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The Best Dishes Eater Editors Ate This Week

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Mining the latest dining gems NYC has to offer

Little Tong Noodle Shop
Nick Solares

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.


January 14

Grandma chicken mixian at Little Tong
Grandma chicken mixian at Little Tong
Nick Solares

Grandma chicken mixian at Little Tong Noodle Shop

The rich, flavorful chicken broth of this noodle soup earns it the grandma moniker. I ate it while sick, and while I won’t say it cured me, it sure did feel like it! The black sesame garlic oil and fermented chili add depth to the broth, and the chicken itself is juicy. It also, importantly, holds up for takeout, even when traveling back to Brooklyn from the East Village. 177 First Ave. at East 11th Street, East Village — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

Duck liver mousse on butternut squash bread at Olmsted

A lovely boozy brunch at Prospect Heights new American restaurant Olmsted brought me this week’s best dish, which sorta isn’t on the menu. After ordering both the duck liver mousse ($15) and butternut squash bread ($12), I spread the silky and unctuous duck spread on the very slightly sweet and supremely tender loaf. The combo was perfectly balanced, almost like savory whipped duck butter on vegetal cake. 659 Vanderbilt Ave., between Park and Prospect places, Prospect Heights — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

Beef stroganoff at Casa
Beef stroganoff at Casa
Carla Vianna

Beef stroganoff at Casa

I have a goal to try every Brazilian restaurant in NYC, and I’m so glad I stopped by Casa in Greenwich Village this weekend because it blew away my expectations. The homey corner restaurant served the best beef stroganoff ($26.95) I’ve had in months. Stroganoff is a common dish in Brazil, and here, thin strips of soft beef come drenched in a creamy tomato and mushroom stew, served alongside al dente rice and skinny fries — a substitute for the batata palha, or potato sticks, traditionally served with the dish. 72 Bedford St., at Commerce Street, Greenwich Village — Carla Vianna, reporter

Mentai spaghetti at Davelle
Mentai spaghetti at Davelle
Monica Burton

Mentai spaghetti at Davelle

I waited way too long to eat lunch on Sunday, but luckily planned a coffee meeting at Davelle. The Japanese cafe serves breakfast toasts all day and bowls of Japanese comfort foods starting at 11 a.m. I opted for the mentai spaghetti ($15), and it was just the thing to soothe nagging hunger pangs. The bowl of pasta covered in spicy cod roe and a sprinkling of nori is savory, creamy, and entirely satisfying. I paired it with their black sesame kinako latte, which felt a bit indulgent, but was just as delicious as the pasta, and together, they offered an ideal escape from the frigid temperatures outside. 102 Suffolk St., between Rivington and Delancey Streets, Lower East Side — Monica Burton, associate restaurant editor

Truffle fettuccine at Fiaschetteria Pistoia
Truffle fettuccine at Fiaschetteria Pistoia
Robert Sietsema

Truffle fettuccine at Fiaschetteria Pistoia

The new West Village branch of Fiaschetteria Pistoia is smaller than the East Village original and lies directly across the street from I Sodi. Both are true to their Tuscan roots, but the differences are more interesting than the similarities. On a first visit to the Christopher Street Fiaschetteria, I was knocked out by the fresh fettuccine in a very light cream sauce, with black truffle shaved over the pasta after it arrived at the table ($30). This is how truffles should be eaten, and you’ll never go back to truffle oil after tasting a real one. 114 Christopher St., between Bedford and Bleecker streets, West Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Al pastor tacos at Los Tacos No. 1
Al pastor tacos at Los Tacos No. 1
Ryan Sutton

Al pastor tacos at Los Tacos No. 1

After an aggressively mediocre trip to the Starbucks Reserve luxury caffeine power plant last week, I found myself a touch peckish, so I ended up at the Los Tacos No. 1 in Chelsea Market for an inaugural Sutton visit. Make no mistake, I’m a longtime fan of these tacos; it’s just that this was the first time I’ve encountered the downtown location without an epic line. I repeated my Times Square Los Tacos test, which posits that the flour tortillas, cut with lard, serve as a better platform for the al pastor ($3.50), allowing the full flavors of the chile-rubbed pork to come through with greater clarity than the heartier corn variety. And so the story goes that flour is the best option here as well. Oh, and right after I finished, the line was, again, epic. 75 Ninth Ave. near 15th Street, Chelsea — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

