The recent steamy weather sometimes encourages hiding inside, in the deep freeze of air conditioning. But you'll miss the summer weather when it's gone, so keep an eye peeled for a moderate stretch of temperatures and then book a table at some of the restaurants below. These sidewalk tables, gardens and rooftop spaces are the best outdoor places to eat the bounty of the season. -- TED LOOS Special to Newsday
DBGB KITCHEN AND BAR, 299 Bowery (212-933-5300, dbgb.com): The sidewalk tables at this downtown outpost of Daniel Boulud's restaurant empire are a great place to let life pass you by -- given that the folks strolling around are Lower East Side in-the-know types. But Boulud's homage to the bistro cuisine of Lyon, France, tastes good inside or out. Given the season, at the end of the meal it's probably a good idea to cool off with a two-scoop sundae of cherry and cinnamon ice cream ($9). (DBGB is doing Restaurant Week three-course prix-fixe menus for lunch, $25, and dinner, $38.) (July 21, 2013)
Diners eat at the sidewalk tables at DBGB Kitchen and Bar. (July 21, 2013)
Oeuf forestier -- two eggs "en cocotte" with wild mushrooms and Gruyere cheese -- is on the brunch menu at DBGB Kitchen and Bar in Manhattan. (July 21, 2013)
DBGB Kitchen and Bar's brunch menu includes eggs Florentine. (July 21, 2013)
DBGB Kitchen and Bar's brunch menu includes Belgian waffles. (July 21, 2013)
MAISON PREMIERE, 298 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn (347-335-0446, maisonpremiere.com): There are gardens, and there are gardens. Owners Joshua Boissy and Krystof Zizka spent a year creating the lush, leafy backyard space of their New Orleans-themed spot in Williamsburg, filling it with dozens of plants and flowers. Have a platter of oysters ($2-$5 apiece) and take in the very green view -- it will be even greener if you sample from one of the largest lists of absinthe found in town.
Maison Premiere offers casual outdoor dining under a canopy of foiliage.
STK ROOFTOP, 26 Little West 12th St. (646-624-2444, stkhouse.com): The attraction here is a true rarity: An outdoor grill, on which all the food for the rooftop tables is prepared (the menu is separate from the indoor STK downstairs). Kick back on a soft and comfy banquette and tuck into a just-grilled STK Burger ($18). There's a view of the High Line, too, which is not a bad place to work off the fries you'll undoubtedly order. (July 21, 2013)
Diners eat at STK Rooftop. (July 21, 2013)
STK Rooftop affords a view of the High Line. (July 21, 2013)
STK offers a view of the High Line. (July 21, 2013)
An heirloom tomato and watermelon salad at STK Rooftop in Manhattan. (July 21, 2013)
STK Rooftop's tuna taquitos. (July 21, 2013)
CASA LEVER, 390 Park Ave. (212-888-2700, casalever.com): It's hard to imagine a more stunning setting than the courtyard of Gordon Bunshaft's 1952 modern masterpiece, Lever House. Until October, you sit under a red umbrella and order Italian classics like veal Milanese ($46). After lunch or dinner, check out the John Chamberlain sculptures on view in lobby through Aug. 31. (July 19, 2013)
Casa Lever's citrus-caramelized chicken is served with braised bok choy. (July 19, 2013)
A waiter serves chicken and pasta dishes at Casa Lever in Manhattan. (July 19, 2013)
Casa Lever's grilled branzino. (July 19, 2013)
LINCOLN, 142 W. 65th St. (212-359-6500, lincolnristorante.com): Chef Jonathan Benno's superb Italian cuisine (try the rigatoni with boar sausage, $25) will taste even better out on La Terrazza, the restaurant's patio. The location, smack dab in the middle of Lincoln Center, also provides a front-row seat to the summer's "Out of Doors" concert series on the plaza. (Lincoln is participating in Restaurant Week through Aug. 16, offering a $35 two-course lunch.)
Lincoln in Manhattan's outdoor dining area.