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A table full of sweet rolls, the ones in the center heaped with bacon.
Maple bacon Danish at the Australian Bourke Street Bakery

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Critic Robert Sietsema’s Top 5 Bacon Dishes Around NYC

The critic’s favorite baconings take us from bacon pizza to French BLTs and beyond.

Who doesn’t love bacon? Even vegetarians have been known to waive their aversion to meat in order to eat it. In the days before we had real barbecue, it was the easiest way to enjoy smoked meat, helped along by the absorptive qualities of bacon’s streaky fat. Even during the fat-free 1990s, many ignored their diets to down multiple strips at one sitting. And bacon has enough salt to give blood pressure patients palpitations. Of course, now we know that bacon is just pork belly; in the days before big braised chunks of it became prevalent here in Japanese ramen and in Chinese stir-fries and braises, bacon was our only access to sow’s belly. Here are my favorite five encounters I’ve had with bacon lately, in ranked order.

5. BLT at Odeon

A BLT on a baguette

Maybe you’re a bit tired of the BLT as served at diners, lunch counters, and in your own kitchen, with its unalterable formula. Well, let’s turn the French loose on it. At the Odeon, a brilliant Gallic take on the sandwich ramps up the flavors with double smoked bacon in thick slices, a length of baguette that holds those strips better than the conventional two slices of white bread toast, and a basil mayonnaise that puts Hellman’s to shame. Bonus: It has some very pristine greens and an out-of-season tomato that doesn’t suck. 145 W. Broadway, at Thomas Street, Tribeca

4. Maple bacon Danish at Bourke Street Bakery

A single square Danish stuffed with bacon.

When approaching breakfast, it’s always a dilemma whether to go with a Danish or a plate of bacon and eggs. Thoughtfully occupying the territory in between, Bourke Street’s bacon Danish starts with a boat of crisp and slightly sweet puff pastry, then loads the hold up with salty bacon shellacked with maple syrup — and plenty of it. Could there be a more perfect vessel for bacon? 15 E. 28th St., between Fifth and Madison Avenues, Murray Hill

3. Bacon and shrimp dim sum at Golden Unicorn

Chinese shrimp wrapped in bacon with a bowl of mayo on the side.

All the big dim sum palaces in town serve it: plump shrimp wrapped in bacon, lightly battered, and deep fried, lending an unctuous crispness to the bacon and a soft succulence to the shrimp. Perhaps perversely, these are served with a bowl of mayo for dipping, as if the dish weren’t rich enough already, and a few Pringle’s potato chips for who knows what reason. A look at several dim sum cookbooks suggests this is a Chinese-American invention not found back in China. It may even have originated in New York City. All the more reason to enjoy two plates. 18 E. Broadway, at Catherine Street, Chinatown

2. Bacon appetizer at Peter Luger

On one plate one slice of bacon, on the other sliced tomatoes and onions.

Luger is nothing if not elemental in its approach to food. And the bacon appetizer is a case in point. It consists of a thick rasher broiled in the salamander to crisp and fatty perfection— and nothing else. Which is why I suggest you get the tomato app to go with it: a bite of bacon, a bite of tomato, and a bite of sweet onion, in that order. There’s nothing better. 178 Broadway, at Driggs Avenue, Williamsburg

1. Bacon slice at King’s Pizza

A slice of pizza thickly covered with crumbled bacon.

Located off King’s Highway just below the elevated B and Q train express stop, King’s Pizza is as Brooklyn as pizza gets, vending many, many types of slices from its narrow premises to hard hats, shoppers at nearby retail stores, office workers, and kids running in right after school. The bacon slice is one of the best, so thickly coated with crushed bacon you can’t see the crust or the sauce. We might call it a college entrance essay in bacon. 1688 E. 16th St, at King’s Highway, Midwood

Several facades and signs jumbled up with King’s Pizza in the middle

Check out previous 5 Faves: octopus, duck, and egg.

Peter Luger Steak House

178 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (718) 387-7400 Visit Website

Bourke Street Bakery

15 East 28th Street, Manhattan, NY 10016 Visit Website

Golden Unicorn

18 East Broadway, Manhattan, NY 10002 (212) 941-0911 Visit Website

King's Pizza

1688 East 16th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11229 (718) 627-8434 Visit Website

The Odeon

145 West Broadway, Manhattan, NY 10013 (212) 233-0507 Visit Website
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