January 7

Jiucai hezi at Qing Dao

The counter in front of Qing Dao restaurant is filled with all sorts of breakfast pastries for sale at very low prices, including this $2 turnover called jiucai hezi, which translates to “chive box.” It’s a street food specialty of Beijing, and is often eaten with millet porridge. The filling is garlic chives, scrambled egg, mung bean vermicelli, and dried shrimp for extra zip. Nothing better to snack on which wandering the streets of Flushing. 40-46 Main St., between Kissena Boulevard and 41st Avenue, Flushing — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Vaca frita at Guantanamera

My quads were pretty wrecked after a no-holds-barred spin class last week, so I needed some recovery protein bad. My carb-y review dinner didn’t quite get the job done, so I had to go with an emergency plan-b. That backup was Guantanamera, the nightly party of a restaurant and (free) music hall to which I awarded two stars in 2016. I ordered the vaca frita ($23.50) — pan-fried skirt steak with bright mojo sauce — and, man, it hit the spot. The texture recalled soft jerky, as this dish always does, and the flavor was pure, concentrated beefiness. I paired the recovery steak with a few recovery rum and cokes. 939 Eighth Avenue, between 55th and 56th streets, Hell’s Kitchen — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Winter squash tortelli at Union Square Cafe

I love a good combination of sweet and savory flavors, and this dish nails that combo perfectly. A heap of tortelli pasta ($35) at Union Square Cafe arrives in a small pool of sage brown butter sauce — the savory part of the dish. The tortelli itself is stuffed with sweet winter squash, and then topped with warm cranberries for an extra dose of sugar. Balsamic is then drizzled on top, adding a tanginess that pairs nicely with salty-and-sweet dish. 101 East 19th St., between Park Avenue South and Irving Place, Gramercy — Carla Vianna, reporter

Tomato f<span data-author="-1">ocaccia at Superiority Burger</span>
Tomato focaccia at Superiority Burger
Daniel Geneen

Focaccia at Superiority Burger

Friday brings focaccia to popular East Village burger spot Superiority Burger, and like the rest of the vegetarian menu, it does not disappoint. The tomato slice is doughy, airy, and light, with a crunchy bottom, but my favorite part is the tomato sauce. It’s tangy and bright, and I wish all New York pizzerias could pull as much flavor out of tomatoes. That and some acidic broccoli rabe salad made for a very comforting meal. 430 East Ninth St., between First Avenue and Avenue A, East Village — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

Jån alpine white lager from Singlecut

I haven’t really eaten out since I came back from the holiday and instead have been making simple stuff at home in hopes of being slightly healthier on my body and wallet. That hasn’t stopped me from drinking at home though, and I was delighted to try a can of beer from Astoria brewery Singlecut. The wheat-based lager has an attractive label, and more importantly, it’s easy drinking. It was perfect for sipping as I cooked — light but flavorful enough to feel far above the lagers that dominated my beer consumption in my younger years. It makes me want to check out the taproom in Astoria to sample other options. 18-33 37th St., between 19th and 20th avenues — Serena Dai, editor

January 2

<span data-author="-1">Fried chicken at TKK</span>
Fried chicken at TKK
Adam Moussa

Fried chicken at TKK

Now that the lines from the buzzy opening of Taiwanese import TKK (open inside Kung-Fu Tea in Flatiron) have calmed down a little, I stopped in for a snack. My previous experiences with Taiwanese fried chicken have been either five-spiced popcorn bites or enormous cutlets dusted with chile powder. TKK’s crispy legs and thighs pack much less of a seasoning punch, probably because their range of dipping sauces are so good. I liked the wasabi and mango-habanero options, but loved the honey garlic sauce so much I slathered my chicken in it and filled a tiny plastic tub to take home. I went with the two-piece meal ($7.99), which includes a biscuit (much more fluffy than flaky) and a side. The mashed potato with beef gravy didn’t thrill me; next time I’ll opt for the curly fries or the shishito peppers. 115 East 23rd St., between Third and Park avenues, Gramercy — Adam Moussa, senior social media manager

