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The Best Dishes Eater Editors Ate This Week

Mining the latest dining gems NYC has to offer

Oiji
Oiji
Photo by Bess Adler

The amount of excellent food available in New York City is dizzying, yet mediocre meals somehow keep worming their way into our lives. With Eater editors dining out sometimes several times a day, we do come across lots of standout dishes, and we don’t want to keep any secrets. Check back weekly for the best things we ate this week — so you can, too.


March 26

Shakshuka at Meme Mediterranean with five pieces of bread surrounding the white bowl, filled with a red tomato-based sauce.
Shakshuka at Meme Mediterranean
Robert Sietsema/Eater

Shakshuka at Meme Mediterranean

Lots of bistros make a lunch or brunch version of shakshuka, the Moroccan-Jewish dish of eggs poached in tomato sauce now common to menus across North Africa and the Middle East. But I’ve never seen a better version in New York than the one at Meme Mediterranean. You know how sometimes the tomato component is the consistency of soup? Here the tomatoes are chunky and profuse, subtly scented with cumin, while the eggs, three in number, are poached but still a bit runny. And the pitas are puffy and toasted, perfecting the dish. 581 Hudson St., at Bank Street, West Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Lemon souffle at Batard
Lemon souffle at Batard
Photo by Daniela Galarza

Lemon souffle at Batard

Pastry chef Julie Elkind recently celebrated her one-year work anniversary as head of the dessert kitchen at Batard, the quietly masterful Tribeca restaurant that serves updated Austrian classics (and a really, really good cheese selection). I went in with a friend, sat at the bar, and ordered the whole dessert menu. The citrus olive oil cake with kishus, pink grapefruit sorbet, and basil ($16) has an especially pleasing array of textures and temperatures, but the flavor of the lemon souffle with a rose quince syrup (for two; $28) is remarkably memorable, a little bit vegetal, but sweet — like the smell of a rose that got caught in a rainstorm. 239 West Broadway, between White and Walker streets, Tribeca — Daniela Galarza, senior editor

Sizzling crab omelet at Donburiya
Sizzling crab omelet at Donburiya
Photo by Ryan Sutton

Sizzling crab omelet at Donburiya

This Midtown Japanese staple just reopened after water damage shuttered it for a few weeks. It’s one of the few places I can hit up near my apartment for a post-midnight meal and not feel like I’m the last one there. I ordered the sizzling crab omelet ($8.75) on a recent visit because it’s exactly what I want late at night, something salty and with loads of flavor but that won’t kill my gastrointestinal system. The frittata-like eggs are doused in what I’m reasonably sure is a brown crab sauce, and what I’m positively sure will scorch your tongue, like it did mine. My taste buds recovered, thanks to an ice cold beer. 253 West 55th St., between Eighth Avenue and Broadway, Midtown West — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

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Lotus milk punch at Oiji

When a friend came to visit this weekend, he requested a Oiji dinner, and it was hard to say no. The Korean small plates remain delightful, but the cocktail menu — which changes more frequently and is on par with the most ambitious cocktail dens in the city — is just as much of a reason to go back. The restaurant now has a lotus milk punch ($16), a clean and very complex version of a milk punch. It’s phenomenal, imparting an unexpected lightness on the tongue that’s both ephemeral and memorable. 119 1st Ave., between Seventh Street and St. Mark’s Place, East Village — Serena Dai, editor

Chopped liver at Sammy’s Romanian Steakhouse

The food isn’t why you go to Sammy’s Romanian Steakhouse on the Lower East Side — you go for the rowdy party — but the massive bowl of chopped liver ($28.90) managed to stand out. It’s both sweet and metallic, chock full of fried onions, grated radish, chicken skin, and schmaltz, and the rye bread to spread it on is some of the best in the city. 157 Chrystie St., between Rivington and Delancey streets, Lower East Side — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

Chicken biscuit at MeMe’s Diner

Getting into brunch at Prospect Heights’ queer diner MeMe’s is a difficult task, but it’s worth the hype. After a couple unsuccessful tries, I finally made it, although by the time I did, the kitchen had run out of the everything bagel babka the restaurant has already become known for. Though that was a bit of a disappointment, the chicken biscuit ($16) — made with a massive square biscuit with lots of crunch on the outside, two big pieces of snappy fried chicken, and a root vegetable slaw — was anything but. It’s drizzled with a spicy maple syrup, but be sure to throw some more of the restaurant’s chili oil on top for good measure. 657 Washington Ave. near St. Mark’s Avenue, Prospect Heights — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

March 19

Spice scallion sauce dumplings with pork at Spicy Village
Spice scallion sauce dumplings with pork at Spicy Village
Photo by Patty Diez

Spice scallion sauce dumplings with pork at Spicy Village

I spent way too much time sleeping on the dumplings at Spicy Village — a two minute walk from my apartment.​ ​I’m strictly referring to the spice scallion sauce dumplings ($6.95), which fantastically arrive 12 to an order; my sister and I prepared to take assured leftovers home during our visit on Wednesday. These are easily the plumpiest, most perfect little pockets of heaven I’ve had out of the boiled dumpling genre. The pork enclosed in these little pieces of super-soft, glistening dough isn’t the spicy part: It comes from the puckering sauce that these dumplings get doused in, finished with cilantro and scallions​ — that brings this heady bowl together.​ 68 Forsyth St. between Grand and Hester Streets, Lower East Side — Patty Diez, editorial coordinator

