I Sodi. I Sodi flies mostly under the radar—except among West Villagers and in-the-know Italian-restaurant obsessives—and it’s endlessly pleasing: from the compact, tunnel-like room, to the warm and on-the-ball staff, to the reliably fantastic Tuscan cooking. The menu changes constantly, but you might happen on a night when there’s homemade pappardelle with duck ragu, or fried rabbit, or a rich and unusual leek risotto. Very hard to eat here without planning a return visit immediately. So reserve, because even though most people won’t have heard of I Sodi, the ones who know it keep the tables full nightly.
Market Table. It always seems ridiculous to name any burger NYC’s best; there are way too many variables, plus those silly awards have a way of ruining the things they celebrate (too much demand is the road to sloppiness). But it’s safe to say Market Table has one of the city’s best, an ingeniously executed burger made with a grilled then broiled sirloin-and-brisket patty topped with white cheddar, sweet onions, and homemade pickles on a garlicky bun, and served with Old Bay-dusted fries. Chef Mikey Price’s constantly changing menu has much more besides: You might luck into grilled corn with chili, Parmesan, and lime, or braised-lamb gnocchi, or a whole market fish with escarole and golden raisins. Lunchtime on a sunny day is when you really want to be here, thanks to wraparound streetside windows that let the rays pour through.
Soto. The city is packed with sushi joints (although few outstanding ones) but there still aren’t enough restaurants doing what chef Sotohiro Kasugi does at Soto: Gorgeous, deceptively simple, crudo-like spins on raw seafood. His preparations have a few more bells and whistles than straight-up sushi and sashimi, but he knows how to let the distinct, ocean-fresh fish flavors shine through. See what he does with Long Island fluke (brushes it with lime juice, sea salt, and yuzu zest) or sea urchin (wraps it in thinly sliced squid and a shiso leaf and tops it with quail egg). Sit at the counter for a slightly livelier experience than the all-white, hushed dining room has to offer. But no matter where you sit, you’ll be glad you stumbled into this seriously classy restaurant, now the well-deserved holder of two Michelin stars, on an otherwise soulless stretch of Sixth Ave.