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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

Inside a small restaurant with exposed red brick walls, glass windows with panels and a set of wooden chairs and tables
Karazishi Botan’s sunlit dining room
Paulo Chan/Karazishi Botan [Official]

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 find them, too.

March 9

A metal bowl with white noodles and an array of spices and diced green vegetables layered on top
Oil spill noodles at Shaanxi Tasty Food
Robert Sietsema/Eater

Oil spill noodles at Shaanxi Tasty Food

Shaanxi is a finger-shaped province in northwestern China, and thanks to a local restaurant chain, the name of the capital is instantly recognizable: Xi’an. Shaanxi Tasty Food is a counter at the Super HK basement food court, and among the 10 or so offerings is the province’s most famous noodle dish, called oil spill noodles ($7). The broad wheat noodles are made to order, sauced, and handed over the counter in a matter of minutes, and the mellow oily flavor and chile after burn is one of the city’s most memorable noodle experiences. HK Supermarket basement food court, 37-11 Main Street, Flushing — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Ramen with mashed potatoes, bacon, egg, and microgreens in a blue and white bowl with black chopsticks and a soup spoon placed on either side of the bowl
Ti Amo ramen at Karazishi Botan
Erika Adams/Eater

Ti Amo ramen at Karazishi Botan

I stopped in at Karazishi Botan, the new ramen diner from former Ippudo ramen master Fumihiro Kanegae, on a chilly, rainy Friday night and just barely snagged a seat at the bar without having to wait. Once the Ti Amo ramen ($14) arrived, I melted into it. The noodles come topped with slices of tender chicken; a scoop of tangy, mustardy mashed potatoes with a crisp circle of bacon propped up against it; and a tangle of microgreens that layered a bit of crunch in each bite. I also added a poached egg for good measure. An ounce or two of lemon juice is served on the side to brighten up the chicken and oyster soup base. 255 Smith Street, between Douglass and Degraw Streets, Cobble Hill — Erika Adams, reporter

Sweet potato dish at Pips

I took up my colleague Patty Diez’s weekend restaurant recommendation last week for newish Brooklyn Heights natural wine bar Pips, and it was a delight. The space was small but not squeezed together, and the service was warm and conversational, as if we were already regulars at the place. The food, though, was sometimes thrilling, like with a composed plate of sweet potatoes with ‘nduja, mascarpone, sesame, and dill ($16). The potatoes had crispy parts like a stand-out plate of fingerlings might, while the ‘nduja added a loud spicy and sourness to the potato’s sweetness. The cream mellowed it out, making for an overall balanced yet textural bite of food. The only miss was a somewhat mealy octopus — the wine, the vibe, and the arancini were all top-notch. 129 Atlantic Ave, near Henry Street, Brooklyn Heights — Serena Dai, editor

Filet o’fish at the Jones

I was primed to love the filet o’fish at Gabriel Stulman’s the Jones. The inspiration for the sandwich was my go-to order at McDonald’s, and although I haven’t eaten one of those for years, I’ll always order the crispy fish sandwich if the option is available. The Jones’s version was everything I wanted it to be: a soft potato bun, tangy tartar sauce, slightly melted American cheese, and flaky, white fish many steps above the reheated frozen squares of my youth. I split the sandwich with a friend and our server helpfully split it right down the middle. Otherwise, I’m sure there would have been arguing over the last bite. Next time, I’ll get my own. 54 Great Jones Street, between Lafayette Street and Bowery, Noho — Monica Burton, editor, Eater.com

March 2

A round pizza on a silver plate. The pizza has charring on the sides and there’s a red sauce in the middle with blobs of white cheese and a scattering of basil leaves.
Margherita pie at Ops
Ryan Sutton/Eater

Margherita pie at Ops

I recently published a column on the joys of eating pizza at Leo. The Williamsburg venue is very, very good. As part of that writeup, I paid a visit to sister spot Ops in Bushwick to assess those operations as well. Briefly: Ops is serving even better pies than I remembered, with a particularly majestic margherita ($16). The tomatoes were as fragrant as at Leo, and the mozzarella was just as stretchy. The dough, however, was where things differed. At Leo, the outer lip was pleasantly chewy, and a touch crackly, while at Ops it was puffier, with an exterior that recalled a perfectly toasted marshmallow. Neither is necessarily better than the other, it’s all about what you prefer. 346 Himrod Street, near Wycoff Avenue, Bushwick — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

A bowl of brownish, stew-like food with a sprinkling of cilantro leaves on top
Turiya patra nu shaak at Kathiyawadi Dhaba
Robert Sietsema/Eater

Turiya patra nu shaak at Kathiyawadi Dhaba

This new restaurant in Jersey City’s India Square offers the ancient and rural cuisine of the Saurashtra region in western Gujarat, including many fascinating things rarely seen in restaurants here. “Turiya patra” is the ridge gourd, shaped like a cucumber but with parallel ridges running along its dark green length. The “nu shaak” part of the name means that the gourd is immersed in a sauce. The gourd at Kathiyawadi Dhaba is also stuffed with a whole wheat filling, which adds a mellow edge to this delightful vegetarian dish ($5.95). 785 Newark Avenue, between John F Kennedy Boulevard and Herbert Place, Jersey City — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

A white plate holds circular, brownish, fat pancakes with a dollop of white sour cream and purple blueberries.
Buckwheat pancake at Anton’s.
Tanay Warerkar/Eater NY

Buckwheat pancake at Anton’s

I’m almost never satisfied with eating just a sweet thing for brunch, but the buckwheat pancake at Anton’s had me reconsidering my usual preferences. The pancake was airy and moist and had just a hint of crispiness on top. The blueberry compote was tart and sweet at the same time while the sour cream gave the whole plate a touch of savoriness. A tiny jug of syrup is provided on the side, but the pancake tastes so good on its own that only those with a really sweet tooth will crave it — I for one was happy to do without it. 570 Hudson Street, at West 11th Street, West Village — Tanay Warerkar, reporter

A fried pita flatbread wrap with hummus, tomatoes, and green onions inside, held in a paper wrapping
Malawach at Rustic Table Shuk
Erika Adams/Eater

Malawach at Rustic Table Shuk

It’s hard to go wrong with a hummus wrap, but the fried dough on this version, found at Rustic Table Shuk inside the Market Line, the lower-level food hall inside Essex Market, really sends it over the finish line. The hummus is served warm and creamy — and stays that way, pocketed inside the pleasantly chewy, dense fried flatbread. Chopped hard boiled eggs, cherry tomatoes, and a scoop of diced green onions add necessary texture to each bite, while the rich hummus is laced with a mildly spicy jalapeno sauce that helps to cut through the thick creaminess. 115 Delancey Street, at Essex Street (inside the Market Line), Lower East Side — Erika Adams, reporter

A plate with three green foams, crisps, and raw fish in a pool of white sauce.
Hamachi tiradito at Llama San
Serena Dai/Eater

