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The Best Dishes Eater Editors Ate This Week

Pig’s head, mini smash burgers, Korean blood cakes, and more

A dining table with food and drinks spread out across it, and two people sitting one one side of the table with their hands visible in the photograph.
Lord’s, the new restaurant from the owners of Dame.
Lanna Apisukh/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 31

A crispy pig’s head with parsley salad and beans in a white bowl.
Pig’s head at Lord’s.
Emma Orlow/Eater NY

Pig’s head with black pudding at Lord’s

Sorry to my colleagues over at Eater London, but if I’m being honest there’s no cuisine I crave less than British pub food. But Lord’s, the new meat-heavy restaurant from the Dame team is making British fare actually exciting for winter. Though the pot pie is solid, and seemingly the menu’s signature, I think the pig’s head ($25) was better: perfectly crispy, served with unctuous beans and black pudding. 506 LaGuardia Place, Bleecker Street, Greenwich Village — Emma Orlow, reporter

A hand clutches a small, palm-sized smash burger with grilled onions.
These sliders are $3 each.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Smash burger sliders at Burger by Day

News to no one: I can’t stop eating smash burgers. Part of the problem is that, at a couple of ounces of meat each, it’s almost always possible to make room for one. But they’re also just about everywhere, calling my name with strange and sensational permutations that seem engineered for online eyeballs. Burger By Day, a burger counter that opened in Manhattan Chinatown this summer, is the latest culprit. It sells regular smash burgers and a half-pound version for $15, but I couldn’t resist the call of its sliders priced at $3 apiece. (They’re a dollar off during a happy hour from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.) A small patty comes poking its head out from a smaller brioche bun, with traces of grilled onion and American cheese. It could have used a dab of ketchup, or a cornichon-sized pickle slice, but it’s tough to complain at prices like these. 242 Grand Street, between Chrystie Street and Bowery, Chinatown — Luke Fortney, reporter

A whole bird and vegetable sides on a table.
Bo Bo Chicken and sides at Gus’s Chop House.
Melissa McCart/Eater NY

Bo Bo Chicken at Gus’s Chop House

Bo Bo chicken is the super flavorful option I used to get with chicken pho at the original Bunker in Ridgewood (now closed), or as a go-to spicy cold app at Sichuan restaurants. So I was drawn to it when I saw it on the menu at Gus’s Chop House for the Sunday Roast. Gus’s, as you may already know, comes from co-owners and partners Chris McDade and James O’Brien of nearby Popina; the Sunday roast is an abbreviated menu featuring said chicken, pork, or beef with seasonal sides for sharing. (Price note: If you’re going to get a couple of starters and split a main with those sides, you’re going to be charged a $12 share fee, so you might as well get two entrees and take stuff home.) Since I love that chicken, I couldn’t resist an order — a plus with the French onion jus on the side. A $36 entree includes a popover, sunchokes, a kale-squash plate, and fries. The whole bird is a dramatic presentation for sure and requires some elbow grease for sharing. The extra work is worth it, enhanced by a plate made for bread mopping. Here’s a plus: You can take the bird home and use it for stock if you’re so inclined. 215 Union Street, near Henry Street, Carroll Gardens — Melissa McCart, editor

Mazemen at Rule of Thirds

My ears always perk up when I hear about mazemen, a style of saucy, broth-free ramen that seems to have more in common with Italian pasta than a bowl of noodle soup. This breed doesn’t really enjoy the same local representation as ultra-rich tonkotsu — even in July — so I was energized to encounter it during a trip last week to Rule of Thirds, a sprawling Japanese izakaya in Greenpoint. Chefs serve the noodles dry, but after a few twirls of your chopsticks, the ramen start to slick themselves with a generous layer of curry gochujang sitting at the bottom of the bowl. The sauce emits spicy, tropical notes, thanks to a dose of coconut chili crisp. It’s a warming dish for a chilly day, yet the $19 preparation somehow has me thinking of next summer. We’ll get there folks. 171 Banker Street, near Norman Avenue, Greenpoint — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

