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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

Kawi
Alex Staniloff/Eater

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.


May 20

Crabmeat tom turmeric at Taladwat
Crabmeat tom turmeric at Taladwat
Ryan Sutton/Eater

Crabmeat tom turmeric at Taladwat

So I was tasked with cat sitting in Long Island this weekend and had less than an hour to eat out before my train to Oyster Bay. Solution? Taladwat in Hell’s Kitchen, which reliably sends out a $20 two-course meal in under 10 minutes. The “countryside” cooking, by the team behind Pure Thai Cookhouse, is very, very good. I haven’t worked my way through a quarter of the menu, but the crab tom turmeric ($4 supplement) is already my go-to. The dish is literally a giant platter of shelled crabmeat, laced with an aromatic blend of lemongrass, galangal, coconut milk, and fresh Thai chiles. The heat level is sharp, but not so much that it detracts from the sweet crustacean. 714 Ninth Ave., near 49th Street, Hell’s Kitchen — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Chicken roti at Ali’s
Chicken roti at Ali’s
Robert Sietsema/Eater

Chicken roti at Ali’s

This massive $8 roti from Ali’s Trinidad Roti Shop, longtime fixture of Bed-Stuy’s main drag, comes wrapped in a flatbread called dal puri, which has crumbled yellow split peas trapped between its layers. Inside, a bone-in chicken curry is mixed with a potato curry, seasoned with tamarind and, at your discretion, with a fiery Scotch bonnet infusion called simply “pepper.” (Vegetarians can have the potatoes mixed with pumpkin or spinach.) This historic meal of the island’s indentured sugar cane workers is absolutely delicious, and exceedingly filling. 1267 Fulton St, between Bedford and Nostrand avenues, Bedford-Stuyvesant — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

BLT at Rockaway Beach Bakery
BLT at Rockaway Beach Bakery
Serena Dai/Eater

BLT at Rockaway Beach Bakery

It’s a little too early for beach season, but a friend in town for a wedding on Rockaway Beach led me out there over the weekend anyway. I used it as an excuse to check out Rockaway Beach Bakery, and after taking four methods of transit due to some train issues, I was more than a little grumpy by the time I got there. The lemon pound cake wasn’t tart enough for my taste, but thankfully, the BLT on the focaccia hit the spot. There was no skimping on the bacon, which was thick, crisp, salty, and not greasy, and the tomato was a thick slice, too. It didn’t totally cure my transit woes, but it helped. 87-10 Rockaway Beach Blvd., between Beach 87th and 88th streets, Rockaway Beach — Serena Dai, editor

Marinated raw crab at Kāwi
Marinated raw crab at Kāwi
Stefanie Tuder/Eater

Marinated raw crab at Kāwi

In an outstanding meal from chef Jo Park at David Chang’s new Hudson Yards restaurant Kāwi, the marinated raw crab ($16) managed to rise above. It’s an ultra-sweet raw blue crab marinated in soy sauce and served alongside seasoned crab rice and dried seaweed. It’s a very interactive dish: You wrap up some warm rice in crackly seaweed, popping it into your mouth and sucking some crab meat into the bite. It’s pure pleasure that hits many notes, with the cool, mushy, and sugary crab; the crunchy and salty seaweed; and the warm, toothsome rice. I recommend you order one for each person at the table — I didn’t share a single bite with my companion. 20 Hudson Yards, Fifth Floor, Hudson Yards — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

Burrata at Bar Primi
Burrata at Bar Primi
Carla Vianna

Creamy burrata at Bar Primi

I swung by Bar Primi for some late-night pasta but the true stunner of my meal was the creamy burrata ($17.75), served here with sautéed red peppers and focaccia. The burrata itself was delicate and light, and when cracked open, its velvety interior spilled all over the plate, which was adorned with sweet peppers that paired perfectly with the mild cheese. And the focaccia might’ve been my favorite part; salty enough to eat by itself and good enough to ask for a refill of the bread basket, even after the cheese was gone. 325 Bowery, on East Second Street, Bowery — Carla Vianna

Disclosure: David Chang is producing shows for Hulu in partnership with Vox Media Studios, part of Eater’s parent company, Vox Media. No Eater staff member is involved in the production of those shows, and this does not impact coverage on Eater.

May 13

Lemon tart at Bourke Street Bakery
Lemon tart at Bourke Street Bakery
Monica Burton/Eater

Lemon tart at Bourke Street Bakery

There are so many reasons to visit Bourke Street Bakery, the new Australian import on 28th street. There’s the pastries, the savory seeded sourdough, and an excellent carrot cake. But chief among these reasons is the lemon curd tart ($5). Unlike most lemon tarts, the not-too-tart filling is smooth and creamy, almost the consistency of yogurt. The filling nearly spills over the top of a flaky pastry shell, meaning it’s not the easiest to break apart and share, but you wouldn’t want to anyway. 15 East 28th St., between Madison and Fifth avenues, Nomad — Monica Burton, associate restaurant editor

rotisserie chicken sandwich
Rotisserie chicken sandwich at the Fly
Serena Dai/Eater

The Fly’s chicken sandwich

The first time I tried to get into the Fly, the wait was so long that the kitchen would be closed by the time I could sit. This time, I went closer to the 5 p.m. opening time on Saturday, when the doors were laid open and the sun streamed into the warm space. None of the food is necessarily destination dining, but the chicken sandwich ($13) is something I’m sure I would eat obsessively if the Fly were in my neighborhood. It’s overloaded, rich, and juicy, with a wonderful crunch from piece of celery and radish. The chicken in the sandwich was salty and umami-packed in a way that the rotisserie wasn’t. It was a standout, and definitely the must order of the pack. 549 Classon Ave., between Fulton Street and Putnam Avenue, Bed-Stuy — Serena Dai, editor

