posted Wednesday, April 1, 2015 by The Brooks Group

Working with top chefs and restaurants throughout the country, The Brooks Group always has a finger on the pulse when it comes to new restaurants, dining trends and chefs. Inspired by the Eater Heat Map, our team has put together a list of where we’re eating now, noting essential favorite dishes.

Brookette: Jess, Director of Publicity 

Restaurant: Navy

Neighborhood: SoHo

Cuisine: Seafood

Why I Love It: Navy is a modest little restaurant tucked away on a quiet stretch of Sullivan Street in Soho. Since I’m a sucker for seafood, it is one of my favorite restaurants to grab a glass of wine and tasty crudos, oysters, and fish. Most recently I enjoyed the bay scallop ceviche with avocados, pepitas and green goddess and gnocchi with uni butter and salmon roe—both fairly exploded with flavor. Follow Navy’s chef Camille Becerra on Instagram (@camillebecerra) and you’re in for a visual treat with her gorgeous photography.

Brookette: Lindsay, Senior Publicist

Restaurant: Lura

Neighborhood: Upper West Side/Manhattan Valley

Cuisine: Mediterranean Wine Bar

Why I Love It: Lura is a hidden gem, especially in this neighborhood. The candle lit dining room is wonderful for date night or a casual dinner sharing small plates and wine with friends. The décor and atmosphere of the upstairs bar and outdoor patio are perfect for a relaxing afternoon or happy hour spent people watching over a pitcher of Lura’s delicious red sangria. The bartenders and staff are extremely welcoming and the menu offers a selection of simple, flavorful Mediterranean small plates, flatbreads, risottos and entrees. Favorites to share are the roasted brussels sprouts, flavored with olive oil, sea salt and pepper, the decadent rich and creamy truffle oil mashed potatoes, and the lamb kebobs, grilled to the perfect tenderness and lightly seasoned.  When in the mood for heartier fare, go with the grilled salmon entrée over roasted vegetables and a red pepper puree, or the garlic and white wine steamed mussels with a side of thin and crispy fries.

Brookette: Lindsey, Publicist

Restaurant: Zuma

Neighborhood: Midtown

Cuisine: Japanese

Why I Love It: Even the tamest of eaters will find something to love at this London import. With three kitchens – the sushi bar, robata grill, and the main kitchen – there is a wide variety of authentic (but not traditional!) Japanese cuisine to enjoy such as sake no tataki (seared salmon with shiso, lime-soy black sesame and mustard miso) and an exquisite suzuki no sashimi (seabass sashimi with yuzu, truffle, and salmon roe). The fresh and invigorating cocktails (my favorite is the tropical, Japanese tiki-style Raspberry and Passion Fruit Martini) and decadent desserts are not to be missed – end your night with the chocolate lava cake (not listed on the menu, so diners need to know to ask for it) and Zuma is sure to end up on your list of favorite NYC hotspots, too.

Brookette: Esther, Associate Publicist

Restaurant: Krupa Grocery

Neighborhood: Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn

Cuisine: Seasonal American dishes served in a spiffed-up former newsstand space

Why I Love It: Not only is the food at Krupa Grocery deliciously creative, but the space itself is intimate and fun in an appealing way. Krupa’s incredible list of tap beers, impressive wine list, and well-priced cocktails only add to the enjoyable aura of this restaurant. I wish I could pick a favorite dish, but between the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, Buckwheat Gnudi and the Crispy Berkshire Pork Belly it’s hard to decide. Making the experience even better, you can almost always count on a visit from Chef ‘Dom’ and Co-Owner ‘Tom’. It’s a great place with a personal touch, and it has become my ‘go-to’ spot in Windsor Terrace.

Brookette: Jenny, Assistant Publicist

Restaurant: Miss Lily’s

Neighborhood: Soho

Cuisine: Caribbean

Why I Love It: I was late to discover Miss Lily’s, but on a Friday night I fortunately found my way there. Miss Lily’s definitely has its own scene going on, and there are good vibes all around. I would go there every day just to eat the jerk grilled corn, sweet plantains, mac & cheese pie, and listen to the reggae music that keeps the customers swaying in their seats, and the staff dancing as they walk. The atmosphere is chill and casual - just hanging out in a Jamaican beach shack, eating the most flavorful/delicious Caribbean grub.