New York first met the Spanish chef Dani Garcia at Manzanilla on Park Avenue South. That was eight years ago. Since then, Dani Garcia, his restaurant in Marbella, Spain, picked up a third Michelin star (it’s now closed), and the chef formed his own company, Grupo Dani Garcia. Now, he has returned to New York and is on the marquee of Casa Dani in the Manhattan West complex, west of the Moynihan Train Hall. “What I’m doing at Casa Dani is not fine dining,” he said. “I want to showcase the culture of Spain, making it easy, fresh and fun, more like home cooking.” He said a great deal had changed since he was first in New York, especially the increasing availability of ingredients. His thinking has also changed, he said. “Twenty-five years of fine dining, which is more conceptual and less from the heart, is enough,” he said. What hasn’t changed is having Alberto Carballo, the chef de cuisine, at his side. A soaring 180-seat dining room, a sea of beige designed by David Rockwell, sits on a level below the bar and open kitchen. There are tapas; fried items like cod fritters; bigger portions (raciones), many with seafood; and rice and noodle specialties. There are also a few main dishes, including daurade and hanger steak, and even larger-format platters for the table like whole Spanish turbot. A section on the menu is devoted to fresh tuna prepared several ways, which Mr. Garcia considers to be representative of the soul of Spanish cooking. Near the entrance to Mr. Garcia’s restaurant, which he runs with Sam Nazarian, is his Pollo Verde, a casual spot in the Citizens NY food hall at the complex.
Citizens New York at Manhattan West, 448 West 33rd Street (10th Avenue), 212-785-0352, casadanirestaurant.com.
What was the sleek, art-filled Brasserie 8½, serving French fare, in the slope-sided Solow Building on West 57th Street is now an Italian restaurant with this new name. Considering the Fellini film “8½,” the name may have been more fitting for an Italian restaurant anyway. It also has a new team led by August Ceradini, a hospitality veteran, and a new chef, John Villa, formerly at the TAO Group and Merchants Hospitality. Among the starters are crudo, with local fish selected by the chef Dave Pasternack. There are also assorted pastas, and Italian-American favorites like baked clams oreganata, penne alla vodka, chicken Parm, Caesar salad and zabaglione. Some chicken, steak and fish dishes round out the menu. A swooping staircase leads to the spacious, 250-seat dining room and bar. (Opens Wednesday)
9 West 57th Street, 212-829-0812, cucina812.com.
Greg Baxtrom, the chef and an owner of Olmsted and Maison Yaki, is adding this bakery and cafe to his lineup on Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. He has teamed up with Alex Grunert, a native of Vienna, who worked at Bouley and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, to produce treats like Christmas stollen, doughnuts, Sacher torte, cookies, baguettes and loaves of bread seasoned with sauerkraut or caraway. The place, named for Mr. Grunert’s mother, Evelyn Grunert, also serves soups, sandwiches and coffee, as well as a small array of grocery items like sauces and preserves. (Wednesday)
635 Bergen Street (Vanderbilt Avenue), Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, no phone, evisnyc.com.
Sungchul Shim, the chef and owner of Kochi in Hell’s Kitchen, has added this restaurant nearby. At this new restaurant, the spotlight is on Korean hand rolls. A $125 tasting starts with assorted hansang, then continues with eight hand rolls made with seafood, and finally a pork belly and noodle broth. Dessert involves a Korean Choco Pie with chocolate sponge cake, black sesame marshmallow and strawberry jam. An open kitchen bordered by a 20-seat counter and a small dining room define the space.
679 Ninth Avenue (47th Street), 646-649-3545, marinyc.com.