4 UPPER WEST SIDE RESTAURANT OPENINGS: OAXACA, CAFE TALLULAH, HEY MAMBO, YASHA RAMEN

Some new restaurants recently opened on the Upper West Side, or are close to opening.

Oaxaca: A new Mexican restaurant recently opened at 424 Amsterdam Avenue (between 80th and 81st streets), the former home of Thai Nam. Oaxaca is a small New York chain with five locations, and it’s known for its tacos, which sell for $3.75 each. Here’s the menu, which also includes quesodillas and other Mexican fare. West Side Rag reader Elizabeth called it “definitely a nice alternative to Chipotle. It’s cheaper, but I’m not sure if I’m blown away. I tried their steak burrito, pretty good, healthy fresh ingredients. They have a bunch of freshly made salsas. I tried the avocado-lime salsa and that was great. They put pickled onions in their burritos and tacos, which is very authentic but an acquired taste.”

Cafe Tallulah: The bar and restaurant at the corner of 71st Street and Columbus has finally opened after more than a year of construction, including the restoration of the street around the building. It’s a two-story restaurant with a lounge in the basement level. “There hasn’t really been a sophisticated place like this on the Upper West Side in years,” said owner Greg Hunt. There’s a long bar upstairs with a dining area. The downstairs is a bit more sexy-casual with “plush antique furniture set up as a cocktail lounge with a European feel.” The food by Chef Roxanne Spruance is French with a twist. In fact, the menu seems extremely savory: lots of charcuterie, langoustine risotto, smoked duck and more. Truffles galore Plus ravioli with white chocolate? (I’ll let one of you try that one first and report back.) Depending on portion size, the prices seem reasonable: mostly in the $20′s for fish and meat entrees. Here’s the dinner menu (pdf).

Hey Mambo: A new French-Italian restaurant recently opened at 487 Amsterdam Avenue (83rd), the former home of the infamous Blue Donkey Bar. The restaurant, which doesn’t yet have a menu online, serves high-end seafood dishes like scallops and swordfish, pastas, and sliders (hey, sliders aren’t French or Italian). So far the Yelp reviews are overwhelmingly  glowing (always makes me a little suspicious): “Finally the restaurant the Upper West Side was waiting for!” “I had a lovely Bordeau with my meal and a real mixologist behind the bar” “This is a really nice new addition to the neighborhood.” “We both loved our meals, the variety of selections (something for everyone – even a picky eater) and the ambiance.”

Yasha Ramen: A new Japanese restaurant is opening at 940 Amsterdam Avenue between 106th and 107th, the former home of Chinese restaurant Wai Lee, said Realtor David Chdheidze of Massey Knackal, who arranged the lease. Otherwise, details about the new place are still scarce. Be aware: if you call the old Wai Lee number, the number now rings at New Kam Lai on Amsterdam and 104th and that’s the food you’ll get if you order.

Thanks to Angie, Elizabeth, Christine, David and others for the tips. Photos of Hey Mambo and Oaxaca by Angie.

FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 3 comments | permalink
    1. Paris says:

      Dumb comment by Hunt. What does he mean by sophisicated? There are certainly places around the UWS now with brand name chefs, sophisticated food, nice modern appearances, and sophisticated looking clientele of all ages, i.e. Telepan. His place, with standard chairs and tables, is hardly what I call sophisticated looking. Plus in baby stroller city with most eateries closing at 11 pm Sunday thru Thursday and sometimes also on Fridays and Saturdays, I think a “club” has a real challenge on the UWS. Many young persons usually don’t venture above 14 St. There was a club nearby that was hot a long time ago, but now it seems to be used for evening dancing events. I and others hope that Hunt’s place doesn’t atract noisy, etc. BBQ and B&T types.

    2. Roger Sadowsky says:

      Tried Cafe Tallulah on Sunday, Jan13.
      A bar, kitchen and service disaster!

      Took almost 90 minutes to get our entrees after we finished our appetizers. Most service requests were ignored. Bartender measures with a jigger glass.

      Doubt if I will ever go back.

      • UpperWestsida says:

        Hey Roger, sounds like you had a bad experience. I have yet to try the place out but was hoping it would be a hit….

        Bartenders that use jiggers are best. Jiggers are used to properly measure a pour and stick to a recipe that was created to give you the perfect cocktail all the time, the way it was meant for you to have no matter where you go.

        I’m going to stop by and check out their “sophisticated” lounge downstairs, and see what they have going on. I think I’ll skip the food all together. lol