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The Best Dishes Eater Editors Ate This Week

Chicago hot dogs, tzatziki french fries, and more

A hand holds two Chicago hot dogs, adorned with tomato, pickle, and sport peppers on a seeded bun.
A pair of Chicago hot dogs bask in the sun.
Nat Belkov/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.

July 25

Chicago dog at Dog Day Afternoon

With hot dog summer in full swing, I found myself craving the snappiest sausage in town. Turning the corner onto Prospect Park West yesterday, Dog Day Afternoon’s Vienna Beef-branded umbrella appeared as a mirage in the distance. With my first bite, I reveled in the symphony of flavors — and there are many— in this unapologetic icon of regionality. The sport peppers were pleasantly piquant, the celery salt wasn’t lacking, and that dog snapped with undeniable satisfaction. I’m not sure if the harrowing supply chain issues are to blame for the switch from sliced globe tomatoes to halved grapes, but I’m here for it: Less moisture content means the bun stays intact longer and that’s crucial when you’re dealing with the most maximalist of hot dog styles. 266 Prospect Park West, between Prospect Avenue and 17th Street, Windsor Terrace — Nat Belkov, design director

Slices of duck on rice with greens to the side.
Braised duck over rice at Lan Larb.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Kaoh nar ped at Lan Larb

Lan Larb appeared toward the end of 2014, bringing the fiery cuisine of Isan to Soho for the first time. Since then, it’s been one of the few places downtown one can get great Thai food without going to Elmhurst or Hell’s Kitchen. Gradually, though, the menu has changed away from Isan to showcase the further-north food of Chiang Mai. We were already familiar with the two-noodle tour de force known as khao soi, as well as incendiary jungle curry, concocted without the aid of coconut milk, but the menu offers a dozen more specialties from the city. One is this over-rice dish of braised duck ($16), smeared with an herbal gravy and sprinkled with sesame seeds. On the side find gai lan (Chinese broccoli) and shavings of sweet-pickled ginger, like the kind that accompanies sushi. 227 Centre Street, at Grand Street, Soho — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Customers pass in front of a Park Slope restaurant, Medusa Greek Taverna, at night.
Medusa Greek Taverna in Park Slope.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Happy hour frosé at Medusa Greek Taverna

Visits to trendy restaurants sometimes follow a certain formula: Suck down drinks, inhale food, debate dessert, and race to pay the check before the clock strikes 90 minutes and a first date off Bumble starts glowering from the door. Gone are the days of ordering appetizers in waves — and after two years of the pandemic and the average Manhattan rent being you know what, it makes sense. But that doesn’t mean it makes for a good meal. Sometimes you want to take in the octopus tentacles nailed to a restaurant’s wall, or catch up with a friend as the yogurt on your tzatziki french fries starts to congeal. In moments like these, there’s few better places than Medusa Greek Taverna, a late-night Greek restaurant that runs a happy hour until 2 a.m. several nights a week. The $9 frosé might not be the best thing you ate this week, but a drawn-out meal here could be the best you’ve had all year. 133 Fifth Avenue, near Saint Johns Place, Park Slope — Luke Fortney, reporter

A dozen peel-and-eat shrimp with cocktail sauce in a paper boat.
Shrimp lounging in a paper boat at Moby’s.
Melissa McCart/Eater NY

Shrimp and steamed clams at Moby’s

If you’re looking for relief from weekend heat, you can take the Seastreak at East 35th Street’s Pier 11 to Highlands, New Jersey for a visit to Moby’s Lobster Deck, not far from the NJ drop-off. It’s picnic-table seating with an overhang should it rain as well as sunshine seats closer to the water (be wary of marauding seagulls). Once seated, watch as fishing boats pull into Bahr’s Landing docks, check out the view across Sandy Hook, or wave to the Manhattan skyline in the distance as you snack on steamed clams ($17 a dozen) or peel-and-eat shrimp ($14.99 a dozen), followed by a boat of fried clams with fries ($21), a cod sandwich (starts at $11), hot dogs ($10), or half-pound lobster with fries ($38). Yes, you can drink here, as well as bring kids and dogs. The best part? The temperature on deck feels ten degrees cooler than the city, whether that’s from the cross-breeze or just a summer state of mind. 2 Bay Avenue, near Shore Drive, Highlands — Melissa McCart, temp. editor