Latkes at Studio

I have yet to meet a potato pancake I don’t like. My mother, who’s from Tehran, used to make them for me when I was a kid — they’re called kuku sibzamini in Farsi — but Jewish latkes are easier to find in New York City. At Studio inside the new Freehand Hotel near Gramercy, the side of latkes ($7) looks like a couple of birds’ nests, all curly and full of pockets of flaky salt and minced chives. Two are served atop a generous puddle of labneh. Complete brunch with a side of smoked salmon ($9); it’s served with a sweet-tart preserved lemon sauce that’s ideal for dipping. 23 Lexington Ave. near 24th Street, Gramercy — Daniela Galarza, senior editor

Brussels sprouts at Roberta’s

We celebrated my mom’s 65th birthday at Roberta’s, the first restaurant I reviewed for Eater. It’s been a while since I’ve been, and I’m happy to report it’s as fantastic as ever. And while the Bushwick staple has always been adept at cooking meat, the dish of the night was vegetarian: Brussels sprouts with horseradish over wood-fired cabbage ($14). The sprouts were served as crispy petals atop the softer, richer cabbage, with a layer of labneh at the bottom providing a layer of clean, cheesy richness. 261 Moore St. at Bogart Street, Bushwick — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Octopus appetizer at Tambour
Octopus appetizer at Tambour
Photo by Robert Sietsema

Octopus appetizer at Tambour

Tambour is a new restaurant sandwiched between the South Slope and Greenwood Cemetery, with the novel idea of providing wine matchings for each dish. Much of the food skews French in one way or another, with Norman, Moroccan, Japanese, and Catalan influences, with the last cuisine responsible for the octopus appetizer ($12). Tossed with tentacular cross sections are fingerling coins, chunks of chorizo, and smoked paprika, and the result is something that tastes like undersea barbecue. 652 Fifth Avenue at 19th Street, Greenwood Heights — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Loverboy pizza at Loverboy
Loverboy pizza at Loverboy
Photo via Loverboy/Facebook

Loverboy pizza at Loverboy

I am eager for ramp season to begin, so I was excited to see ramp ranch atop the Loverboy pizza at Alphabet City bar Loverboy. The thick, square slice ($5) is also topped with marinara, mozzarella, and pepperoni for a very savory, umami-packed bite. This is drunk food at its finest. 127 Avenue C at Eighth Street, Alphabet City — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

March 12

Marinated cucumbers at Win Son
Marinated cucumbers at Win Son
Photo by Gary He

Marinated cucumbers at Win Son

Cucumbers are cheap, and frankly, I make a pretty mean version of the various cucumber salads found across town at Chinese restaurants, so I sometimes scoff at ordering them when dining out. But whatever they’re doing with cucumbers at Win Son is other-worldly, and totally worth the $9 price tag after adding cured mullet roe. They’ve got just the right amount of bite and are the definition of savory umami. It’s a strong start to a strong meal — and a dish that will stay on your mind for some time. 159 Graham Ave. at Montrose Avenue, Williamsburg — Serena Dai, editor

Fish skin at Mi-Ne Sushi Totoya

Every day from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m., Mi-Ne Sushi Totoya offers several happy hour specials, including drinks and snacks. My favorite — and I return to the restaurant often to get it — is the fish skin special. The fried skins are dark and light, and crisp as potato chips, with a mild fishy taste. Really, they are more texture than taste. Served with mayo and a tonkatsu sauce, they are certainly part of the modern restaurant movement to use scraps and not throw anything away, but they are also great tasting. And at just $3, they are a steal. 496 Sixth Ave., between 12th and 13th Streets, Greenwich Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Tagliatelle Puttanesca at King

On the night of the Nor’easter last week, when my local bank closed at 2 p.m., and when my local watering hole was virtually empty, King in the West Village was bustling — in fact I’m reasonably sure I claimed the second to last seat at the bar. I wasn’t looking for anything too fancy; I just wanted something to warm my cold bones. Chefs Jess Shadbolt and Clare de Boer succeeded in just that with a simple plate of tagliatelle with puttanesca sauce ($19), the classic Neapolitan blend of tomatoes, capers, anchovies, and garlic. I’ve had too many terrible versions of this dish to count, but this was perfect: a stunning balance of acid, sugar, salt, starch, and brine. 18 King St. at Sixth Avenue, Soho — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Lamb curry at Bombay Bread Bar
Lamb curry at Bombay Bread Bar
Jean Schwarzwalder/Eater

Lamb haleem curry at Bombay Bread Bar

If I could learn how to make the succulent lamb haleem curry at Bombay Bread Bar, I think I’d be the greatest dinner party hostess around. At chef Floyd Cardoz’s revitalized Soho Indian restaurant, small plates and breads now dominate the menu and the lamb curry ($14) was by far my favorite in a parade of winners. The lamb somehow practically melts into this lentil stew, deeply savory and slightly sweet, and brightened with onions, mint, cracked wheat, and I think pomegranate seeds. Yes, my colleague Ryan Sutton said it was his best dish last week — but that just goes to show how damn good it is. 195 Spring St. at Sullivan Street, Soho — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

