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The Best Dishes Eater Editors Ate This Week

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Sea urchin egg tofu stew, eel and avocado onigiri, and more standout dishes Eater editors ate this week

A brownstone building with a tearoom in the first floor
Té Company in the West Village
Via Google Maps

The amount of excellent food available in New York City is dizzying — even during a pandemic — 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.


November 30

A bright and murky stew bobbing shards of tofu in an orangeish soup.
Sea urchin egg tofu stew at CheLi
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Sea urchin egg tofu stew at CheLi

Offshoot of Szechuan Mountain House, CheLi is a newcomer to St. Marks Place almost right next door, on an elevated balcony with a dessert chain specializing in mango in between. The recipes originate in Shanghai, but it is both an antique and innovative version of the cuisine with lots of surprises. One of them is this light and salty stew ($26) that makes a perfect shared starter, with lots of slippery tofu in a broth thickened with uni. The color is a lovely ivory and orange, and the flavor of the sea urchin eggs shines through, and you’ve never had a better chance to savor their delicate taste. 19 St Marks Place between Third and Second Avenues, East Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Two golden brown pineapple linzer cookies with sprinkles of sea salt flakes and lime zest on top placed on a blue plate
Pineapple linzer cookies from Té Company
Tanay Warerkar/Eater

Pineapple linzer cookies from Té Company

Taking a cue from Eater’s holiday gift guide, I ordered myself a dozen pineapple linzer cookies from West Village tearoom Té Company, which arrived just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. As a big fan of the more traditional variant that sandwiches raspberry or strawberry jam between shortbread cookies, I was excited to try one with a pineapple center, which according to Té Company is a take on Taiwanese pineapple cake. And these cookies can really hold their own — I had to work very hard to portion them over cups of tea over the long weekend. The shavings of lime zest and sprinkling of sea salt flakes on top act as a lovely savory complement to this otherwise sweet dish. 163 West 10th Street, between Seventh Avenue and Waverly Place, West Village — Tanay Warerkar, reporter

A folded egg dish, shaped like an omelette and cut into strips, sits on a blue striped dish with a cup of orange hot sauce on the side
Ho Foods’ egg bing
Erika Adams/Eater

Taiwanese breakfast set at Ho Foods

I brunched for the first time in ages this weekend at cozy Taiwanese spot Ho Foods in the East Village. The breakfast set that the restaurant offers only on Saturdays and Sundays is a real steal: $20 for dishes of egg bing, fan tuan, turnip cake, and a deep bowl of savory or sweet soy milk with fixings. The egg bing was cooked just enough to set, with a thin blistered skin that held up to repeated hot sauce dunkings; and the creamy turnip cake was a blessed bit of comfort food on an overcast, sleepy Sunday. 110 East 7th Street, between First Avenue and Avenue A, East Village — Erika Adams, reporter

Eel and avocado onigiri from 21 Onigiri
Eel and avocado onigiri from 21 Onigiri
Bao Ong / Eater

Eel and avocado onigiri at 21 Onigiri

When my friend and I stumbled across this tiny storefront in Flushing, we couldn’t resist adding it to our impromptu food tour. The eel and avocado onigiri was a bit unwieldy, but the small portion ($8.50) was more than big enough to share. One bite into the nori wrap and we were impressed by the unagi lacquered in a sweet soy glaze accompanied by generous slabs of tamago (a Japanese omelette), avocado and salty Spam. It reminded me of past trips to Hawaii, but for now, I’ll be just as happy hopping onto the 7 train for this comforting snack. 40-10 Union Street, between Roosevelt Avenue and 41st Avenue, Flushing — Bao Ong, lead editor

Maduros at Lourdes Mexican Grill

For perhaps the second time in my life, I was responsible for cooking Thanksgiving dinner last week, which probably explains why my family and I ate at, like, 9:15 p.m. I slow cooked a pork butt in my trusty Instant Pot, letting it braise in a zingy, Cuban-style mojo verde. Still, I knew I needed something sweet to counteract all the acid, so I had my parents swing by Lourdes, our local Mexican deli and grill, to pick up a few containers of plump maduros. The thing about sweet plantains is that they’re often an overlooked and somewhat overcooked side dish. At Lourdes, by contrast, the maduros were majestic, cut lengthwise down the long axis of the fruit. Each curvilinear slice was nearly a foot in length. They exhibited a wonderful starchiness, acting as a gently sugary and toothsome counterpoint to the savory, fall-apart pork. What luxury! 98 South Street, Oyster Bay, Long Island — Ryan Sutton, chief critic


