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The Best Dishes Eater Editors Ate This Week

Bowls of burrata, mezze in Bay Ridge, and more

A storefront shot with blue neon lighting hanging above the door.
Otis is a cocktail bar and restaurant located in Bushwick.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

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.

October 25

A bowl of burrata surrounded by pesto and topped with seeds and greens pools in a high-walled bowl beside a plate of focaccia.
The burrata and focaccia at Otis.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

The big bowl of burrata at Otis

Earlier this month, the team behind Otis in Bushwick opened the doors on their high-ceilinged second restaurant called Nura. Given that it’s been commanding headlines and previous best dish entries, I figured a walk-in table at the team’s first spot wouldn’t be too much to swing. (Apparently I figured wrong, as this photo taken at one of its bar seats goes to show.) Four years after opening, Otis continues to draw a lively group with its wide-reaching fare that spans the globe. No matter where its menu takes you, be sure to start with the burrata, a glorious mess of sweet potato, tomato jam, and greens that’s tied together with a pool of pesto ($18). The restaurant’s full menu is available at the bar, but seated here with a mouthful of cheese, I imagined future nights where I’d be plenty happy ordering just this and one of the bar’s knockout Negronis. 18 Harrison Place, between Morgan Avenue and Bogart Street, Bushwick — Luke Fortney, reporter

A container of oblong dumplings overlapping each other, with splotches of brown liquid and thick dark chili paste.
Manti at Tengri Tagh.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Manti at Tengri Tagh

Meaning “Mountains of Heaven,” Tengri Tagh is a towering range that separates China, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. It’s also the name of a Uyghur restaurant just north of Macy’s on 37th Street, which opened in April, and whose owner and chef is Kudus, and noodle maker, Ruxian. The manti (14 or so for $13.95) are Turkic dumplings common from Central Asia through the Balkans, here stuffed with lamb coarsely chopped and flavored with cumin. While these sorts of dumpling are often purse shaped, at Tengri Tagh they are fluted and oblong, looking more like Chinese-style dumplings. They come accompanied by black vinegar and red chile paste, which only make these dumplings that are already exceedingly delicious even better. 144 West 37th Street, between Seventh Avenue and Broadway, Herald Square — Robert Sietsema, senior editor

The colorful mezze platter of hummus, baba ganoush, muhammarah, tahini, tabouleh, labne dusted with sumac is presented in a clay bowl ontop of a colorful tablecloth.
The mezze at Ayat.
Emma Orlow/Eater NY

“Mezze Filistini” at Ayat

Ayat was one of the most joyous meals I’ve had in recent memory and an overall reminder that I need to work my way through all the restaurants on Eater’s Bay Ridge dining map. For main courses, we went for the chicken kebab with rice and pickled veggies; the mansaf, fall-off-the-bone tender lamb with a fermented yogurt sauce; and the colorful mezze platter. The mezze comes with hummus, baba ganoush, muhammarah, tabouleh, salata tahina, and some of the most tart and refreshing labne I’ve ever had, dusted with sumac. Portions are heaping at Ayat, and between the three of us, we still took home some leftovers. The next day for lunch, I happily made myself a hefty wrap with the extra sajj bread, stuffed with all the crunchy and creamy mezze goodies. 8504 Third Avenue, between 85th and 86th streets, Bay Ridge Emma Orlow, reporter

Golden roti canai flatbread sits in a metal tray next to a small pool of coconut curry
The roti canai at Wau.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

Roti canai at Wau

I spent some time at Wau on the Upper West Side last week, primarily to sample chef Salil Mehta’s excellent vegan fried calamari. Naturally, I got a chance to try out some of the other menu indulgences, including the fine roti canai ($9.50), that classic Malaysian staple of Indian-style flatbread with curry. In this particular case, the roti exhibited a pleasant chewiness while the sweet curry smacked of fragrant coconut. Little nuggets of soft potato in the sauce provided a bit of extra nourishment. This would be such a nice streetside breakfast on a cold morning. For now, however, I’ll look forward to trying it again at dinner. 434 Amsterdam Avenue at West 81st Street, Upper West Side — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