Dumpling noodle soup at Dumplings & Things

It’s hard for me to enter Park Slope without stopping at Dumplings & Things, a no-frills takeout spot (though there is some counter seating and a small table) with juicy dumplings that have layered fillings, like my favorite: chicken, shrimp, and cilantro. I got them in the dumpling noodle soup which, at $5.50, is a super satisfying cheap eat on the otherwise pricey Fifth Avenue. 375 Fifth Ave., near Sixth Street, Park Slope — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

March 5

Breakfast Sicilian danish at Bien Cuit
Breakfast Sicilian danish at Bien Cuit
Photo by Robert Sietsema

Breakfast Sicilian danish at Bien Cuit

Cobble Hill’s eat-in bakery Bien Cuit often has an interesting pastry or two on display if you dart in for a look. Recently, it was something called breakfast Sicilian danish ($4), a fusion food that mixed the classic Viennese pastry called Danish (reputedly because Danish butter was the finest in the world in the 19th century) with Italian focaccia. The tomatoes have been cooked down in white balsamic vinegar, sweetening them and adding a tart edge. With a pastry more like a soft and yielding brioche than a flaky croissant, it makes a wonderful weekend breakfast. 120 Smith St., between Pacific and Dean Streets, Cobble Hill — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Lamb haleem curry at Bombay Bread Bar

I liked Floyd Cardoz’s Paowalla a lot — I awarded two stars in my 2016 review — but I’m inclined to say the revamped space, dubbed Bombay Bread Bar, might be even better (it’s a lot more chill, for sure). I’m still wrapping my mind around a recent meal, and the crowds, but I was particularly taken by the lamb “haleem” curry ($14), a stew of soft meat, lentil, cracked wheat, and mint. The lamb exhibited a distinctly clean funk, while the wheat added depth and complexity. We scooped up the curry with airy sourdough naan and washed it down with ice cold beer. I’ll be back. 195 Spring St. at Sullivan Street, Soho — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Shishito peppers with cheese curds at BKW
Shishito peppers with cheese curds at BKW
Photo by Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Shishito peppers with cheese curds at BKW

Six years in the Midwest made me a super fan of cheese curds, and it can be tricky to find somewhere that does them right in NYC. While they’re not necessarily the focus of this dish ($11), they’re perfectly fried, bursting with savory flavor. Blistered shishito pepper dishes can all start to look the same, but the cheese curds here add something a little unexpected that help it stand out. And the chipotle aioli brings it all together with the right amount of spice. 747 Franklin Ave. at Sterling Place, Crown Heights — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

Beef and pork khinkali at Old Tbilisi Garden
Beef and pork khinkali at Old Tbilisi Garden
Photo by Stefanie Tuder

Beef and pork khinkali at Old Tbilisi Garden

Soup dumpling fans will delight in khinkali, the Georgian version of the cult favorite food. I tried the juicy purses ($14) — which have a thicker skin and more spiced filling — for the first time this weekend at Old Tbilisi Garden, where a server taught us that rather than sit dumplings in wide spoons as the Chinese do, the Georgians grip the knobby ends with their hands and suck and bite into the dumplings. A Georgian friend told me her family has competitions about who can spill the least of the flavorful juice onto their plate. Spoiler alert: It’s not that easy! 174 Bleecker St. between Macdougal and Sullivan streets, Greenwich Village — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

Pork and mushroom soup at Somtum Der
Pork and mushroom soup at Somtum Der
Photo by Patty Diez

Pork and mushroom soup at Somtum Der

I obsessed over the menu at Somtum Der last Tuesday; it was my sister’s birthday dinner and I was looking for something to eat in solitude as I nursed the common cold for the third day in a row, while the rest of the table would share plates of tum thai, minced duck salad, and fried garlic pork. I settled on a spicy pork and mushroom soup, one of the several specials of the month that shouted out to mushrooms. The soup was filled with enoki mushrooms, cooked down to the tenderness of the noodles in a chicken noodle soup that I doubt would have done a better job than this soup did of curing me. The pork was thinly sliced and hearty, and the broth super rich yet wonderfully funky. Just $12 for this medicine. 85 Avenue A between Fifth and Sixth streets, Alphabet City — Patty Diez, editorial coordinator

February 26

Meatballs at Cecconi’s
Meatballs at Cecconi’s
Photo by Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Meatballs at Cecconi’s

There’s nothing exceptionally special about the meatballs in a chunky tomato sauce at Cecconi’s — an Italian bar and restaurant in Dumbo with prime waterfront realty — and yet they’re surprisingly satisfying. They’re the right price at happy hour ($7) and appropriately juicy with enough sauce. A negroni made for the perfect pairing. I will admit that a large part of the appeal of this dish was that we got to enjoy it outside while watching the sunset on an unusually warm February night, but sometimes atmosphere really does factor in to how good something tastes. 55 Water St., between Main and Dock streets, Dumbo — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