November 23

A white tray with four vegetarian dishes in shades of green and reddish brown with a bowl of rice on the side.
Vegetarian platter at Doaba Deli
Robert Sietsema/Eater

Vegetarian platter at Doaba Deli

Named after a region of the Punjab on the Indian side of the border, Doaba Deli on the northern end of the Upper West Side is a timeworn but wonderful café catering to cabbies and car service drivers, among others looking for a quick vegetarian meal. The quality of the food is very high, and tending toward the highly spiced. A combination platter ($8) allows you to load up your tray with any number of dishes from the steam table. In my case, it included a pungent mush of eggplant, a dish of peas and paneer, dark slurry of spinach, and, best of all, cumin-laced kidney beans that will make Texans craving chili do a double take. Basmati rice comes alongside. 945 Columbus Avenue, between 106th and 107th streets, Manhattan Valley — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Pieces of browned beef, slices of pink daikon radish, and some pink onions sitting atop some flaky bread with browned bits
Beef pepper fry at Gupshup
Tanay Warerkar/Eater

Beef pepper fry at Gupshup

A recent addition to the menu, the beef pepper fry ($19) at clubby Indian restaurant Gupshup really stands out among a selection of top-notch small plates. The peppery, succulent pieces of beef are best enjoyed enveloped in one of the warm, flaky, malabar paratha triangles the meat is served atop. A mint-y green chutney and some crunchy cippolini onions add a nice textural element to this appetizer that I would happily order a double portion of. 115 East 18th Street, between Park Avenue South and Irving Place, Gramercy — Tanay Warerkar, reporter

An overhead photograph of a bowl of congee, filled with soft-boiled egg, pulled chicken, broccoli, peanuts, and other ingredients
Spicy crunch congee at Maya Congee Cafe
Luke Fortney/Eater

Spicy crunch congee with chicken at Maya Congee Cafe

Encouraged by the sun this weekend, I pulled up a chair at Maya Congee Cafe, an all-day restaurant in Bed-Stuy that doubles as an Asian market. Congee is typically made from white rice alone, but here brown rice, quinoa, and dates are thrown into the mix in a recipe dreamed up by owner Layla Chen and chef Matthew Tilden of the now-closed Scratchbread bakery. The hearty porridge appears in eight varieties on Maya’s menu, and an employee behind the counter pointed me in the direction of the “spicy crunch” version, which lives up to its name with a noisy combination of peanuts, broccoli, fried shallots, and cabbage ($11). As you enjoy spoonfuls of half-boiled egg and pulled chicken, be sure to dig under the bowl’s canopy of toppings to taste Chen’s wonderful congee on its own. 563 Gates Avenue, near Tompkins Avenue, Bed-Stuy — Luke Fortney, reporter

A hand holding a chocolate laminated croissant on a folded white paper towel
Crown Shy’s hazelnut chocolate croissant
Erika Adams/Eater

The breakfast box at Crown Shy

This picture-perfect croissant — stuffed to the gills inside with gobs of hazelnut cream — is just one of many pastry wonders that came inside Crown Shy’s breakfast box ($78), an intermittent delight that the restaurant’s acclaimed executive pastry chef Renata Ameni sometimes puts together for Saturday pickups. I managed to get my hands on the November 14 box before it sold out, and devoured the above croissant, plus many other treats, including a puffy round mini-loaf of dill bread studded with potato chunks, paired with sides of cream cheese and lox, and a compact square of bacon-crusted bread with a smoked ricotta spread. Keep an eye on the restaurant’s Instagram page to track when the box goes up for sale. 70 Pine Street, near Pearl Street, Financial District — Erika Adams, reporter

