A Preview of Fall Restaurant Openings

Essbar constructionKim Davis Construction at Essbar, the former home of Mr C’s, 102 Avenue C.

It’s the time of year when people who write about restaurants, and those who can still afford to eat in them, start salivating over the season’s new openings.

Although dozens of debuts are scheduled, including some high profile new projects by Aquavit’s Marcus Samuelsson in Harlem and Jonathan Benno, formerly of Per Se, at the Lincoln Center, all seems quiet on the East Village front. This may reflect market saturation in a neighborhood which is now one of the city’s top dining destinations, or just the fact that bars and restaurants open here year round.

The owners of Seäsonal, the smart new Austrian in midtown, are bringing a simpler and less expensive version of their cuisine to Avenue C. Located in the space which was briefly home to the Italian restaurant Mr C’s, Essbar will be going up against the ten year-old German beer bar Zum Schneider across the avenue, and the inexpensive Serbian grill joint Kafana a few doors away. Expect something fancier than sausages from the Seäsonal team.

The other notable opening comes from a veteran East Village chef. Sara Jenkins first impressed with highly-praised pasta at the rustic Italian trattoria I Coppi in 1999 (it still thrives on East Ninth Street). Since then she has cooked at 50 Carmine in Greenwich Village and has supervised casual Italian fare at Bread Tribeca and Mangia in midtown. She returned in 2008, bringing us the highly focused sandwich bar Porchetta on East Seventh – roast, herbed pork in a sandwich or on a plate. This fall her pasta menu will be back at Porsena, also on East Seventh, just a step from Cooper Square.

Essbar, 102 Avenue C (at Seventh Street)
Porsena, 21-23 East Seventh Street (at Third Avenue.)

Kim Davis is Community Editor of The Local East Village and reviews New York dining at www.pinkpignyc.com.