Guava curd tart at Cosme
Guava curd tart at Cosme
Photo by Ryan Sutton

Guava curd tart at Cosme

Last week I wrote about the aggressive price of dinner at Flatiron Mexican restaurant Cosme, one of New York’s most enjoyable and expensive a la carte places. What I didn’t get a chance to write about was my dessert. That superb postre was the guava curd tart with a shaving of parmesan-like cheese on top ($16). Chef Daniela Soto-Innes has always been famous for savory notes in her sweets (see: the vegetal overtones in her corn husk meringue), and this one was no exception: The cheese imparts a delicate note of musk and salt to the sweet, tangy tart. Think of it as the modern equivalent of apple pie with cheddar. 35 East 21st St. between Broadway and Park Avenue, Gramercy — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Ground beef hummus at Dizengoff
Ground beef hummus at Dizengoff
Photo by Robert Sietsema

Ground beef hummus at Dizengoff

Now that the furor surrounding Miznon’s entrance into the Chelsea Market has subsided somewhat, it’s only fair to revisit Dizengoff. That’s what I did and had my best meal of the week. Though the stall is mainly vegan, I often perversely choose the flesh-bearing selection — in this case, a ground beef and kidney bean topping reminiscent of Texas chili con carne. The effect of the spice is multiplied because there’s cumin in the hummus, too. While Miznon serves you a naked sandwich, the ground beef hummus ($13) comes with a side dish, from a choice of shredded beets, sautéed cabbage, and pickled vegetables. The last is the most satisfying, since celery, carrots, cauliflower, and cornichons can also serve as scoops. 95 Ninth Ave., at 15th Street, Chelsea — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Truffle cornet at Eleven Madison Park
Truffle cornet at Eleven Madison Park
Photo by Daniela Galarza

Truffle chimney bread at Eleven Madison Park

Last week I had the bar menu ($175) inside the newly remodeled Eleven Madison Park, and though neither chef Daniel Humm nor co-owner Will Guidara was on hand — they did, after all, just open a new NoMad hotel and restaurant in Los Angeles — the meal was flawless. Most memorable was the truffle chimney bread. It’s not on the prix fixe menu; rather, it’s a mid-menu course prepared and served as part of a kitchen tour. The cook that makes it introduces it as a play on a crunchy crepe-like pastry that Barnum and Bailey circus, which started in Madison Square Park, cooked on metal cylinders over coals for attendees and passers-by. Chimney bread seems like a cousin of the baumkuchen. Needless to say, truffles weren’t part of that version, but they fill this cone in four different forms: a sort of fresh relish, a cream, a crunchy shallot crumble, and fresh. I ate it in one bite and it brought me great joy. 11 Madison Ave. at 25th Street, Gramercy — Daniela Galarza, senior editor

Chicken parmesan at Da Nicola

Italian-American red sauce joints are the bread and butter of Long Island’s restaurant scene, and that’s because the island does the genre really right. At Da Nicola in Hewlett — a Long Island social scene if I’ve ever seen one — the chicken parmesan is just how I like it: saucy, gooey, and molten. The massive chicken breast was pounded thin, covered in extra-crispy bread crumbs, with a tangy tomato sauce and oozy mozzarella cheese blanketing it all. And it was just $17.95. 1203 Broadway at Franklin Avenue, Hewlett, Long Island — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

February 19

Pumpkin latte trifle at Gramercy Tavern

I thought I’d hate this, given the annual, nauseating pumpkin spice latte craze, but I can’t stop thinking about Gramercy Tavern’s pumpkin latte trifle ($18). Pastry chef Miro Uskokovic layers a pumpkin-tinged cream cheese mousse with pumpkin jam the color of a sunset, a gingerbread-like crumble, a light vanilla cream, and then, with a coy flourish, graces it with a scoop of smooth espresso ice cream. The flavors are balanced; notes of caramel and spice play with the fruity squash marmalade, and the crumble adds texture. I’ll be ordering it again and again until springtime. 42 East 20th St. at Park Avenue, Gramercy — Daniela Galarza, senior editor

Grilled short ribs at 2 Spring

So chef Jesse Schenker (RIP Gander and Recette) opened up a restaurant in Oyster Bay, Long Island. Reservations are insanely difficult to come by, and that reality likely won’t change following a certain New York Times piece that I have a lot of issues with — perhaps I’ll talk about that later — but the gist is that his venue, 2 Spring, is darn good. First things first: Bar seats and tables are first come, first serve, which is how I secured entry. Secondly, the short ribs are stunning. They’re grilled, not braised, letting the meat show off its firm texture and massively beefy flavor. Keeping all the fats in check is a palate-vibrating dose of salsa verde, lime, and chile. This mid-course is just $16. I’m into it. 2 Spring St. at Shore Avenue, Oyster Bay, Long Island — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Male whim salad at Palmyra
Male whim salad at Palmyra
Photo by Robert Sietsema

Male whim salad at Palmyra

The $9 salad is simple enough: some shredded cheese, boiled eggs, strips of veal, and lots of mayo, flavored with black pepper, lemon, and green olives. Potato straws on top add crunch, and the total effect is spectacular, so that the dish disappeared almost immediately. Leaving us scratching our heads, “Why the weird name?” A Russian-speaking friend at this Biblical-themed Uzbek restaurant tried to get to the bottom of it, but the only response she could get from the waitstaff — who also seemed flummoxed by the name — was, “Maybe because the salad contains meat?” 2663 Coney Island Ave., between Crawford Avenue and Avenue X, Sheepshead Bay — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

A spread at Hometown Bar-B-Que
A spread at Hometown Bar-B-Que
Photo by Stefanie Tuder