A black bowl filled with brown noodles, meat, and a white fried egg on top, sprinkled with green scallions.
The short rib chapaguri at Take 31.
Erika Adams/Eater NY

Prime short rib chapaguri at Take 31

I needed a reliable meal at the end of a long day of travel yesterday, and I found it in a saucy bowl of fancified chapaguri ($19.95) from Koreatown stalwart Take 31. The longstanding restaurant is one of my personal go-tos because of its consistency — it’s really, really hard to have a bad meal here. Last night’s delivery order was no different. The chapaguri came loaded with diced, crunchy scallions and it was tossed with small cuts of tender short rib, adding a touch of smokiness to the noodles. And somehow, defying the delivery odds, the fried egg on top was just the right amount of runny. 15 East 31st Street, near Madison Avenue, Koreatown — Erika Adams, deputy editor

A ceramic bowl with Thai chicken curry over white rice with sides mushroom larb and a fish meatball.
Kati Shop features four different curries on its fast-casual menu.
Bao Ong/Eater NY

Kati signature curry at Kati Shop

It doesn’t matter how long I’ve been away from New York, but when I land at JFK or LaGuardia, I immediately beeline to an Asian restaurant because it’s what makes me feel like I’m finally home. After nearly a month in Paris, where I ate excellent pho, dim sum, and onigiri, I was craving something spicier. Barely an hour after clearing customs and starving after my sad airplane meal, I stopped at Kati Shop. This sleek Thai spot, which also opened a Herald Square location in the past year, falls into the fast-casual genre, so ordering was easy: Pick a base (always jasmine rice for me), a protein, one of four curries, and up to two sides — all for a very quick, affordable meal to take home. I settled on the lemongrass chicken with the restaurant’s Kati Signature curry ($11). The staff wasn’t kidding when they said the curry — a fiery mix of lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, and green chiles — was spicy. I tried to tame the heat with the refreshing sides of larb mushroom and a chicken meatball, but sure enough, my eyes were watering and I was sniffling. 162 East 55th Street, between Lexington and Third avenues, Midtown East — Bao Ong, editor

October 19

A hand holding a knife slices into a perfectly brown-on-top bun, revealing a beefy filling.
Beef pirashki at Sofreh Cafe.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Beef pirashki at Sofreh Cafe

Despite living four blocks from Prospect Heights’ acclaimed Persian restaurant Sofreh, it was this spin-off cafe located two train rides away that I visited first. The former restaurant has a fan club that includes critics at the New Yorker and the New York Times, so what I say next shouldn’t come as a surprise: Sofreh Cafe might just be the best bakery to come out of the pandemic so far. That highly subjective accolade started to become apparent while schmearing feta on its sesame-coated Ka’ak bread, and again while cracking into its custardy rose doughnut, but it was all said and done after biting into this golden beef pirashki. The meat-filled pastries sit in a display case at the front of the cafe, but come out tender and steaming in what must be reheating magic. Good luck trying to order just one. 252 Varet Street, at Bogart Street, Bushwick — Luke Fortney, reporter

A close-up photo of a golden baked bun with a dusting of sugar and cardamom on top.
Cardamom bun at La Cabra.
Erika Adams/Eater NY

Cardamom bun at La Cabra

Nordic coffee shop and bakery import La Cabra is the kind of place that’s meant to impress the “beanbois” of this city — to borrow a colleague’s phrase — but after several visits, I’ve been standing in line primarily for the shop’s outstanding cardamom buns ($5). I’ve had versions of the Scandinavian treat that tread too lightly with the aromatic spice, but at La Cabra, it’s allowed to shine in high doses. When the first tray of buns hits the pastry case in the early morning hours, the entire shop blooms with the scent of cardamom, sugar, and yeasty dough. The bun itself, on its best days, strikes a delicate balance of golden, crusty outer layer that caves into doughy innards threaded with cardamom and butter. I wish I had another one in front of me right now. 152 Second Avenue, between East Ninth and 10th streets, East Village — Erika Adams, deputy editor