Hamachi tiradito at Llama San

It’s hard to say which one of the raw dishes at Llama San was my favorite because they were all so astounding. But if only one can be ordered, the hamachi tiradito with uni, coconut, and matcha ($24) might have been the most unique. The matcha comes in the form of foamy green puffs, while coconut serves as both a creamy base and a slightly sweet and crisp counterpart. Still, the best move is to order all of them — they all represent playful and smart plays in balanced, multi-layered flavors and textures, in ways that felt incredibly special. 359 Sixth Ave., near Washington Place, Greenwich Village — Serena Dai, editor

February 25

A wooden basket with a metallic insert that contains oval shaped oysters in their shell. In the distance a white plate sits with two small bowls with a white sauce and a yellow one.
Steamed oysters at Thai Diner
Robert Sietsema/Eater

Steamed oysters at Thai Diner

While oysters are most often eaten raw, fried, or baked with a topping, as in oysters Rockefeller, at Thai Diner they’re steamed. And these are not your normal-size oysters, but three bite-beauties of the kind normally seen in Chinese restaurants. A half dozen ($13) come with a choice of dipping sauces — one a traditional nam prik made with lemon juice, the other a champagne-laced mayo. Pried from their shells, the bulbous steamed bivalves take to the nam prik especially, and there’s no better condiment to accentuate their mild oceanic flavor. 186 Mott Street, at Kenmare Street, Nolita — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

The clean turkey from Court Street Grocers
Luke Fortney/Eater

The Clean Turkey from Court Street Grocers

Sourdough or ciabatta. Reuben or rye. For here or to-go. With over 20 sandwich options, eating at Court Street Grocers can involve a good deal of decision-making, but bacon is the one ingredient here that should be added to all sandwiches. Cooked ham probably doesn’t need to cost $2.30, but then again a sandwich probably doesn’t need to taste this good. Everything at Court Street Grocers is worth trying once, but their spin on the turkey club called the Clean Turkey is my old reliable. It comes stacked with roasted turkey, red onion, red wine vinaigrette, arugula, and Duke’s Mayo. 540 LaGuardia Place, between Bleecker and West Third Streets — Luke Fortney, reporter

A white plate with a square piece of cheese that’s fried and drizzled with honey and some white sesame seeds.
Saganaki at Kiki’s
Tanay Warerkar/Eater

Saganaki at Kiki’s

The photo doesn’t do this dish justice, but the saganaki ($10) at Kiki’s is undoubtedly one of its tastiest dishes. At the Lower East Side restaurant, this traditional Greek appetizer is prepared with a sheep’s milk cheese called Kefalograviera that’s wrapped in phyllo dough and fried, and finished off with a generous drizzle of honey and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. The saltiness of the cheese, the crispy dough, the sweetness from the honey, and the tartness from the lemon are a combination I can see myself going back to over and over again. 130 Division Street, at Orchard Street, Lower East Side — Tanay Warerkar, reporter

A bowl of soup with noodles and duck meat sitting on a table with a spoon off to the side
Kuaytiew Pet at Thai Diner
Erika Adams/Eater

Kuaytiew pet at Thai Diner

I’d happily huddle over the bowl of kuaytiew pet ($19) that I had this weekend at the Uncle Boons’s team’s new venture Thai Diner any day of the week. The braised duck noodle soup delivered on all fronts — fatty slivers of duck floated off the bone at the slightest nudge from my spoon, lazily bobbing away in a gentle soy anise broth that I wanted to pour in a coffee cup and keep drinking for hours. To note: My sister and I walked in at 10:45 a.m. on Saturday and were seated immediately. By 11:30 a.m., there was a line wrapped around the side of the restaurant that hadn’t eased up once by the time we left at 12:30 p.m. Endless appreciation for the front-of-house staff, who not only did not side-eye us as we lingered, but warmly encouraged us to stay as long as we liked. 186 Mott Street, at Kenmare Street, Nolita — Erika Adams, reporter

February 18

A silver plate with several small silver bowls that contain a variety of Indian foods including yellow dal and green spinach.
Lucknowi Thali at Mithaas
Robert Sietsema/Eater

Lucknowi Thali at Mithaas

Examine the counter near the register in back at this combination vegetarian restaurant and sweet shop to see the daily specials. These invariably include a selection of thalis — collections of small dishes presented in circular fashion with breads, basmati rice, chutneys, and a sweet, making a perfect one-platter meal. A frequent thali ($14.95) hails from Lucknow, the historic capital of the Uttar Pradesh state in northeastern India. Many Mughal standards are included, but in unusual form, such as a version of malai kofta that tastes of pumpkin, and a dal makhani darker and richer than usual. 795 Newark Avenue, at Herbert Place, Jersey City

A blue plate with slices of roasted squash on it, an orange sauce, and some white grains and green shoots sprinkled on the side
Squash at 232 Bleecker
Ryan Sutton/Eater

Koginut squash at 232 Bleecker

I’ve had nice things to say about the chicken and the oysters at 232 Bleecker, the restaurant by chef Suzanne Cupps and the chain formerly known as Dig Inn. But since it’s a vegetable-centric restaurant, I suppose it’s finally time to offer a few remarks about the vegetables, which are quite good. The koginut squash ($15) was particularly enchanting on a recent visit. The kitchen roasts the gourd until it’s practically as sweet as a dessert, then pairs it with soft black barley and luscious pumpkin seed mole, more creamy than spicy but intoxicating nonetheless. I could eat this everyday. 232 Bleecker, at the corner of Carmine and Bleecker, West Village — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

A plate stuffed with various different foods including orange pieces of fried chicken, red sliced strawberries, and white puffy biscuits
Hot chicken biscuit sliders at Archer & Goat
Tanay Warerkar/Eater

Hot chicken biscuit sliders at Archer and Goat

There are countless good chicken biscuit options in the city — I’m particularly partial to the one at Pies and Thighs in Williamsburg — but I recently discovered one ($14) that I would happily return to again. At Archer and Goat, in Harlem, the crispy and saucy chicken is cut up into bite-size pieces, and the sauce has an extra kick to it. The biscuits are a lot airier and thinner than ones I’ve add and that almost makes this otherwise heavy dish feel light. The pickled strawberries and cucumbers are a tart and welcome addition to the meal. Get the crispy bacon bits on the side for extra crunch. 187 Malcolm X Boulevard, between West 119th and 120th Streets, Harlem — Tanay Warerkar, reporter

The roasted duck roll, plus a second wrapped roll and hot drink from Nuan Xin, in Manhattan’s Chinatown
The roasted duck roll from Nuan Xin
Erika Adams/Eater

