Top Restaurants Opened in 2011

| 02 Mar 2015 | 04:24

By Sharon Feiereisen

From a quaint West Village restaurant that channels Paris' Left Bank to an über-hot spot where you can mingle with celebs and a Michelin-starred eatery helmed by a world-renowned chef, 2011 brought with it some of the most fantastic restaurant openings in years. Here's a look at the Downtown spots that took the cake.

Marble Lane? 355 W. 16th St. (betw. 8th and 9th Ave.), Located in the lobby of the Dream Downtown Hotel, Marble Lane has been luring in the glitterati since its incepti on. The internati onally influenced steakhouse is helmed by Top Chef alum and former Lavo chef Manuel Treviño and the menu includes salads, a raw bar, pastas and an American Kobe beef selecti on, a mix of which are consistently served up to A-list celebrities like Cameron Diaz and Manhattan influencers like Stylecaster CEO Ari Goldberg.

Pulqueria 11 Doyers St. (at Bowery), Despite its in-the-boonies location-it's situated on a little-known street that looks straight out of a Chinese gangster movie-Pulqueria is well worth the trek. The subterranean Mexican restaurant opened with a splash during New York Fashi on Week. It comes courtesy of the same folks behind cult cocktai l bar Apotheke. In fact, the eatery is NYC's first to serve pulque, an alcohol made from agave but fermented rather than distilled, like tequila is.

Catch? 21 9th Ave. (at W. 13th St.), For the ultimate Meatpacking District experience, start your night at this see-and-be-seen seafood eatery opened by Eugene Remm and Mark Birnbaum, the power duo behind Abe and Arthur's and Lexington Brass. With 14,000 square feet, multiple floors, a consistently jam-packed bar, Top Chef winner Hung Huynh helming the kitchen and a glass-enclosed rooftop lounge. Catch is nothing if not scene-y. Luckily, it does so without being overly pretenti ous or underwhelming in the kitchen.

Brushstroke? 30 Hudson St. (betw. Reade and Duane Sts.), With the opening of Brushstroke, David Bouley is finally back to his Michelin star-winning Danube glory. Over a decade in the making, the Japanese kaiseki-style eatery is a collaborati on between the starred chef and the Tsuji Culinary Institute; the result is an artfully prepared, intricately thought out menu served in a refined setting.

Mas (la grillade) 28 7th Ave. S. (at Leroy St.), www.maslagri A long overdue follow-up to Mas (farmhouse), James Beard award-wining chef Galen Zamarra's newbie West Village, grilltastic eatery, Mas (la gri llade), stays true to the chef's locavore approach to cooking. Expect impeccable service and simple dishes prepared over an open fire.

The Dutch? 131 Sullivan St. (at Prince St.), With most dishes priced under $28, The Dutch is surprisingly reasonably priced, considering it's helmed by chef Andrew Carmellini, of A Voce fame. The eclectic comfort food menu includes a much buzzed about burger (only served at lunch, brunch and late-night), a raw bar, pasta dishes, fried chicken and steak.

The Meatball Factory? 231 2nd Ave. (betw. 14th and 15th Sts.), Forget The Meatball Shop-The Meatball Factory is where you want to be. Unlike the Shop, where some meatballs-notably the vegetarian ones?come chock full of filler (aka breadcrumbs), the Factory's are pure deliciousness. Add to that friendly service, a welcoming laid-back atmosphere and affordable prices and you've got the perfect answer for what to do for a casual night out.

Fedora? 239 West 4th St. (betw. W 10th and Charles Sts.), Given the diminutive size of this shabby chic, always jam-packed restaurant/bar, getting a reservation is no easy feat. The New American joint only takes same-day reservati ons?and you'd better call at 11 a.m. on the dot. Another word of caution?unless you've got a strong stomach and adventurous taste buds, avoid the fried chicken, which comes served with a whole leg, claw and all. That said, the overall satisfying grub, upbeat atmosphere and friendly service are hard to beat.

Left Bank 117 Perry St. (betw. Greenwich and Hudson Sts.), Whi l e you may feel like you've temporari l y hightai l ed it to Paris' Left Bank, given the quaint, airy setting of Left Bank, a West Village eatery co-owned by Micheline Gaulin and Laurence Edelman (both of Mermaid Inn), the restaurant actually melds French, American and Italian cuisines into a well-edited, reasonably priced menu. All of the dishes are exceedingly flavorful and made with carefully sourced seasonal and local ingredients.

Vinatta Project 69 Gansevoort St. (betw. Washington and Greenwich Sts.), 646-398-9125 Courtesy of the folks behind Mulberry Project, Vinatta Project serves small plates (think mini tacos and braised short rib sliders), artisanal beers and bespoke as well as signature cocktails in a casual but chic setting. While the booze and bites are sure to satisfy, the real draw here is Vinatta's wall of enomatic wine machines-aka vending machines, where, using a pre-paid card, you can pour booze straight from them, creating your own unique tasting flight.