Fish with fufu and egusi at Chez Adja
Fish with fufu and egusi at Chez Adja
Robert Sietsema/Eater

Fish with fufu and egusi at Chez Adja

Handy to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, Chez Adja is Staten Island’s latest West African restaurant, offering Nigerian and Senegalese dishes, each occupying one side of its two-paged menu. Lunch specials of rice, sauce, and soda can run as little as $6.99, but this weekend I ordered a fried porgy, with white yam fufu that had been newly pounded. The fish came with an agreeable tomato sauce, but the addition of the melon-seed puree called egusi added a welcome additional pungency. The cost: $14. 226 Bay St., at Minthorne Street, Tompkinsville — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Crispy potatoes at 2nd Avenue Deli
Crispy potatoes at 2nd Avenue Deli
Carla Vianna/Eater

Crispy potatoes at 2nd Avenue Deli’s 2nd Floor

I finally got to check out the bar on top of 2nd Avenue Deli this weekend, 2nd Floor. A friend was in town and I thought it would be a cool place to hang out, especially since we needed shelter from the storm outside. We ordered drinks and snacks, including the “franks in a blanket” and fried potatoes topped with lots of dill and garlic ($8). The latter dish was my favorite; the thin slices of potato were piping hot, extremely crispy, and powerfully garlicky — the ideal snack for a rainy afternoon inside. 1442 First Ave., on East 75th Street, Upper East Side — Carla Vianna, reporter

Bouillabaisse at Giovanni’s

I spent a large part of this past week in my hometown of Berkeley Heights, New Jersey. One of my parents’ favorite restaurants is a charming bistro called Giovanni’s in our small downtown. The American restaurant has some French and Italian leanings, as showcased by the outstanding bouillabaisse ($30) I had on Saturday night. I’d venture to say it was the best version I’ve ever had, which surprised the cynical New Yorker in me. Another surprise was that the dish had no tomatoes. It was chock full of sea bass, clams, mussels, and shrimp in a Pernod-drenched vegetable broth. The fishy flavors blended so well with the licorice-forward sauce that my parents made fun of how zealously I was mopping it up with some bread and my spoon. 449 Springfield Ave., near Summit Avenue, Berkeley Heights, NJ — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

May 6

Male and female scallop roe nigiri at Shuko
Male and female scallop roe nigiri at Shuko
Stefanie Tuder/Eater

Female scallop roe nigiri at Shuko

I had some pretty good bites in the course of my $180 sushi omakase at Shuko in Greenwich Village. But the one that stood out most was female scallop roe nigiri. I had never had scallop roe before, but I love shirako (cod sperm), so I was excited to try it. Co-owner Jimmy Lau prepared male and female roe bites side by side — the male is the lighter one, with the female the bright red color — and the difference in taste was surprisingly stark. The male was basically a muted version of the female, which was super creamy and musky, fairly similar in taste to shirako but markedly sweeter. 47 East 12th St., between Broadway and University Place, Greenwich Village — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

Pommes dauphines at Maison Yaki
Pommes dauphines at Maison Yaki
Monica Burton/Eater

Pommes dauphines at Maison Yaki

Maison Yaki, the new restaurant from Olmsted’s Greg Baxtrom that combines French cuisine with Japanese yakitori, makes it easy to try lots of things. The focus is on skewers, but while there were quite a few delicious bites on sticks (the duck a l’orange in particular), my favorite dish wasn’t a skewer at all but a side on the menu: the pommes dauphines. Served in a paper cone, the $5 fried balls of mashed potatoes were wonderfully crisp on the outside and full of soft, comforting potato on the inside. It’s a highly underrated way to eat fried potatoes, and I’m very happy Maison Yaki has this excellent version on offer. 626 Vanderbilt Ave., between Prospect and Park places, Prospect Heights — Monica Burton, associate restaurant editor

Burrata at Cafe Altro Paradiso

Burrata had a big moment where every new American or Italian restaurant that was trying moderately hard would have one on its appetizer menu, to the point where I stopped ordering it. The version at Cafe Altro Paradiso, though, was a reminder of why it became an exciting order in the first place. The cheese was creamy, cool, and refreshing, and came paired with a slightly sweet and chewy preserved fruit, tart and snappy capers, and quality olive oil. The dish was a textural and flavor journey that I’d pay $18 for again in a heartbeat. 234 Spring St., at Sixth Avenue, Soho — Serena Dai, editor

Egg plate at Mercado Little Spain
Egg plate at Mercado Little Spain
Robert Sietsema/Eater

Egg plate at Mercado Little Spain

Spanish Diner in Mercado Little Spain is now open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. seven days, and it’s shaping up to be quite a great brunch spot. The menu’s customizable section called “huevos” allows you to assort several items on a plate, and this weekend I picked two fried eggs, french fries, and a pair of the glistening garlicky Basque sausages called christorra ($17). It was wonderful, and other options included avocados, sliced tomatoes with oregano dressing, and pisto Manchego, an eggplant stew. A full list of wines, sherries, and beer is available. 10 Hudson Yards, corner of 10th Avenue, Hudson Yards — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

