining options this city has to offer. Truly, no matter what part of town (or borough) you're in, or what kind of cuisine you're craving, there's an al fresco option that's sure to please. Here are just a few to get your summer started.

Chez Josephine
414 West 42nd Street. 212-594-1925

For almost 20 years, Jean-Claude Baker, the "adopted" son of legendary entertainer Josephine Baker, has made both tourists and locals feel like part of the family at this romantic French bistro. This summer, Baker has finally added an outdoor seating area, which is great for people-watching and, yes, celebrity spotting (since the restaurant is a stone's throw from the Theater Row complex, Playwright's Horizons and The Little Shubert). As for the menu, it's a winning combination of Gallic and American favorites, from escargot and duck a l'orange to crab cakes and fried chicken.

246 Dekalb Avenue. 718-789-2778

Fort Greene has suddenly become Brooklyn's hottest neighborhood, and Dekalb Avenue its very own restaurant row. So it's not surprising that last year, Laurent Saillard, the former maitre d' at Rocco's, an his wife Catherine chose to open their first restaurant there, complete with a gorgeous garden patio. And it's not surprising the locals have come in droves. Brunch is an especially great time to pay a visit – and if you do, don't miss the magnificent chorizo hash (available with eggs or on its own), or a very tasty smoked bluefish sandwich. Dinner choices are more elaborate, including roasted monkfish, roasted chicken with orange couscous, and hanger steak.

The Shake Shack
Madison Square Park (Madison Avenue and 23rd Street)

Leave it to super-restaurateur Danny Meyer, the genius behind Union Square Café and Gramercy Tavern, to find another way to make us happy. Back for its second year, The Shake Shack serves up delicious All-American fare, burgers, hot dogs, French fries and "frozen custard", ready to be consumed at a slew of nearby metal tables in Madison Square Park. Long lines, especially at lunch-time, can seem a bit off-putting, but the efficient staff moves things along quickly, and even though all food is made to order, it rarely takes more than 10 minutes to get your meal.

109 Ludlow Street. 212-829-5174

Just a few years ago, the thought of serious dining on the Lower East Side seemed laughable. But, as Ira Gershwin wrote, who's got the last laugh now? At Suba, diners can now relax at the recently opened outdoor patio and sample chef Alex Urena's extensive, extraordinary tapas menu. More than 30 different offerings are available, from boquerones (white anchovies marinated in sherry vinegar and olive oil) to spinach-and-goat cheese empanadas, grilled shrimp skewers, numerous hams and cheeses, plus a wide assortment of salads, sandwiches and, most importantly, wines and cocktails.

1679 Third Avenue. 212-410-9400

Like most Upper East Side restaurants, there are only a handful of tables at this year-old, modestly priced Indian restaurant; but, on the plus side, many residents leave this area on summer weekends. The fare here is traditional, with a large section of tandoori (clay oven) dishes, curries, and biryanis (rice dishes mixed with meats and/or vegetables). Tamarind is a particularly good choice for vegetarians, with such choices and navrattan korma (fresh mixed vegetables with nuts and spices), bharta (hand-mashed, pan-sauteed eggplant) and malai kofta (homemade cheese and vegetable cutlets).
  - Brian Scott Lipton; June 5, 2005

Out of This World
NYC citywide, NY