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The Best Dishes Eater Editors Ate This Week

Onion rings, fuchka, rice pilaf, and more

A tinfoil bowl is filled with fuchka topped with onions and other garnishes.
Fuchka from a Jackson Heights food cart.
Nadia Q. Ahmad/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.

June 27

A black table with a red paper place mat features a bowl filled with Greek salad with a black steak knife resting on the left side of the bowl. A basket of onion rings with checkboard paper lining stands behind, left of frame.
A pre-hike diner visit is always the move.
Emma Orlow/Eater NY

Onion rings at Suburban Diner

One of the best day trips you can take from NYC is hiking at Harriman State Park, which is an hour’s drive away from central Brooklyn. I head there whenever I am especially in need of green things to look at and help alleviate the general stress of being a human in America and its deluge of bad news. My move before the hike is to always hit nearby Suburban Diner in Paramus, New Jersey. Not all the items are a ten here — they use off-brand ketchup, for one — but if you know how to navigate the menu, this is one of the best diners in the tri-state area. Go for the shatteringly crisp onion rings (around $10) — truly some of the best I’ve ever had — for some pre-hike carb-loading. 172 Route 17 North, Paramus, New Jersey — Emma Orlow, reporter

A metal platter with small metal bowls filled with various dips.
Salatim at Laser Wolf.
Bao Ong/Eater NY

Salatim at Laser Wolf

Diners at chef Michael Solomonov’s Laser Wolf, which is perched atop the Hoxton hotel’s rooftop, enjoy some of the best views of the Manhattan skyline. When you’re done ogling the scene, however, it’s the salatim — Hebrew for the traditional Israeli spread of small dishes, usually cold salads — that steals the show. Creamy hummus, mouth-puckering pickles, and buttery beans are just a few of the dozen or so tiny bowls that come as part of the spread. There may be some sticker shock when ordering one of the skewers or another grilled item — a mere brisket kebab is $48 and a whole shawarma-spiced cauliflower goes for $45 — but the complimentary salatim and dessert were our favorite parts of the meal. 97 Wythe Avenue, between North Ninth and 10th streets, Williamsburg — Bao Ong, editor

Fuchka at Tong NYC

When I first took a longtime friend to the Tong NYC cart in Jackson Heights to get a plate of the Bengali street food fuchka ($6), her immediate reaction was anger... because I had waited so long to tell her about it. I can’t blame her; who am I to deny anyone the perfect bite? On a recent late-night visit with family from out of town, the “bhaiya,” brother, behind the window was endlessly busy as usual, cracking crispy fried semolina balls and filling them with a mix of spiced chickpeas, potatoes, and onion, then topping them with grated hard-boiled egg and cilantro, and green chiles for those who want it extra “jhal,” or spicy. We doused them with tangy tamarind water and then popped each one into our mouths in one go. On the corner of 73rd Street at 37th Avenue, Jackson Heights — Nadia Q. Ahmad, copy editor

A blue plate is covered with rice pilaf, beef, and two red chile peppers.
A dish from Tandir Rokhat.
Ian Stroud/Eater NY

Rice pilaf at Tandir Rokhat

This week I found myself in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, and wandered into the Uzbek restaurant Tandir Rokhat. I asked the staff what they recommended and was immediately pointed towards the rice pilaf ($13.99), the samsa tandoori, and the fresh salad. The pilaf was a wonderful combination of expertly-seasoned rice and spectacularly fatty, tender beef. Despite the presence of two bright chiles in the pilaf, the spice level was extremely mild. I would also be remised to not mention the extremely kind, thoughtful, and informative service. Restaurants like Tandir Rokhat are what make living in New York exciting, and I can’t wait to return. 2678 Coney Island Avenue, near Avenue X, Sheepshead Bay — Ian Stroud, development producer

June 21

A Georgian burrito broken in half with meat tumbling out, displayed on a pizza box in bright sunlight.
Jumbo pork shawarma at Little Georgia.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Large size pork shawarma at Little Georgia

On the way from the subway to the beach, Little Georgia is a bakery, grocery, and prepared food counter specializing in the regional breads known as khachapuri (eight versions of them to be exact). But it also provides what it calls Georgian shawarma, in two sizes: The smaller one ($10) is burrito size, but the larger one ($13) will remind you of a baseball bat — pick jumbo chicken or pork and swing for the fences. A pound or so of meat is enveloped in a thin lavash flatbread with onion, lettuce, tomato, purple cabbage, optional hot chiles, and a red, oily mayo. Each bite is rich and even greasy, but there’s nothing better to eat while seated on a boardwalk bench as the waves roll in. 3089 Brighton Sixth Street, between Brighton Beach Avenue and Riegelmann Boardwalk, Brighton Beach — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

A hand clutches a blue plate with a saucy seafood skewer. Plates with other skewers are available in the background.
A table of skewers at Chino Grande.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Swordfish skewer at Chino Grande

I’ve been hearing whispers about Chino Grande being “very good” ever since this restaurant opened last April. Somehow that’s felt like a bad thing. On paper, this restaurant has all the makings of a restaurant people usually shout from the social media rooftops about — a Win Son co-owner, late-night karaoke, a hot Grand Street address. Yet, our group of three walked into the half-filled restaurant last Friday night without a wait. Whatever the reason for the slow start, I’m glad to be able to visit this neighborhood hangout without much planning. I have a hunch that’s going to change as soon as Williamsburg gets a taste of its excellent swordfish skewers ($15 for two), which come slathered in a saucy aji panca sauce. 253 Grand Street, near Roebling Street, Williamsburg — Luke Fortney, reporter

Goma shoyu tuna bowl at Chikarashi

When you can’t beat the heat of summer in the city, one option is to eat your way out of it. Sounds counterintuitive, I know, but maybe not at Chikarashi, where all the bowls on the menu look both filling and refreshing. I took a cue from our roundup of Canal Street eats and headed there in the first place, but skipped over the recommended Sichuan chile salmon, asking the cashier instead which tuna option they’d pick. Their personal preference was the goma shoyu tuna bowl ($17, or $19 for a large), which I’d absolutely get again: Sesame and soy highlight fresh bluefin tuna pieces; chewy, neon-green wakame; and silky avocado slices all on a bed of sushi rice with furikake and crunchy garlic chips on top. I have no one to blame but myself for not trying the Dole Whip — that surely would have been an extra bright and summery treat. Good thing summer days are long and the season’s just beginning; there’s more than enough time for me to visit again, and again. 227 Canal Street, between Baxter and Centre streets, Chinatown — Nadia Q. Ahmad, copy editor

A white plate of salad greens with an orb of burrata cheese topped with yellow shavings of bottarga.
Burrata and bottarga salad at Frankies 457.
Ian Stroud/Eater NY

Burrata and bottarga salad at Frankies 457

I recently spent 18 months living in California, and I learned only two things there: vegetables are seriously underrated, and I really missed Frankies 457 in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. The pasta is the obvious choice at Frankies, and while I always order the cavatelli with hot sausage and browned sage butter, you’re not getting the full experience unless you order a least one salad. I opted for the burrata and bottarga salad ($19). The burrata is light and creamy, the bottarga adds a welcome layer of texture and salt, and the addition of fresh spring peas plus anchovies bring the dish together. The pastas are savory home runs, but a lighter salad like this is my preferred way to clear the palate. 457 Court Street, between Fourth Place and Luquer Street, Carroll Gardens — Ian Stroud, Development Producer

Steak au poivre at the Brass Rail

A affordable-ish steak dinner is a true diamond in the rough in our era of sky-high food prices. Skirt Steak in Midtown does a solid job on that front with its bare bones, $28 prix-fixe, though one can find other impressive options with a bit of geographical open-mindedness. Enter the Brass Rail in Locust Valley, Long Island. For $41, the kitchen sends out a lush strip steak, garnished with as many cracked peppercorns as barnacles on a weathered rock. The pepper lends precise notes of citrus and heat to the juicy cut, while cognac sauce amps up the beefiness factor. Mashed potatoes and spinach (included) help cleanse the palate in between bites. Best of all: it’s all enough to feed two. 180 Forest Avenue, near Ash Street, Locust Valley — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

Frena at Shukette

Having eaten my fair share of Israeli food, especially at destinations in NYC (Balaboosta, Miriam, Miznon, 12 Chairs) and my hometown of Philadelphia (Zahav, Goldie), I was eager to finally try Shukette. A spinoff from the Shuka team, the one-year-old Shukette didn’t disappoint, with a more playful vibe than its sister restaurant and unfailingly excellent dishes in every course. My highlight was the frena ($8), a Moroccan bread that even my partner Daniel, whose family goes back generations in Morocco, was unfamiliar with — picture a focaccia but round, dotted with spices and roasted garlic so soft you can spread it. The warm frena made the perfect vehicle for the bessara, a spicy fava bean dip, and labneh, which on the night I went, was being served with seasonal figs. Everything else we ate at Shukette was delicious — but as with most Middle Eastern restaurants, the dips and breads are the move. 230 Ninth Avenue, near West 24th Street, Chelsea — Ellie Krupnick, Director of Editorial Operations

June 13

A hand with a gold bracelet holds up a layered turkey sandwich with an orange sauce.
Half of a Peking turkey sandwich at Mission Sandwich Social.
Emma Orlow/Eater NY

Peking turkey sandwich at Mission Sandwich Social

Mission Sandwich Social is a new Williamsburg spot by chef Brian Tsao, an alum of Beauty & Essex, where sandwiches are prepared on Dutch crunch, a flakey bread with an apparently strong fan base in San Francisco. I had never heard of Dutch crunch, and I was curious why more New York spots hadn’t yet tried their hands at it, so I stopped by for the Peking Turkey version (turkey and cheddar with bean sprouts, pickled carrots, and scallion, doused in mayo, sriracha, and hoisin). Sandwiches here come in luxe, purse-like to-go containers, accompanied by a surprise Tootsie pop. Overall, the Peking Turkey is a banger, but there may actually be a thing as a sandwich too big. A word of advice: Saving the other half of this $17 lunch isn’t ideal, because the decadent sauces make the sandwich get soggy the next day, so make sure to come really hungry or bring a buddy. 326 Bedford Avenue, at South Second Street, Williamsburg — Emma Orlow, reporter

A black plastic tub with red chicken parts and black beans.
Pollo guisado at Deli El Chapincito.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Pollo guisado at Deli El Chapincito

Sure you can find Guatemalan bodegas in Dyker Heights, Sunset Park, and Jamaica, but the recently opened El Chapincito is the first I know of in Manhattan. Like the others, it features a small cafe in back with a handful of seats along a counter and a lone table behind the shelves of groceries, candies, and beverages. A steam table displays three or so stews per day and a tub of freshly fried chicken. Steaks are grilled in a rear kitchen. The pollo guisado ($11) comes with a tomato-enriched sauce, vegetable-dotted rice, black beans, and a pair of Guatemalan tortillas — made with white corn, smaller and thicker than the ones often seen in Mexican taquerias. This dish makes a lovely lunch or dinner. 168 Lexington Avenue, between 30th and 31st streets, Murray HIll — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Cucumbers, shrimp, and red onion overflow from a molcajete at Los Mariscos in Chelsea Market.
An aguachile and clamato at Los Mariscos.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Aguachile verde at Los Mariscos

Years before Mariscos El Submarino helped put aguachile on the map in New York City, there was Los Mariscos, a Mexican seafood counter from the Los Tacos No. 1 team and one of few restaurants I’d wade through a tourist-packed Chelsea Market for on a summer afternoon. I headed here planning to order a clamato, a cousin of the Michelada made using Clamato juice, but I was forced to recalculate after seeing a customer hunched over a molcajete, spooning seafood into their mouth, their nose running from the spices. I knew it had to be mine. The green aguachile with shrimp ($20) was better than any I’ve had in Manhattan or Brooklyn, and just a hair behind the one at Mariscos El Submarino in Jackson Heights, which comes with an improbable portion of shrimp and octopus for a dollar less. 409 West 15th Street, between Ninth and 10th avenues, Chelsea Market — Luke Fortney, reporter

A sliced steak with bone with sides of hasbrowns and a plate of green vegetables with a glass of lemonade on the side.
Steak with sides of hasbrowns and greens at Gallaghers Steakhouse.
Bao Ong/Eater NY

Hash browns at Gallaghers Steakhouse

At a recent lunch, the tomahawk arriving at our table stole the show with its charred exterior, bright red slices of tender beef, and a dramatic bone falling off the plate. But it was the side of hash browns ($13) that my friends and I raved about the most. If you’re a fan of shredded hash browns (the superior form, by the way), this is a must order. The dish resembles the size of a small pie, one that’s all carbs. The chefs prepare the potatoes just right: a crispy, golden exterior gives way to evenly cooked spuds that soak up all the juices running from the steak. Next time, I’m coming back to order this diner staple at Gallaghers to pair with what Eater critic Ryan Sutton called one of NYC’s best prime ribs. 228 West 52nd Street, between Broadway and Eighth Avenue, Midtown — Bao Ong, editor

June 6

Several linear doughnuts dusted with white sugar wrapped in paper with dark brown sauce on the side.
Churros at Mermaid Mexicana.