A gnarly pile of goat intestines on a banana leaf with a quartered flatbread at the top of the picture.
Kudal varuval at Semma.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Kudal varuval at Semma

Newcomer Semma offers a menu that takes a deep dive into local dishes from several southern Indian states. Kudal varuval is spectacular dish, a classic preparation of goat intestines coated with a thick sauce tasting of ginger and garlic, with a flavor subtlety that comes from a unique garam masala ($16). Curry leaves add an elusive fragrance. This dish falls in the medium category in a menu with three sections assorted according to size. It comes accompanied by a kal dosa, a lighter and spongier version of the dosa native to Tamil Nadu. That’s chef Vijay Kumar’s home state, and the kal dosa does admirable duty when it comes to scooping up bites of the dish. 60 Greenwich Avenue, at Perry Street, Greenwich Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

A hand clutches half of a sandwich, whose cross-section reveals mayo, cheese, peppers, thinly cut vegan meat, and more mayo.
The Triple Threat at Seitan’s Helper.
Emma Orlow/Eater NY

The Triple Threat at Seitan’s Helper

Seitan’s Helper, formerly known as Seitan Rising Vegan Cafe, is one of my all-time favorite sandwich spots in Brooklyn. The vegan shop makes all of its deli slices in-house, one of few businesses to do so in New York City. With the recent name change, there have been some menu adaptations, but I was thankful to see that my tangy go-to order — the Triple Threat — is still front and center. For $10.69 you’ll get mortadella, salami, pepperoni, and cheese with greens, red and banana peppers, red onions, vinaigrette, and mayo. 2 Morgan Avenue, near Flushing Avenue — Emma Orlow, reporter

A patron is shown holding a burger in wax paper up to a camera, showing the contents of the fast food snack: white onions, yellow American cheese, bacon, and lettuce
Shake Shack burger with bacon and onions.
Ryan Sutton/Eater

Bacon Burger at Shake Shack

My COVID-era Sutton rule for fast food restaurants is that I don’t typically indulge in them unless I’m at an airport; I try to focus my eating on more independent establishments. But so it happens that I was rushing over to the St. Vincent concert at Radio City Music Hall last week, and Lodi by Ignacio Mattos was closed for the night, so Shake Shack seemed like the easiest decision. The burger — ordered with bacon, pickles, and white onions via electronic kiosk — came out in about five minutes. It was pretty darn good. I remember a slightly beefier burger with a deeper Maillard char from years past, but in its place was a softer, more loosely packed patty, arguably the most luxuriously textured fast food burger I’ve ever sampled. I gobbled it down in few minutes then watched Annie Clark rock out on the electric guitar for two hours. It was a good Tuesday night. 1700 Broadway at 53rd Street, Midtown — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

October 12

Four dark brown croquettes perched on mounds of creme fraîche are topped in orange trout roe.
Salt cod croquettes come perched on clouds of creme fraiche at Runner Up.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Salt cod croquettes at Runner Up

There are three months left in this decade of a year, but it’s safe to say my cutest dish of 2021 has already been crowned. At this restaurant-slash-wine bar from chef Daniel Eddy, who owns the neighborhood’s hit Winner bakery next door, eat-with-your hands small plates are the name of the game. Browse the restaurant’s lengthy list of snacks and appetizers — there’s “fancy ham,” sardine toast, and cheddar monkey bread — but make sure these croquettes are on your table. These spheres of smoked trout and salt cod are breaded in rye crumbs baked next door, then topped with a generous heap of trout roe. All that’s left to do is pop one in your mouth whole. 367 Seventh Avenue, near 11th Street, Park Slope — Luke Fortney, reporter