A stark white rice roll, speckled with bits of dried shrimp and barbecue pork, sits inside a silver metal takeout container
Pork and shrimp rice roll at Yi Ji Shi Mo
Ryan Sutton/Eater

Rice Roll at Yi Ji Shi Mo

In the Before Times, one of my favorite olfactory experiences in New York was descending into this semi-subterranean Chinatown spot and inhaling the distinct perfume of rice. It’s an aroma that’s both vaguely musky and decidedly sweet. The freshly ground rice milk at Yi Ji Shi Mo produces at bouquet that is, in my opinion, more assertive and accessible than at competing cheung fun institutions. And while the scent is a touch harder to pick up with a face mask on, it all comes back when you step outside and start to devour the rice roll. The endless layers of noodle stretch and contract like hot, edible rubber bands; the bits of dried shrimp and sweet pork emit strategic doses of brine and umami. But when when you lower your nose and breathe in over the whole container, you remember what you’re here for — that gentle steam bath that seems to channel the sensation of putting one’s face over a piping hot bowl of arroz con leche. Majestic. 88 Elizabeth Street, near Grand Street, Chinatown — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

An overhead photograph of the fried egg salad, which includes jidori eggs and trout roe.
Fried egg salad at Day Off pop-up at Ferris
Bao Ong/Eater

Fried egg salad at Day Off pop-up at Ferris

The popular Ibérico katsu sando was nowhere in sight on the menu at the Day Off pop-up, which just wrapped up at Ferris, but there were still plenty of dishes with Asian influences worth ordering. Chef Greg Proechel’s fried egg salad ($15) appeared like a Rorschach test presented on a plate: The dark orange yolk of the jidori eggs were topped with fennel, tomato, culantro, maitake mushrooms, and trout roe. It was a contrast in flavors (from the rich, jammy eggs to aromatic herbs) and textures (the Pop Rocks-like effect of the roe). The only thing I regretted was not making it earlier to this limited limited pop-up, which is supposedly coming back soon with a different theme. 44 West 29th Street, between Broadway and Sixth Avenue, Nomad — Bao Ong, lead editor


November 16

A hero sandwich divided into two parts, with a white filling tumbling out the sides onto reddish brown butcher paper.
Chicken Valdostana hero at Salumeria Biellese
Robert Sietsema/Eater

Chicken Valdostana hero at Salumeria Biellese

The Valle d’Aosta is a region of northwestern Italy bordering France and Switzerland, famous as the home of the Matterhorn, which straddles the border. It’s also famous for its Fontina cheese, incorporated into the sauce for this wonderful hero, which also contains white wine and garlic, making it almost like a Swiss fondue. This sauce is poured over breaded chicken cutlets, which manage to disintegrate as their day on the steam table progresses. No matter, the whitish sludge makes this sandwich ($9.50) supremely delicious. Get it at Salumeria Biellese, founded in 1925, one of the city’s most famous providers of cured Italian meats, though the manufacturing operation has long since been transferred to Jersey. Now the storefront sells a range of heroes and prepared pastas, while remaining a great place to pick up, say, a half pound of lardo. 378 Eighth Avenue, at 29th Street, Chelsea — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

A piece of crusted buffalo chicken sits in a takeout container over a checkered red and white parchment paper
A piece of Buffalo chicken from MeMe’s Diner
Luke Fortney/Eater

Buffalo chicken salad at MeMe’s Diner

Though the weather forecast predicted rain, more than a dozen people were already in line when we arrived at MeMe’s Diner at 11:15 a.m. on Sunday, a full 45 minutes before the restaurant opened its doors. Like us, countless others had set alarms and bundled up to enjoy last bites from the beloved restaurant, which announced last week that it would be closing for good after three years. We ordered each of our favorite dishes take back home, the restaurant’s everything bagel babka, breakfast sandwich, and chicken tenders among them. The one that I’ll always remember MeMe’s for, however, is its Buffalo chicken salad, a dish whose takeout version comes with this perfectly crisp slab of chicken cutlet, packaged separately ($19). In the past, friends have referred to the chicken as “almost too big” — and I would normally agree — but leftovers are ideal when you’re holding onto memories as long as you can. 657 Washington Avenue, near Saint Marks Avenue, Prospect Heights — Luke Fortney, reporter