April 29

Shakshuka at Kubeh
Shakshuka at Kubeh
Robert Sietsema/Eater

Shakshuka at Kubeh

There’s no better version of this Israeli-Moroccan dish of poached eggs immersed in a spiced tomato sauce than the one at Greenwich Village’s Kubeh, via chef and owner Melanie Shurka. Here the dish is improved in a couple of different ways: Eggplants and red bell peppers have been added to the copious sauce, making it more fun to eat and sweetening and sharpening the taste. Also commendable is the inclusion of two sponge-like pitas, excellent for mopping up the sauce. It will set you back $14. 464 Sixth Ave., at 11th Street, Greenwich Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Buffalo wings at Peekskill Brewery
Buffalo wings at Peekskill Brewery
Ryan Sutton/Eater

Buffalo wings at Peekskill Brewery

During the spring, one of my favorite things to do is cycle up to Bear Mountain and then take Metro North back to NYC. This Saturday I had an hour to spare before the train ride home, so I swung by the famed Peekskill Brewery for some nourishment. After a 63-mile ride, I didn’t want anything fancy — just some food and a beer to calm the effects of all the caffeine coursing through my bloodstream. The appropriate relief came in the form of a pint of English ale and a pile of Buffalo wings ($10). The poultry was superb: hot, crispy, and packing a vinegar tang bold enough to cause involuntary coughing. Just one gripe: There were only two drumsticks in the order of six wings! There should be an equal ratio of wings to drumettes. 47 South Water St., between Hudson and Central avenues, Peekskill, NY — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Parrillada at Boqueria
Parrillada at Boqueria
Stefanie Tuder/Eater

Parrillada at Boqueria

Before seeing Burn This on Broadway last week — get tickets — I had dinner at tapas go-to Boqueria. Typically I get a smattering of small plates when I eat at this New York-ified basic chain, but I was constricted by Passover, so I stuck to meat, potatoes, and vegetables. The parrillada — a $48 mixed grill with hanger steak, chorizo, pork, fries, red bell peppers, scallions, garlic aioli, hazelnut romesco, and salsa verde — was an elegant solution and may be my new regular order. It’s an overflowing platter that on its own is handily enough for two people, and thus a great deal. Each meat was cooked to the correct temperature, the fries were appropriately crispy, and the vegetables and sauce added varying flavor. Plus, I had an excellent skin contact red wine from Tenerife, which is rare to find at chain restaurants. 260 West 40th St., between Seventh and Eighth avenues, Midtown West — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

Avena
Carciofini at Avena
Beth Landman/Eater

Carciofini at Avena

Traditional Tuscan raw artichoke salad is an ideal light spring starter, but the vegetable can sometimes be a little tough to chew and digest. Avena, which co-opted the space that housed Da Silvano for decades, slices baby artichokes paper thin with a mandolin, splashes them with lemon, and balances the plate’s astringent bite with a silky and slightly peppery olive oil as well as the unique addition of ripe avocado chunks ($16). A particularly luxurious Parmigiana Reggiano shaved on top along with a tangle of nutty mache gives a final burst of flavor. 260 Sixth Ave., between Bleecker and West Houston streets, Greenwich Village — Beth Landman, contributing editor

Spanakopita at Kiki’s
Spanakopita at Kiki’s
Carla Vianna

Spanakopita at Kiki’s

A Greek spread at Kiki’s accompanied by wine was the ideal situation for a spring Saturday afternoon, and the spanakopita definitely outshined the rest of the dishes on the table. The spinach pie is already a go-to order of mine, but here, the spinachy filling of greens, dill, and feta was particularly creamy, with an added tartness. The phyllo pastry wasn’t too greasy, as I’ve found in other places, and it was perfectly flaky on the outside and soft — like a Greek lasagna — on the inside. ($12) 130 Division St., near Orchard Street, LES — Carla Vianna, reporter

April 22

Studio’s pastries
Passion fruit ricotta cake
Monica Burton/Eater

Passion fruit ricotta cake at Studio

I was pretty confident I would love every pastry on my most recent visit to Studio, where (newly awarded Eater Young Gun!) Zoe Kanan serves as head baker and pastry chef. And I was right — I did love every one I tried. But, if I’m choosing the best of the bunch, that award goes to the passion fruit ricotta cake ($6). It looked almost boring, arriving to the plate in a pound cake-like slice. But the tart zing of passionfruit was pleasingly present, mellowed a bit by ricotta, and far from pound cake, the slice was moist and not at all dense. In short, it was much better than it looked. 23 Lexington Ave, 2nd floor, between East 23rd and 24th streets, Gramercy — Monica Burton, associate restaurant editor

Coconut rice pudding pie at MeMe’s Diner

You really can’t go wrong with any of thee pie and cake offerings at MeMe’s. The Vietnamese iced coffee cake is a reliable stunner, but lately the queer diner has been serving up an unreal coconut rice pudding pie made with a sesame stick crust, salted coconut caramel, and topped with a generous portion of rum whipped cream. I got the last slice one night, savoring every bit of the creamy, rich filling dotted with rice. It won’t be around for much longer, so get it while it’s still here. 657 Washington Ave. near St. Mark’s Avenue, Prospect Heights Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

Jiang Diner fried lamb ribs
Fried lamb ribs
Robert Sietsema/Eater

Fried Lamb Ribs at Jiang Diner

New East Village Xinjiang café Jiang Diner expands on our idea of the simplicity, elegance, and strong flavors of that far western Chinese cuisine. A heap of lamb ribs, fatty and flavorful, is offered either fried or steamed. They taste great by themselves, but even better when dipped in the accompanying Asian cumin or thick chile paste. Cost for a plate cooked by either method: $26. 309 E. 5th St., between First and Second avenues, East Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Olmsted’s s’mores
S’mores
Esra Erol/Eater

