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.