Darkened pieces of meat sitting next to chunks of cucumber, white rice, greens, and a silver spoon
Yunnan brisket bowl at Milu
Tanay Warerkar/Eater

Yunnan brisket bowl at Milu

There’s lots to love at the relatively new Chinese counter-service spot Milu. I was certain the Mandarin duck bowl would be my favorite, but I was bowled over by the brisket bowl instead. Tender, peppery and spicy chunks of meat just fall apart in your mouth, and you really have to stop yourself from eating this too quickly to savor each bite. The marinated pieces of cucumber served alongside all the rice bowls add a lovely crunchy component to this otherwise soft dish. I was so impressed with the food at Milu that I walked home with a bottle each of the restaurant’s chile crisp, dumpling sauce, and hoisin sauce. 333 Park Avenue South, between East 24th and 25th Streets, Flatiron District/Rose Hill — Tanay Warerkar, reporter

A round wooden bowl with mashed up shepherd’s pie inside and a forkful held up close to the camera
Province pie from Jeepney’s Tita Baby Kita Kit
Erika Adams/Eater

Province pie from Jeepney’s weekly meal kit

On the list of inventive restaurant solutions to come out of this soul-sucking pandemic, East Village Filipino spot Jeepney’s Tita Baby Kita Kits — available to purchase onlinerank pretty highly for me. There were no misses in the gigantic box of ready-to-heat food ($135) that we received for a recent family feast, but everyone’s forks kept zeroing in on the kit’s province pie, a Filipino rendition of shepherd’s pie that basically upleveled the heavy dish in every way. A thick layer of mashed potatoes gave way to beef pares, fall-apart short ribs that were cradled in an aromatic gravy, but the real showstopper was the side of slightly spicy fish sauce to drizzle over the meat and potatoes. The bright sauce sliced through the thick and heavy flavors of the pie, eliminating that weighty feeling that always descends halfway through the starchy, meaty dish. I’m not a diehard shepherd’s pie fan, but I’d eat this version any day of the week. 201 First Avenue, between East 12th and East 13th Streets, East Village — Erika Adams, reporter

An overhead shot of dishes from Azerbaijan Grill in Westbury shows adana kebab with purple sour cherry rice, green grape leaves with lemon slices, and Persian flatiron steak underneath a pile of fries
Adana kebab with sour cherry rice, grape leaves, flatiron steak with fries
Ryan Sutton/Eater

Adana Kebab at Azerbaijan Grill

Driving down Old Country Road in Westbury can sometimes feel a bit like walking down Ninth Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen, which is to say one will encounter a striking diversity of cuisines. There’s a Honduran restaurant, a Mexican deli, an Afghani Kebab spot, a Colombian chicken joint, and at least one sports bar that seems to be open at 90 percent indoor capacity amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But then there’s Azerbaijan Grill, a fine little restaurant that serves both Turkish and Persian dishes. The adana kebab ($16.95) was particularly excellent on a recent takeout visit. It’s about what one might expect from the classic dish: tender ground lamb grilled over an open flame, its gentle funk tamed by fire and spices. It came with a side of sour cherry rice that boasted gorgeous purple hues and a restrained sweetness. I’m definitely stoked to check out more of the restaurants on this strip. 1610 Old Country Road, Westbury, Long Island — Ryan Sutton, chief critic


November 9

A ceramic bowl filled with red oil and red dried peppers, with brown meat bones barely visible ont he surface.
Spicy lamb spines at Szechuan Mountain House
Robert Sietsema/Eater

Spicy lamb spines at Szechuan Mountain House

Three years ago, when Szechuan Mountain House opened in Flushing, it rode a wave of a half-dozen ambitious modern Sichuan restaurants in that neighborhood. One year later a branch appeared in the East Village, and since I reviewed it, the branch has only gotten better, while expanding its menu. Spicy lamb spines ($25) is a collection of cruciform bones with big wads of meat tucked here and there, with a smidgen of marrow at the center of each. These swim in a reservoir of red chile oil bobbing with whole fresh Sichuan peppercorns, imparting a lingering buzz to your mouth. Plastic gloves are provided so you can pick over these delicious bones with your pinkies. 23 St Marks Place, between Third and Second avenues, East Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