Backyard s’mores at Olmsted

There was plenty that I loved about dinner this week at Olmsted, from the rutabaga assuredly masquerading as tagliatelle, to the stunning carrot crepe that changed whatever I thought about the vegetable previously. Still, probably my favorite part of it all was the s’mores dessert ($20). S’mores: how good can they be, right? It’s every time that I have a s’more that I remember just how satisfying they are. Sure I’m maybe feeling romantic over all that Girl Scout nostalgia, but there are zero flaws in burnt marshmallows melted between graham crackers and gooey chocolate. At Olmsted, the marshmallows are made in-house and bursting with vanilla, while the crackers come from the wildly talented team at nearby bakery Runner & Stone. The chocolate, of course, is a Hershey’s bar, and I would pay $20 again and again for this delight. 659 Vanderbilt Ave., between Prospect and Park places, Prospect Heights — Patty Diez, editorial coordinator

Baby Back Ribs at Wayan

Last week, I awarded two stars to Cedric and Ochi Vongerichten’s lovely new Indonesian restaurant in Nolita. As is always the case, I end up omitting at least one dish I like (along with a dish I don’t like) for purposes of keeping things not too terribly long. For Wayan, that dish was the baby back ribs. Like with his oxtail, Cedric crisps up the ribs after slow-cooking them, adding a nice textural contrast to the soft meat. He applies a stunner of a sauce as well, a soy tamarind glaze that’s more savory than sweet; the fruit adds just a hint of welcome acidity. It’s neither the best nor worst item on this strong menu, but it still manages to shine. 20 Spring St, near Elizabeth, Nolita — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

April 15

Ravioli slice at Rosa’s Pizza
Ravioli slice at Rosa’s Pizza
Robert Sietsema/Eater

Ravioli slice at Rosa’s Pizza

In breakneck competition with other forms of fast food, many neighborhood pizzerias have trotted out an ever-expanding catalog of novelty slices, and added display cases to accommodate them. Ziti and other pasta slices have long been available, but last week I stumbled on a cheese ravioli slice ($4) for the first time in Astoria at Rosa’s Pizza, a Queens mini-chain founded in 1975. The ravioli mired in a lake of cheese and the contrast of crust and pasta was a delight, and so was the added richness the ravioli’s ricotta filling conferred. 31-01 21st St., at 31st Avenue, Astoria — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Paccheri Pomodoro at Osteria 57
Paccheri Pomodoro at Osteria 57
Beth Landman

Paccheri Pomodoro at Osteria 57

Pasta pomodoro can be easily underestimated. It’s something you can make at home in 15 minutes on a budget, or order off a kiddie menu, but grouping limp noodles in bland tomato sauce with an expertly crafted spaghetti or penne is like confusing a White Castle patty with Corner Bistro’s thick, juicy meat. The version at Osteria 57, a charming jewel box in the West Village with new chef Riccardo Orfino, uses wide ribbons of paccheri which makes the al dente pasta particularly satisfying and covers it in a thick, deep red, slow cooked San Marzano sauce full of zest and laced with basil ($19). For added richness and contrast, the bowl is topped with chunks of stracciatella, which mellows the sauce and melts as you enjoy the dish. 57 West 10th St., between Fifth and Sixth avenues, Greenwich Village — Beth Landman, contributing editor

Rotisserie chicken dinner at Gertie
Rotisserie chicken dinner at Gertie
Carla Vianna/Eater

Rotisserie chicken dinner at Gertie

I have to admit that at first, I was disappointed that my options were limited to Gertie’s rotisserie-centered dinner menu, when what I truly craved was one of the sandwiches on its afternoon menu. Alas, that menu ends at 4 p.m., so I took my chances with the dinner fare instead. My friend and I chose to share a half chicken ($20) that came with everything-seasoned rice, white beans, and mustard sauce for dipping — and oh my God, was it absolutely fantastic. We were completely blown away by the quality of the meal, especially since we weren’t craving rotisserie chicken in the first place. But the bird was crisp on the outside, its skin crackling with flavor as you bite into it, and the inside was as juicy as it should be. The rice was one of the best variations of rice I’ve had in the city, and the beans, too, were well seasoned with just the right texture. This was far from the Latin American chicken-beans-rice dishes that both her and I are accustomed to; this was an inventive, flavor-packed version that surprised in every bite. Paired with baked greens — a mixture of garlicky, gooey spinach topped with bread crumbs — and a cool fennel salad, this was one of the best meals I’ve had in New York. 357 Grand St., on Mercy Avenue, Williamsburg — Carla Vianna, reporter

Trio of tostadas at Calaca
Trio of tostadas at Calaca
Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya/Eater

Trio of tostadas at Calaca

The small Bed-Stuy restaurant-bar Calaca channels the city of Culiacán, offering a menu that’s heavy on the seafood. There are five tostadas to choose from, and they’re all satisfying, so it makes the most sense to do a sampler, which comes with three choices for $17. I went with the aguachile topped with butterflied shrimp and salsa verde, the tuna with sour orange juice and chipotle mayo, and the red snapper with tomatillo, avocado, and serrano. The fish is fresh, and the tuna is definitely the standout. Note that it’s cash only. 139 Putnam Ave., near Franklin Avenue, Bed-Stuy — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

Salmon rillettes at Buvette
Salmon rillettes at Buvette
Stefanie Tuder/Eater

Salmon rillettes at Buvette

It was disarmingly easy to get into Buvette on Saturday afternoon. I waited just 15 minutes for a perfect brunch of salmon rillettes with a glass of sparkling rosé. The rillettes, $17, were a combination of smoked and cooked salmon mixed with herbs and mayo on toast. It was savory and soft, nicely balanced by an acidic side salad and some fat, salty capers. I’m just constantly in awe of how a Jody Williams restaurant has never let me down. 42 Grove St., between Bleecker and Bedford streets, West Village — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

