With eight years under their belts, the owners of this popular French restaurant recently gave the place a major facelift, reopening last week with three expanded terraces, two private rooftop decks, and a private banquet room. But it's not just about a new look; they've also brought on new Executive Chef Ted Pryor (formerly of La Goulue, Orsay and Les Halles) to streamline the menu. While keeping popular offerings like the “Sushi Corner” and “Le Coin Japonais,” Pryor has brought in signature dishes like his Crab Cake made with buttery brioche and served with celery remoulade. There's also a three-way Battle Royale between L’American Sliders with American cheese, onions and pickles on a potato roll; Le French Sliders with Béarnaise and Comté cheese on a Brioche roll; and Le Lobster Sliders with fresh lobster meat, chives and chervil. Opia's open for breakfast through dinner Monday through Friday, with brunch and dinner on the weekends. 130 East 57th Street, (212) 688-3939
Ben & Jack's Steakhouse: This macho meat mecca has added a gigantic, second location in the Flatiron District to complement its flagship near Grand Central Terminal. Twice the size of the original, the new two-story, 10,000 square-foot establishment has two full bars (one on each level) and seats 400 diners. The menu's the same, and features their signature Porterhouse of Midwestern prime beef, which is dry aged on premises for 21 to 28 days and can feed two, three, or four carnivores. Sirloin, filet mignon, lamb, salmon, and lobster are also served. Here's the website. 255 Fifth Avenue (between 28th and 29th Street), (212) 532-7600
Ortine: This Italian cafe in Prospect Heights has been both a neighborhood mainstay and a charming destination restaurant since it opened last December. We've already told you all about their lasagna with mushrooms and house-made mozzarella that a co-owner's mother makes; what's new is that Ortine has just opened a garden dining area that's actually a real garden. Freshly-planted herbs and an in-ground vegetable garden will soon be supplying ingredients for the kitchen. (All pickling, preserving, sprouting and baking is done in-house.) A fruit-bearing cherry tree, a spruce tree, and a rose bush complete the scene, with benches for coffee drinkers in a wooded terrace and WiFi for internet addicts. New menu items include a Tempeh Gumbo with vegetables over grits; a Free-Range Chicken Curry Pot Pie; and Breakfast Pizza with two eggs, goat cheese, fresh herbs, pancetta & parmesan. 622 Washington Avenue, (718) 622-0026
In other news, the gorgeous Salon de Ning just started serving rooftop Sunday brunch, Eletteria on West 8th Street is also doing brunch now, and the outdoor patio oasis at Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar in midtown is now open for the season. And check out our photo spread and premature evaluation of Table 8, Chef Govind Armstrong's winning new restaurant in the Cooper Square Hotel.