Chef Calvin Eng’s career began with cooking school, followed by several years of increasingly senior restaurant jobs and a chef role at Win Son. Now, at the age of 27, he has opened Bonnie’s, his own restaurant, making the dreams of many young chefs come true. Mr. Eng, from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, whose family is Cantonese, named the restaurant after his mother, who nurtured his understanding of Cantonese cuisine, which he said he initially rejected but which he has now adopted. At Bonnie’s, he brings an international twist to the kitchen, dipping won-tons in parmesan broth, dressing long beans in garlic butter, pairing cacio e pepe with fermented tofu and laying on frozen baby back ribs. with bread and butter pickles. He also takes care of some Cantonese dishes like the velvety pepper steak and served with grilled onions and peppers and crispy Hong Kong noodles; and whole boneless trout, a labor-intensive affair stuffed with shrimp, ginger and water chestnuts. âI bring my experience to the fore, but with variations, changing Cantonese to old-fashioned,â he said.
398 Manhattan Avenue (Frost Street), Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 914-875-3709, bonniesbrooklyn.com.
CafÃ© at the Irish Arts Center
Just past the entrance to the new Irish Arts Center, housed in a centuries-old former auto repair shop in Hell’s Kitchen, sits this cafe with a bar, lounge seating and high tables, all in mossy velvet tones with wood accents. Some Irish materials like reused Waterford crystal and Connemara marble are also used. Food is managed by Ardesia, Mandy Oser’s neighboring wine bar, and will include Irish cheeses and sausages, smoked salmon brown bread, black pudding potato and leek soup, small savory pies and cabbage with colcannon. âIt’s Irish with a modern twist,â Ms. Oser said. The drinks focus on Ireland with Guinness on tap and Irish whiskeys, but also New York with beers from each borough. For now, it will be open from 90 minutes before the performances and after. (Open Wednesday)
726 11th Avenue (51st Street), 212-757-3318, irishartscenter.org. (check: 646-285-7715)
Emmett is on Grove
Emmett Burke brought the deep 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 more extensive Italian-American menu of meatballs with and without spaghetti, chicken. Parm and pizzas. The pizza crusts here are ultra-thin or tavern-style, another Chicago flavor, and are served classically with tomatoes and cheese, or with spicy elements, or as a make-it-yourself version. There is a 20-seat bar up front and a 55-seat dining room adorned 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 delivery only during the pandemic. He specialized in gluten-free foods. Now it’s ready for dinner, as well as delivery and pickup, and she mostly serves vegetarian dishes of the same pattern. Dishes include organic tofu bites, spicy grilled Japanese eggplant, celeriac steak with carrot and ginger vinaigrette, and fish curry steamed in a banana leaf. It is a graceful place, with pink tones dominating the decor. (Friday)
58 Third Avenue (East 10th Street), 646-360-2030, tlk-nyc.com.