Beef empanada at Empanada Mama

You guys I was sick last week! Translation: I went for comfort foods that would nourish me. Empanada Mama helped achieve that goal, often late at night (the joint is open 24/7). I’ve opined about the chicken soup before, but this past week I was more smitten with the beef empanadas ($4), done Colombian-style in a fried corn shell. The golden exterior provided a hearty crunch while the juicy beef conveyed umami goodness. For affordable caloric density while I was ailing, this really hit the spot, though I look forward to pairing it with beer next time instead of hot tea. 765 Ninth Ave., near 51st Street, Hell’s Kitchen — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

April 8

Feijoada at Rice ‘n’ Beans

I can’t believe I spent nearly half a decade in Hell’s Kitchen without having visited Rice ‘n’ Beans, which has been serving some of the city’s top Brazilian fare for nearly 30 years. It was only the fine advice of my desk mate, Carla Vianna, that prompted me to finally check out Carlos Roberto Inácio’s cooking. Of particular note was the feijoada, the traditional Brazilian black bean stew, chock full of pork ribs, Portuguese sausage, bacon, beef, and probably the most garlic I’ve encountered in a single dish, ever. It’s really a lovely way to mainline a ton of smoke, salt, and fat. The $30 dish easily feeds three. Oh, and the caipirinha here is totally banging! 744 Ninth Ave., near 50th Street — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Elargi at Chama Mama
Elargi at Chama Mama
Robert Sietsema

Elarji at Chama Mama

It might be the next big brunch sensation. Elarji ($10) is a bowl of hominy grits mixed with stringy and salty cheese that pulls away in tendrils when you spoon it up. Two small jars of freshly made yogurt and walnut puree are provided; pour over the top at your discretion. The dish is available at newly opened Chama Mama, which presents the food of Georgia, former Soviet Union, in a more modern context than the city has yet seen. 149 West 14th St., between Sixth and Seventh avenues, Chelsea — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Chicken and cheese empanadas at Empanada Mama

This 24-hour Latin American joint has a crazy list of empanadas — eggplant parmesan or mac and cheese are among the options — but I stuck to tradition for fear of disaster. I like that both fried and baked empanadas are on the menu at Empanada Mama, as I enjoy both styles. I picked one from each section: The baked shredded chicken empanada was spiced deliciously with sofrito sauce and red peppers, just the way my family makes the filling for Brazilian-style empanadas baked at home. But the fried cheese empanada was my ultimate favorite. It was stuffed to the brim with gooey melted cheese, so that not one bite of dough was without it. Paired with the tangy green sauce and mild hot sauce they were served with, these empanadas, $3.99 each, were a true delight. 765 Ninth Ave., between 51st and 52nd streets, Hell’s Kitchen — Carla Vianna

Hamburger at Peter Luger Steak House

I’m not afraid to say I’m a burger purist. Call me crazy, but if the bun and meat are doing their jobs, then I don’t need bacon, a drippy fried egg, a churro, or a crab cake sandwiched in between. And one burger I’m certainly not about to ruin is the Peter Luger hamburger ($14.95) — a blend of chuck plus scraps of the iconic restaurant’s dry-aged beef. It’s simple perfection, and on a recent rainy Sunday, it was too damn good to leave any bit of it behind. Add fries for a cure-all lunch. 178 Broadway, at Driggs Avenue, Williamsburg — Patty Diez, editorial coordinator

Cumin lamb noodle soup at Xi’an Famous Foods
Cumin lamb noodle soup at Xi’an Famous Foods
Stefanie Tuder

Cumin lamb noodle soup at Xi’an Famous Foods

I’m not breaking any ground by spotlighting the cumin lamb noodle soup ($12) at Xi’an Famous Foods, but it felt groundbreaking while I was eating it. For whatever reason, I’ve only ever ordered dry noodles at the hit Chinese chain, but Friday’s cold and rain pushed me into soup territory, and damn — I’ve been missing out. The spice-flecked broth is so flavorful and rich, clinging to each chewy noodle, while the sometimes tough, sometimes tender, sometimes fatty, sometimes lean lamb keeps things interesting. It’s funky and comforting and so satisfying. Multiple locations — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

April 1

Chez Ma Tante
Pancakes at Chez Ma Tante
Carla Vianna

Pancakes from Chez Ma Tante

I’ve come to the conclusion that these muffin-like fluffy pancakes are my all-time favorite breakfast dish in New York City. I’ve now had them twice, and if it didn’t take me two trains and a bus to get to Greenpoint, I’d probably have them every weekend. It was the standout dish on two separate occasions, with everyone at the table left in awe. They come richly flavored; the top is slightly burnt and salty, and a single bite gives way to a citrusy pancake glazed in syrup. It’s the kind that fully absorbs the syrup without ever getting soggy. It is truly remarkable. ($13) 90 Calyer St., on Franklin Street, Greenpoint — Carla Vianna, reporter

Chorizo nachos at Empellon Al Pastor
Chorizo nachos at Empellon Al Pastor
Stefanie Tuder

Chorizo nachos at Empellon Al Pastor

My photo may be terrible, but that’s not the nachos’s fault. This gloriously messy plate at Empellon Al Pastor in the East Village has little fault, really, piled high with various salsas, pico de gallo, supremely tender beans, gooey queso, crema, and crumbly chorizo. After a day drinking in Saturday’s sun, these nachos were life-giving. 132 Saint Mark’s Place, at Avenue A, East Village — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