Four pieces of pink-fleshed octopus are charred.
Grilled tentacles at Agnanti.
Caroline Shin/Eater NY

Grilled octopus at Agnanti

A dark sky and skinny raindrops portended yet another sudden NYC summer storm, so we ducked into the front patio of Agnanti. The staff sat the six of us — two toddlers and their exhausted parents — at the table closest to the fan, assuring us it would cool off and get that staid summer air moving, and tucked my friend’s stroller away from what would become a packed house. Since 2002, Greek families have been loosening up for the weekend at this Astoria mainstay. We shared bright red tomato croquettes, blocks of lemon potatoes, moist swordfish kebabs, and and a thick, clumpy tzatziki loaded with fresh cucumber. But the grilled octopus was the stunner — soft and smoky with crispy char on the outer membrane and suction cups, and dressed in olive oil, lemon drops, and oregano ($22). The storm never came, sparing my husband the trouble of sprinting on wet slicked streets with a toddler in his arms. 19-06 Ditmars Boulevard, at 19th Street, Astoria — Caroline Shin, temp. reporter

July 18

A stir fry on a cast iron platter with lots of lamb and onions, and green flecks of cilantro.
Jiang Nan’s cumin lamb.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Cumin lamb on a sizzling platter at Jiang Nan

Jiangnan refers to a Chinese province south of the Yangtze River during the Qing Dynasty, encompassing much of modern Southeast China. Four branches of the chain named after the province have appeared, in Jersey City, Flushing, Wall Street, and on the Bowery, all describing themselves as Asian fusion, with contrasting menus. The one on the Bowery offers a mix of Sichuan, Shanghai, and northern Chinese, with this Xinjiang dish among them. But while the classic version of the dish, favored in northwestern China and in Beijing itself, is a rather spare stir fry of lamb tendrils with Asian cumin, Jiang Nan’s version ($25) is a lusher preparation that also contains scads of garlic, onion, cilantro stems (for extra flavor and snap), and Napa cabbage, making a dish that feels more like a full meal, especially if you match it with another of the menu’s triumphs — bacon fried rice. 103 Bowery, between Canal and Hester streets, Chinatown — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

A hand reaches into a a white takeout box containing golden-fried chunks of banana.
Fried bananas from P’noi Thai Thai Grocery.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Fried bananas at P’ Noi Thai Thai Grocery

Zaab Zaab, a new Thai restaurant that has white Manhattan and Brooklynites flocking to Elmhurst — “It smells like lemongrass and sunscreen in here,” I noted to a friend — is as good as they say, but this week’s best bite actually came after our meal, as we searched for dessert at a small Thai market across the street. After meeting the owner of P’Noi Thai Thai Grocery, we walked out the door with grilled sticky rice, a bottle of Shark Sriracha, and this carton of fried bananas in tow ($7). This takeout container overflowing with oily ‘nanners turned out to be exactly what we needed after a gut-busting feast of stuffed tilapia and short rib hot pot. 76-13 Woodside Avenue, between 76th and 77th streets, Elmhurst — Luke Fortney, reporter

Spicy watermelon salad with chiles garnished with basil in a chilled bowl
Spicy watermelon salad at Mission Chinese in Bushwick
Melissa McCart

Spicy watermelon salad at Mission Chinese

I was curious to see what the end-of-an-era, round two, looks like at the one-time controversial Mission Chinese in Bushwick ahead of its closing late July. The restaurant was as cacophonous as ever, pretty packed for a Tuesday, filled with diners looking for chestnuts from the menu: dishes that debuted in NYC in 2012, what feels like a lifetime ago. We were craving the salt cod fried rice and the kung pao pastrami and ended up enjoying the spicy watermelon salad with white sesame, chile ice, and shiso ($14) most. 599 Johnson Ave., near Scott Avenue, Bushwick — Melissa McCart, temp. editor

Zucchini, beef and a noodle bob in a red broth.
Beef thenthuk from Nha Sang.
Caroline Shin/Eater NY

Beef thenthuk at Nha Sang

I get weak in the knees for a noodle soup, so as a thenthuk fan, I finally got around to visiting Nha Sang in Elmhurst. The menu here is divided into Sichuan and Tibetan sections — Robert Sietsema reported that Tibetan expats make up the largest ethnic minority in the Sichuan capital of Chengdu — but the confluence of flavors was encapsulated in this steaming bowl of beef thenthuk ($13.97) before me. Unlike the clear soups of the thenthuk at Kathmandu Fushion Kitchen and Phayul, the broth here was an eyebrow-raising opaque burnt sienna. I’m guess-attributing that to the use of tomato, because it didn’t taste burn-my-mouth spicy, but rather rich and herbal with the kick and glorious mouth-numbing effect of Sichuan peppercorns. I also relished in the crags of the twoish-inch-long torn noodles and the al-dente zucchini and celery whose structure hadn’t been melted down from over-boiling. A word to the wise: Keep swirling that broth for a uniform distribution of those pepper flakes because gravity does plunge them to the bottom during the meal. 83-17 Broadway, between Dongan and Whitney avenues, Elmhurst — Caroline Shin, temp. reporter

July 11

Filipino desserts at Kabisera

An arduous bike ride over the Williamsburg bridge had me rolling into the Lower East Side with low blood sugar and a hankering for something sweet. On the wall inside this small cafe, I noticed the Tagalog phrase “Kumain ka na?” — meaning, “Have you eaten yet?” — a physical exemplification of the welcoming environment chef Augelyn and team have created here. Kabisera’s treats range from the banana leaf-swaddled coconut cake bibingka to the sticky purple rice dessert known as biko ($5 to $8). The velvet smooth leche flan showcases savory-sweet flavors of cooked condensed milk, and my corner slice of cassava cake was a study in strata — balancing its denser bread-like layer with a moist pudding made from the nutty tuber. But next time I decide to log a few miles on two wheels and find myself in the neighborhood, I’m going for the tocilog, a full Filipino breakfast that includes sticky sweet fried pork, a tomato onion salad, garlic fried rice and a perfectly cooked egg. 151 Allen Street, near Rivington Street, Lower East Side — Nat Belkov, design director

A rolled and browned sandwich cut into slices.
Chicken shawarma Arabic at Lava.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Chicken shawarma Arabic at Lava

Not long ago, Zyara NYC was reconceived as Lava Shawarma by founder Khaleel Kateeb, with a revamped and slightly more compact menu, oriented toward grilled meats. There’s a fine thick lamb burger, and plenty of salads, dips, wraps, and kebabs, but centerpiece of the menu is a humongous rolled shawarma sandwich ($10), which could probably be shared by two. The fragments of toasty halal poultry arrive laved in the sharp garlic mayo known as toum, and come dotted with Lebanese pickles. The thing arrives conveniently divided into slider-size slices, each requiring two or three bites. 57 Clinton Street, between Stanton and Rivington streets, Lower East Side — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Quenelle de brochet au gratin at Le Gratin

I love the dining room at Daniel Boulud’s Le Gratin in what had been Keith McNally’s Augustine space: the sepia-lit dining room with a ’20s vibe and the wall-framing mirrors for maximum people watching. It’s a fun place to grab a seat at the bar with a friend and split a salade Lyonnaise, maybe the deviled egg with trout caviar, and that quenelle au gratin: pike dumpling with Gruyere-mushroom bechamel, with its quivering texture and silky mouthfeel ($32). Sure it’s not the most summery of dishes, but it’s a showstopper year-round. 5 Beekman Street, near Park Row, Financial District — Melissa McCart, temp. editor

A beef patty on a piece of parchment paper basks in the sun. A pair of white pants and black Converse shoes are visible in the background.
A beef patty at Taylor Made.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Beef patty at Taylor Made

Back when we published this map rounding up the city’s best beef patties, one commenter insisted that we had overlooked Taylor Made. Eight months later, I’m finally ready to admit that they’re right. The truth is I’d walked by this counter-service Jamaican spot dozens of times, mostly on my way to the G train a block away, but this past weekend I finally stopped inside, finding a beef patty that’s an easy contender for that map’s next update. At $4, it came brimming with ground meat that’s better seasoned than most I tasted last fall — and while my favorite patties often boast a flakier crust, this one’s generous fillings make it a Bed-Stuy standout worth trying. 393 Classon Avenue, near Greene Avenue, Bed-Stuy — Luke Fortney, reporter

Cabbage skewers at Chino Grande

Chino Grande boasts a menu of extremely hearty and delicious options: a plate of crunchy, juicy fried chicken, beef tartare in a nest of brittle potato chips, and ribs speckled with luscious trout row. What stood out most to me, though, was a common thread tying everything together: Each dish featured a variety of textures, with “crunch” playing the leading role. Case in point: the cabbage skewers. Crispy blackened edges outlined the softer center of each leaf, almost taking on the texture of a fried artichoke ($13 for two). The whole thing is dredged in creamy and tangy soy paste, aioli, and pickled mustard, making for a satisfying, complex bite. 253 Grand Street, near Roebling Street, WilliamsburgTerri Ciccone, associate director of audience, analytics and operations

Charred orange slices, seared duck and garnish greens sit on top of toast.
Duck pintxos at Sala Astoria.
Caroline Shin/Eater NY

Duck pintxos at Sala Astoria

As excavators and drills continue to break ground in western Astoria, sites like the new World Artisan Market have built out. I’ve been tracking its development, and when I saw the signage for Sala go up, I was thrilled that a Spanish tapas spot could fill in the gap left behind by the closings of El Boqueron and La Rioja. I ordered Friday’s special, a seared duck pintxo — tender and fatty duck breast on a soft toasted bread, brightened by the sweet and sour of the sherry vinegar and the charred slices of orange ($12). Nostalgia — for post work-day dinners with girlfriends in Sala’s previous iteration as Sala 19 in Flatiron and travels to pintxo shops in Spain in my pre-pandemic, pre-parenthood days — added another layer of sweetness. 34-39 31st Street, near 35th Avenue, Astoria — Caroline Shin, temp. reporter

July 6

A mountain of white ice rises above a sea of black jello awash in coconut milk.
Black jello snow ice flakes at West New Malaysia.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Black jello snow ice flakes at West New Malaysia

This recently remodeled Malaysian restaurant that evolved from a grocery store offers all the usual standards, including roti canai, assam laksa, and splendid satays heaped with a crunchy peanut sauce. There’s also an especially lush collection of shaved ice desserts, which are great if, as the hottest months of summer arrive, you’re tired of the usual gelatos, ice creams, and fruit ices. This cooling bowl starts with arresting black jello, a form of grass jelly made using a type of mint. From there, fruit compotes and coconut milk are added, and a Matterhorn of shaved ice is heaped on top. Every spoonful is different and the quantity of this dessert ($5.50) is sufficient for several diners; the waiter will readily provide extra bowls for sharing. 69 Bayard Street, between Mott and Elizabeth streets, Chinatown — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

An overhead photograph of a takeout container of beef suya, kale salad, and jollof rice.
Beef suya and jollof rice at Rodo Foods.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Beef suya at Rodo Foods

