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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

Sausage party at 886 Photo by Gary He

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.


February 25

Sausage party at 886 Robert Sietsema

Sausage party at 886

Known in Chinese as da chang bao xiao chang, and in English as small sausage in a large sausage, East Village Taiwanese restaurant 886 has constructed a fanciful version of this Taipei midnight street snack and called it “sausage party” ($8). A party it is indeed, with an anise sausage nestling down inside a sticky rice sausage, smeared with a zingy red sauce and topped with crunchies. If only it were available at breakfast time! 26 St. Mark’s Place, between Second and Third avenues, East Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Roast beef sandwich at Fiore’s Deli Stefanie Tuder

Roast beef sandwich at Fiore’s Deli

Besides spending time with my father, the best part about visiting my dad’s veterinary practice in Hoboken is stopping by all the longtime Italian-American restaurants in the Hudson River-adjacent town. This time, we went to Fiore’s Deli, known for its house-made mozzarella since 1903. There was a short line out the door at this slim deli, unchanged since my youth, where you pick your bread in line and then tell the counter what you want. On Saturday, that was the roast beef special ($12), filled with soft, medium-rare meat, milky mozzarella, and savory gravy, to which I added garlic-roasted red peppers for some tang. It was perfection. Note that only half is pictured here, the other half of which my sister-in-law helped out with. 414 Adams St., between Fourth and Fifth streets, Hoboken, NJ — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

Egg Tart at Harper’s Bread House

I spent some time this past week visiting and re-visiting staple Chinatown haunts for our big package out today. Almost everything was very good, but I’m still floored by how great the egg tart was at Harper’s Bread House. To be fair I’ve never had a bad egg tart; Chinese Tuxedo does a lovely brûléed riff in the style of pie and Golden Manna’s version is preternaturally creamy. Still, Harper’s tart was something else: warm, flaky, and light, yet showing off a rich eggy-ness that almost made it seem like it was fortified with extra yolks. Truly a delight ($1.25). 271 Grand Street, near Forsyth Street, Chinatown — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Boqueria Carla Vianna

Mushroom and ham croquettes at Boqueria

An assortment of tapas is my favorite kind of dinner spread, and at Boqueria, the options are endless. While I enjoyed everything I ordered — from the garlicky pan con tomate to the blue cheese-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon — the fried croquetas came out on top, as I suspected they would. In Brazil, croquettes are a prized snack, so I usually order them when they appear on restaurant menus. At Boqueria, an order of six is divided into two flavors: half mushroom and half Serrano ham. Both fillings are equally creamy on the inside, and the exterior shell is as crispy as a deep-fried ball of dough should be. The ham one sits on a tiny lump of sweet guava, an ideal pairing for the salty filling inside. And the other was unmistakably mushroomy, with a crave-worthy truffle-like funkiness. ($12) 1460 Second Ave., between 76th and 77th streets, Upper East Side — Carla Vianna, reporter

Sour cherry sorbet and cream cheese gelato at Superiority Burger

It’s possible that every time I get dessert from Superiority Burger, it’s my favorite thing from the week. On Saturday, my friend brought a sour cherry sorbet and cream cheese gelato combo ($7) that retained its smooth, creamy texture despite the travel to Park Slope. The cream cheese was tart and savory, while the sour cherry blended sweet-and-tart. It was like eating a luscious sour cherry cheesecake. 430 East 9th St., between First Avenue and Avenue A, East Village — Serena Dai, editor

February 15

Clam toast at Hart’s
Clam toast at Hart’s
Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Clam toast at Hart’s

The main reason to go to Hart’s is for the natural wine list, which always has a couple funky oranges worth trying. The food menu, while small, shouldn’t be overlooked, though. The entrees are solid, but it’s the small plates that really dazzle with lots of flavor layers that lean toward the sea. The clam toast ($16) is one of those delights, and while it’s cumbersome to eat — the clams come in the shells, requiring some assembly — it’s well worth it. And on a thick piece of crusty bread loaded up with bits of pancetta in addition to the clams, it’s surprisingly filling, too. 506 Franklin Ave., near Fulton Street, Bed-Stuy — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

Peking-style minced pork noodle at Tipsy Shanghai
Peking-style minced pork noodle at Tipsy Shanghai
Robert Sietsema

Peking-style minced pork noodle at Tipsy Shanghai

This very formidable Shanghai restaurant just south of NYU in Greenwich Village dabbles in other popular regional Chinese cuisines. One standout dish comes from the capital: “Peking-style minced pork noodle” is a popular street food, known as zha jiang mian. Soft wheat noodles something like spaghetti are dressed with an agreeable sauce of ground or cubed pork and fermented soybean paste, then garnished with baby bok choy or other vegetable. At Tipsy Shanghai, julienne cucumber is added and the bowl of noodles will set you back only $8.95. 228 Thompson St., between West Third and Bleecker streets, Greenwich Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Beef tongue katsu at Ivan Ramen
Beef tongue katsu at Ivan Ramen
Ryan Sutton

Beef tongue katsu at Ivan Ramen

I recently dropped by Ivan Ramen to re-try the tsukemen there — a bit of research eating for my TabeTomo writeup. But as it turns out owner Ivan Orkin had introduced a few new items since my last visit, including a massively flavorful katsu sandwich. Generally speaking, the in-vogue katsu sandwiches these days are made from fancy wagyu and command up to $180 apiece. But the chefs at Ivan keep things more affordable. Yes, it’s wagyu, but it’s just the humble tongue. The kitchen cuts it thick, fries it, and serves it between two slices of white bread with mustard ($12). The tongue itself packs a wicked bovine punch, while the breadcrumbs add a nice crunch. A ramekin of au jus dipping sauce provides an extra saline kick. Right on. 25 Clinton St., near Stanton Street, Lower East Side — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

<span data-author="-1">French toast at Untitled</span>
French toast at Untitled
Monica Burton

French toast at Untitled

At brunch, it’s always a good idea to order something sweet for the table. At Untitled, Danny Meyer’s restaurant at the Whitney Museum, my table ordered all of the sweet things, but the French toast ($16) was by far the best of the bunch. The slice of eggy brioche wasn’t too thick or too sweet. And while a simple slice French toast is never a bad thing, this one provided the canvas for more interesting flavors from cranberry mascarpone, sorghum-glazed apples, and crunchy pecans. The whole plate felt more balanced than a brunch indulgence really needs to be. And as it turned out, there was no need to share — I could have easily eaten the whole thing on my own. 99 Gansevoort St., at Washington Street, Meatpacking District — Monica Burton, associate restaurant editor

Pork and cabbage cake at Auntie Guan’s

Colleague Robert Sietsema has been singing the praises of Auntie Guan’s for some time now, and on a rainy Tuesday, I finally went for it. The expansive menu — with hodgepodge of Chinese cuisines represented — makes it tough to decide what to get, but I was pleased with a simple-looking pork and cabbage cake, which was actually a savory fried pancake type thing stuffed with pork ($6.99). It reminded me of a snack my mom used to make with leftover dumpling materials. The dough here wasn’t too thick, and the exterior was slightly crispy but not overloaded with oil from the fry. I’d order it again. 108 West 14th St., between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, Greenwich Village/Chelsea border — Serena Dai, editor

February 11

Shashlyk assortment on a white plate at Farida Alex Staniloff/Eater

Lamb ribs shashlyk at Farida

My entire meal at Hell’s Kitchen central Asian restaurant Farida was spectacular, just like my colleague Robert Sietsema promised it would be. I was so excited to find a cozy and affordable destination near Port Authority, one that stands out for its sweet service and homey fare. We loved our salad and pumpkin manti, but what made me promptly ask for a second order was the lamb ribs shashlyk ($9.90). The little nubs of meat were fatty, smoky, tender, and so satisfyingly meaty that I moaned out loud. 498 Ninth Ave. at 38th Street, Hell’s Kitchen — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

Calangute shrimp from Bombay To Goa Robert Sietsema

Calangute shrimp at Bombay To Goa

Bombay To Goa in Jersey City, which may be the first restaurant in the metropolitan area to feature the food of Goa, a small state on India’s west coast that was once a Portuguese colony, serves Calangute shrimp that name-checks a popular beach town. It features large shrimp thickly coated with spices ($12.99), and I can’t imagine anything better to eat with the sun beaming down and a beach full of people loving every minute. 785 Newark Ave., between John F. Kennedy Boulevard and Herbert Place, Jersey City, NJ — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Bavette frites at Cafe Loup

Cafe Loup was in danger of closing due to unpaid taxes last fall, and thank goodness it didn’t, because then I never would have had the delightful dinner I had before a show last week. Its steak frites ($34), like much of the food on the menu, is classic and simple. I had it along with sharing a bottle of sancere and a fried oyster special with my friend, and we were very charmed by the old-school vibes at what is reportedly one of Patricia Clarkson’s favorite restaurants. 105 West 13th St., near Sixth Avenue, West Village — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

Sausage dan bing at 886 Carla Vianna

Taiwanese sausage dan bing at 886

East Village Taiwanese spot 886 recently rolled out brunch, and I stopped by this weekend for a sweet-and-savory dan bing, the street food equivalent to a breakfast burrito. It came loaded with sausage, a wok-fried omelette, and lots of scallions, and everything was generously doused in a tangy, barbecue-like garlic-soy sauce. The ingredients were carefully rolled into a thin and spongey egg crepe, and the roll was cut into pieces that made it perfect for sharing. Everything falls out as you grab a piece, but that’s part of the fun. It’s filling and delicious, even more so than the heavily loaded bacon shao bing that’s also on the menu. ($11) 26 St Marks Place, between Second and Third Avenues, East Village — Carla Vianna, reporter

Cold eggplant at Lagman House

Sheepshead Bay restaurant Lagman House may be the only restaurant in New York to serve food of the Dungan people, who are ethnically Chinese but live in Central Asia. That means lots of wonderful hand-pulled noodles and salad, plus a flaky pastry stuffed with meat. Everything I tried — a soup with minced dough, a beef salsa, classic lamian — was delicious, but the cold eggplant appetizer ($9.99) was perhaps the most addictive. It was garlicky and ideally textured, with a little bit of a bite while maintaining a pleasant mush, and it struck just the right amount of tartness, too. 2612 East 14th St., between Avenue Z and Shore Parkway, Sheepshead Bay — Serena Dai, editor

February 4

<span data-author="-1">Pancakes at Bubby’s</span>
Pancakes at Bubby’s
Patty Diez

Pancakes at Bubby’s

My colleagues and I are all pretty much proponents of pancakes for the table, but sometimes this is easier said than done if your brunch dates just aren’t down. So I’m here to say bless Bubby’s for the option of getting a plate of eggs, bacon, and a single, glorious pancake all to yourself — essentially a rarified version of a Denny’s Grand Slam. The pancakes here, whether the plump and bouncy traditional version or crepe-like sourdough version, are just as good as you’ve heard. I went with the traditional version recently and felt my own awe at how light they really are, and barely in need of butter or maple syrup, but who are we kidding. Ask for some housemade preserves to go along with the flapjack, too. 120 Hudson St., between North Moore and Franklin streets, Tribeca — Patty Diez, editorial coordinator

Cabbage ragout on a white plate at Oxalis
Cabbage ragout from Oxalis
Serena Dai/Eater

Cabbage ragout at Oxalis

Pop-up-turned-bistro Oxalis recently opened near the Brooklyn Museum, and in the vein of Prospect Heights neighbor Olmsted, the restaurant sends out platings in line with fine dining restaurants but with the aim of being a local spot. (Chef Nico Russell used to work at Daniel.) The most successful example of this was the cabbage ragout ($17), an a la carte option in the back bar room. It has a whey foam on top and a wonderfully squishy egg yolk in the middle. Cabbage isn’t exactly the most exciting produce, but here, each bite was surprisingly complex, with a light sweetness slipping along the tongue. 791 Washington Ave., between Lincoln and St. Johns places — Serena Dai, editor

Gutti vankaya at Biryani Darbar
Gutti vankaya at Biryani Darbar
Robert Sietsema

Gutti vankaya at Biryani Darbar

This specialty of Andhra Pradesh, a state in southeastern India, features baby eggplants stuffed with a wonderful grainy peanut sauce that succeeds in drowning the eggplants ($10.95). The sauce is scented with cumin and fried curry leaves, and goes particularly well with the fleecy basmati rice that Biryani Darbar’s kitchen turns out with exceptional skill. Like the name says, the specialty is biryani, made in 15 contrasting styles, one dotted with pickled horse gram, a pulse often used in Ayurvedic medicine but rarely seen here. Of several biryani parlors in Jersey City’s India Square, this place rules. 769 Newark Ave., between John F. Kennedy Boulevard and Herbert Place, Jersey City — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Tongue sandwich at 2nd Ave Deli

Last week’s frigid weather made me crave some comfort food, which for me is Jewish deli. So I met a friend for a cocktail at the bar above 2nd Ave Deli, and then we ventured downstairs for some classic Ashkenazi fare like matzah ball soup and latkes. I opted for a hot tongue sandwich, two overstuffed halves on classic rye ($25.95). The tongue was super soft and quite mild, though with enough salt and meaty flavor to stand up against the brown mustard I piled on. That sandwich, along with fries and the cole slaw and pickles that come for free, made for a very warming dinner that I was able to extend for leftovers lunch the next day. 1442 First Ave., at 75th Street, Upper East Side — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

Hudson &amp; Charles Dinette
Hudson & Charles Dinette burger
Carla Vianna/Eater

Classic cheeseburger at Hudson & Charles Dinette

Imagine what Burger King would have to do to the whopper for it to be worth $23. Well, that’s what Hudson & Charles Dinette has managed to do. And before anyone freaks that I am comparing this sustainably-sourced, absolutely delicious burger to one found at a fast food joint, let it be known that I think Burger King burgers are fantastic. I’m pretty sure it was the bread, which was perfectly dotted with sesame seeds that made it look like those cartoon burgers you see on TV, and the sauce, which could be a combination of mayo, ketchup, and something else I couldn’t quite identify that distinctly reminded me of a whopper’s condiments. In between the bread, the juiciest hamburger patty was topped with caramelized onions, tangy pickles, and a big square of yellow cheese. If I am going to spend more than $20 on a burger in this city, it’ll be at Dinette. 522 Hudson St., between Charles and 10th Streets, Greenwich Village — Carla Vianna, reporter

January 28

Hunan charcuterie at Hunan Slurp
Hunan charcuterie at Hunan Slurp
Ryan Sutton

Hunan charcuterie at Hunan Slurp

It was freezing the other week and 89 percent of New York was sick so I attempted to stave off communicable disease through spicy food and beer. I was successful. The trick was hitting up Hunan Slurp in the East Village. And while chile-laced noodle soup was part of the strategy, the main event was Hunan charcuterie ($18) — a giant bowl of braised cow shank, tripe, pig’s ear, and tofu. Everything tasted as it should: The shank was powerfully beefy; the tofu was soft and neutral; the ear was snappy; and the tripe was pleasantly spongy. After each bite, the tongue buzzed from Sichuan peppercorns. Brilliant. 112 First Ave., near East Seventh Street, East Village — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Mutton dosa at Southern Spice
Mutton dosa at Southern Spice
Robert Sietsema

Mutton dosa at Southern Spice

Some of the city’s most exciting Indian restaurants are not quite in the city. Take Southern Spice, in New Hyde Park just across the border from Glen Oaks, Queens. It showcases the cuisines of the southernmost Indian states, including Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Savory seafood and chicken curries are available, including a classic Chettinad chicken that depends on black peppercorns for heat rather than chiles. One of the best things a friend and I tasted this weekend was a mutton dosa ($13), with the rich mutton gravy served on the side of the crisp sourdough pancake, along with a coconut chutney. 1635 Hillside Ave., between Kent and New Hyde Park roads, New Hyde Park — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Squash pizza at Violet
Squash pizza at Violet
Stefanie Tuder

Squash pizza at Violet

I was admittedly a little skeptical of Matt Hyland’s new pizza venture Violet — does the city really need a grilled pizza restaurant? But apparently the answer is yes, because it was packed on the night I went, and lovely staff, buzzy vibes, and a delicious pizza made me a convert. I squeezed into a stool at the counter overlooking the kitchen and happily watched as the pizza chef churned out pie after pie. I opted for the squash version, covered in grilled winter squash, ricotta cheese, goat cheese, mozzarella, pecorino romano, thyme, and Sichuan pepper ($17). The cheeses were sharp, the squash slightly sweet, and the dough was crisp yet tender. Plus, a generous glass of Pinot Noir on tap was $12, which felt like a steal. I’m not sure if that says more about this city, or about me. 511 East Fifth St., between Avenues A and B, Alphabet City — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

Prosciutto Crostini at Felice 64
Prosciutto Crostini at Felice 64
Carla Vianna

Prosciutto crostini at Felice 64

This weekend I stopped by Felice on 64th Street for a quick lunch and was pleasantly surprised by its selection of Tuscan breads. The free bread service before our meal was plentiful and delicious, but the real winner was the “classico” crostini ($17), slices of soft and salty bread slathered in black olive tapenade — my personal favorite — tomatoes, and really tasty prosciutto. Unfortunately, though, both mine and my date’s pasta dishes weren’t up to par. There are a few other crostini options on the menu so if I find myself here again, I’ll stick to those and a glass of wine. 1166 First Ave., at 64th Street, Upper East Side — Carla Vianna, reporter

Gupshup food
Black dal, garlic naan, and lamb shank
Serena Dai/Eater

Black Dal at GupShup

I went to new Indian restaurant GupShup the same night that Jimmy Fallon went (lol), and man, was the scene bumpin’ — as it would have been even without a celebrity sighting. Nabbing a seat at the bar didn’t take long, and though the bartender pushed us toward fusion-y stuff like a guacamole, my favorite item ended up being a traditional black dal ($12), which I ate with garlic naan. Chef Gurpreet Singh, formerly of Indian Accent, managed to deliver a superbly addictive version of the creamy black lentil dish. It was so comforting, it was almost out of place in a restaurant that felt like a party. 115 East 18th St. between Park Avenue and Irving Place, Gramercy — Serena Dai, editor

January 22

Thiebou djenn at Africa Kine
Thiebou djenn at Africa Kine
Robert Sietsema/Eater

Thiebou djenn at Africa Kine

Known as “cheb” for short, thiebou djenn (pronounced “cheb-oo-szhen” in Wolof) is the national dish of Senegal, fish and vegetables on a heap of red rice. At Africa Kine — a Senegalese restaurant founded in 1996 on West 116th in Little Senegal, but now located further north in Harlem — a deluxe version is served for $13. The bluefish has been stuffed with herbs, and the vegetables run to five, at least when I devoured it recently: yuca, carrot, eggplant, okra, and cabbage. But best of all is the red, red rice. 2267 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd., between 133rd and 134th streets, Harlem — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Marinara pizza with pepperoni at Ops

An avoidance of cheese — a small detail I only share with close friends and now Eater readers — has kept me from indulging in some famous New York slices and pies over the years. But then I remembered my colleague Ryan loving the marinara pizza at Ops when my sister suggested we check out the pizzeria this weekend, just blocks from our apartment. The restaurant’s dough is a methodical blend of sourdough starter with whole wheat and durum flours, and on top is a gathering of tomatoes, oregano, and garlic, to which I added pepperoni. The pepperoni was slightly crisped, which was an ideal contrast to the chewy and bouncy dough ($15, tip included). 346 Himrod St., between Wyckoff and Irving avenues, Bushwhick — Patty Diez, editorial coordinator

Panna cotta at Momofuku Noodle Bar Columbus Circle
Panna cotta at Momofuku Noodle Bar Columbus Circle
Serena Dai

Panna cotta at Momofuku Noodle Bar Columbus Circle

The worst thing about the new Noodle Bar is that it’s in Time Warner Center, and the best part about it is the dessert. It’s not listed on the menu, but on a recent evening, the restaurant offered both a hozon soft serve (perfect, creamy texture with a slight savory edge) and a panna cotta (also an ideal texture, with an added punch in flavor from yuzu and a crumbly cookie-like topping). Order both and share. 10 Columbus Cir., third floor, Time Warner Center, Upper West Side — Serena Dai, editor

Appetizers at Fish Cheeks
Appetizers at Fish Cheeks
Stefanie Tuder/Eater

Chicken wings at Fish Cheeks

It’s honestly really difficult for me to choose just one best dish at Noho Thai restaurant — and Eater 38 newcomerFish Cheeks. My friends and I did the set menu for three, which was more than enough food for our group of four. To our table arrived a parade of dishes such as whole steamed branzino, coconut crab curry, grilled pork cheeks, and stir-fried Manila clams. Every single item was a winner, but I think my allegiance lies with the chicken wings ($13), because the outside tastes like lime and Cool Ranch Doritos, my all-time favorite snack food. The crisp wings are blanketed with a powder of chile, lime, and mint, and they’re incredibly addictive. 55 Bond St., between Bowery and Lafayette Street, Noho — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

Whole grilled trout at St. Anselm
Whole grilled trout at St. Anselm
Monica Burton

Whole grilled trout at St. Anselm

The fact that I’ve lived in New York for more than a decade and had never been to St. Anselm was starting to get kind of embarrassing, so I finally made a trip to Williamsburg expressly to eat at the steak-focused tavern. The restaurant’s focus on beef had previously kept me away — I don’t eat steak — but last week, I realized my mistake. St. Anselm has a menu filled with things that appeal to non-red-meat-eaters, including a whole grilled trout for $19, which in 2019 feels like a steal. It was nicely charred, dressed simply with herbs and lemon, and very easy to devour alongside sides of grilled carrots and fingerling potatoes. 355 Metropolitan Ave., between North Fourth and Havemeyer streets, Williamsburg — Monica Burton, associate restaurant editor

Lentil carrot soup at Colina Cuervo

The frigid weekend weather called for emergency soup, which thankfully I found in the little Latin-American cafe in my neighborhood, Colina Cuervo. The lentil and carrot soup is perfectly warming and surprisingly filling, getting a kick from some pickled red onions and served with crunchy sourdough toast. I’m also sorry to say that the cafe’s take on avocado toast, served on a thick slice of pain de mie with chimichurri, is good. 759 Nostrand Ave., near St. Johns Place, Crown Heights — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

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

A plate topped with three equal parts of beef stroganoff, white rice topped with cilantro, and potato sticks
Beef stroganoff at Casa
Carla Vianna/Eater

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/Eater

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

A Shake Shack burger, crinkle fries, and a drink in a paper box Nick Solares/Eater

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

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