Glady’s
Vegetable chow mein at Glady’s
Monica Burton

Vegetable chow mein at Glady’s

I had been craving noodles all last week and although I didn’t expect a lunch at Caribbean restaurant Glady’s to do the trick, the chow mein ended up being just what I was looking for. The vegetable chow mein ($12.50) is simple: a pile of soft, slurpable noodles topped with crunchy vegetables like carrots, onions, and peas for contrast. I could have finished the bowl, if not for the extremely good plantains I also ordered. 788 Franklin Ave., near Lincoln Place, Crown Heights — Monica Burton, associate restaurant editor

Kabocha squash oatmeal at Hunky Dory

Last week I published a first look review of this excellent Crown Heights newcomer, which espouses a Republique (LA) style of dining: counter service during the day, full service at night. Briefly: The best time to dine here is in the morning or afternoon, when chef Kirstyn Brewer’s more ambitious set of offerings are on tap (dinner is still a bit of a work in progress). I sung praises for the egg sandwich with lamb sausage, as well as the $4 apple cider pancakes, but I didn’t get a chance to write about the oatmeal, which is spectacular. The porridge boasts firm, fat steel cut oats that recall the texture of good tapioca. Mixed in are chunks of kabocha squash, imparting a faintly sweet vegetal bite, while a flurry of pepitas and red wine poached pears add varying degrees of crunch. I can’t wait to return. 747 Franklin Ave, near Sterling Place, Crown Heights — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Coszcal de Allende
Sopa de panza at Coszcal de Allende
Robert Sietsema

Mellow offal soup at Coszcal de Allende

Other places in Mexico it’s known as menudo, but at Coszcal de Allende — a restaurant that name-checks the artsy mountain resort of San Miguel de Allende, with a cheery resort décor to match — calls it sopa de panza ($8). More tomatoey than most soups of its type, it reduces the skankiness of the bovine tripe to a whisper, and comes with the fine accoutrements of chopped onion, cilantro, lime, and white corn tortillas. This soup is considered a hangover remedy, drinkers take note. For vegetarians the avocado memelas will more than suffice. 6824 Third Ave., near Bay Ridge Avenue, Bay Ridge — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

March 25

Aloo chana chaat at Adda
Aloo chana chaat at Adda
Serena Dai

Aloo chana chaat at Adda

I’m late to the Adda train but was thrilled to finally go recently and order as much as possible. Everything was wonderful, and though I braced for unprecedented levels of spice, dishes like the junglee maas were strong, but not so much that it was impossible to eat. The standout, though, ended up being the aloo chana chaat, a chickpea and chutney-packed street food, here served as an appetizer for $7. It was sweet, sour, spiced, and savory all at once — a thrilling combination that I would order two of next time. 31-31 Thomson Ave., near Van Dam Street, Long Island City — Serena Dai, editor

Pastas at Fiaschetteria Pistoia
Pastas at Fiaschetteria Pistoia
Stefanie Tuder

Tiramisu at Fiaschetteria Pistoia

OK, I know this photo isn’t of the tiramisu. But everything I ate at the newer West Village location of Fiaschetteria Pistoia on Saturday night vied for the top. The pastas, a duck ragu and a cacio e pepe, were soulful and pitch perfect. But the tiramisu ($10) stood out to me most, probably because I’m not often blown away by the dish. So I didn’t photograph what ended up being one of the best versions I’ve ever had — the cream was ethereally light, it was not at all too sweet, and the ladyfinger base was fluffy and nicely moist. I can’t wait to go back to this charming restaurant that made me feel like I was in Italy. 114 Christopher St., between Bleecker and Bedford streets, West Village — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

Matzo ball soup at Taste of Katz’s in Dekalb Market Hall

There’s a reason Katz’s matzah ball soup is a classic. When I have a cold, it’s hands down the only thing I want to eat. The massive, ultra-fluffy matzo ball is one of the best in the city, its recipe safely guarded for good reason. It’s also a solid delivery option for those nearby this Brooklyn location inside Dekalb Market Hall. 445 Albee Square W, lower level, Downtown Brooklyn — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

Artichokes and leeks with mussels escabeche at Cervo’s
Artichokes and leeks with mussels escabeche at Cervo’s
Monica Burton

Artichokes and leeks with mussels escabeche at Cervo’s

The Fly may be the cool restaurant of the moment, but that team’s Lower East Side spot Cervo’s is still so worth a visit. The menu is made up primarily of seafood dishes and on a recent visit, artichokes and leeks with mussels escabeche ($16) was the dish that most pleasantly surprised me. The plate of mussels, leeks, and artichokes, atop a slick of oil and with a dollop of aioli, doesn’t look like much (not helped by the fact the lighting is meant to be flattering for people, not food photos). But, the ensuing bites were completely delightful. Be sure to order the sourdough ($3), toasted in thick slices, to mop up the artichoke- and leek-infused oil left on the plate. And to counter the super savory dish, the Basque cheesecake with bright port cherries ($9) is a must. 43 Canal St., between Ludlow and Orchard streets, Lower East Side — Monica Burton, associate restaurant editor

Clay pot rice bowl at Ding Ding Hot Pot Inc.
Clay pot rice bowl at Ding Ding Hot Pot Inc.
James Park

