Okay, this unappreciated Williamsburg restaurant isn't new—it opened some six months ago—but this little gem hasn't gotten the attention it deserves, and seems to be struggling in the shadow of the neighborhood's newer cool kids, such as Brooklyn Star, Vutera, and Walter Foods. Part of that may also have to do with the rather uninspired interior design, but tucked away in the back is Malta's hidden strength: a serene backyard garden that's often shockingly deserted. You might think the emptiness portends lackluster food, but Malta, open for dinner daily and brunch on weekends, is high quality at reasonable prices.
Operated by the same owner as M. Shanghai, the restaurant serves an expansive mix of tapas, salads, charcuterie, paella, and pastas, as well as some raw seafood and specialty cocktails. The highest priced entree is the Grilled Pork Chop with sauteed apples, blackberries, potatoes and basil, topped with crispy spinach ($18); and a very filling and rich Wild Mushroom Paell can be had for $15. One enthusiastic Yelper says the Roasted Cauliflower with tahini, roasted garlic ($6) is the must-have dish off the tapas menu. 292 Grand Street, Williamsburg; (718) 218-8700
Los Feliz: With Canadian fare already set up down the street, Ludlow crosses the other border with Los Feliz, brought to you by the guys from Spitzer's Corner. The taqueria takes up three levels, with enough secret rooms and corridors to keep the tequila-addled entertained for hours. The front room is decorated with old mirrors, a press-tin ceiling and picture windows from which to watch everything else on the busy block. Down a long hallway you'll find some graffiti around a cobblestone bar, and even further in will be opportunities to drink margaritas under chandeliers while listening to whatever the DJ deems suitable margarita-drinking music. And, naturally, there's a "secret" dining room featuring tacos and ceviche if you can figure out the right wall to push open. Eater reports that after a soft opening last week, they plan to fully open their doors by September 8th, and no reservations are necessary. 109 Ludlow Street, no phone yet. — Jaya Saxena
Le Souk Harem: The original (and newly re-opened) Le Souk in the East Village, known for its brawls and underage drinking, has spawned this massive new location on Laguardia Place. It's unclear if it's open yet, but we do know that it's packing three-stories and 4,500-square-feet of potential debauchery. Like the Moroccan-French original, there are lanterns and lots of candles, and the first floor serves a full menu from consulting chef Doug Psaltis (Smith’s), featuring such items as lobster tail tagine with cauliflower, golden raisins and almonds. The second floor is decked out with tents and beds, and the top floor is some kind of party space where, according to Urban Daddy, Monday nights will feature an "Arabian Circus hosted by a genie/magician and his merry band of sword swallowers and belly dancers-cum-temptresse." So! Now you know where to go/avoid at all cost! 510 La Guardia Place; 212) 677-1120