Egg dosa at Pondicheri
Egg dosa at Pondicheri
Carla Vianna

Egg dosa at Pondicheri

This colorful egg dosa ($12) was the favorite of the table during a recent visit to Pondicheri, a hip Indian restaurant near Madison Square Park. The fermented crepe came smeared in cheese, saag, and chutneys, plus a soft egg yolk was added on top. The savory mix of flavors made each bite unique, and the dosa was big enough for the four of us to share. It was a fun dish to introduce to our visiting family, especially since they don’t have much experience with Indian cuisine. 15 West 27th St., between Fifth and Broadway, Nomad — Carla Vianna, reporter

Banana leaf chicken on the top left at Rahi
Banana leaf chicken on the top left
Louise Palmberg/Eater

Banana leaf chicken at Rahi

I’ve been twice now to modern Indian restaurant Rahi in the Greenwich Village, and have loved every single dish I’ve tried. Both times the banana leaf chicken ($25) was a standout — it’s a bone-in chicken leg cooked in a banana leaf with rice, with a Kerala coconut curry poured over it tableside. I wish I could dip everything in that sauce. It’s creamy and savory and comforting, and perfectly complements the tender dark meat chicken. The chef there, Chintan Pandya, clearly has a way with spice. 60 Greenwich Ave., between Sixth and Seventh avenues, Greenwich Village — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

Steamed eggs with seafood at Atlas Kitchen
Steamed eggs with seafood at Atlas Kitchen
Robert Sietsema

Steamed eggs with seafood at Atlas Kitchen

Upper West Side newcomer Atlas Kitchen offers dishes from several areas of China, where steamed eggs are common in several regional cuisines. Here, a layer of fluffy eggs on the bottom of an oblong casserole is topped with a thick, flavorful broth and an assortment of seafood that includes squid, crab stick, and shrimp ($18.95). The effect is spectacular, with a mellow briny flavor, and the egg layer on the bottom acts as a sort of crust, like an upside down pie. 258 West 109th St., between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue, Upper West Side — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Burger at Shake Shack

I always get something at Shake Shack before a flight out of JFK. Part of the reason is to avoid the dreadful airline food; the other part is that it’s simply become tradition. For a transatlantic voyage, a burger and a chicken Shack is the correct order; but since I was just flying to Los Angeles, I kept things to a single burger. It wasn’t nice and pink on the inside as is common as at the other Shacks; my theory is that they tend to send out well-done patties at the JFK location, so as not to scare off folks who aren’t in the know about the chain’s legit meat. But it still tasted pretty great; the burger exhibited a nice char and a notable saltiness. For acid, I drenched it with hot sauce. Halfway through my flight I was hungry again; I should’ve ordered a second! John F. Kennedy International Airport, Terminal 4, Gate B37 — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

December 26

Congee Village James Park

Sautéed Manila clam with black bean sauce at Congee Village

Congee Village is a classic Chinese restaurant on the Lower East Side that has become an institution. The restaurant specializes in congee, a Cantonese rice porridge, churning out 29 varieties of this comfort food. You can never go wrong with a steaming bowl of congee, but the sautéed Manila clam with black bean sauce was spectacular. It was so satisfying to look at a pile of Manila clams coated with savory black bean sauce at my table. But even better was picking out the plump, juicy Manila clams; it was interactive, fun, and utterly delightful. Pairing this sweet and savory dish with comforting congees was the best decision that I’ve made in a while. 100 Allen St., between Delancey and Broome Streets, Lower East Side — James Park, editorial assistant

Oysters at Cafe Altro Paradiso

I’m always mixed on composed oyster dishes, because oysters are one of the great choose-your-own adventure plates out there and a rare opportunity to load heavy on horseradish. However, the six composed oysters at Cafe Altro Paradiso, shucked and topped with a balsamic mignonette for $23, are as good as the dish gets. Stop by for a glass of natural wine and oysters, and you’ll be cooler than someone who makes perfectly spherical ice cubes at home. 234 Spring St. at Sixth Avenue, Soho — Daniel Geneen, Eater Upsell host

La Rossa Robert Sietsema

Roman-style porchetta pizza slice at La Rossa

With the demise of the East Village’s Porchetta sandwich shop, lovers of this wrapped and herbed Italian pork roast must look elsewhere for their fix. I found it at La Rossa, Soho’s new Roman pizzeria, where thick wads of fatty meat are heaped up with porcini mushrooms to make about the best thick square slice you’ve tried in a while, but on the expensive side at $10. 267 Lafayette St., between Prince and Spring Streets, Soho — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Lasagna at Don Angie

