New York Opening: Los Americanos

Between the likes of Bubby’s and Kitchenette, there’s a healthy selection of unhealthy selections in the triangle below Canal, but none is more rico or suave than Los Americanos, a pan-Latino comfort food spot from the folks behind neighborhood favorite Macao Trading Co.

Red leather banquettes, two-toned green tile floors (specifically, the tones of the Blue’s Clues guy’s shirt), and wood-paneled walls are vibrant enough to feel like the diner goes to Habana. A backlit selection of top-shelf tequilas and mezcals adds just enough modern swank to remind those waiting for a table that it’s still Tribeca. Also a reminder—the guacamole and plantain chips, which are a must to start, run a good $12. The top half of the menu offers a tour of Latino street fare, hitting pupusas, empanadas, and tacos. Another must is the pabellon arepa, with its shredded beef and rich maduros between two slices of a fried and crumbly Venezuelan corn cake. A generous goblet of poached octopus highlights the ceviches, blended with sliced red potatoes for added density.

The cocktail list deserves a thorough picking-over, but the house favorite, Under The Volcano, is a master blend of aroma and bite, thanks to its mezcal, rosemary, and jalapeño. Bottles of beer come from exotic locals—pop a Cristal from Peru—but our waitress insisted they’re safely refreshing (“The bartenders say they all taste like Bud Light.”)

The real glory of Los Americanos has to be its late-night menu. According to the owner, Billy Gilroy, “one guy in the kitchen” continues to crank out the aforementioned arepas, plates full of churros, and what has to be the best Cuban sandwich on the island of Manhattan, steadily until 4am. It may not be the cheapest of spots, but as one Gerardo Mejia once said, it’s the price you pay for being a gigolo. Rrrrrico.

[Related: BlackBook New York Guide; Listings for Los Americanos, Bubby’s, Kitchenette, Macao Trading Co., Subscribe to the New York Happenings email newsletter; More by James Ramsay]

Where To Eat Post-Hurricane Sandy

Now that the city is trying to get back in the swing of things after Frankenstorm, restaurants too are reopening their shuttered doors to diners sick of chowing on canned beans and tortilla chips. But not every eatery is in on the game, for some, Sandy was one guest they could have done without.

First up, the scenic River Café, which, while the view is lovely from its waterside vantage, proved devastating during the storm. The estimated damage is in the millions, and owner Buzzy O’Keeffe said it would be weeks, even months, until they are able to open again. The Huffington Post has a detailed slide show of the spoils.

Speaking of spoils, the food that went bad when the power outage in Manhattan was another causality. Joe Bastianich and Mario Batali’s six restaurants were all shut down, including Del Posto, Eataly, and Babbo. The food loss on that hit—around $50,000. Secretly, I was glad the Waterfront Ale House in Kips Bay lost power, since, in my selfish brain, that meant my boyfriend who is the sous chef there couldn’t work. But, since owner Sam Barbieri has a Brooklyn Heights location to schlep the food to, the boy will be cooking up a nicer, more people-friendly storm there today, which means you can go eat there, too.

Don’t expect to be hitting up Red Hook’s Fort Defiance, Red Hook Lobster Pound, or Brooklyn Ice House. Unfortunately, that area was beat pretty hard. DUMBO also received damage as long-standing Bubby’s is hurting today, as well as newcomer Governor, which won’t be opening any time soon and a rep reported they estimate there is $200,000 in damages.

Now, the good news. While there were plenty of Sandy casualties, and power remains out in some neighborhoods, many places are up and running. Both New York Magazine’s Grub Street and Eater NY have maps and updated lists of open restaurants. Also, I know for a fact bars and eateries in Fort Greene, Bed-Stuy, and Prospect Heights are all fine and serving. If you are in Queens, or can get to Queens, Studio Square is open and advertising its available space for any post-apocalyptic parties you might need/want to have.  

And while we are on the subject of parties, it is Halloween (even if the authorities say they postponed it), so work off some of that cabin fever and celebrate. Personally, since I am stuck in Brooklyn, I plan on making the trek to Williamsburg for a little spooky skeeball and canned beer at Full Circle Bar, after that, wherever the non-threatening wind will take me. 

The Stars of ‘New York, I Love You’ on Big Apple Voyeurism

Four stars from this month’s ensemble film New York, I Love You , a romantic paean to the city that never sleeps, tell us they watch when no one’s looking.

● During the holidays, I love walking around the West Village at night. The brownstones are all lit from within, and through the windows you can see families and friends putting up decorations, having cocktail parties. There are lives and histories behind every door. —Eva Amurri

● After spending all night on a cold rooftop in Brooklyn, filming my final scene [in director Natalie Portman’s segment of the film], I ate a very late breakfast at Bubby’s in Tribeca. Watching the other patrons — individuals and couples — made me reflect on the common New York feelings of detachment and inclusion. — Jacinda Barrett

● Central Park in early summer is about as voyeuristic as it gets. I love seeing new couples — and old ones — enjoying one another. I love the exhibitionism. I love watching the animals communicating. Their energy gives me a buzz. –Maggie Q

Have you ever felt like you were being watched? Yes, constantly. I’m in therapy for this.

Have you ever witnessed something you shouldn’t have? 2 Girls 1 Cup.

Describe your best Rear Window moment. I once masturbated while thinking of Raymond Burr.

When has your privacy been most invaded? My mother once walked in on me masturbating while thinking of Raymond Burr.

When have you most invaded someone else’s? Sorry, but I don’t answer questions about my personal life. — Justin Bartha

Top: Justin Bartha and Eva Amurri on the set of New York, I Love You.