Roasted duck roll at Nuan Xin

I had planned to inhale some rice noodle rolls from Yi Ji Shi Mo, in Manhattan’s Chinatown, after work last week, but missed the window of opportunity by a couple of hours due to my somewhat relaxed approach to researching things like operating hours before showing up. In any case, it worked out fine: I turned 180 degrees, crossed the street, and landed inside a relatively new outpost of Nuan Xin, a Taiwanese rice roll chain with a couple of locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The roasted duck roll ($4.25) is the place to start here; a thick layer of purple sticky rice spread across a thin sheet of seaweed provides the structure to hold a generous mound of roasted duck, lettuce, and sliced cucumber, with a squirt of mayonnaise tying it all together. Two rolls make a compact and efficient lunchtime meal that would hold up easily with delivery for those not within walking distance of the restaurants. Nuan Xin is listed on Uber Eats, but waitstaff encourages customers to just call the restaurant and place a delivery order that way. 97 Elizabeth Street, at Grand Street — Erika Adams, reporter

A bowl of whipped ricotta cheese topped with honey and herbs; a bowl of lamb shawarma topped with za’atar, onions, and parsley; and bowl of charred pita on a dark wooden table
Whipped ricotta, lamb shawarma, and pita at Miss Ada in Fort Greene
Luke Fortney/Eater

Whipped ricotta and lamb shawarma hummus at Miss Ada

There are dishes that I dream about and dishes that put me to sleep — but the whipped ricotta and lamb shawarma at Miss Ada were the first dishes to keep me up at night, because I knew it would be another few months until I could have them again. Miss Ada is a cozy, special occasion spot in Fort Greene that centers on Mediterranean and Israeli cuisine. Although these hefty bowls of chickpea and cheese are technically advertised as “dips” on the restaurant’s menu, the fact that they take up a third of your table makes them feel more like small meals in and of themselves. The whipped ricotta ($11) here is drenched in butter, honey, and sage — a combination that could be too sweet on its own but that alley-oops when paired with one of the menu’s hummus options. We went with the lamb shawarma variety ($16), which is topped with onion, za’atar, and amba. The only thing separating these appetizers from perfection is an extra plate of pita ($2). 184 Dekalb Avenue, at Carlton Avenue — Luke Fortney, reporter

February 10

A bowl of yellow-ish soup with pieces of white fish bobbing out along with some greens and a dash of red sauce.
Sliced fish and sour mustard soup at Mama’s Kitchen
Robert Sietsema/Eater

Sliced fish and sour mustard soup at Mama’s Kitchen

The Mama’s Kitchen stall at Elmhurst’s HK food court turns out many admirable Shanghai, Xinjiang, and Sichuan dishes. This creamy and slightly sour soup belongs to the last canon. Stocked with plenty of sliced fish and wads of pickled mustard, it has a mellow flavor with an abrupt tart finish, and a lingering burn from the pickled red chiles tossed into it in a small but sufficient wad. Share this bowl of soup with a friend or two. 82 02 45th Avenue, between 82nd and 83rd streets, Elmhurst — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

A scoop of mascarpone gelato is topped with berries in a speckled bowl
The Pop Rocks at Mokyo
Luke Fortney/Eater

Pop Rocks at Mokyo

This $12 bowl of mascarpone gelato, macerated berries, and carbonated sugar should be a mandatory part of any visit to East Village newcomer Mokyo. The dessert — a riff on the childhood candy Pop Rocks comes to Mokyo courtesy of Kyungmin Kay Hyun, the same chef responsible for those colorful Capri Sun cocktails over at Thursday Kitchen. As soon as the server rounds the kitchen corner with this dessert in-hand, the sound of the carbonated sugar starting to crackle from under, and inside of, the mascarpone, will come through. It’s a sound already loud enough to turn heads at nearby tables and one that only grows louder once it’s in your mouth. 109 Saint Marks Place, between Avenue A and 1st Ave, East Village — Luke Fortney, reporter

A blue plastic basket with tissue paper, filled with fried calamari, fried basil, and fried shishito peppers
Salt-and-pepper calamari at Golden Diner
Serena Dai/Eater

Salt and pepper and calamari at Golden Diner

I cannot believe I waited to so long to go to Golden Diner, the rare restaurant that I’m already eager to return to for more of the dishes. Everything I had was creative yet not overwrought, and well-executed without snobbery — which was helped by the fact that the staff seemed eager to make everybody feel like a regular. My tops: The salt and pepper calamari ($15), which came with not only a light, crisp tempura-fry on the squid but also on a healthy smattering of shisito peppers. The accompanying sauce, a tart-and-salty soy-sauce based concoction, added just the right vinegar kick. 123 Madison Street, Two Bridges, between Market Street and Mechanics Alley — Serena Dai, editor

A white plate with a flaky flatbread placed on top. It’s folded and has some red powder on it along with black and white sesame seeds, and some torn up green leaves.
Bk Egg Bomb at Win Son
Tanay Warerkar/Eater

Bk Egg Bomb at Win Son

It took me this long to finally make my way to Win Son, and when I did, I decided to get as much as I possibly could. And while I would happily recommend everything I ordered, the Bk Egg Bomb ($19) stood out above the rest. The giant, flaky scallion pancake-like bread that wraps the beef inside reminded me of the slightly crispy exteriors of a kathi roll. The crispy exterior complemented the beef tartare inside, along with the creamy egg yolk, a salty drizzle of soy sauce, and the crunchy sesame seeds sprinkled throughout. I’m already looking forward to sampling everything else on the menu. 159 Graham Avenue, at Montrose Avenue, Bushwick — Tanay Warerkar, reporter

A white bowl in which the tentacles of an octopus can be seen along with some cut up vegetables like red peppers.
Spanish octopus at Small Batch
Ryan Sutton/Eater

Spanish octopus at Small Batch

My family and I have become regulars of sorts at this Long Island effort by Tom Colicchio, which is somewhat eerily located on the outside of a shopping mall the size of, like, two football stadiums. Spanish octopus was my favorite dish during a visit this past week. The kitchen at Small Batch puts a nice crisp on the tentacles and pairs the cephalopod with firm butter beans, assertively smoky chorizo, and tongue-stinging chiles ($24). It’s the type of dish that might go overlooked in the city. But in Nassau County, we could use a few more elegant, well-executed preparations like this one. 630 Old Country Road, Roosevelt Field, Garden City, Long Island — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

February 3

A white place with a mound of white rice on one side and a bowl with a brown chili-like dish.
Sulukhu at Le Baobab II
Robert Sietsema/Eater

Sulukhu at Le Baobab II

Sulukhu ($12) is something rarely seen on Senegalese menus in New York City, a thick stew of fish and okra in peanut sauce. The okra adds immeasurably to the texture of the sauce, making it wonderfully viscous, and the flavor of the bluefish is bolstered by sundried stockfish, which makes the sulukhu at Le Baobab II taste slightly fishy and smoky. Bonus carrots and potatoes are found in the bowl’s depths. Deploy the green scotch bonnet pepper sitting atop the rice at your peril! An utterly enjoyable dish. 1235 Fulton St, between Arlington Place and Bedford Avenue, Bedford Stuyvesant — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

A white plate with a mound of mashed potatoes with a purple flower on top. Two poached eggs with pieces of chorizo sausage and an orange sauce on top of it.
Huevos ahogados at La Diagonal Agaveria
Tanay Warerkar/Eater