Churros at Mermaid Mexicana

When was the last time dessert was the highlight of your meal? Don’t get me wrong, the al pastor tacos, fluke aguachile, and even the guac were top notch at this Greenwich Village newcomer — a spinoff of the seafood-oriented Mermaid Inn chain, founded in 2003. Chef Victor Marin decided to explore his Mexican roots with a menu of old favorites, nothing too elaborate or too innovative, and the overall effect is refreshing. But after a memorable meal, the churros ($13) arrive, crustier than most and coated in brown sugar, steaming hot in their tissue paper. But what might stick with you longest is the chocolate dipping sauce, dark and almost unsweet, with the kick of espresso, launching you like a rocket into the summer evening after your meal. 79 MacDougal Street, between Bleecker and Houston streets, Greenwich Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

A slice of white asparagus sits over rice in a nori hand roll; a small quenelle of golden osetra caviar garnishes the vegetable
The white asparagus and caviar hand roll at Mari.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

White asparagus at Mari

White asparagus is one of those spring vegetables that has never truly excited me like ramps, fiddleheads, or favas. But during a recent trip to Mari, part of my review for Eater NY, chef Sungchul Shim helped change my mind about the mild-flavored stalk. As a $13 supplement to the prix-fixe, the chef took a beautifully pale slice of the vegetable and nestled it atop a nori hand roll, before garnishing it with a tiny quenelle of golden osetra caviar. The asparagus boasted a nice crunch, and thanks to a drizzle of soy milk, a creamy sweetness — a welcome counterpoint to the saline caviar. It was all a subtle, thrilling, two-bite salad course of sorts, a refreshing interlude to the longer, more seafood-centric tasting. 679 Ninth Avenue, near 47th Street, Hell’s Kitchen — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

A bagel overflowing with salmon roe, capers, cream cheese, and tomato.
A bagel with lox at Simply Nova.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Bagel with lox at Simply Nova

A sweaty walk through Williamsburg last weekend led me to Simply Nova, a new-ish bagel shop dripping in old-school charm. There weren’t any customers when I stepped inside around 9 a.m., but a ticket dispenser instructing people to “take a number” suggests I might have just beat the rush. The employees working the counter here will let you try most a few types of fish before settling on a bagel, which helps when bagel sandwiches can clock in at over $20 apiece after tax and tip. After tasting a few, I settled on the excellent Eastern Nova Scotia version, a simple smoked fish that paired well with the cream cheese, tomato, onion, capers, and salmon roe I couldn’t help but order (around $25). The everything bagel itself was… fine, but the selection of smoked fish is tough to beat in this stretch of Brooklyn. 754 Metropolitan Avenue, near Graham Avenue, Williamsburg — Luke Fortney, reporter

A wood platter with slices of grilled cuttlefish garnished with green herbs with a small plate of green chile sauce.
The grilled cuttlefish at Lum Lum.
Bao Ong/Eater NY

Grilled cuttlefish at Lum Lum

I’m constantly following in my colleague Robert Sietsema’s footsteps, but this is perhaps the first time I’ve been to the same spot years apart. In 2005, I’d often swing by Pam Real Thai Food — which closed for good during the pandemic — seeking an affordable dinner after my non-paying internship. Nearly 17 years later, I found myself at this Hell’s Kitchen spot after Robert praised Lum Lum’s squid ink soup (it’s definitely a must-try dish). I’d also add the grilled cuttlefish ($12) before diving into the rest of the menu. It’s hard tell if it was the juicy, charred slices of the mollusk or the nasal-clearing chile lime dipping sauce that made this dish such a hit for our table. Nobody was shy about leaving the last piece out of politeness this time. I’m definitely coming back soon to this Thai seafood bar and ordering this just for myself. 404 West 49th Street, between Ninth and 10th avenues, Hell’s Kitchen — Bao Ong, editor