Where to Eat in October

Photo: Naomi Otsu

Welcome to Grub Street’s quick rundown of must-try restaurants, where we try to answer the endlessly recurring question: Where should we go tonight? These are the spots that our food team thinks everyone should visit, for any reason (a new chef, the arrival of an exciting dish, or maybe there’s an opening that’s flown too far under the radar). This month, that means pillowy pommes dauphine in Williamsburg, a new khao soi contender in Carroll Gardens, and a reimagined Fidi high-rise.

UnTable (Carroll Gardens)
Brownstone Brooklyn, everyone agrees, is Ugly Baby territory. But its era of curry unipolarity may be at an end now that chef Rachanon Kampimarn (formerly of Red Hook’s Somtum Der) has opened UnTable on Henry Street. The space feels slightly unfinished, but the kitchen’s ambition is obvious. Consider the crab croquettes — dredge them in the flashy tom yum purée — or the tower of grilled tiger shrimp with chile-lime dressing and herb salad. Here, good decisions are easy. And the easiest is to always order the larb maung, juicy, grilled beef sirloin strips piled with scallions, cilantro, and crisp shallots. —Chris Crowley

Sobre Masa (Bushwick)
The tortilleria and restaurant sources heirloom corn that they then nixtamalize, mill, and turn into tortillas (smelling of sunbaked earth) that then get sent to other restaurants around the city — including ABC Cocina and Falansai down the street — so it only makes sense to head to the source. Enjoy them with queso asado that arrives with a healthy char in a pool of tomato salsa, Michoacán-style carnitas, or with skirt steak topped with a nutty salsa macha. Get the milpa salad, a mix of textures and flavors: creamy ayocote beans, chewy kernels of corn, and viscous squares of nopal are tossed in a smoky chile-verde vinaigrette. Also, the chef-owners Zack and Diana Wangeman were pastry chefs first; the flan and a round of carajillos are the perfect nightcap. —E. Alex Jung

Cafe Camellia (Williamsburg)
Mobile native Roger Jacobsen transports Gulf Coast cooking to the eastern edge of Williamsburg. “You just don’t see hush puppies in New York,” marveled one of my companions. Besides the hush puppies, there were fried green tomatoes (puckeringly pickled), deep-fried pork ribs, even a crispy half-chicken that, our waitress informed us, wasn’t fried-fried, but was nevertheless fried. Frying can cover a multitude of sins, but Cafe Camellia has nothing to hide. Just about everything we tasted was deeply flavorful, from the crab cake so unadulterated with breading that it could barely stand up under its own podgy weight, to a tender, crusty rib cap that arrived in a swoosh of sticky bourbon-Worcestershire caramel. —Matthew Schneier

Manhatta (Financial District)
The better a restaurant’s view, the higher the chances its food will be an afterthought. The earliest iteration of Manhatta — Danny Meyer’s 60th-floor wraparound room in the Financial District — did little to dissuade me of this notion when I ate there years ago. But the chef Justin Bogle took over last fall and has applied a forward-thinking, technique-driven vision of fine dining that manages to offer plenty of surprise without ever making things too weird. A meal now might start with a caviar-topped quail egg (encased in a gel of beef consommé) or a “taco” that is nothing more than lobster wrapped in a sliver of raw mango before moving to a pithivier to make Escoffier proud, stuffed with a plump cube of foie gras and covered in a sauce of green peppercorns. The service and wine are what you’d expect from a Meyer joint (dependable, folksy, nice), but it’s the precision of Bogle’s kitchen that stands out. Even with a something-for-everyone approach (a bar menu, weekday lunch, weekend lunch, à la carte, a luxe tasting counter), the quality does not waver. —Alan Sytsma

Neeloo (Williamsburg)
You can count on scoring a table at Neeloo during prime hours, perhaps because the weeks-old restaurant just secured a liquor license (as in, last week). And if you go now, you’ll be rewarded with a kitchen that is already executing American-accented French classics with an attention to detail you’d expect from a more established restaurant. In a generous order of pommes dauphine, each puff was rolled into a perfect sphere. Slices of melon sat chilling on a bed of ice while the lardo draped atop remained room temperature. Oysters broiled with Camembert, meanwhile, are plated hot on a bed of thyme and rosemary, emitting a scent that conjures the French countryside. —Tammie Teclemariam