Huevos ahogados at La Diagonal Agaveria

Failing to get into half a dozen different restaurants at brunch time, my husband and I finally managed to snag a spot at Harlem Mexican restaurant La Diagonal Agaveria, and it ended up being a pleasant surprise. The stylish, bar-style seating is surprisingly comfortable, and the food similarly is both comfort food and pretty to look at. Particularly good was the huevos ahogados, a poached egg dish with crispy bits of chorizo on an english muffin that’s finished off with a creamy and spicy drizzle of hollandaise sauce that has chipotle peppers blended into it. The eggs go down really well with one of the restaurant’s many margaritas. 185 St. Nicholas Avenue, at West 119th Street, Harlem — Tanay Warerkar, reporter

A white speckled bowl with a pile of small powdered doughnuts inside.
Sopapillas at the Banty Rooster
Ryan Sutton/Eater

Sopapillas at the Banty Rooster

I was pretty jazzed about my debut meal at the Southwestern-tinged Banty Rooster in the West Village. The restaurant comes courtesy of owner Delores Tronco-De Pierro, who founded the (very good) Work & Class in Denver. I could wax poetic about the fried chicken skins, a steal at just $6, but right now I’m craving an order of the sopapillas. The kitchen puts a nice dark color on the little doughnuts ($10), a pillowy fried pastry popular in New Mexico. Each bite packs a pleasantly dense chew and a nice squirt of cinnamon-flavored horchata jam. They pair with coffee as well as they do with a nice gin martini. 24 Greenwich Avenue, near West 10th Street, West Village — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

A white bowl with panna cotta, half orange and half black from a black sesame crumble. pIeces of lychee and fresh basil top it.
Lychee panna cotta at Bonsai Kakigori
Serena Dai/Eater

Lychee panna cotta at Bonsai Kakigori

Dessert specialist Bonsai Kakigori is best known for its seasonally flavored, mile-high shaved ice concoctions, and indeed, the strawberry and cream version of the kakigori was a pleasing study in textures, with its fluffy ice, creamy whipped cream, and Heath-bar like brittle in the middle. Also worth ordering, though, is the lychee panna cotta ($10), which was similarly exciting in its array of flavors and textures. It arrived with a black sesame crumble that added a deep savory element and a layer of passion fruit jelly that punched it up with a tarty zing. Chewy slices of fresh lychee and fragrant pieces of fresh basil topped the whole thing off. It was a dessert worthy of a fine dining restaurant, instead available in a petite LES cafe. 100 Stanton St., between Orchard and Ludlow streets, Lower East Side — Serena Dai, editor

January 27

A white plate with pieces of green food and slices of onion
Aguachile verde at Mi Dulce Mexico
Robert Sietsema/Eater

Aguachile verde at Mi Dulce Mexico

This ceviche from the Mexico’s northwest features raw shrimp and cucumber in a wonderful solution of lime juice flavored with onions, cilantro, and chiles. The submerged shrimp are cured to opacity and develop an elastic texture and flavor that’s cool and tart on the tongue, utterly delicious. The marinade is so good it begs to be spooned up afterwards. A generous quantity of avocado adds a creamy touch to this unforgettable dish ($12.50) at Mi Dulce Mexico. 35-58 97th Street, at 37th Avenue, Corona — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

A silver cup with two scoops of ice scream one on top of each other
Mandarin sorbet and poppyseed milk ice cream at Veronika
Ryan Sutton/Eater

Mandarin sorbet and poppyseed milk ice cream at Veronika

Last week, I gave an early writeup to some of the most affordable mains at Veronika, Stephen Starr’s fine new Eastern European-leaning restaurant at the Fotografiska museum in Flatiron. I’ll likely have more to write about the restaurant in the coming months, but for now, let me say that I’m still a bit smitten with the sorbets and ice creams, at $4 per scoop. Whenever there are frozen desserts available, I seem to subconsciously steer myself to a creamsicle pairing, which explains my choice of mandarin sorbet and poppyseed milk ice cream. The poppyseed packed a faintly nutty and creamy flavor, while the citrus expressed itself with a fragrant and vaguely bitter punch. It all helped cool and sooth my insides following a long, rich meal. 281 Park Avenue South, at East 22nd Street, 2nd Floor — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Two plates of mushy-looking food placed on a wooden table
Crab and egg dish at Bangklyn East Harlem
Serena Dai/Eater

Crab and egg dish at Bangklyn East Harlem

It’s hard to pick a favorite from tiny but homey storefront of Bangklyn East Harlem, where Prasong “Pat” Kanhasura makes whatever Thai-inspired dish he wants. I went with a regular and did a big family style order, which included an umami-laden mushroom broth noodle soup, fried fish pieces, and a funky yet comforting pork belly congee. Everything was balanced while packing double-punches of flavors, often a killer spicy, sweet, and sour combo. The top dish for me, though, was an ugly-delicious crab-and-egg dish, where silky fresh crab with a hint of spice got laced with pieces of egg. It was rich without being overwhelming, and paired perfectly with a scoop of white rice. 2051 Second Ave., between East 105th and East 106th streets, Harlem — Serena Dai, editor

A white plate with green-colored pasta, brown breadcrumbs, red colored chili flakes and shavings of cheese
Maltagliati at Popina
Monica Burton/Eater

Maltagliati at Popina

On Sunday, I popped into Popina for an early dinner to take advantage of its happy hour ($15 Roman pastas and $5 glasses of wine!). But, once in the door, I couldn’t resist ordering a second pasta from outside the happy hour list. That pasta — maltagliati in a pesto made with carrot tops and walnuts ($19) — proved to be the winner of the evening. The generous serving of the wide noodles arrives topped with pleasingly salty ricotta salata and a hefty sprinkling of crunchy walnuts and breadcrumbs. I’ll be returning for it, happy hour or not. 127 Columbia Street, near Kane Street, Cobble HillMonica Burton, associate restaurant editor

A fish-shaped plate with a soft flour taco on it filled with pieces of pork, tomato, and cilantro
Braised pork taco at Chubby Princess
Tanay Warerkar/Eater

Braised pork taco at Chubby Princess

It’s a constant struggle to find solid lunch options in FiDi under $10, but I might finally have landed on one with Chubby Princess, the newly reimagined northern Chinese restaurant from MáLà Project’s Amelia Kang. I got the braised pork taco ($5), and immediately regretted that I didn’t opt for two of those instead of the spicy chicken one I got as well. The crispy, slightly caramel-y texture on the pork, the saltiness from what tasted like black bean sauce were a hit combination in the taco, and I can’t wait go back and sample more of their fillings. 200 Water Street, at Pearl Street, FiDi — Tanay Warerkar, reporter

January 21

A breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, bacon, Hatch green chiles, and hash browns
Green chile breakfast burrito at Awkward Scone
Robert Sietsema/Eater

