The chef Calvin Eng’s career began with culinary school, followed by several years of increasingly significant restaurant jobs and a role as chef de cuisine at Win Son. Now, at 27, he has opened Bonnie’s, a restaurant of his own, realizing the dream of many young chefs. Mr. Eng, a Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, native whose family is Cantonese, named the restaurant for his mother, who nurtured his understanding of Cantonese food, which he said he rejected at first but has now embraced. At Bonnie’s, he’s putting an international spin on the cuisine, bathing won-tons in Parmesan broth, dressing long beans in garlic butter, marrying cacio e pepe with fermented bean curd, and plating glazed steamed ribs with bread-and-butter pickles. He’s also tinkering with some Cantonese dishes like pepper steak velveted and served with charred onions and peppers and crisp Hong Kong noodles; and boned whole trout, a labor-intensive affair stuffed with shrimp, ginger and water chestnuts. “I’m bringing my background into the forefront but with variations, changing up old-school Cantonese,” he said.
398 Manhattan Avenue (Frost Street), Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 914-875-3709, bonniesbrooklyn.com.
Café at the Irish Arts Center
Just past the entrance to the new Irish Arts Center, housed in a century-old former auto repair shop in Hell’s Kitchen, is this cafe with a bar, lounge seating and some high-top tables, all done in mossy tones of velours with dark wood accents. Some Irish materials like repurposed Waterford crystal and Connemara marble are also used. The food is handled by Ardesia, Mandy Oser’s nearby wine bar, and will include Irish cheeses and sausages, brown bread with smoked salmon, potato-leek soup with black pudding, small savory pies and colcannon puffs. “It’s Irish with a modern twist,” Ms. Oser said. Drinks emphasize Ireland with Guinness on tap and Irish whiskies, but also New York with beers from each borough. For now, it will be open starting 90 minutes before performances, and after. (Opens Wednesday)
726 11th Avenue (51st Street), 212-757-3318, irishartscenter.org. (check: 646-285-7715)
Emmett’s on Grove
Emmett Burke brought the deep-dish pizzas of his native Chicago to his West Village restaurant, Emmett’s, in 2013. Now he’s expanding his footprint in the neighborhood with a fuller Italian American menu of meatballs with and without spaghetti, chicken Parm and pizzas. Here, the pizza crusts are cracker-thin, or tavern-style, another Chicago taste, and served classically topped with tomato and cheese, or with spicy elements, or as a build-your-own version. There’s a 20-seat bar up front and a 55-seat dining room hung with art posters. (Wednesday)
39 Grove Street (Bleecker Street), 646-370-3858, emmettsnyc.com.
Michelle Morgan was inspired by her mother, who is from Hong Kong, when she opened Tiger Lily Kitchen for only delivery during the pandemic. It specialized in gluten-free food. Now, it’s ready for dining in, as well as delivery and pickup, and she’s serving mostly vegetarian fare from the same template. Dishes include organic tofu bites, spicy grilled Japanese eggplant, celery root steak with carrot and ginger dressing, and curried fish steamed in a banana leaf. It’s a gracious spot, with rose tones dominating the décor. (Friday)
58 Third Avenue (East 10th Street), 646-360-2030, tlk-nyc.com.