Beef rib at Hometown Bar-B-Que

Nearly everything wowed at Brooklyn’s Hometown Bar-B-Que last week — except some kind-of-dry brisket — but what really stood out was the honking beef rib. Supremely tender, insanely juicy, and with a crackly, flavorful char, this massive rib ($30 per pound) is a masterful take on barbecue. Special shoutout to the queso mac and cheese, too. 454 Van Brunt St. at Reed Street, Red Hook — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

Corn tortilla gelato at Superiority Burger

To be honest, I haven’t always been the Superiority Burger stan that all my co-workers are. (The main burger is just fine, IMO!) But everyone makes mistakes, and mine was not ordering the gelato and sorbet every single time, no matter what the flavor. Last week, Brooks Headley churned out a small batch of corn tortilla gelato ($5) that was downright revelatory. It’s one of those desserts that blasts your entire mouth with flavor and then travels and undulates with both sweet and savory tones. It’s intense, addictive, and like many of the unique gelato flavors at Superiority, a rare occurrence. 430 East 9th St., between First Avenue and Avenue A, East Village — Serena Dai, editor

February 12

Double dog hero at Dominic’s
Double dog hero at Dominic’s
Photo by Robert Sietsemaa

Double dog hero at Dominic’s

Dominic’s distinctive white-and-red van parks on Whitehall Street way, way downtown on weekdays and some weekends, specializing in Philly cheesesteaks and Italian sausage-and-pepper heros. But it offers another product nearly impossible to find this side of the Hudson River: Jersey-style Italian franks, characteristic of a band in the middle of the state that stretches from Trenton to Elizabeth. These dogs are deep fried or griddle cooked, heaped with peppers and onions, and deposited in a hero roll or a round loaf of Sicilian bread. Here a hero is used, and the smokiness and pop of the Sabrett weenies mixes with the pungent and oily peppers and onions. It’s typical to add ketchup or mustard (or both). Whitehall Street at Bridge Street, Battery ParkRobert Sietsema, senior critic

Lemon ricotta cake at Fausto
Lemon ricotta cake
Photo via Fausto/Instagram

Lemon ricotta cake at Fausto

We went to Park Slope Italian newcomer Fausto for the pasta, and while the tagliatelle was certainly great, the standout dish was unexpectedly dessert. The lemon ricotta cake, dusted with powdered sugar and served with whipped creme fraiche, has just enough crunch on the outside and a dense, pound cake-like texture on the inside, smoothed over by that ricotta. It’s more lemony than I expected, and that’s a good thing. I could have easily eaten a second slice. 348 Flatbush Ave., between Sterling Place and St. Johns Place, Park Slope — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

Ranchero eggs at Atla
Ranchero eggs at Atla
Photo by Ryan Sutton

Ranchero eggs at Atla

It has been a while since I returned to the all-day Atla by Daniela Soto-Innes and Enrique Olvera, one of my best restaurant picks for 2017. I wandered over on Saturday for brunch, and I’m happy to report I’ll be going back a heck of a lot more often now that I’m hooked on this drug again. I tried the ranchero eggs ($13), which I criticized in my review for their bland tomato-based salsa and overcooked eggs. This time, everything was spot on: The salsa was warm, warming, and wickedly acidic, a brilliant counterpoint to the rich, runny yolks of the poached eggs. I ordered a side of corn tortillas to make little salsa and egg tacos and knocked back a coconut latte. Then I walked around Soho with errant splotches of chile-laced sauce covering my jeans. That’s downtown fashion, Sutton Style. 372 Lafayette St., at Great Jones Street — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Prime rib at The Grill
Prime rib at The Grill
Photo by Stefanie Tuder

Prime rib at The Grill

By now everyone knows The Grill is really good. So when I had a special-occasion dinner, I chose the Midtown East chophouse for the celebration. It did not disappoint, particularly the $67 prime rib with its unbelievably pink center — seriously, how is it so red all the way to the edge?! — fresh horseradish on top, and very savory bone, served on the side. For me, $67 is a daunting price tag, but I would say I squeezed $67 worth of enjoyment out of the eating it that night and its leftovers the next day. 99 East 52nd St., between Park and Lexington avenues, Midtown East — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

February 5

Fresh sardine banh mi at Mary’s Fish Camp
Fresh sardine banh mi at Mary’s Fish Camp
Robert Sietsema/Eater

Fresh sardine banh mi at Mary’s Fish Camp

It’s not uncommon to find the Vietnamese hero called banh mi made with canned sardines, where the oily and salty flavor overwhelms everything else in the sandwich. But among its many specials, as opposed to the more conventional regular menu at Mary’s Fish Camp, is a banh mi made with fresh sardines ($17). The grilled fresh fish flavor shines through and marries perfectly with the mayo and pickled vegetables, making one of the city’s most memorable sandwiches. 64 Charles St., at West Fourth Street, West Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Yellowfin tostada
Yellowfin tostada at Claro
Photo by Amber-Lynn Taber

