Underrated New American spot Apiary may be gone, but its food philosophy of fresh, seasonal fare will live on in replacement Apres, which opens tonight in the 60 3rd Avenue space. Chef Mazen Mustafa, former Executive Chef at The Elm, composes beautiful plates, the kind you're hesitant to destroy with your fork. The dramatic dishes also help spice up the interior, which skews toward a more neutral tone throughout the space.

The small menu offers mostly small plates, favoring aesthetic beauty and clean flavors over hefty portions. The gorgeous Crudites ($14) are as far as the lunch box snack as you can imagine, highlighting both the natural beauty of barely-altered vegetables and the potent notes of the spring bounty. The consummate carrot makes an appearance, here as an heirloom variety ($18) with koji (a kind of fungus—but in a tasty way!), langoustine and sea buckthorn, a tart kind of berry. Lettuce gets the heat treatment in a Roasted Romaine dish ($22), fortified with sweetbreads, oolong tea and fragrant truffle.

Cocktails follow the produce bent, including one made with ramps, gin and white vermouth and another with celery, tequila, chartreuse and strega, an herbal Italian liqueur. Less intense imbibing options would be the pineapple with white rum, Nardini Amaro and champagne or the chocolate, mezcal, sweet vermouth and Xocolatl Mole Bitters.

60 3rd Avenue at 11th Street, 212-254-0888; apresnyc.com

Apres NYC Menu May 2014