A white cup filled with tofu and colorful toppings, with a spoon in the foreground holding white cubes of tofu
Savory tofu pudding from Fong On
Erika Adams/Eater

Savory tofu pudding at Fong On

I finally, finally got my hands on a bucket of Fong On’s savory tofu pudding ($7.50 for a large size) this weekend, and I’m now instituting a personal rule to never pass by Fong On without buying the shop’s legendary tofu. I curled up on the couch with a bowl of the pudding, scooping up impossibly silky, tender ribbons of tofu — intertwined with bits of scallions, fried shallots, dashes of chile sauce, and fingernail-sized dried shrimp — and nearly teared up when my spoon came up empty at the end. I cannot wait to order this on repeat all winter long. 81 Division Street, between Pike Street and Eldridge Street, Chinatown — Erika Adams, reporter

A hand is holding a blue plate with a sandwich on it that contains some red beets, pickles, and crispy brown falafel
Falafel pita at Tamam
Tanay Warerkar/Eater

Falafel pita at Tamam

This massive sandwich ($9.50) at Upper East Side’s relatively new Israeli vegan restaurant Tamam could easily be enough for two meals, but I opted to skip breakfast, so I could devour it all in one go at lunch. The falafel is really the star of the dish — crispy on the outside even after a 20-minute commute — and the hit of fresh herbs including parsley from Israeli salad balances the richness of the chickpea patties. I wasn’t expecting the pickles in here, but the sourness from it along with the creaminess from the tahini sauce brings this altogether into a perfect, albeit messy lunch. 1108 Lexington Avenue, between East 77th and East 78th streets, Upper East Side — Tanay Warerkar, reporter

Six colorful doughnuts and an eclaire are packaged in a large cardboard to-go box with parchment paper
An assortment of doughnuts from Fan Fan Doughnuts
Luke Fortney/Eater

A half dozen from Fan Fan Doughnuts

Eight months after Fany Gerson announced that she would be leaving Dough Doughnuts, the acclaimed Mexican chef has opened her newest project, an already buzzing neighborhood bakery called Fan Fan Doughnuts. When we arrived at the bakery just after 11 a.m. on Friday, the doughnut we most looked forward to — a fan fan stuffed with guava and cheese — had already sold out, but the menu offered plenty of other inventive pastries to try, many of which nod to household Mexican-American flavors. The unanimous favorite in our apartment was the Luna Limón (center), a delightfully airy doughnut coated in a zippy lemon-lime glaze. Don’t be scared off by the line; things move quickly. 448 Lafayette Avenue, at Franklin Avenue, Bed-Stuy — Luke Fortney, reporter

Classic bánh mì at Banh Mi Place

When the cheering on my block started on Saturday, I went straight to Prospect Park — along with many of my neighbors. About an hour later, I realized how hungry I was. A couple friends headed to Banh Mi Place, on Washington Avenue by the Brooklyn Museum, and returned about an hour later with a bag of sandwiches (around $10 each). The tiny restaurant’s banh mis are some of the best in Brooklyn, served on fresh, gently crusty rolls and with a liberal slather of mayonnaise. I had the classic, stuffed with pate, Vietnamese ham, and ground pork. The burst of salt from the meats is offset by the sweetness of the sandwich’s pickled carrots and radish and sprigs of grassy cilantro. Paired with a paper cup of Champagne, it was ideal. 824 Washington Avenue, between Saint Johns and Lincoln places, Prospect Heights — Emma Alpern, copy editor


November 2

A blue bowl of yellow corn kernels
Bắp xào trứng muối at High Lúa
Robert Sietsema/Eater