Yellowfin tostada at Claro

Everybody is right; Claro is great. After trying and failing to go several times, I finally got in on Super Bowl Sunday, when the dimly lit and intimate room was a little more sparse. Every dish was fantastic, but the standout was the yellowfin tostada — a crispy tortilla piled high with tons of raw tuna, blood orange, avocado, and chicharron for $24. Though the price might initially seem like a little much for what’s essentially an appetizer, the kitchen doesn’t skimp on any of the ingredients, and it ends up being surprisingly filling. The result is bright, clean, and flavorful, with a beautiful combination of textures. 284 3rd Ave., between Carroll and President streets, Gowanus — Serena Dai, editor

A square slice of pizza topped with pepperoni
Prince Street Pizza
Nick Solares/Eater

Pepperoni pizza at Prince Street Pizza

A large gap in my NYC dining repertoire until last week was the famed pepperoni slice ($4.50) at Prince Street Pizza, which I am thrilled to announce is as good as everyone says it is. Light and airy, slightly sweet dough covered in tangy tomato sauce, stretchy mozzarella, and perfectly charred pepperoni cups. It was so good, in fact, that my friends and I slipped back for another slice an hour and a couple of beers later. 27 Prince St., between Mott and Elizabeth streets, Nolita — Stefanie Tuder, senior critic

Chicken marsala at Mario’s Pizza

I spent the past week skiing and eating in Jackson, Wyoming; in fact I thought my meals and cocktails there were more thoughtfully and affordably prepared than most of what I sampled during a trip to Park City, Utah in 2014. When I flew back home late on Saturday, I was pretty tired so instead of hitting a NYC restaurant, I went for a comfort classic in Long Island: Mario’s Pizza of Oyster Bay. I ordered my usual chicken marsala ($20). The restaurant traditionally uses veal, but I try not to eat that cut unless I’m familiar with the sourcing, so I opted for thinly sliced chicken breast in the signature mushroom-wine sauce. It was perfectly sweet and gently earthy, though I added a few pickled Calabrian chile peppers for acid and heat. 253 Pine Hollow Road, Oyster Bay, Long Island — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Peppered shrimp at Glady’s
Peppered shrimp at Glady’s
Photo by Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Peppered shrimp at Glady’s

Glady’s is one of my favorite spots in my neighborhood because literally everything on the (small) menu is worth getting. Somehow, I had overlooked the peppered shrimp ($13.50) on my previous visits, so I finally tried it and was very satisfied by the tender texture of the large prawns and the spice level. It’s one of the spiciest dishes offered. It’s a great dish to share, as is the way to go at Glady’s. Get them with a side of rice and peas and pair with one of the excellent rum cocktails. I got the mai tai to start, but the painkiller (rum, coconut cream, pineapple, nutmeg) is better. 788 Franklin Ave., near Lincoln Place, Crown Heights — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

January 29

Crispy pork intestines at Hunan Bistro
Crispy pork intestines at Hunan Bistro
Photo by Robert Sietsema

Crispy pork intestines at Hunan Bistro

As a recent meeting of the Organ Meat Society demonstrated, the cuisine in the Chinese province of Hunan — where the food is said to be even spicier than that of Sichuan — is rich in offal and other variety meats. Just run your eye down the menu of the East Village’s Hunan Bistro, and find braised pig trotters, chicken feet with pickled chiles, hot and sour chicken kidneys, and perhaps most delicious of all, crispy pork intestines ($19.95). The larger counterpart of that organ is stir fried with lots of ginger and garlic, onions and hot chiles, and the slices become crisp on the outside and engagingly squishy within. We ordered a second platter that evening. 96 Third Ave., between 12th and 13th streets, East Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Cinnamon sugar, maple, and glazed crullers at Daily Provisions
Crullers at Daily Provisions
Jenny G. Zhang

Glazed cruller at Daily Provisions

Although I ordered a cinnamon cruller, I was instead lucky enough to score one of the last glazed pastries ($3.50) at Danny Meyer’s all-day cafe Daily Provisions in Gramercy. The dough itself was miraculously moist and tender with a crunchy exterior, and — despite being coated with a slightly-too-sweet (for me) frosting — easily the best thing I ate in the last week. I’m still thinking about that cinnamon version I missed out on, though, which I bet has a less sugary start. 103 East 19th St., between Park Avenue South and Irving Place, Gramercy — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

Spicy squid at Hanjan
Spicy squid at Hanjan
Ryan Sutton/Eater

Spicy squid at Hanjan

I was doing some shopping near Flatiron for a ski trip, so I took it as an opportunity to swing by Hooni Kim’s Hanjan for the first time in a few years; I live right by Danji but I’ve always preferred the more rustic flavors of this gastropub. I won’t lie, the fried chicken wasn’t impressive by any standard — the crust was just a bit soft and somewhat bland — but I had a solid bowl of spicy Montauk squid over rice ($17). It was a simple sweet-spicy calamari with a gochujang-laced mayo. You mix it all up with a soft boiled egg and pair it with cold beer. 36 West 26th St., between 6th Avenue and Broadway, Flatiron — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Cara cara olive oil cake at The Four Horsemen
Cara cara olive oil cake at The Four Horsemen
Photo by Daniela Galarza

Cara cara olive oil cake at The Four Horsemen

Hate on brunch all you want, but the family-style offering at The Four Horsemen is casual and affordable and changes every weekend. This past weekend, sous chef Christina Garruppo made a cara cara olive oil cake with a vanilla bean glaze as part of the $28 prix fixe. We each only got a small cube of it, but it was perfect: moist with green olive oil and the floral zest of cara cara oranges, and gilded with a simple, crackly, sugary vanilla bean glaze. I begged for the recipe and — score! — she shared it! 295 Grand St., between Havemeyer and Roebling streets, Williamsburg — Daniela Galarza, senior editor

January 22

Mole de Olla at Taqueria Izucar 2
Mole de Olla at Taqueria Izucar 2
Photo by Robert Sietsema

Mole de Olla at Taqueria Izucar 2

The children of Taqueria Izucar’s owners spun off a more comfortable branch a few blocks away on DeKalb some while ago. The newer place is all pink inside and has a more ambitious menu, not all of it available every day. The famed suadero tacos are just as good at the offshoot, but their equal is a superb mole de olla ($11). Not much like the Pueblan moles usually seen, this one is more of a stew, filled with beef chunks, carrots, and corn kernels still adhering to their cobs. The chile-laced, brick-red broth is sure to bring a flush to your cheeks. 1480 DeKalb Ave., between Knickerbocker and Irving avenues, Bushwick — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Brussels sprouts from Soogil
Brussels sprouts from Soogil

Brussels Sprouts at Soogil

For a while now, Brussels sprouts on trendy restaurant menus have felt pretty played out, so I wasn’t entirely excited to see it on the menu at new East Village Korean restaurant Soogil. But man, was I proven wrong. Chef Soogil Lim really knows what he’s doing with his Brussels sprouts dish ($10), which comes with a bed of finely shaved sprouts, seaweed, raisins, peanuts, and several pieces of pan-fried tofu. The tofu — which can also be meh when in the wrong hands — was a satisfying mixture of crisp and soft. The Brussels, though somewhat mild, averted any bitterness or sogginess. It was delicate yet exciting, which can be said for a lot of the stunning fare at Soogil. 108 East 4th St., between First and Second avenues, East Village — Serena Dai, editor

Cannoli from Bread Plus, with Sutton’s cat
Cannoli from Bread Plus, with Sutton’s cat
Photo by Ryan Sutton

Cannoli from Bread Plus

I’ve long held that Bread Plus, an Italian bakery in Bath Beach, serves some of the city’s best sausage rolls, and I’m happy to report the cannoli here are on point as well. There are no flourishes, no tropical flavors, just freshly-baked pastry shells, filled with soft, sweetened ricotta. They shatter when chomped. Bread Plus, along with the Uzbek spots of Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay, serves as a constant reminder that I need to spend more time in this part of Kings County. 2841 Harway Ave., near Bay 50th Street, Bath Beach — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Empellon’s dessert tacos
Empellon’s dessert tacos
Photo by Nick Solares

Corn ice cream tacos at Empellon

For obvious reasons that have been covered, the avocado dessert at Empellon Midtown is a star, achieving a level of food sorcery that I won’t get into right now. But for admirers of foods that combine sweet with salty, there’s nothing like the corn ice cream taco ($7). The team here shapes a waffle cone into a hard-shell tortilla, filling it with a lights-out kind of ice cream that’s corn flavored, acing that sweet and savory profile. It reminded me so much of the last time — and each time — I had the corn cookie at Milk Bar, which forever takes me back to digging my face into a bowl of Cap’n Crunch, the roof of my mouth still intact. Each bite is exactly the same, and there just weren’t enough. 510 Madison Avenue, at 53rd Street, Midtown — Patty Diez, editorial coordinator

January 8

Steak au poivre at The Brass Rail
Steak au poivre at The Brass Rail
Photo by Ryan Sutton

Steak au poivre at The Brass Rail

I tend to spend weekends out on the North Shore of Long Island, and on Saturday nights, my parents and I sometimes drop by The Brass Rail in Locust Valley, a reliable, affordable, American brasserie. On a recent visit my dad and I split the steak au poivre ($33), served over blue cheese mashed potatoes and drizzled with cognac sauce. (They still love to vertically layer things on Long Island.) The dish tasted precisely like it sounds: straightforwardly beefy and peppery, with the potatoes packing a funky, acidic tang. There is precisely nothing new about this dish, and that’s why I love it. 107 Forest Ave., Locust Valley — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Mochiko chicken loco moco at Noreetuh
Mochiko chicken loco moco at Noreetuh
Stefanie Tuder

Mochiko chicken loco moco at Noreetuh

Noreetuh’s fried chicken take on loco moco ($17) left me feeling full and warm at brunch this weekend after taking down this massive plate of comfort food. The fried chicken has a mochiko, or sweet rice flour, batter, so it practically shatters when you cut it. It’s then topped with extra rich, thick gravy for a serious umami kick, plus some runny eggs. The other accoutrements — rice, macaroni salad, and kimchi — were good foils to the richness. 128 First Ave., St. Marks Place and East 7th Street, East Village — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

Pineapple tart at Francois Payard Bakery
Pineapple tart at Francois Payard Bakery
Photo by Daniela Galarza

Pineapple tart at Francois Payard Bakery

The first time I visited NYC, one of my first stops was Payard Patisserie in its original location on the Upper East Side. There, in the early aughts, Francois Payard, Daniel Boulud’s former pastry chef, had built the closest thing to a Parisian patisserie. Glass cases displayed rows of colorful, immaculate pastries and racks behind them held freshly baked loaves of bread. Since then, Payard has stepped away from his business. But a shop bearing his name, Francois Payard Bakery, or FPB, operates in SoHo. It’s not the elegant patisserie Payard was once famous for, but here the flavors of the croissants, eclairs, cakes, and cookies still shine. A pineapple tart ($5) covered in a tight curl of whipped vanilla cream achieves every ideal: crisp pastry crust, sweet-tart and jammy pineapple filling, and light vanilla mousse cap. After I finished it, I ordered another to take to-go. 116 W. Houston Street, between Sullivan and Thompson streets, Soho — Daniela Galarza, senior editor

Octopus salame at Rosemary’s Enoteca & Trattoria
Octopus salame at Rosemary’s Enoteca & Trattoria
Photo by Robert Sietsema

Octopus salame at Rosemary’s Enoteca & Trattoria

It’s rare to find an astonishing dish at a Trattoria, where composed salads, charcuterie and cheeses, pastas, and meat or fish courses make up most of the menu. But at West Village fixture Rosemary’s, surprises are to be found. The biggest is the octopus salame ($12): tentacles compressed into something that resembles head cheese, then sliced thin, making the cephalopod especially tender and luscious. The slices come accompanied with little wads of the Sicilian pickled vegetable mélange called giardiniere, and the juxtaposition of pickle and tentacle creature could not be more dramatic. 18 Greenwich Ave., between Charles and 10th streets, Greenwich Village

Radicchio treviso at Via Carota

It was beyond time for me to visit Via Carota, Rita Sodi and Jody Williams’ Tuscan restaurant in the West Village, and on a snowy evening, I found that it’s as charming as people say. I sadly made a few bad orders, but the big win — grilled radicchio with pine nuts, caption, and currants ($16) — was a really great one. The radicchio maintained a slight crunch, and the tart-sweet sauce coating each bite hit just the right balance of flavors. It was exciting, something I never expected from a dish that’s essentially cooked lettuce. 51 Grove St., between 7th Avenue S and Bleecker Street, West Village — Serena Dai, editor

January 2

Crawfish mac and cheese at Catfish

The growing number of Cajun and NOLA-inspired restaurants is definitely a positive development in New York, and Catfish — which opened in Crown Heights in 2013 — delivers a fun, approachable version of it. Nearly everything there hit the right taste, price, and vibe ratio; in particular, the mac and cheese ($6) is a cheesy, spicy concoction that’s worth adding to the meal. I added crawfish, a $4 surcharge for little nuggets that weren’t necessary but delightful anyway. 1433 Bedford Avenue, Crown Heights — Serena Dai, editor

Antique Bakery’s eggplant parm bread
Antique Bakery’s eggplant parm bread
Robert Sietsema

Eggplant parm bread at Antique Bakery

Until recently, this tiny and charming bakery lined with bread sticks and butter cookies was a branch of a Hoboken bakery of long duration called Pecoraro, now called simply Antique Bakery. In addition to the usual southern Italian loaves in various shapes, it turns out exemplary tomato-smeared focaccia and stuffed breads such as the eggplant parm loaf shown here ($4). Shaped like an envelope, it holds fried aubergine slices and lots of pizza-type mozzarella — stiff but ready to flow once you pop it in the oven, which is exactly what you should do. One loaf easily feeds two. 279 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, New Jersey — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Fornos’ paella Valenciana
Fornos’ paella Valenciana
Stefanie Tuder

Paella Valenciana at Fornos

My all-time favorite restaurant in the world is Fornos of Spain in Newark, New Jersey, where lifelong servers bustle through the room proffering Spanish classics like garlic shrimp, paella, and stuffed lobster. The restaurant’s version of paella Valenciana is always chock full of various seafood like mussels, clams, lobster, and scallops with beautifully orange fish-scented rice and a nice crust along the pan. 47 Ferry Street, Newark, NJ — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

Short rib fettuccine at Frankie’s 457

There isn’t much else that can be written or said about Frankie’s 457 or its still-extraordinary classic cavatelli with hot sausage and sage butter, but over the weekend, one of the daily specials made me veer from my go-to order: short rib fettuccine with cremini mushrooms and a familiar tomato sauce. I can’t stop thinking about how perfectly tender the meat was, and how I regretted splitting the dish with a friend at the table. Hearty, heartwarming, and exactly what I needed on a freezing night. 457 Court Street, Carroll Gardens — Patty Diez, editorial coordinator

Wall Street Bath and Spa’s kharcho
Wall Street Bath and Spa’s kharcho
Photo via Troy L./Yelp

Kharcho at Wall Street Bath and Spa

When the city turns into a frigid hellscape like it has this past month, I try to swing by the Russian banya (aka bathhouse) at least once a week to warm up my cold Sutton bones. The central reason for visiting is to sweat in one of the four hot rooms, but as luck would have it the banya serves some pretty damn good food, too. Last week, when the temperature hovered below 15F, I went with my traditional order: kharcho, a spicy Georgian soup replete with lamb, rice, peppercorns, and cilantro. The funk of the meat, the salt of the broth, and the warmth of the black pepper are enough to restore your senses after a few turns in the hottest room, set at a blistering 210F. 88 Fulton Street, Financial District — Ryan Sutton, chief food critic

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