A spread of plates and small bowls featuring mezze such as green chorizo kofta and leafy greens like a radicchio salad served with breads in a basket.
The selection of breads and dips at Nura in Greenpoint.
Emma Orlow/ Eater NY

Breads and dips at Nura

A converted auto repair shop has never looked better than at the moodily-lit Nura, a new restaurant from the team behind Bushwick’s Otis. Despite standout entrees like fall-off-the-bone za’atar ribs with cherry chipotle sauce, small plates by chef Jackie Carnesi are the move here — such as green chorizo kofta, a radicchio salad with prickly pear and jicama, and passionfruit prawns. While breads and dips are often treated as a side, at Nura they are a backbone of the menu under the direction of pastry chef and fellow Roberta’s alum, Sam Short. For $19, you’ll get a heaping portion of garlic coriander naan and parker house rolls served with cultured leek butter, blistered poblano hummus, and a harissa-za’atar yogurt. 46 Norman Avenue, near Guernsey Street, Greenpoint — Emma Orlow, reporter

Hongos al ajillo at Sobre Masa.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

Hongos al ajillo at Sobre Masa

Sobre Masa is one of those places that I kept hearing about. A chef recently told me he was sourcing his masa from that venue, while a colleague quietly mentioned that it’s a place I should get under my belt, stat. No surprises here: My dinner was very, very good. The sprawling cafe was packed on Friday with a crowd of fashionable patrons sipping margaritas on couches and ordering $25 ceviches. After taking a seat at the bar, I decided to test drive the hongos al ajillo ($19), which were excellent. The kitchen sauteed mushrooms with capers and garlic; tossed the earthy stew into a pool of green chile salsa verde; and then finished it all off with quesillo cheese. The soft, salty fungi served to carry the more powerful flavors and aromas of the salsa and garlic, while the string cheese imparted everything with a cooling creaminess. I scooped everything up into blue corn tortillas for very good tacos. I’ll be back here, for sure. 53 Broadway, near Berry Street, Williamsburg — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Chunks of pork on white rice and rounds of fried tostone.
Griot at Tijo’s Kreyol Kitchen.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Griot at Tijo’s Kreyol Kitchen

Asbury Park is a little seaside town on the Jersey Shore with a disproportionate collection of great restaurants, many in corners of town rarely explored by outsiders. On the west side of town find Tijo’s Kreyol Kitchen, a great Haitian restaurant that displays its wares on a steam table. One of the most beguiling selections is griot, a pork-chunk confit tasting of its sour orange and shallot marinade. It’s served with a choice of three rices: white, rice and peas, and djon djon rice tinted black by tiny mushrooms, which are removed from the final product. As with all dishes offered, you can pay almost anything you want for a meal, depending on the number of rice scoops, quantity of main course, and selection of side dishes. The plate shown here was $11, and that’s a lot of pork at that price. 1400 Asbury Avenue, at Prospect Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

A round cream colored ceramic plate filled with radicchio, mint, and peanuts.
Radicchio salad with peanuts at Ha’s Đặc Biệt pop-up at Early June.
Bao Ong/Eater NY

Radicchio salad with peanuts at Ha’s Đặc Biệt pop-up at Early June

Bushwick, Tribeca, Bed-Stuy, Greenwich Village, Dumbo — it doesn’t seem to matter where Ha’s Đặc Biệt decides to take up residency because there’s almost always a line out the door. The popular roving pop-up’s latest stop: Paris, where Anthony Ha and Sadie Mae Burns are cooking throughout the month of October at the small wine bar Early June, just steps from the Canal Saint-Martin. As luck would have it, I was in the City of Light to celebrate a milestone birthday at the same time and stopped by for dinner one recent night. Sure enough, the candle-lit dining room was packed. Our table ordered the entire menu, including oysters doused in fish sauce and spiked with bird’s eye chile, pate, and canh chua, a sweet-and-sour seafood soup. But it was a simple radicchio salad showered with peanuts and mint (€12) that transported me back to Brooklyn, where I first tasted Ha’s Đặc Biệt’s fun, refreshing take on Vietnamese food. Maybe it was the bottles of natural wine, the buzzy energy of a dimly lit room, or the fact that I was dining in a different city, but I felt like the food was the best I’ve had from Ha and Burns. (I also tried a stellar banh mi they sold at Frenchette Bakery.) I can’t wait to see where they end up next. 19 Rue Jean Poulmarch, near Rue des Vinaigriers, Paris — Bao Ong, editor