Clay pot rice bowl at Ding Ding Hot Pot Inc.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by an abundance of different choices when you find yourself at one of the food courts in Flushing, but a hearty rice bowl cooked in a clay pot is one of the must-order items at New York Food Court. Ding Ding Hot Pot Inc. specializes in Hong-Kong style clay pot cooking. There are over 10 different combinations to choose, but pork ribs and Chinese sausage is one of the standouts. Even though the proteins and veggies over the rice are perfectly cooked, the real star of this dish is its rice. Its fluffy, light textures bring all the components together, and the savory oyster-like sauce make each bite truly exciting. When you order one clay pot, it comes with one cold appetizer and a soul-warming soup to take you back to Hong Kong for around $10. What’s not to love? 133-35 Roosevelt Ave., the first food stall inside New York Food Court, Flushing — James Park, social media associate

March 18

Stir-fried pho noodles at Van Da
Stir-fried pho noodles at Van Da
Robert Sietsema

Stir-fried pho noodles at Van Da

As you might know, the term “pho” refers not to the famous Vietnamese soup, but to its noodles. North of Hanoi, these noodles are often stir fried without soup, and this usage is reflected on the menu at the East Village’s newest Vietnamese restaurant, Van Da, where four separate menu sections are devoted to street food and the cuisines of Hanoi, Hue, and Ho Chi Minh City. Simply stir fried with trumpet mushrooms, scallions, and shredded mustard greens, the fragrant noodles assert their own subtle flavors ($14). 234 East Fourth St., between avenues A and B, East Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Grilled shrimp at Violet
Grilled shrimp at Violet
Serena Dai/Eater

Grilled shrimp at Violet

Matt Hyland’s been pitching Violet as a Rhode Island-inspired grilled pizza restaurant, but the actual menu is far more international than that. One version is similar to a naan, while plenty of other non-American touches are abound too, such as pasta with Sichuan oil. My favorite was a grilled shrimp dish ($21), which was composed of an absolutely humongous head-on specimen. A corn-based pancake at the bottom was sweet like a breakfast pancake, and the meaty shrimp was spiced up in the style of grilled Indian dishes. It was a surprise, and quite a fun one. 511 E. Fifth St., between Avenues A and B, East Village — Serena Dai, editor

Queso quemado tacos at La Central

To my surprise, the queso quemado taco ($14) at La Central was more of an open-faced quesadilla: Two hot tortillas arrive topped with steaming, melted cheese, which I came to later find out was queso Chihuahua, a soft white cheese found in Mexico. It had a tartness that kept the table wanting more, so we ordered a second round. The restaurant itself, a new addition to the Hotel Americano in Chelsea, is airy with lots of greenery and high ceilings. I found the design beautiful, and my cocktail, a riff on the Brazilian caipirinha, here made with cachaça, charred pineapple, and taijin-cured limes, was also on point. 518 West 27th St., between 10th and 11th avenues, Chelsea — Carla Vianna, reporter

Pepperoni pizza at Lucali
Pepperoni pizza at Lucali
Stefanie Tuder

Pepperoni pizza at Lucali

Man, what a pain and joy it was to try to eat at Lucali. My friends and I were determined to do so for one of their birthday celebrations, so two of them lined up at 4 p.m. on Saturday. Some 80 people were already ahead of them, and by the time the restaurant opened at 5:45, my friends were given the assigned hour of “after 9 p.m.” So we hung nearby, and by the time we were sat at 9:30 by some very brusque staff members, we were very ready and very hungry, though not made to feel very welcome. My friend argued that eating at the restaurant was akin to experiencing someone’s art, so I should shut up and enjoy; I argued that NYC is teeming with excellent pizza and friendly service at much shorter waits, so why should I? I guess the answer to that question is that the pizza — thin, saucy, tender, with bursts of fresh basil and tangy pepperoni — was outstanding and among the best I’ve ever eaten. 575 Henry St., between First Place and Carroll Street, Carroll Gardens — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

Snow crab at Flora Bar

I had a fairly mediocre meal at Altro Paradiso on a recent evening — I recall gritty, sandy mushrooms in a pasta dish, as well as a run-of-the-mill cacio e pepe. But I’ve been dropping by sister spot Flora Bar here and there as of late and can confirm it remains one of the city’s strongest seafood spots. Of particular note was the Nova Scotia snow crab ($27), a menu staple for as long as I can remember. It’s a simple and indulgent dish, with yuzukosho aioli acting as a spicy-tart foil to the sweet, chilled crustacean. Chef Ignacio Mattos also throws in part of the crab’s carapace, near the legs, where the flesh is harder to extricate. The meat there bears a funkier, more complex oceanic tang. What a treat! 945 Madison Ave., near East 75th St., Upper East Side — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

March 11

Serena Dai

Blueberry pancakes at Kleinberg’s

The picturesque greenhouse back dining room at Bed-Stuy restaurant Kleinberg’s was lovely even with the rain on Sunday, made better with a hot cup of coffee and a stack of blueberry pancakes ($12). The fluffy specimen had a worthy bounce and a lovely tart edge from the blueberries, ideal when smothered with maple syrup. Pancakes for the table is always the right way to go, but these are good enough to keep to yourself. 165 Tompkins Ave., between Willoughby Avenue and Hart Street, Bed-Stuy — Serena Dai, editor

Savory babka at MeMe’s Diner

Brunch darling MeMe’s Diner recently changed its savory babka, replacing the everything bagel-spiced standout with a new version made with za’atar, mint, and pine nut, served with a tahini schmear. It’s just as delightful as the original variation, so no matter what, make sure to get one to split at brunch as a warmup. Pro tip: The restaurant also recently added Sunday dinner service. 657 Washington Ave., near St. Mark’s Ave., Prospect Heights — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter

Leo’s Casa Calamari Robert Sietsema

Eggplant rollatini at Leo’s Casa Calamari

One of the best Southern Italian restaurants in Brooklyn is Leo’s Casa Calamari, selling pizza out of one side of the restaurant and offering a formal dining room in the other, with views of Bay Ridge’s 86th Street. There’s no better version of eggplant rollatini ($12), an Italian-American classic that consists of rolled slices of eggplant stuffed with ricotta and mantled in mozzarella, then smothered in a very bright marinara. And it’s vegetarian and gluten-free. 8602 Third Ave., at 86th Street, Bay Ridge — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Octopus at Rahi

Roni Mazumdar and chef Chintan Pandya have been earning a ton of justified acclaim for their work at Adda in Long Island City. So for fun, I decided to visit their older and more modern restaurant Rahi in Greenwich Village, where I hadn’t dined since its 2017 debut. Briefly: The kitchen is firing on most cylinders, and the dining room was almost completely full at 6:45 p.m. on a Friday. Of particular note was the tangra octopus ($23). The tender cephalopod sat above a pool of squid ink sauce with calamansi aioli; the accoutrements imparted the flesh with a hint of brightness and a profound tang of the sea. Adda is still my favorite, but I think I’ll be coming back here more often. 60 Greenwich Ave., near Seventh Avenue, Greenwich Village — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Wayan NYC Carla Vianna

Nasi goreng at Wayan

The absolute best dish I had at Cedric and Ochi Vongerichten’s new Indonesian restaurant Wayan was the pork satay — but for personal reasons, I’m choosing to highlight the nasi goreng ($16) instead. Indonesia’s national fried rice dish, listed here as a side dish on the menu, is a worthy add to any meal at Wayan. It’s the dish I essentially lived off of during two weeks in Indonesia, eating at local warungs on the side of the road that excelled in the simple yet flavor-packed meal. Nasi goreng is wetter and chewier than most fried rices, with a runny sunny-side-up egg laying on top of the densely spiced grain. Scallions and chiles are thrown on for an extra kick, and its salty milkiness nearly mirrors the meals I had in Bali. 20 Spring St., between Mott and Elizabeth streets, Nolita — Carla Vianna, reporter

March 4

Ooh-La-Long cocktail at Hunky Dory

New Crown Heights neighborhood spot Hunky Dory already feels like a lived-in hangout, and though the menu items sound kind of fancy, everything I tried was simple and accessible once it landed on the table. The best of the crew was my cocktail, the Ooh-la-long ($12). The tequila- and oolong tea-based beverage could have been a whole thing, but it was clean, light, and refreshing — an entirely drinkable and unpretentious beverage that I would order again. 747 Franklin Ave., at Sterling Place, Crown Heights — Serena Dai, editor

Cod fritter at 2 Spring

My mother and I were able to nab a walk-in table at 2 Spring in Oyster Bay on Saturday night — a harder feat for larger parties. Jesse Schenker, late of Manhattan’s Recette and The Gander (RIP), is the chef here, and believe me when I say this guy can cook. The best dish by far was a surf and turf of bacalao and lamb ($13). The chef whips the salt cod up into a fritter, lays it over a meaty ragu, and tops it all off with curry aioli. It was really a perfect preparation; the kitchen uses the heady flavors of the lamb and aioli to keep pace with the maritime funk of the fish. Just the thing for a slushy night! 2 Spring St., Oyster Bay, Long Island — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

House empanada at KC Gourmet Empanadas

As far as I know, this East Village newcomer is the only empanada dispensary in town to specialize in the Panamanian variety. There’s a choice of nearly 30 fillings at KC Gourmet Empanadas, including lots of vegetarian choices and inventions, but most are deep fried with a flaky wheat crust. Except the house empanada ($3.95), which is made from corn dough that fries up something like a Dominican pastelito — yellow, moist, and crusty. Filled with ground beef and raisins, it comes with a mustard-based hot sauce that is unique and incendiary. 38 Ave. B, between Third and Fourth streets, East Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Pork schnitzel at Hunky Dory
Pork schnitzel at Hunky Dory
Stefanie Tuder

Pork schnitzel at Hunky Dory

It’s safe to say team Eater NY likes Hunky Dory. It’s easy to see why, though, with the Crown Heights bar’s chill vibes and welcoming, down-to-earth atmosphere. I’ve been a fan of owner Claire Sprouse’s cocktails since I lived in San Francisco, and I was so excited that she was opening a bar here. All her drinks are spot-on, not too fraught, and exceedingly drinkable. I knew they’d be good, so what surprised me was the winning parade of food, of which my favorite was a deep-fried, bone-in pork chop ($24) served with fizzy and funky fermented vegetables on top. A squeeze of grilled lemon brought it all together, and I was one happy camper with a massive pork chop washed down with several of Sprouse’s drinks. 747 Franklin Ave., at Sterling Place, Crown Heights — Stefanie Tuder, senior editor

Coddled duck eggs at Hunky Dory
Coddled duck eggs at Hunky Dory
Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Coddled duck eggs at Hunky Dory

Sorry, Miriam, but this might be my new go-to breakfast out. Even if it wasn’t around the corner from my apartment, the coddled duck eggs ($12) on the daytime menu at new all-day Crown Heights restaurant Hunky Dory would easily keep me coming back for more. The eggs rest on top of a dense bed of savory cream. Use the pain de mie toasts as a conduit for the runny yolks and herby cream. And the mixed green salad that accompanies it is a tangy, acidic addition. 747 Franklin Ave., at Sterling Place, Crown Heights — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter