Restaurant reincarnation is tricky. A bit of bad juju and former hotspots come back as “upscale” sports lounges, tourist traps, or worse (part of a fusion cuisine chain).
Moving up: Leyla, the replacement for Eighty Four on Seventh, soft opening tonight in the West Village.
Owner Leyla Natalie Maroufi enlisted chefs Jared Braithwaite (Public) and Monique Fiso (A Voce, Public) to create a more casual, friendlier joint to vibe with the neighborhood.
Start with deceptively spicy grilled squid or beef tartare dressed with truffled Dijon, black olive caramel dots, and crisps. If your appetite is healthy, order the cast-iron skillet burger; Braithwaite uses half-short-ribs/half-chuck patties, red wine-shallot jam, and taleggio cheese (ask for extra pickles).
We should also mention that the salmon (pictured) is serious. Stacked on red quinoa, eggplant slices, pine nuts, and basil leaves, the marbled, crispy-skinned filet made our week.
We’ll be back.
Leyla, 84 Seventh Avenue South, between Grove and Bleecker Streets (212-255-7150 or leylanyc.com).
Photo: Courtesy of Leyla