A few things were working against West Village Italian restaurant Don Angie when I visited last week: I’m not a big lasagna fan, which is the restaurant’s signature dish; I had an only-OK meal there one year ago; and Instagram ploys, which the group is known for with its chicken parm pizza and Quality branding, annoy me. But Ryan Sutton has been relentless in his advocacy for the place, so I headed back. And I’m so glad I did. Everything was spot-on, from the warm and energetic room and attentive service to the hit after hit of updated Italian classics. The stand-out for me was the lasagna with bechamel and bolognese, rolled and turned on its side for a prettier, and, yes, Instagram-ready presentation (that I stubbornly refused to photograph). But I still side-eye at the $64 price tag, though it’s enough for four people. 103 Greenwich Ave., between Jane and West 12th Streets, West Village — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

Chez Ma Tante Carla Vianna

Salmon gravlax at Chez Ma Tante

After hearing only favorable things about this Greenpoint gem — which won an Eater Award for neighborhood restaurant of the year — I decided try Chez Ma Tante with my visiting in-laws for brunch. Fortunately for me and my reputation as a restaurant reporter in NYC, my father-in-law absolutely loved it, falling head-over-heels for the impossibly fluffy pancakes. And while I loved every bit of the pancakes as well, the true star of the table, in my opinion, was the salmon gravlax ($17) served with thin, crisp sesame crackers and creme fraiche. The thinly sliced salmon was fresh and cool, coming apart in the split of a second as I pulled some off the plate with my fork. Layered on top of a tasty cracker slathered in the cream cheese-like spread, the savory mix of flavors was just what I was after on that windy Saturday morning. 90 Calyer St., on the corner of Franklin Street, Greenpoint — Carla Vianna, reporter

Peconic Bay scallops at the Brass Rail

After a full year of eating out in endless NYC restaurants, I look forward to something a bit more reliable on Christmas Eve: dinner with the family at the Brass Rail in Locust Valley, a quintessential Long Island restaurant. And there are few more quintessentially Long Island dishes than Peconic Bay scallops — mollusks the size of a gumball and only available for a few short months every year. At the Brass Rail, they are served seared with a butter sauce and slices of watermelon radish. The preparation is simple but the flavors are deep and majestic: a hint of maillard char complexity, a touch of shellfish sweetness, and just a whisper of maritime brininess. Once you’ve had a Peconic Bay scallop there’s really no going back! 107 Forest Ave., Locust Valley, Long Island — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

December 17

Green gnocchi at Lillo Cucina
Green gnocchi at Lillo Cucina
Monica Burton

Green gnocchi at Lillo Cucina

Lillo Cucina is a tiny Italian cafe in Cobble Hill. There aren’t more than six tables, but the menu is stacked with panini, pastas, salads, and other classic Italian dishes. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve ever ordered at Lillo, but this week, the “green gnocchi” special ($14) provided my favorite bite. The spinach gnocchi were perfectly pillowy in a Parmesan cream sauce that was somehow not too heavy — even when paired with a hot chocolate. Sure, the order may seem nonsensical, but the hot chocolate at Lillo manages to be as satisfyingly chocolatey as dark drinking chocolate without the intense richness. And as someone with very strong feelings about hot chocolate, I have to order it every time I go. 331 Henry St., between Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street, Cobble Hill — Monica Burton, associate restaurant editor

Everything bagel babka at MeMe’s Diner
Everything bagel babka at MeMe’s Diner
Serena Dai

Everything bagel babka at MeMe’s Diner

It’s delightful to eat brunch at MeMe’s, the sunny Prospect Heights restaurant that adds a healthy dose of playfulness to every dish. Particularly fun is the everything bagel babka, a twisty roll of dough topped with everything bagel seasoning. It’s bouncy and salty and garlicky, and worth ordering for the table. 657 Washington Ave., between St. Mark’s Avenue and Bergen Street, Prospect Heights — Serena Dai, editor

Crispy chuchvara at Farida
Crispy chuchvara at Farida
Robert Sietsema

Crispy chuchvara at Farida

The little beef or lamb stuffed dumplings called chuchvara (sometimes transliterated as joshpara) are common in Central Asian restaurants in Brooklyn, boiled and served with sour cream. But I’d never seen them fried before until I tried crispy chuchvara ($16) at Farida, a Uzbek restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen. Rather than soft and yielding, these dumplings are exceedingly firm when fried, and crunchy in the best way. They’re served with dill-laced tomato sauce, which packs a bit of heat. 498 Ninth Ave., between 37th and 38th streets, Hell’s Kitchen — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Chawanmushi at Ferris
Chawanmushi at Ferris
Ryan Sutton