A fried egg is perched atop a blood sausage at Insa, a Korean restaurant in Gowanus.
The Korean blood cake at Insa.
Nat Belkov/Eater NY

Korean blood cake at Insa

A group of friends and I snagged a coveted barbecue table in the beautiful wood-trimmed dining space of this Gowanus neighborhood favorite before taking over one of their themed karaoke rooms in the back. We greased our vocal chords with yuzu soju and filled our bellies with budae jjigae, the infamous army stew featuring ingredients from a culinary pantheon of makers — franks from Happy Valley Meats, Rancho Gordo beans, ramen from Sun Noodles, Spam-like meat — all of which were blanketed in two glistening slices of American cheese. I’ve found it hard to choose a favorite bite at Insa, but this time it was the pan-seared blood sausage ($12) that’s topped with a fried egg, perilla salt and serrano chilies. It’s crispy and slightly sweet, giving me breakfast hash vibes. It was the first thing I thought about when I woke up the next morning wishing I could amble down to Insa for another bite. 328 Douglass Street, near Fourth Avenue, Gowanus — Nat Belkov, design director

A yellow bowl of curry teeming with chicken and vegetables.
Panang curry at Thai Nara.
Nadia Q. Ahmad/Eater NY

Panang curry at Thai Nara

Last Tuesday evening my cousin and I checked out Thai Nara, a halal spot neither of us had visited before but that I’d read about via a couple of tips from a colleague. It was my first time trying panang curry ($12). The fragrance of the makrut lime leaves had me leaning over before our server could set the bowl on the table. The combination of that with spices and creamy coconut milk — at once floral, tangy, fiery, and nutty — would make any choice of vegetable or meat (we got chicken) a good one. Dining beneath string lights, a framed photograph of hajjis circumambulating the Kaaba, and a large screen playing videos by food blogger Mark Wiens of Migrationology, we were looking at an empty dish in no time. If you’re wondering: Yes, order it spicy. And yes, order two. 64-02 35th Avenue, entrance on 64th Street, Woodside — Nadia Q. Ahmad, copy editor

October 24

Frito Pie at Hometown BBQ

In the Midwest, it’s the walking taco. In the mid-Atlantic, it’s taco in a bag. In Texas, it’s Frito pie, and at Billy Durney’s acclaimed hill country barbecue hall, it’s the best stab at this nostalgic treat New York has yet to see. Deep crimson Texas chili laced with tender strands of smoked brisket is ladled into a bag of Fritos that’s been slit down the belly to expose the crunchy corn chips within. A lava flow of queso flecked with that same brisket follows. And to counter all that saucy savory energy with a bit of heat and welcomed acidity, the team finishes the dish with tart pickled jalapeno and slivered red onions, along with a drizzle of chipotle lime crema. Call it what you want, but this humble regional classic is a crowd favorite for a reason and Hometown proves it has a place here in the northeast. 454 Van Brunt Street, at Reed Street, Red Hook — Nat Belkov, design director

A black tray is filled with pumpkin and pork dumplings beside bottles of sauce.
Pumpkin and pork dumplings.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Pumpkin dumplings at A-Pou’s Taste

I was only halfway through my order of pumpkin dumplings when the owner of A-Pou’s Taste asked me whether I wanted to sing a song. These sort of questions aren’t as unusual as you might think when you dine alone at restaurants as often as I do, and in fact, a server at El Rey del Pescado in Sunset Park asked me the same thing last month. Now, like then, I obliged. The experience is part of how A-Pou’s ended up on our guide to Williamsburg’s best restaurants right now, but rest assured the food more than holds up. The pumpkin dumplings, chewy and slightly charred, came five to an order for $4. I left with the memory of their sweet filling — and a song sheet the owner handed to me on my way out. “To practice,” they said. 963 Grand Street, between Catherine Street and Morgan Avenue, Williamsburg — Luke Fortney, reporter

A bowl of brown broth with an egg and noodles and cilantro visible.
Mohinga at Thar Gi Mohinga.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Mohinga at Thar Gi Mohinga & Burmese Food

The HK Supermarket food court in Elmhurst is a work in progress, with half the stalls occupied as the market is refurbished. The one that attracted my eye was this counter offering food from Myanmar. Seven typical dishes are tendered, plus snacks, including the namesake stew (and national signature dish) mohinga. It comes in a white plastic bowl with a fish broth said to be boiled with ginger and garlic, during which time the fish reduces itself to fragments that are eventually mashed. Aromatics like lemongrass and cilantro are added, then finally the rice noodles and crunchy fritters made from chickpea flour are tossed in. The soup ($10, plus $1 more for an egg) is ultra-customizable, and customers pride themselves in a nuanced choice of add-ins. 82-02 45th Avenue, at 82nd Street, Elmhurst — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Half a lobster sits on a white plate next to a martini with a lemon twist.
Lobster with tomalley fried rice at LittleMad.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

Lobster with tomalley fried rice at Little Mad

Hand Hospitality boasts quite a collection of prix fixe restaurants; the group counts Atoboy, Atomix, Jua, and LittleMad under its larger umbrella. And even though each of these ambitious (and not-cheap) modern Korean venues are located fairly close to one another in greater Midtown, most manage to fill up on any given night. A bustling crowd packed LittleMad on a recent Wednesday; the narrow space was filled with patrons willing to pay $75 for a five-course tasting before tax, tip, and supplements. I was particularly fond of the half lobster with tomalley fried rice. Chef Sol Han, an alum of Le Coucou, and his crew made a predictably buttery affair out of the tail, but the kitchen also stuffed a pile of rice into the body cavity. Mixed with the lobster’s tasty guts, the grains took on a wonderful creaminess and maybe just a whisper of funk. And honestly, the dish still has two more elements (a kimchi salad and a lobster-y soup) that I’m leaving out! 110 Madison Avenue, near East 30th Street, Midtown — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

The menu for All American Drive-In with prices for $4.20 quarter pound burgers, is displayed above a busy kitchen.
All American Drive-In has been a Long Island fixture since the 1960s.
Emma Orlow/Eater NY

Cheeseburger at All American Drive-In

I thought I was going to go apple picking this weekend, but forgot to check the weather and woke up to rain. Being able to borrow a car in NYC is such a rare special treat for me that I made a day out of it anyway. After doing some thrifting on Long Island, I parked at All-American Drive-In, a burger spot that’s been open since the 1960s. Prices seem to have remained largely a relic of the past themselves: The quarter pounder with cheese I got was only $4.20. For an easy-peasy on-the-go meal that felt a little more special than just going to a nearby McDonald’s, I highly recommend snarfing one down, guzzling a Coke in the other hand, and staying cozy in (someone else’s) car while it pours. 4286 Merrick Road, at West End Avenue, Massapequa — Emma Orlow, reporter

October 18

Goong pae bai chaphu at Mitr Thai

The shiny and pointy betel leaf is common in Indian and Vietnamese cooking, but I’d never seen it before in Thai food. At newcomer Mitr Thai just south of Rockefeller Center, it appears along with dried shrimp in wonderful fritters called goong pae bai chaphu ($14), in a recipe from Thailand’s Malay Peninsula. Hot from the fat, they are briny and crunchy, with the subtle astringent flavor betel leaves confer. Betel leaves also appear on the side, for wrapping morsels of fritter. A sweet chile-peanut sauce accompanies. 37 West 46th Street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues, Midtown — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

A hand holds a flash over an ice cream sandwich with cilantro and peanuts on top in a Brooklyn restaurant, Win Son.
Sesame ice cream, butter-fried peanuts, cilantro, and condensed milk.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Tián miàntuán at Win Son

Every time an iPhone flashes in a New York restaurant, an angel loses its wings. Still, there are times when it can’t be avoided: You’re the @theviplistnyc at a Jean-Georges restaurant, for example, or me sitting across from this tián miàntuán at Win Son two weeks ago. The dessert looks like an ordinary ice cream sandwich in the dark, but bust out the flashlight app and all sorts of surprises await. A block of sesame ice cream is held in place by two pieces of fried dough that are drenched in condensed milk ($13), plus butter-fried peanuts and cilantro if you pay two dollars more. (Pay two dollars more.) I’m not sure if it was the flash or the dessert that interrupted the breakup happening to our right, but thank god it did! 159 Graham Avenue, at Montrose Avenue, Williamsburg — Luke Fortney, reporter

Raw scallops lie underneath a clock of brown-ish XO sauce in a small bowl
Scallops with XO sauce and Cara Cara orange.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

Scallops with XO sauce at Atoboy

In case anyone’s wondering what a prix-fixe Modern Korean spot looks like at 10:00 p.m. on a Friday, let me paint a Carbone-esque picture with Atoboy: Just about every seat is filled, with a line to see the host practically snaking out the door. An apologetic staffer checks in on three smartly dressed patrons waiting for their reservation, explaining that the party before them has overstayed their welcome. Lucky for me, walk-in counter seating wasn’t tough to snag, and the result was this: a very tasty composition of raw shellfish. The kitchen, under the auspices of chef Junghyun Park, slathers scallops in enough XO sauce to qualify as dip. The condiment imparts the mollusks with a kick of heat and a wallop of funk, while Cara Cara oranges cut through the musk with a bit of fragrant brightness. Cost: $75 for the five-course menu, service included. 43 East 28th Street, near Park Avenue, Midtown — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

A glass of pudding with shortbread on the side.
The butterscotch pudding at Nougatine.
Melissa McCart/Eater NY

Butterscotch pudding with sea-salt caramel at Nougatine

There is something magical about dining during a rainstorm at Nougatine, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s sleek dining room in the Trump Tower, with the twinkling lights of skyscrapers as the across-the-table backdrop. On this visit, I shared a collection of starters with friends — sea trout crispy sushi, a near-perfect tuna tartare, citrus-layered chicory salad — followed by a shared veal Milanese. It’s rare that dessert makes the experience better; usually, I’ve eaten too much to care or the selection can be underwhelming. In the case of this butterscotch pudding ($16) with sea-salt caramel and shortbread cookies on the side, it was a dessert that enhanced an already memorable meal. 1 Central Park West, near W. 60th Street and Broadway, Upper West Side — Melissa McCart, interim editor

Chicken jook porridge at Leland Eating and Drinking House

Since fall is here, I’m trying to soak up all the outdoor dining while the weather still permits. I had passed by Leland Eating and Drinking House recently and saw they had these grey wool blankets at their set-up. While last night I luckily didn’t need one, I still wanted something a little warm and cozy while I ate dinner with a friend. The chicken jook porridge was just what I was looking for: comforting, fatty chicken broth, with spice from the chile oil. At $14, it felt like plenty for an entree. 755 Dean Street, at Underhill Avenue, Prospect Heights — Emma Orlow, reporter

October 11

A bowl of reddish soup with a side of rice.
A bowl of mohinga with a side of rice at Little Myanmar.
Melissa McCart/Eater NY

Mohinga at Little Myanmar

I’m happy to revisit Little Myanmar to make my way through the menu, but two dishes I’ll keep on my rotation are the mohinga, a fragrant fish noodle soup ($14) that’s laced with ginger, lemongrass, paprika, and turmeric then sprinkled with crushed chiles and a hit of lime just before slurping. I’m also smitten with the lemon salad, a pile of peeled citrus with fish paste, fried onions, and cabbage ($15). Can you tell I love acid? 150 E. 2nd Street, near Avenue A, East Village — Melissa McCart, interim editor

Hangover cure at Little Kirin

There are dozens of variations on NYC’s classic BEC, but this may be the most opulent. Little Kirin arrived on St. Mark’s Place in July, serving a combination of heros, bowls, and breakfast sandwiches, often with Vietnamese and Japanese flourishes, creating a menu with lots of unique dishes, including a sandwich version of pho. The Hangover Cure ($10) is the name of a breakfast sandwich that layers fried eggs, bacon, American cheese, a crunchy layer of hash browns, and spam on a round puffy roll. It’s the perfect remedy for that throbbing headache from last night’s excesses, and every bite is a multi-textural delight. 81 St. Mark’s Place, between First and Second avenues, East Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

A blue and white porcelain bowl is filled with a cloudy soup base with noodles, tofu, and vegetables.
If you’re looking for a restaurant you can actually get into in Williamsburg, try Bolero.
Emma Orlow/Eater NY

Spicy lemongrass mushroom soup at Bolero

Last week, I decided that for once I was going to try my luck as a walk-in for a new restaurant, Tonchin Brooklyn, which looked great but hadn’t been getting a ton of hype. It was a Tuesday, after all... or so I thought. Despite the fact that I am well aware of today’s current reservation culture, I still played myself! It was cold that night and my boyfriend and I had our hearts set on noodle soup, so we walked over to the nearby Vietnamese spot Bolero, where the was plenty of space for the reservation-less. While the vibe in there was definitely more brightly lit and less vibey than the date I had envisioned, the vegetarian spicy lemongrass noodle soup ($17) was ultimately what we both needed anyway. The noodles had the right amount of chewiness and the soup was packed with so many hearty ingredients — from tofu to king oyster mushrooms — that it helped make up for the switch (kind of). 177 Bedford Avenue, between North Seventh and Eighth streets, Williamsburg — Emma Orlow, reporter

Dipping sauces and a bamboo steamer with soup dumplings are arranged on a wooden table.
Soup dumplings come six to an order at M Shanghai.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Pork soup dumplings at M Shanghai

My friends have been hard at work this last month, fine-tuning their rosters of prospective lovers in anticipation of cuffing season. I’m slacking, if you ask them, but behind the scenes I’ve been soul-searching for the borough’s best xiao long bao, a more stable partner (in my experience) when it comes to the fall and winter months. Such is the tragic tale of how I ended up at M Shanghai, a sleeper hit of a restaurant whose dining room was almost empty around lunchtime last week, save for the delivery workers flowing in and out of its front door. Soup dumplings come six to an order ($9), larger than most with thick wrappers that leave you with lots to chew on. The pork nectar inside is rich and fatty; one order per person is all you need. 292 Grand Street, between Roebling and Havemeyer streets, Williamsburg — Luke Fortney, reporter

October 6

An overhead photograph of takeout containers with biryani and samosas.
A $15 lunch for two at Indian King Biryani House.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Chicken biryani at Indian King Biryani House

We’re back in office, sort of, meaning my search for lunch under $10 rages on. The Financial District, an uninspiring food neighborhood on its face, is chock-full of food carts in this category, including Sam’s Falafel, where $9 gets you a falafel platter with lots of sides, and the excellent Banh Mi Cart, serving $8 sandwiches on Hanover Square. Best among them must be Indian King Biryani House, a cart whose line speaks for itself. Nine dollars gets you a takeout tray with tender chicken, rice tasting of saffron, a side salad shoved into one corner, and lots of sauce (be sure to get all three). The samosas to the right ($6) probably weren’t necessary, and technically nudged me over $10, but at a dollar apiece they were too hard to pass on. Welp, back to my desk. Southeast corner of Broadway and Liberty Street, Financial District — Luke Fortney, reporter