Anticipating a weekend of hot dogs and micheladas, I decided to stumble through Bed-Stuy in search of one last well-rounded meal, eventually landing at Rodo Foods. This takeout lunch counter is improbably narrow and better hidden than some of the city’s so-called “speakeasies,” distinguished only by the handful of folks usually waiting out front and a small “order here” sign. Don’t let the size fool you: Owner Ayo Agbede and chef Seun Ade are churning out orders of beef suya and hot honey salmon at quick pace — my takeout container of sliced beef, jollof rice, salad, and plantain ($16) came out after a few minutes. The crunch of kale paired with the jolt of yaji (a suya seasoning made from ground peanuts, garlic, ginger, and spices) made for a nourishing meal — and as expected, one of my last since. 420 Putnam Avenue, near Tompkins Avenue, Bed-Stuy — Luke Fortney, reporter

An overhead photograph of a plate of chilaquiles overflowing with radish, cilantro, egg, and salsa.
A heap of chilaquiles from the Commodore.
Nat Belkov/Eater NY

Chilaquiles at the Commodore

The cult-favorite chicken sandwich consistently steals the spotlight at this Williamsburg dive, but on a recent visit to the Commodore’s dimly lit dining room, it was a different dish that caught my eye. The chilaquiles — a mountain of stewed tortilla chips strewn with tender pulled chicken, two supremely cooked sunny sides, and a few Jackson Pollock-like splats of crema ($14) — was the move that morning. Though slick with salsa roja, the chips maintained their toothsome crunch and the thinly slivered radishes and showering of fresh cilantro balanced the rich dish refreshingly. No sooner than I made my way through a thirst-quenching bloody mary (the drink roster here shouldn’t be overlooked), I found that my entire plate had been polished off. 366 Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg — Nat Belkov, design director

Snow ice at Mango Mango

“It’s so good they named it twice.” That’s a years-long joke that I’ve unleashed on my poor siblings and husband (and now my toddler daughter) about Mango Mango, a modern Hong Kong-style dessert shop that’s been putting fresh fruits front and center since it opened in Manhattan’s Chinatown in 2013. And over the sweltering July 4th weekend, I made yet another beeline for menu item A2, a fruit-laden crushed ice snack ($7.25), at the Long Island City outpost. As always, I strategically designed my first bite to maximize all the goodness. The ice, crushed so delicately like snow, acted as a conductor for the fresh mango juice and condensed milk. Fleshy chunks of the perfectly ripe fruit dripped with a sweetness that contrasted with the citrus sourness of the pomelo pulp, and tiny clear pearls of sago (unlike boba whose starch is extracted from the tapioca plant) popped one by one in my mouth. 47-43 Vernon Boulevard, near 48th Avenue, Long Island City — Caroline Shin, temp. reporter

Soba noodles on a tray with dipping sauce to the left of a plate of tempura vegetables.
Mori soba at Sarashina Horii with tempura vegetables.
Melissa McCart/Eater NY

Mori soba at Sarashina Horii

There’s something especially soothing about cold soba on a hot day. Sarashina Horii, the restaurant from Japan’s soba master Yoshinori Horii, offers several hot and cold variations, including this mori soba — part wheat flour, part buckwheat — that I ordered with tempura veggies ($16 to $20, plus more for shrimp, vegetables, beef and more). I can’t wait to go back to get the namesake buckwheat noodles. 45 East 20th Street, at Broadway, Flatiron — Melissa McCart, temp. editor

A filled doughnut topped with sugar and crumbled pistachio sits in a cardboard takeout box.
Firni doughnut at Little Flower Cafe.
Nadia Q. Ahmad/Eater NY

Firni doughnut at Little Flower Cafe

The only thing I genuinely want to do after a long weekend is prolong the feeling of slowing down. It’s part of why, upon my first visit to Little Flower Cafe in Astoria, I was so pleased to see barista Hayden Dominguez and owner Ali Zaman seeming very at home at the small tables in the airy, sunlit space, chatting with customers and doing some work while enjoying coffee themselves. What I’ll say about the firni doughnut ($5) — filled with a cardamom custard that is popular in Afghan cuisine and that I also grew up eating in my Bengali household — is that I have no regrets. This fluffy, sweet baked good made reporting for work much easier. 25-35 36th Avenue, Astoria — Nadia Q. Ahmad, copy editor