Chawanmushi at Ferris

Not too long ago, I found myself wandering the rough and tumble streets of Midtown in search of a square meal. I went to Ferris. It was a good decision! A particular highlight was the chawanmushi ($15), a delicate custard of egg with pepitas, foam, and crab. Chef Greg Proechel tossed in a light dice of apple of apple to cut through the fat and maritime richness with just a whisper of acidity. I’ll be back. 44 West 29th St., near Sixth Avenue, Chelsea — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

December 10

Rice pudding at Adda
Rice pudding at Adda
Ryan Sutton

Rice pudding at Adda

The other week, I called up Adda and asked what the wait would be like for walk-ins and the receptionist was all like, “come at 4:30 p.m. or you’re probably out of luck.” Noted! But as luck would have it this past Saturday I snagged a same-day booking at 9 p.m., and holy cannoli it was all quite grand. I could go on and on about goat brains the texture of scrambled eggs and the creamy tandoor-roasted poussin, but today I’m going to talk about the rice pudding ($5), because it was one of the best rice puddings on planet Earth. The grains were al dente, the dairy was concentrated and complex, and the sugar was in check. Really, it had the elegance of a chilled risotto. And it helped quell the chile-induced fire in our bellies. 31-31 Thomson Ave., near Van Dam Street, Long Island City — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Lamb shank at Dia
Lamb shank at Dia
Robert Sietsema

Lamb shank at Dia

Dia is an ambitious new East Village restaurant specializing in Roman beehive-oven pizzas, pastas, and more substantial main courses. Not everything was great on a first try, but the lamb shank ($35) was. The hunk of meat and bone was massive, enough for two people. Planted on a bed of yellow polenta with a few roast carrots on the side, the cut had been braised in wine, making it seem more French than Italian. It was fantastically tasty, though, and pulling meat from the bone’s nooks and crannies proved an enjoyable pastime for a cold autumn evening. 58 Second Ave., between Third and Fourth streets, East Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Ramen at Ichiran
Ramen at Ichiran
Stefanie Tuder

Ramen at Ichiran

Guess I was feeling extra last night, because I ordered my ramen at Ichiran extra-salty and extra-rich with extra-firm noodles. But my intensity paid off, because, wow, did that tonkotsu soup deliver a flavor bomb. The broth was thick, concentrated, and super porky, with the scallions providing a slight bite. The chashu was tender, but the noodles were a bit floury — probably my fault for ordering them undercooked. I was also very charmed by the little ramen booths and the somewhat quirky interactions with the friendly, faceless staff. My ramen was $18.90, and the restaurant does not allow tips. It’s not “hospitality included”; it simply doesn’t take them. One worker told me that he makes above minimum wage, in the thirteen-dollar range. I’d still like to have tipped him, but I at least encouraged him to unionize. 132 West 31st St., between Sixth and Seventh avenues, Chelsea — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

Parma ham and mozzarella slice at PQR

PQR, short for Pizza Quadrata Romana, is home to a light and fluffy slice (two squares for $5.50) that may just be my new favorite. The crust was soft, chewy, and delightfully cheesy — and the crunchy ham on top added an extra salty layer of flavor. It almost felt like eating an open-faced, grilled ham-and-cheese sandwich, except this was way better. Despite how light the crust is, I found the dough quite filling. I’ll be back soon, and not just because it’s only one subway stop away from my apartment. 1631 Second Ave., between 84th and 85th Streets, Upper East Side — Carla Vianna, reporter

Washugyu ham sandwich at Hall
Washugyu ham sandwich at Hall
Serena Dai

Washugyu ham sandwich at Hall

I’m not sure why I haven’t had a sandwich with curly fries stuff inside it before, but man, is it fantastic. Hall, a tiny but completely charming new Flatiron Japanese spot, serves two such versions for lunch, each $13. The washugyu ham version boasted a smoky, salty meat on a perfectly bouncy ciabatta, and the curly fries inside had a lovely seasoning and bite. It was also incredibly filling, and could easily be split between two people. 17 West 20th St., between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, Chelsea — Serena Dai, editor