Green chile breakfast burrito at Awkward Scone

Admittedly, Awkward Scone is an awful name for this coffee shop right on Broadway under the J train tracks. Sure, there are pastries, some of them aggressively vegan and quite good, and decent coffee in all the usual formulations. But what really blew my mind was the short list of New Mexico-style breakfast burritos. My favorite ($7) features scrambled eggs, bacon, Hatch green chiles, and hash browns, and it is so tasty, you may have to have another. Ostensibly, burrito service stops at 11:30 a.m., but if you beg, as I did, the time limit may be extended. 1022 Broadway, between Willoughby and Suydam streets, Bed-Stuy — Robert Sietsema, Senior Critic

Al pastor tacos at Tacombi

Early last week I had a hard time finding my beloved Vista Hermosa flour tortillas at a local grocery, so I Citibiked up to Tacombi on the Upper West Side and picked up a few packages straight from the source (they’re quite excellent). While I was there I realized that, somehow, I’d never actually sampled a Tacombi taco while fresh, in-store, so I ordered a single al pastor ($3.95). It was very, very good. Like so many other New York tacos, it was overloaded, but that was the only shortcoming. The corn tortilla was warm and supple; the pineapple slice was tart and faintly sweet; and the fatty pork exhibited a warming flavor from the spices and a nicely crisp exterior. Will definitely come by here more often. 377 Amsterdam Avenue, at West 78th Street, Upper West Side — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

A carton of dumplings topped with spicy split pea dal and yogurt and some cilantro leaves
Mantu at Nansense in the Deco food hall
Tanay Warerkar/Eater

Mantu at Nansense

The first brick-and-mortar for Afghan food truck Nansense is located inside NYC’s newest food hall the Deco, and I stopped by to try out their mantu, the beef and onion-filled dumplings that are popular in many parts of Central Asia. Nansense serves its juicy dumplings with a cooling yogurt sauce, a slightly spicy split pea dal and cilantro leaves. The dumplings have a thin wrapping and the combination of the spicy dal, the soothing yogurt sauce, and mildly-flavored meat is something I’m already looking forward to eating again. 231 W. 39th Street, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, Midtown — Tanay Warerkar, reporter

Four birria tacos made with beef, a tall cup of consomme, and a Coca-cola on a metal table
Birria tacos and consomme at Beefria-Landia
Luke Fortney/Eater

Birria tacos and consome at Beefrria-Landia

Ever since Eater critic Robert Sietsema visited this Jackson Heights taco truck last August, I knew I had to visit and try their take on tacos de birria. This stew of chiles and braised meat is somewhat controversial here in New York, in part because at Beefrria-Landia it’s made using beef, instead of goat, which is how the dish is commonly prepared in parts of Mexico and my hometown of Los Angeles. The tacos ($2.50) — brimming with birria, cilantro, onion, and salsa — are worth standing around in January weather for, but the star of the meal is undoubtedly the consomme. This fatty broth of beef and spices is great for dipping your tacos into, and for slurping when there aren’t any left. 77-99 Roosevelt Ave., between 77th and 78th streets, Jackson Heights — Luke Fortney, reporter

A white bowl with bread and marinated greens.
Marinated greens at Leo
Serena Dai/Eater

Marinated greens at Leo

The team behind Ops has nailed simple and satisfying food again at Leo, their bigger restaurant in Williamsburg. The service style takes a moment to understand — go to the counter in the back, order, go to the wine fridge to select a bottle, and then sit down for table service — but once at a table, it’s easy to move on for a lovely evening. Pizza, of course, is stand-out, but the dish I kept wanting to eat more of was the bowl of marinated greens ($8), a side dish to remember. Chewy, tangy, and packed with garlic, it made eating vegetables a delight. Also do not miss the food nerd-bait soft serve, which swirled bitter grapefruit sorbet with a creamy salted caramel. 318 Grand Street at Havemeyer Street, Williamsburg — Serena Dai, editor

January 13

Cubes of veal brisket sit on a white plate with roasted potatoes and bread
Veal brisket and potatoes at Bread & Salt
Robert Sietsema/Eater

Veal brisket and potatoes at Bread & Salt

Most of the menu at Bread & Salt in the Jersey City Heights is on display on the counter, consisting of Roman pizzas by the slice, roasted vegetables, and beans. Everything is worth trying. But run your eye over the chalkboard labeled “Not Pizza Specials” for some dishes not on display. This past weekend one of those specialties was a plate of veal brisket and potatoes ($24) cooked in the bread oven. Apparently, employing the dwindling heat of the oven after the bread has been baked to slowly cook meats is a practice that goes back centuries. Use the slices of house-made bread provided to sop the juices that pool in the bottom of the platter. 435 Palisade Ave., between Griffith and Hutton streets, Jersey City — Robert Sietsema, Senior Critic

A white plate stuffed with four pieces of a club sandwiches, french fries, and a pickle.
Chicken Katsu Club at Golden Diner
Tanay Warerkar/Eater

Chicken katsu club at Golden Diner

Even at 4 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon, Samuel Yoo’s charming Two Bridges diner was packed. The half an hour wait was totally worth it though, especially for the chicken katsu club. At Golden Diner, the typical thin slices of chicken or turkey cold cuts found in a club sandwich are replaced with crispy chicken katsu. The sandwich — which is sliced up into four little pieces for easy consumption — also comes with bacon, lettuce, and tomato; a creamy red cabbage slaw; and bulldog sauce, which is a Japanese sauce comprised of ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and sugar. This combination of crunchy chicken, more mellow slaw, and salty sauce is one you’ll want to come back to over and over again. Getting the dish with a side of fries and a pickle is the way to go. 123 Madison Street, at Market Street, Lower East Side — Tanay Warerkar, reporter

Corvina ceviche sits in a bowl with sweet potato at Llamita
Corvina ceviche at Llamita
Serena Dai/Eater

Corvina ceviche at Llamita

While it’s too hard to get a table at Llama San last-minute, chef Erik Ramirez’s smaller offshoot Llamita nearby is an easier table and is also a pleasant, warm place to eat. The wine is outstanding — a buttery yet light Chardonnay was top of its class — and the absolute not miss dish is the corvina ceviche ($21). It was bright and sharp with a balanced level of spice, and ultra-crisp fried squid and smooth sweet potato made it a textural delight too. I wish I’d ordered the second ceviche on the menu. 80 Carmine St., near Seventh Avenue South, West Village — Serena Dai, editor

Tagliatelle pasta sits in a bowl with clams, bright green parsley, and butter
Tagliatelle with white wine, clams, and butter at Osteria Leana
Ryan Sutton/Eater

Tagliatelle with clam sauce at Osteria Leana

A simple reason explains why I hadn’t returned to this fine Oyster Bay spot in a few years: noise. The volume level always pierced the eardrums like few other venues. But during a visit this week I discovered Osteria Leana finally installed soundproofing. It worked. And the food was predictably fantastic. Tagliatelle with clam sauce ($19, half-portion) could easily give most city versions of this dish a run for their money. The chef coats extra al dente noodles with a sauce so thick it’s almost like eating glazed pasta. Each component ingredient — tangy white wine, bitter parsley, briny local clams, and rich butter — comes through with stunning clarity. I’ll come back more often, for sure. 76 South Street, near East Main Street, Oyster Bay — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

