Their heads are bloodied but unbowed. Just when the COVID-related restaurant news has taken another turn for the worse, along comes one more sign of New York restaurateurs’ indomitable spirit.
If Pekarna New York, which opened two days ago on the Upper West Side, can’t lay claim to being the city’s largest restaurant — and with an area of 6,500 square feet, it very well may — it can certainly lay claim to being the city’s first Slovenian-American restaurant. Whether matzo ball soup is standard fare in Slovenia, the version here is truffled, studded with bits of roasted chicken thigh, carrot, and celery. Something styled a Mushreuben burger features, predictably, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and thousand island dressing as well — unpredictably — as sautéed portobellos. Apple wrap (aka Slovenian apple pie) is a strudel-like confection flavored with cinnamon and nutmeg and served with vanilla gelato. Pekarna New York, 594 Amsterdam Avenue, 646-974-9070.
Although this year’s Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center looked a little haggard when it first arrived this year, it has since been spruced up with enough festive lights to make it worth a visit. To make the trip even more worthwhile, coordinate it with lunch or dinner before or after at Limani, which has been serving reliable Mediterranean fare for the past dozen years. Open with ceviche, lavraki cured with lime, perfumed with fresh herbs, paired with gigantes beans and feta. Sashimi-grade octopus from Tunisia is grilled and piled high, dressed with virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar. Branzino in a salt crust is served tableside. Limani, 45 Rockefeller Plaza, 45 Rockefeller Plaza, 212-858-9200.