Restaurant Openings Report: Week of July 6, 2014

A look into this week’s restaurant openings
Mimi Cheng's

Authentic Taiwanese dumplings have arrived in New York's East Village.

Every week, we take a look at some of the restaurants that have opened or will soon open across the country. Here’s this week’s roundup:

New York
Mimi Cheng’s, a new dumpling shop created by sisters Hannah and Marian Cheng, opened yesterday in the East Village. The sisters Cheng use sustainably raised chicken and pork from Fleisher’s Grass-Fed, along with Organic Meats in Brooklyn and locally grown and organic vegetables from nearby farms. The light and flavorful dumplings, which are all based on family recipes from their mother Mimi Cheng, are handmade daily and cooked fresh to order. The menu includes three signature dumplings and one dessert dumpling, all prepared with scallions, freshly grated ginger, and other flavorful ingredients. Offerings include pasture-raised chicken and zucchini dumplings; pasture-raised pork, baby bok choy, and cabbage dumplings, and organic kale, zucchini, free-range egg, and shiitake mushroom dumplings.

The dessert dumplings will rotate, but the inaugural recipe is a bite-sized banana and sugar dumpling, topped with powdered sugar. Available in orders of six or eight pieces, dumplings can be ordered boiled or pan-fried for $8 and $10, respectively. All of the dumplings are served with Mimi Cheng’s secret sauce for dipping – other than Mimi herself, Hannah and Marian are the only lucky ones who know the recipe.

Recently closed for renovations just a few months shy of its milestone 100th anniversary, Caffe Dante re-opened this past Tuesday, and is celebrating by launching a Red Velvet Gelato Ice Cream Sandwich. Originally opened in 1915, the historic Greenwich Village Italian café will be sharing its new, expanded menu of authentic Italian delights as well as Italian wines and cocktails.

Burger aficionados can rejoice: cult favorite, White Castle, is now open at Luna Park in Coney Island. The beloved burger chain, named by Time magazine earlier this year as one of the most influential burgers of all time now has two White Castle Express locations throughout the park at the Cyclone Café and on Wonder Wheel Way near Stillwell Avenue.

Meaning "night market,” Pasar Malam is a new, 60-seat Malaysian restaurant in Williamsburg that pays tribute to a culture known for its bustling energy and vibrant colors. Chef and owner Salil Mehta offers a menu of Malaysian street food and traditional Malaysian specialties, and dishes include nasi lemak: coconut rice with fresh pandan leaves served with pickled vegetables and house-made anchovy sambal; Hainanese chicken rice with crispy fried chicken instead of boiled, served with chili sauce and fresh cilantro, and ais kachang: shaved ice topped with palm seeds, grass jelly, red beans, and creamed corn, drizzled with melon and rose syrups, evaporated milk, or homemade dark palm sugar caramel sauce. Malaysian-inspired cocktails include hard Thai iced tea, which is a spiked version of pulled tea called the Tarik, and non-alcoholic drinks fresh sugar cane juice pressed tableside are also available.

The Meatball Shop’s sixth location, with their first-ever walk-up window, will open on Monday, July 14 on the Upper West Side. This location will also include another first for the local chain: an ice cream cart that will be parked behind the walk-up window. Exclusive flavors of their acclaimed, house-made ice cream sandwiches will be sold, including lemon fro-yo, sour cherry lambic, and sweet corn, served between dark chocolate fudge, hazelnut snickerdoodle, and butter cookies. In addition, every 100 ice cream sandwiches will feature a "golden ticket” that will win lucky consumers anything from The Meatball Shop cookbook, grinder baseball hat, and their meat grinder tie made in collaboration with Graham & Withers, to a personal meatball making class with chef Daniel Holzman.

Manhattan Beach
A longtime local favorite, Darren’s Restaurant, will reopen its doors to the public today, July 11, after completing interior and exterior renovations and a comprehensive revamping of the original menu that includes small and large plates to share. To celebrate the reopening, Darren’s will host a dinner on July 29 at 7 p.m. which will benefit No Limits for Deaf Children, an organization that has dedicated itself to enriching the lives of children with hearing impairments through after-school programs and theatre groups, with tickets going on sale Monday, July 14.

San Francisco
Chinese-inspired Chino has opened in the heart of San Francisco's Mission district. Restaurateur Joe Hargrave and his food writer wife Sara Deseran and team w an eclectic menu made up of dishes from all over Asia—and even some that are not, such as Nick Balla's Dope Ass Japan-O-Mission Wings. Other offerings include chef Dale Arcalas' mother's recipe for lumpia, and Shanghai-born chef Leo Gan, formerly the dumpling chef at Cecilia Chiang's iconic restaurant The Mandarin, contributes housemade xiao long bao and various inspired dumplings and wontons to the menu. Danny Louie, formerly of Alembic, has created a bar program that includes various tea-infused concoctions, along with boba slushie cocktails

While Quince Restaurant temporarily closes for renovation, it will launch curATE in partnership with Hedge Gallery this summer, for a limited time. During a limited five-week period from July 30 through August 30, the two Michelin-starred restaurant will move to Hedge Gallery for a pop-up dinner series. The menu will include Kumomoto oyster with Monterey Bay kelp, sour apple, and lemon verbena; big eye tuna with watermelon, shiso, and dragon’s egg cucumber; Santa Barbara sea urchin risotto with samphire sea bean and Passion Fruit; smoked Sonoma Liberty duck with riso nero, black garlic and scallion, and pluot with sesame, aloe, lime, and peanut.

Texas-themed Rodeo Bar and Grill, the Kips Bay staple, is closing its doors for good on July 27 due to financial turmoil, owner Mitch Pollak confirmed. The bar posted the follow message on its Facebook page yesterday afternoon:

"Here at New York's longest-running honky-tonk, we stayed open during some of the city’s toughest times — Hurricane Sandy, the 2003 blackout, 9/11 — but recent rent increases, combined with a changing landscape, have made it impossible for us continue.

For the past three decades, Rodeo Bar has been home to thousands of bands, and we’re proud to have helped define the country, Americana and rockabilly scene in New York City for all these years. But more than that, we were supported by an incredible community of people from New York and all over the world who helped make this bar great. We can’t thank y’all enough."

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Kate Kolenda is the Restaurant/City Guide Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @BeefWerky and @theconversant.