January 6

Beef stir fry on a white plate, accented by pickled red onions and a pink flower
Kothu parata at Khiladi
Tanay Warerkar/Eater

Kothu parata at Khiladi

One of many new Indian restaurants in the city that are spotlighting regional Indian cooking, Khiladi is an East Village establishment serving up dishes inspired by owner Sruthi Chowdary’s childhood meals in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Kothu parata, a type of street food stir-fry made with shredded, flaky pieces of the Indian flatbread called paratha, eggs, and vegetables, is one of the standout dishes at the restaurant. While the dish is typically served with tender chunks of beef in India, at Khiladi, diners have the option of choosing between ground beef or lamb — I picked beef, and was very content with my decision. The slight crunch from the flaky parathas and veggies mixed with the well-spiced ground meat makes for a very pleasing combination. 175 Avenue B, at East 13th Street, Alphabet City — Tanay Warerkar, reporter

Fried quail at Flora Bar

Honestly, I’d come here just to ogle the mid-century modern architecture. The elegant granite slabs that constitute the facade of the Met Breuer, the museum that houses Flora, are what I usually end up talking about at some point during a meal. As luck would have it, the eclectic, seafood-heavy small plates by chef Ignacio Mattos are great, too. I’m still thinking about the fried quail I had last week ($18). The golden exterior flaunted a deep crunch, while the springy flesh sported rich, gamy overtones. And a sprinkling of what seemed like Sichuan peppercorns caused my lips to vibrate for a minute or so after each bite. 945 Madison Avenue, near 75th Street, Upper East Side — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Four spinach fritters on a white plate
Sahina at Clove
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Sahina at Clove

Sahina (sometimes spelled “saheena”) is a recipe often associated with Trinidad, consisting of free-form fritters made with spinach and split pea flour seasoned with cumin and curry powder. But sahina are also found on the menu at Clove, an Indian restaurant in Harlem. That’s because these fritters originated in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, where many Trinidadians originally came from. At Clove, these vegetarian and gluten-free sahina ($4.50) are crisp, bean-y, and deep green, and make a great snack or app when dipped in one of the chutneys provided. 1592 Amsterdam Avenue, between 138th and 139th streets, Harlem — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Octopus, chicharron, and squid ink sauce on top of a crispy tortilla
Tostada de pulpo y tocino at Claro
Stefanie Tuder/Eater

Tostada de pulpo y tocino at Claro

I loved every dish at Gowanus Mexican restaurant Claro, each an ideal, powerful balance of flavors and textures. But my favorite of the bunch was the octopus tostada ($23), which came with tender tentacles and bacon-like tocino with squid ink sauce, salsa, and chicharrones on a crunchy tortilla. There was umami from the squid ink sauce and tocino, acid from the salsa and pickled chiles, chewy and crunchy texture from the octopus and tortilla, respectively, and a nice hit of fat and salt from the fried pork skins. 284 Third Avenue, between President and Carroll streets, Gowanus — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

A hand with red manicured nails holds up a cross-section of a sandwich with white sourdough bread and lamb.
Lamb haneeth sandwich
Serena Dai/Eater

Lamb haneeth sandwich at Yafa Cafe

I’ve been going to Yafa Cafe before they started serving food, and man, are they killing it on that front. Everything I’ve had is on point, from the samboosas to the soft-scrambled egg sandwich. This week, though, I opted for the lamb haneeth sandwich ($12), where slow-cooked lamb get tucked between two thick slices of sourdough bread. The rich lamb was tender and hearty, while a smattering of fried onions added sweetness and texture. I dipped the ends of the bread in my friend’s shakshuka, which I also highly recommend. 4415 Fourth Avenue, between 44th and 45th streets, Sunset Park — Serena Dai, editor

December 30

A bowl of ramen with noodles being pulled out of the broth, some sprouts floating on the broth, and a halved, boiled egg
Smoked dashi ramen at Tonchin
Robert Sietsema/Eater

Smoked dashi ramen at Tonchin

Tonchin is a two-year-old branch of a Japanese ramen chain, bivouacked in a narrow space just north of Koreatown. The space is dark and comforting, with booths on one side and tables on the other. Only four bowls of ramen are offered, one of which is both unusual and spectacular. Smoked dashi ramen ($18) features a standard tonkotsu broth improved with smoked fish oil, clams, and tobiko, making a wonderfully dark and pungent broth, and the noodles, halfway between soft and firm, are made on the premises. 13 W. 36th Street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues, Midtown — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Five dumplings in a white bowl
Pelmeni at Russian Samovar
Stefanie Tuder/Eater

Pelmeni at Russian Samovar

A night at the 32-year-old Russian Samovar in Midtown West is a true trip back in time. There’s a grand piano with some other accompaniment — an accordion on the night I went — blasting out nostalgic Russian tunes as waiters ferry housemade vodka infusions to nearly every table. I recommend the cucumber version, to drink alongside Siberian pelmeni ($15), little dumplings filled with pork and veal and served in a comforting chicken broth. The meat was incredibly flavorful and well-spiced — an effective chaser to a shot of vodka. 256 W. 52nd Street, between Broadway and Eighth Avenue, Midtown West — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

An earthenware plate holds two pancakes stacked on top of each other with a slab of butter on top.
Masa pancakes at Claro
Monica Burton/Eater

Masa pancakes at Claro

For some reason, I missed when Gowanus Oaxacan restaurant Claro started doing brunch, which means I’ve been missing out on its masa pancakes ($14) for I don’t know how long. The sizeable pancakes are nicely corn-y without being too sweet, with a texture somewhere between soft pancake and coarse corn muffin. And on a recent Saturday brunch, they were the best thing I ate, even managing to stand out from Claro’s very good memelas and tostadas. Enjoy them with plenty of butter and a generous drizzle of syrup. 284 Third Avenue, between Carroll and President streetsMonica Burton, associate restaurant editor

December 23

A croissant covered in powdered sugar and star-shaped marshmallows
Gingerbread croissant at Dominique Ansel Kitchen
Robert Sietsema/Eater

Gingerbread croissant at Dominique Ansel Kitchen

If you’re tired of the usual yuletide gingerbread men or women, turn to Dominque Ansel, as usual, for something novel. Created along the lines of the almond croissant, this head-turning pastry ($6.50) is made by flattening a croissant, splitting it horizontally, loading it with a gingery paste, and then topping it with glazed nuts and star marshmallows. Every bite is a delight. 137 Seventh Avenue South, between West 10th and Charles streets, West Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Cavatelli in tomato sauce in a white bowl
Cavatelli at Portale
Serena Dai/Eater