A hand holds a delicious looking cheeseburger with a few shreds of onion hanging out.
S&P’s wonderful cheeseburger is the perfect thing for lunch. Note that the bun has been toasted.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Cheeseburger at S&P

The new owners at S&P (the former Eisenberg’s) have certainly done their research. They have resurrected a type of New York City restaurant that originated in the early 19th century and became predominant a century ago — the lunch counter. These original fast-food spots served up sandwiches, soups, and other modest fare along a counter with no-nonsense stools, guaranteeing quick turnover. One retrograde treat that S&P gets right is the cheeseburger. Theirs is a thin seared patty with American cheese, raw onions, pickle chips, and mustard instead of mayo or ketchup (or some sort of disgusting “special sauce”). This historic condiment keeps the burger on the savory side and adds a welcome tart note that doesn’t upstage the beefiness. The balance of elements is perfect, and this cheeseburger ($8) is the best I’ve tasted this year. Wash it down with a chocolate egg cream. 175 Fifth Avenue, between 22nd and 23rd streets, Flatiron District — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

An overhead photograph of a bowl of frijoles charros on a marble bar counter.
Taqueria Ramírez’s piping hot frijoles charros paired perfectly with an agave highball.
Nat Belkov/Eater NY

Taqueria Ramirez’s frijoles charros at Tørst

It rained Sunday when Taqueria Ramírez popped up at Tørst. In fact, it rained all weekend, which made this already delicious frijoles charros ($12) even more soul-nourishing. Seeking refuge from the elements, I huddled over a blue corn gordita stuffed with pork skin and queso cremoso, along with this piping hot bowl of stewy beans, chorizo, bacon and tomato, topped with cilantro and a couple shards of crunchy chicharron. How, with standard galley kitchen equipment, they imbued the guajillo chile-fortified chicken broth with the smokey savor of a raging campfire, I do not know. With a few pop-ups under their belts now, the Ramírez team is showing us just how agile and creative they are in the kitchen, which is a surprise to no one. Keep ’em coming! 615 Manhattan Avenue, near Nassau Avenue, Greenpoint — Nat Belkov, design director

Layers of pink tete de cochon are interspersed between layers of tan foie gras terrine; white Sauternes gelee and rust-colored nectarine puree lie on the side
Foie gras terrine at Corner Bar.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

Foie gras terrine at Corner Bar

I was relieved when a court delayed New York’s misguided foie gras ban last month. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take a nice plate of sauteed ramps any day of the week over fatty liver, which isn’t something I eat more than once or twice a year. But I still get excited when a couple of chefs can find a way to make this rich, old-school delicacy taste light and new. Enter Ignacio Mattos and Vincent D’Ambrosio of Corner Bar. The kitchen layers the $32 foie in between strips of jiggly tete de cochon. If this were a sandwich, the pig’s head would be the meat, and the impossibly airy foie, the mayo. A spoonful of Sauternes gelée sits on the side, as does a quenelle of nectarine puree, to counteract all the carnivorous opulence with some necessary plant-based perfume. I can’t wait to try it again — in maybe six months or so. 60 Canal Street, at Allen Street, Lower East Side — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

A cheese souffle puffs from its ceramic container at Koloman, a new restaurant in Nomad.
The cheese souffle at the newly opened Koloman.
Melissa McCart/Eater NY

Cheese Souffle at Koloman

I’m smitten with savory and sweet souffles and delighted that they’re making a comeback. I love this one from the newly opened Koloman in Nomad, an elegant, arts-and-crafts about-face from the dark-and-clubby Breslin. Layered with aged cheddar and Pleasant Ridge Reserve, served with a side of mushroom jam, this souffle ($26) is lovely to share as one of a collection of dishes or as a main with a salad compose: market greens, radishes, and a citrus vinaigrette ($17). 16 W. 29th Street, near Sixth Avenue, Nomad — Melissa McCart, interim editor