October 4

A shaved fennel salad piled on a circular blue plate set on a light wooden table.
Shaved fennel salad at One White Street.
Missy Frederick/Eater NY

Shaved fennel salad at One White Street

My inner Midwesterner came out a little when experiencing the preciousness of One White Street during a work trip to New York last week. Inner monologue: “Why is it $24 for like five slices of crudo? Why am I awkwardly perched at a stool that is definitely too small for my frame, all for the privilege of dining in this pseudo patio structure?” But I’m ultimately glad I gave the place a chance, as it certainly didn’t disappoint in execution. The sommelier was quick with a helpful recommendation of a light, zippy, chillable red from Chile, and the standout dish of several hits was the shaved fennel (another stellar suggestion from a server). The combination of yuzu vinaigrette, bleu cheese, white anchovy, and candied pistachio wasn’t anything intuitive or expected, and the results were bright, vivid, and intriguing. I can handle a little preciousness in a place that can make a starter salad this exciting. 1 White Street, at West Broadway, Tribeca — Missy Frederick, cities director

Tasting menu at Fradei

I had a delightful dinner at Fradei, a charming tasting menu spot in Fort Greene. It reminded me of Parisian neo-bistros — wine-centric, casual, a little experimental but still accessible. I love experiencing a tasting menu that lets the kitchen show a point of view without being a huge production or over $100. The food exceeded my expectations (especially a lobster in sauce Americain and a dish of eggplants and peppers studded with pistachios), but the true highlight was the wine service, where you just choose your color and chat with the waiter about preferences or let them just pick for you. I would love to go back just to drink. 99 South Portland Avenue, near Fulton Street, Fort Greene — Amanda Kludt, editor in chief

Vegan green chorizo sits atop a slice of avocado on an open-faced blue corn tortilla
Xilonen’s green chorizo taco
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

Green chorizo taco at Xilonen

After a long week stuck inside my home office, I managed to sneak out on Friday to see how plant-forward Mexican spot Xilonen was faring following the departure of chef Alan Delgado. Alas, some of the dishes I sampled didn’t seem ready for primetime, on a number of levels, but a green chorizo taco managed to show some of the flickers of brilliance that got me so excited about this place earlier in the winter. A mound of plant-based sausage — the menu lists smoked pecans and roasted mushrooms as ingredients — exhibited a meaty softness and wonderful warming aromas, while a tart salsa verde added a solid dose of salt and acid. A fairly neutral blue corn tortilla acted as a nice delivery mechanism for all these precise, nimble flavors. I’ll definitely be back to try this dish again, and see how the rest of the menu evolves. 905 Lorimer Street at Nassau Street, Greenpoint — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

A circular dish filled with fried banana blossom pancakes and a side cup of orange relish.
Tod hau phee at Tong.
Erika Adams/Eater NY

Tod hau phee at Tong

Thai newcomer Tong’s tod hau phee, or fried banana blossom pancakes, are billed on the menu as a favorite regional after-school snack, which I read loud and clear as a necessary after-work snack for me last week. The mild blossoms transform into crunchy, crispy, salty little bites in the fryer, perfect for dunking in an accompanying cup of bright and acidic cucumber relish. Paired with a drink that I ordered on the strength of its name alone — After a Long Day — the meal at Tong’s bar was a relaxing solo unwind from, yes, a long day. 321 Starr Street, near Cypress Avenue, Bushwick — Erika Adams, reporter

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