Bắp xào trứng muối at High Lúa

As a reminder that the autumn harvest is nearly over, there’s nothing better than this dish of sweet corn kernels, which shine like a fragmented sun on a Delft blue plate. The corn has been stir fried with salted duck egg, tiny dried shrimp, fresh green scallions, and crunchy fried shallots, and further drenched in butter, for an amazing sea-meets-land combination of flavors. It’s like Southeast Asian succotash, and made me and a friend very happy this past Friday in Williamsburg, as storm clouds threatened. This overlooked Vietnamese restaurant is one of the best serving the cuisine in the city. 182 South 2nd Street, at Driggs Avenue, Williamsburg — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

A bowl of fried rice with orange dots on top with a black serving spoon
Singaporean chili crab fried rice at the Tyger
Tanay Warerkar/Eater

Singaporean chili crab fried rice at the Tyger

I’m rarely — if ever — content just eating a fried rice dish on its own, but that was definitely not the case at a recent meal I had at the Tyger, the relatively new pan-Asian restaurant from the Chinese Tuxedo team. Here, the Singaporean staple, the chile crab, becomes part of a rich fried rice dish ($27) that’s an excellent meal all on its own. The crab-to-rice ratio in this creation is surprisingly high and that makes it all the more appealing at its price point. The peas add a touch of sweetness to the fiery kick from the chile crab, and I can honestly say I was fighting my dinner companions to finish the last of the rice in the bowl. 1 Howard Street, at Center Street, Soho — Tanay Warerkar, reporter

Seafood Chowder Nabe at Bessou

I tend to love all the food at Bessou — chef Emily Yuen’s aggressively flavorful and saucey spin on Japanese comfort food really speaks to me — but this week I fell hard for the seafood chowder nabe. Inspired by Tonyu Nabe, a Japanese soy milk hotpot, it’s rich and creamy (though dairy-free) with a complex smokiness and a white miso base, and it’s chock full of noodles, veggies, prawns, oysters, and smoked salmon. It’s truly ideal for these chilly fall nights. 5 Bleecker St. between Bowery and Lafayette, Noho. — Amanda Kludt, editor in chief

A hand holding a container of brownish milk in front of a car’s dashboard
Creme brûlée milk tea at Machi Machi
Adam Moussa

Crème brûlée milk tea at Machi Machi

Given my job involves thinking about both food and social media daily, I typically feel pretty immune to outrageous dishes engineered for Instagram. That was, until Machi Machi’s stunning minimalist bottled milk tea came across my feed last week. The Taiwanese chain opened its doors in K-Town over the weekend. On a chilly Saturday, faced with time to kill on 32nd Street, I waited just over an hour in line for tea with the rest of New York’s influencers not influential enough to have been invited to a preview.

While the cafe’s two-tone bottled drink was more of a visual treat than anything else, its crème brûlée milk tea with boba was the most exciting bubble tea experience I’ve had in recent memory. A thick, drinkable float of custard, complete with a disc of brûléed sugar, sits over the milk tea and boba. Sticking the straw in breaks the disc and pushes it to the bottom of the cup, which means you’re sipping up custard, tea, warm boba, and shards of crunchy sugar. It’s a textural delight. 33 W 32nd St, K-Town — Adam Moussa, social media manager

Two dumplings in a dark sauce inside a cup with a white plastic spoon
Chocolate mandoo at Joomak
Erika Adams/Eater

Chocolate mandoo at Joomak

It’s an impossible task to pick a best dish out of the lineup from Joomak — chefs Jiho Kim and Kelly Nam’s absolute joy of a Korean-influenced pop-up that just wrapped its last week of service — so I’ll go with the one that made me smile all the way home. Nam’s chocolate mandoo ($8), a chocolate-filled dumpling that’s meant to be eaten in one bite so that the warm, dark chocolate explodes in your mouth, was a firecracker of an ending to a gorgeous meal. Where some might have erred towards a lighter ending after over a dozen dishes of beautifully crafted fish, chicken, beef, and vegetables, Nam came out swinging with these pillowy, sweet dumplings paired with crispy, sticky bits of honeycomb. I won’t be forgetting that dessert anytime soon. And for those who missed the pop-up, Kim assured us that there was another version of Joomak in the works for the wintertime. 3 West 35th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, Koreatown — Erika Adams, reporter

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