Cavatelli at Portale

My general rule of thumb when eating at a pasta restaurant for the first time is to always order cavatelli if it’s there. Done right, the fat lil nuggets that kind of resemble larvae are chewy, gummy delights. The ricotta version at Portale ($19) come coated in an arrabiata sauce — one that’s ultra-bright and only gently spiced, where some bites require a second glance to catch the tingle. It seemed like the simplest pasta my friend and I ordered, but it outshone everything else. 126 West 18th Street, between Sixth and Seventh avenues, Chelsea, — Serena Dai, editor

Fish, clams, greens, and mushrooms in soup in a steel bowl
Snapper pot at On
Stefanie Tuder/Eater

Snapper pot at On

Every dish we had at On, the Korean hot pot restaurant from the Her Name is Han team, was on point, but my favorite of the bunch was a snapper hot pot ($45). Raw red snapper, clam, carrot, enoki mushrooms, radicchio, cabbage, scallion, ginger, and sea mustard were thrown into a pot and left to boil until each reached a tender stage and the broth was subtly fishy and sweet. It managed to be both hearty and light, and spooned over some rice, was an ideal meal before a Friday night hitting bars with friends. 110 Madison Avenue, between 29th and 30th streets, Nomad — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

A plate has three deep-fried lentil balls with some yogurt and herbs spread on top.
Mujaddara croquette at Qanoon
Tanay Warerkar/Eater

Mujaddara croquette at Qanoon

Chef Tarek Daka’s take on Palestinian home cooking at Qanoon, often served with a bit of a twist, isn’t something you’re likely to find in any other restaurant in the city. Take for instance the mujaddara croquettes ($13): here Daka takes the traditional Middle Eastern preparation of lentils, rice, and onions; deep fries it in a croquette; and serves it with a béchamel sauce. The croquettes are crisp on the outside and mushy on the inside — and the béchamel adds a lovely creaminess to the dish. The croquettes sit on a pile of pickled vegetables adding a nice hint of sourness, too. 180 Ninth Avenue, at West 21st Street, Chelsea — Tanay Warerkar, reporter

Prime rib at Smith & Wollensky

When I think of holiday eating, I often start to crave a big fat prime rib, one of the few cuts of cow I’ll buy with my own dime. There are a handful of New York establishments that do prime rib right, but my favorite remains Smith & Wollensky, which puts out a fantastic dry-aged version for $65. The kitchen was kind enough to cut the meat for us on Friday, butchering it in such a way that each individual slice had a long slab of the bloody interior eye, as well as a shorter, fat-studded nugget of exterior deckle. Did the meat need a bit more dry-aged tang? Yes, but the splendidly iron-y flavor, variegated textures, and salty jus made up for that one oversight. 797 Third Avenue, near 49th Street, Midtown East — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

December 16

Bucatini on a speckled plate
Bucatini at Small Batch
Ryan Sutton/Eater

Bucatini at Small Batch

Tom Colicchio, the force behind the excellent Craft in Flatiron — and the head judge on Top Chef — apparently has a restaurant called Small Batch in Roosevelt Field, Long Island, that’s been open for a full year, near Michael White’s Morini. So I went. And I liked it! I could wax poetic about the braised chicken thighs with olives and soppressata, or the fluffy veal ricotta meatballs, but the dish of the evening was the bucatini ($17). It was just a simple preparation of tubular pasta tossed in a spicy pork ragu. The noodles came out al dente while the intensely savory sauce flaunted a level of spice that recalled mapo tofu. I’m already stoked to return. 630 Old Country Road, Roosevelt Field, Garden City, Long Island — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Small pieces of fried chicken and chiles piled up on a white plate
Huang Fei Hong chicken at Baodega
Robert Sietsema/Eater

Huang Fei Hong chicken at Baodega

This heap of lightly breaded and fried chicken tidbits ($18.95) that comes zapped with fresh green chiles and dried red chiles — the latter also lightly breaded, causing a further snap — is really a variation on that old favorite, Chongqing chicken. The name comes from a snack of chile-dusted peanuts, which have been incorporated into the recipe. The result is not as hot as you might imagine at this casual restaurant that specializes in Chinese food as it’s found in Shanghai. And while you can’t eat the dried chiles in the Chongqing original, in this version at Baodega, you can crunch them right down. 7 West 20th Street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues, Flatiron — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

A burger with a sesame bun, plus fries, on a white plate
The burger at Bernie’s
Stefanie Tuder/Eater

Burger at Bernie’s

Even on a rainy Friday night, there was a two-hour wait for a two-top at throwback American restaurant Bernie’s in Greenpoint. So my date and I posted up at the bar and were able to slice that time in half when two bar seats opened up. We split the chicken piccata and the cheeseburger deluxe, and though both were truly excellent, it was the burger ($17) that I’m still thinking about. It’s just in the style I like: two thin, beefy smash burgers — with a very crunchy char — topped with salty American cheese, pickles, and onion. But what pulled it all together was the bun. It was not at all sweet, like popular brioche and potato buns are, and had a hefty chew with nutty sesame seeds that held the whole sandwich together. Plus, the fries on the side, accompanied by a honey mustard dipping sauce, were crunchy and satisfying. 332 Driggs Avenue, at Lorimer Street, Greenpoint — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

A white plain is holding a dish made up of crispy noodles, tomatoes, and sweet chili sauce.
Chinese Bhel at Spice Symphony
Tanay Warerkar/Eater

Chinese bhel at Spice Symphony

Bhelpuri is a type of street food found in different parts of India, and is usually made up of puffed rice, chopped tomatoes and onions, and topped with a cilantro and tamarind chutney. Spice Symphony, in Kips Bay, has put an Indian-Chinese twist on the dish ($7) — also found commonly at Indian-Chinese restaurants in India — replacing the puffed rice with crispy noodles. It had been a while since I’d had Indian-Chinese food, so the first couple of bites took me aback a little — I wasn’t quite prepared for the contrasting sweet and spicy flavors. By the third bite however, I could not get enough of it. The crispiness of the noodles, the chopped tomatoes, the crunch from the spring onions, and the kick from the sweet chile sauce made for a great play of flavors in my mouth — I had to push the dish away at one point to ensure I had some room for my main. 182 Lexington Avenue, near East 31st Street — Tanay Warerkar, reporter

Pieces of crab, shrimp, hearts of palm, radish, and basil on a white plate
Peekytoe crab and shrimp salad at Oceans
Michael D. Rhea

Peekytoe crab and shrimp salad at Oceans

Seafood salads are too often swimming in mayonnaise or overpowered by onions, but in the peekytoe and shrimp creation ($24) at Oceans, which opened last month, the fresh sweetness of the Maine Jonah crustacean and Florida rock shrimp shine and are held together simply by avocado whipped with a touch of olive oil, lemon, salt, and pepper. Slices of fresh Hawaiian hearts of palm and crisp radish add texture and crunch to the salad, while charred red grapefruit and ripe honeydew are laced in for bursts of flavor. The colorful toss is drizzled with fragrant basil oil and garnished with aromatic micro basil. 233 Park Avenue South, at 19th Street, Gramercy — Beth Landman, contributing editor

December 9

A spinach kulcha on a plate with burrata
Wilted spinach kulcha at GupShup
Ryan Sutton/Eater

Wilted spinach kulcha at GupShup

At the end of the year, I revisit a group of new-ish restaurants to see how they’ve evolved in the months following a review. My recent visit to GupShup, a modern Indian spot in Gramercy, was about as uneven as my collection of experiences earlier in the year, but one dish in particular stood out: the freshly baked kulcha. Chef Gurpreet Singh stuffs the soft bread with spinach and pairs it with creamy burrata ($10). The cool dairy melted under the heat of the hot bread, while a crimson chutney added a proper dose of sweetness. I’ll go back just for this. 115 East 18th Street, near Park Avenue, Gramercy — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Grilled cabbage sits on a white plate, topped with golden raisins and breadcrumbs
Cabbage with anchovy butter and golden raisins at Lalou
Stefanie Tuder/Eater

Cabbage with anchovy butter and golden raisins at LaLou

With new, pedigreed chef Jay Wolman in place at Prospect Heights organic wine bar LaLou, I decided to stop by and check out the menu. I opted for the caraflex cabbage with anchovies, golden raisins, and breadcrumbs ($17), and I don’t think I’ve ever attacked a cabbage with such gusto. Grilling brought out the vegetable’s natural sweetness, while anchovy butter added a pungent, salty punch. Golden raisins and breadcrumbs kept it all from being too much. I ate it alongside an earthy glass of Blaufränkisch, a grape I’d previously never heard of and now can’t wait to drink again. That’s one of the best parts of going to a Joe Campanale restaurant — I always leave with a new favorite drink. 581 Vanderbilt Avenue, between Pacific and Dean streets, Prospect Heights — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

A ziti slice of pizza held aloft on a white paper plate
Ziti slice at Little Roma
Robert Sietsema/Eater

Ziti slice at Little Roma

Carb loading is what you need to do on the night before running a marathon, but it’s also a means of refreshment as you come stumbling home from a party, slightly drunk and suffering a case of the munchies. Those complex carbs find their way into your blood stream in a measured manner, and forestall symptoms of a hangover, some say. The ziti slice is one of the best forms of hangover fare, a brilliant adaptation of a southern Italian casserole, putting pasta on top of a pizza crust and then baking it until the ziti is slightly crunchy and mellowed by melted cheese. Find one of the better versions in town ($4.25) at East Side corner pizzeria Little Roma, along with a larger than average choice of other excellent pies by the slice. 982 Second Avenue, at 52nd Street, Midtown East — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

A black bowl with several wontons floating in a sauce made with chili oil and soy sauce.
Vegetable wonton in chili oil at Spicy Moon
Tanay Warerkar/Eater

Vegetable wonton in chile oil at Spicy Moon

I’m not the biggest fan of vegetable dumplings in general — they’re usually stuffed with cabbage and just don’t seem to pack a punch. That’s not the case for the vegetable wonton in chile oil at Spicy Moon, a charming vegetarian Szechuan restaurant in the East Village. In Spicy Moon’s version, ground tofu is mixed in with cabbage and topped with scallions for a hearty combination of flavors. The chile oil here is on the milder side, but it doesn’t take away from the dish, and with nearly 10 wontons in one order, the portion is generous too. I’ve liked everything I’ve had on the menu at Spicy Moon, but this dish in particular stood out — I’ve already been back to Spicy Moon twice in the past month. 328 East 6th Street, between First and Second Avenues, East Village — Tanay Warerkar, Reporter

A round cream puff sliced in half on a white plate.
Peoples’s cream puff
Serena Dai/Eater

Cream puff at Peoples Wine Bar

PSA: The wine bar portion of Peoples at the new Market Line is open. I recommend doing what my friend and I did on a recent weeknight — we walked around and snacked on food from Ends Meat, Tortilleria Nixtamal, Slice, and Moon Man, chatting with the friendly purveyors the entire way. Though we were full at that point, I’m glad I saved room to split this hazelnut cream puff ($8) from the Wildair and Contra team. The cream inside was rich and smooth without being heavy, and the squishy pasty was so big that it was more like a dessert sandwich than a cream puff. Pair it wine, obviously. 115 Delancey St., at Essex Street, Lower East Side — Serena Dai, editor

December 2

Frito loco at Spudz

If you thought loaded fries were a fad of the past, take a walk by Bed-Stuy newcomer Spudz, steps away from the Throop stop on the C train. Themed and elaborately dressed fries are its exclusive mission, including the frito loco, which begins with a heap of nicely browned waffle fries (regular or sweet potato fries may be substituted). From there, it heaps on queso, black beans, fresh grilled corn, and fried jalapeños. It’s $9.99 as is, but I urge you to spring for the extra $2 that guacamole commands; it adds a further creamy and colorful component to this cardboard container of joy. 1460 Fulton Street, between Tompkins and Throop avenues, Bed-Stuy — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Mozzarella sticks at Bernie’s

Millennials will never buy a house maybe because of the Bernie’s mozzarella sticks, which cost $14 for five. Alas, they are good. They’re much bigger than the diner variety, with crisp exterior and stretchy, smooth inside that’s a hallmark of a fresh fried mozz stick, and they arrive with a healthy sprinkling of cheese on top, too. Okay, I was drunk when I ate these. Still the best thing I ate at a restaurant last week. Don’t let me get them again. 322 Driggs Avenue, at Lorimer Street, Greenpoint — Serena Dai, editor

Torcia nera at Morini Long Island

Never in a million years would I have predicted that the chef from Marea would have an outpost at the shopping mall I used to run around in my teenage years. But so it goes that there’s now a Morini at Roosevelt Field — and it’s pretty good. The highlight of our meal was the torcia nera ($25), torch-shaped squid ink noodles in a sweet-spicy ragu of seppia, shrimp, and tomato. The complex textures and flavors could have passed muster at White’s Manhattan venues, but dude, the single pasta was portioned for, like, four people. Long Islanders expect their noodle dishes to be bigger than a mid-course, but this was insane. That said, we happily stuffed ourselves and finished it all. 630 Old Country Road, Garden City — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Wiener schnitzel at Wallsé

Some are parm guys, but this winter, I’m going in on the German version. Last night, at a big birthday dinner for my aunt at Michelin-starred Austrian place Wallsé in the West Village, wiener schnitzel was a highlight. Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner’s version ($42 a la carte at the bar, or on fixed menus) is tender, crispy, and served with nicely acidic potato and cucumber salad and excellent lingonberry jam. Get something from the strong Austrian wine list to go with it. Chef Gutenbrunner also serves wiener schnitzel at Cafe Sabarsky inside the Neue Galerie museum. 344 West 11th Street at Washington Street — Caleb Pershan, contributing reporter

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