New York's Holden & Astor Is A Hit

Most eateries in the Meatpacking District are really, really pretty, and Holden & Astor is no exception.

A corner tucked in the back feels like a secret garden, while the front has the vibe of an elegant, classic New York haunt with a modern twist.

The food is beautiful, too, and Holden & Astor features one of those rare menus that make it hard to know what to order as everything looks amazing. For Nick Boccio, the restaurateur responsible for Greenwich and Mulberry Projects, nothing is ever simple; and that's a good thing.

Nick Boccio and Tri Hospitality Group's Shawn Kolodny and Ryan Tarantino (VIP Room) worked with executive chef Carmine Di Giovanni to create new and innovative dishes that aren't too over-the-top, like salmon with green curry and barley, and spinach salad with crispy Taleggio and white truffle honey dressing.

The only acceptable excuse for not trying the lobster with bacon, grits, and bitter chocolate jus is a food allergy, and you're going to want to order a side of "Modern Fries," delightfully puffy creations served with spicy tartar sauce. Then, there's the guanciale with pickled mustard seed, radish, and cilantro; blackened heritage pork tenderloin with corn pudding, clams, and broccoli rabe; and a chicken duo brick-style with pulled barbecue "toast" and buttermilk ranch.

The cocktails looked official; I can only sing the praises of the "non-alcoholic coconut cucumber spicy drink" they made me, but master mixologist Aaron Polsky seems to have many hip drinks in his arsenal, like the Adder's Fork (Fidencio mezcal, orange oleo saccharum, and tinctura de guisano), and the Wembley Stadium (pink peppercorn gin, crème de peche, Peychaud's bitters, lemon, and orange).

For dessert, try the ice cream sliders with pistachio ice cream and chocolate fudge, or the chocolate cake with salted butter popcorn ice cream.

Then, go back again, and again, and again.