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The Best Dishes Eater Editors Ate This Week

Mortadella sandwiches, Caribbean patties, and more

A mortadella sandwich by Salvo’s on a takeout paper.
A mortadella sandwich from Salvo’s Cucina Casalinga.
Emma Orlow/Eater NY

With Eater editors dining out sometimes several times a day, we 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.

October 30

Mortadella sandwich at Salvo’s Cucina Casalinga

Each week, Salvatore La Rosa offers a rotating menu of two to three different Italian sandwiches for pre-order via his Instagram Salvo’s Cucina Casalinga. Thursday’s sandwich was homemade bread with mortadella, crushed pistachios, sun-dried tomatoes, and burrata ($16). Currently, delivery is only available to residents of Bed-Stuy, Ridgewood, and Bushwick; I was outside of that zone, so I met him at a coffee shop in the radius. It was worth planning my week around. — Emma Orlow, reporter

An overhead photograph of two beef patties with bites out of them.
A patty with bacalao and whipped plantain from Pops Patties.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Bacalao patty at Pops Patties

In the past year, I’ve eaten Caribbean patties filled with mozzarella sticks, macaroni and cheese, oxtail gravy, and more: It’s a small revolution. One of my favorites in the new wave comes from Pops Patties, a pop-up at the Crown Heights wine bar Winner on Franklin. There Shirwin Burrowes, a Bajan chef who used to work at the Michelin-starred restaurant Uncle Boons, prepares patties in its basement with fine dining finesse. The bacalao patty ($6) is made by whipping together plantain and salt cod in the style of a French brandade. The pastry is equally impressive: It’s buttery, slightly caramelized, and ultra flaky, the kind of patty that ends up all over the sidewalk and probably your clothes, too. 747 Franklin Avenue, near Sterling Place, Crown Heights — Luke Fortney, reporter

A brown quater chicken in wooden box with several other compartments.
Quarter-chicken combo at Cauldron Chicken.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Dark meat combo at Cauldron Chicken

A new kind of chicken hits town. Well, almost new. Cauldron Chicken in Greenwich Village is serving a 300-year-old recipe it calls dao kou roast chicken, with fragrant flesh and a floppy brown skin, served in a bento box. It appears to be inspired by 300 year old roast chicken recipe from Henan. Here the chicken is presented unadorned and somewhat warm, with a pile of spice powder not unlike Japanese shichimi. A quarter dark-meat chicken with a choice of one side comes in at $12 (white meat is a dollar more), a pretty good deal, especially if you pick a starchy side like scallion pancake or pork gyoza. Seating is available, and you also get a pair of plastic gloves, for the fastidious. 190 Bleecker Street, near MacDougal Street, Greenwich Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

A tablescape with white porcelain dishes features a white egg dish with orange roe and a pink lobster dish with green cabbage.
Oeufs mayo and lobster chou farci at Libertine.
Stephanie Wu/Eater NY

Lobster chou farci at Libertine

Libertine is a French bistro that’s been getting a lot of love, and rightly so. When we scanned the small but mighty menu — it’s all written on chalkboards on the wall – the lobster chou farci ($31) stood out, largely because we had to do a quick Google search to figure out that it was lobster wrapped in cabbage. I’m glad we ordered it, because it was the standout dish of the night. The lobster was beautifully poached with plenty of sweet flavor, wrapped in a softened cabbage and sliced to showcase the cross-section. It was served with a creme fraiche and leek sauce: I couldn’t get enough. We rounded out our meal with several other excellent dishes: the oeufs mayo, pork sausage, trout, and a fantastic rice pudding. 684 Greenwich Street, at Christopher Street, West Village — Stephanie Wu, editor-in-chief

four white anchovies with toasts and a salad.
Boquerones at Txikito in Chelsea.
Melissa McCart/Eater NY

Boquerones at Txikito

Every time I go to a restaurant from Alex Raij and Eder Montero, I’m impressed: particularly so with the 15-year-old Txikito, the Basque restaurant relaunched last year. This past week, I visited with three friends and we over-ordered, of course, with an array of snacks and chilled dishes, a whole Dover sole, and a pork shoulder served with Sigaretta-like shishito peppers and a frisee salad. I’ll focus on the boquerones ($21), white anchovies with tomatoes and lime, with plenty of very nice olive oil. When the simplest dishes shine, to me, that’s a great restaurant. 240 Ninth Avenue, near West 25th Street, Chelsea Melissa McCart, editor

October 23

Lechon kawali at Patok by Rach

In most of the Spanish-speaking world the fried pig skin, chicharrones, are popular, but in the Philippines the dish is given a unique spin. Chunks of skin and fat are cut into bite-size pieces and fried in lard, creating the perfect crunch-to-squish ratio and a deep porky flavor. As if that weren’t enough, sauces of white vinegar and pureed pork liver are provided, and at month-old Inwood Filipino restaurant Patok By Rach, white rice, a sharp cucumber salad, and green chiles are provided as accompaniments to this very rich main course ($19). 5507 Broadway, near 215th Street, Inwood — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Shrimp wonton soup at Great NY Noodletown

I hadn’t been back to Great N.Y. Noodletown since it reopened last year after months of renovations. The restaurant is always a great move, but on a rainy night, it seemed especially right. Despite some updates, it is thankfully the same — and the shrimp wonton soup ($8) was as vital as ever. It seemed to be more than just medicinal for a damp night; when we left the restaurant, our bellies filled with soup, roast pork, and noodles, the rain had broken as an after-dinner treat. 28 Bowery, at Bayard Street, Chinatown — Emma Orlow, reporter

A collection of vegetables and one meat plate.
A spread at Kafana in the East Village.
Melissa McCart/Eater NY

Cevapi at Kafana

Kafana is the kind of place that New York, at one time, was full of: It’s an affordable tavern that’s a nice place to hang out, where you won’t go broke eating there, and you can’t wait to go back. The Alphabet City spot that’s been around for 15 or so years serves a menu of Serbian dishes with plenty of vegetables if you order right. So why list cevapi, the grilled minced-meat little sausages ($17) as this week’s go-to? It’s essentially what we built our meal around, which included plates of roasted peppers, potatoes and greens, a cabbage salad, and beans and squash. It’s also a great spot for natural wine lovers, with its glorious list highlighting Serbian, Slovenian, and Croatian varietals. The dining room has all the charm, from the old photos on the wall to the tables of Serbian expats at every other table. 116 Avenue C, near East Eighth, East Village — Melissa McCart, editor

A group of friends hold up an order of breaded croquettes, filled with congee, at a restaurant in Brooklyn, New York.
Congee croquettes at Chino Grande.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Congee croquettes at Chino Grande

As my friends held still for this photo, I wondered: Were we holding a new kind of croquette? Over the last decade, the breaded, deep-fried spheres have been stuffed with cheese, potato, salt cod, and Katz’s pastrami. What about congee? Chino Grande, a restaurant and karaoke bar in Williamsburg, dared to go there as part of a new menu with “crab rangoon” toast and other inventions. The croquettes (three for $11) left us divided. Half of our group couldn’t stand that a porridge had been fried, but I thought they were perfect: Salty and somehow vegan, despite tasting strongly of chicken soup. 253 Grand Street, near Roebling Street, Williamsburg — Luke Fortney, reporter

October 16

A sandwich thickly stacked with roast meat.
Catskill roast pork sandwich at Court Street Grocers.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

RPG at Court Street Grocers

The RPG stands for roast pork and garlic bread, and it’s the classic sandwich of Sullivan County in the Catskills. It’s made by placing slices of roast pork on pizzeria-style garlic bread, usually a baguette as is used in a hero slathered with raw garlic and olive oil. A liberal amount of duck sauce from the local Chinese restaurant is then applied, making a very sweet and pungent flavor combo. At Court Street Grocers, a modified form of the sandwich called Catskill roast pork ($16) has been created, on a flattened round roll and using grainy mustard in addition to the usual condiments. The effect is spectacular, especially now that the sandwich is very hard to find on its upland home turf. 540 LaGuardia Place, near West 3rd Street, Greenwich Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

A bowl of dark green broth with fish, chiles, potato slices, and tofu skin.
The sauerkraut fish soup at Nai Brother.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Sauerkraut fish soup at Nai Brother

Caroline Shin, an Eater contributor, wrote this month that there are “a thousand ways” to order fish soup at Nai Brother. I stopped by the new restaurant this week — and think it could be more. Suan cai yu, a sour fish stew with pickled mustard greens, is offered in nine different preparations, but add-ins like beef, snakehead fish, and instant ramen make them infinitely customizable. Of the three bowls we ordered, the original soup was the clear winner (around $23 for a shareable portion). In addition to boiled fish, the dark green broth bobbed with potato slices, tofu skin, red chiles, and Sichuan peppercorns. It had us puckering, sweating, staining our shirts, and smiling the whole time. 27-17 42nd Road, at 28th Street, Long Island City — Luke Fortney, reporter

A Chinese chicken salad with no chicken.
Salade “Chinoise” at Le B.
Melissa McCart/Eater NY

Salade “Chinoise” at Le B

Angie Mar’s Le B is an about-face from Les Trois Chevaux, her luxurious French restaurant that closed in the West Village last month. The menu is a collection of playful throwbacks, like this salade “Chinoise” ($28) that tastes like the retro version, with Mandarin orange and sesame on greens — but no chicken. I was also smitten with the Dungeness Wellington, intensely savory in its light and flaky pastry. 283 W. 12th Street, near Eighth Avenue, West Village — Melissa McCart, editor

Clams tied with rope over ice.
Clams meant to be sipped out of.
Emma Orlow/Eater NY

Clams at Ilis

While I often feel uncomfortable at fine dining restaurants that can feel like a scene from the Menu, to say that the food at Ilis isn’t doing something spectacular would be untrue. One of the most memorable dishes is the clam, which functions as a vessel to drink briney clam juice out of, served like a michelada, with a spiced rim, and tied shut with shibari-style rope. On a recent visit, it was part of a tasting menu but the restaurant is also offering a la carte. 150 Green Street, near Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint — Emma Orlow, reporter

October 10

Skanderbeg vici at Si n’shpi

Gjergj Kastrioti, better known as Skanderbeg, is an Albanian national hero, born in 1405 and famous for defending his country against the Ottoman Turks. Befitting a national hero, the dish named after him ($25) is an enormous veal cutlet rolled around kackavall cheese, thickly breaded, and fried. It comes squiggled with an herby sour cream sauce, and accompanied by potatoes, rice, and a poached yellow pepper. Si n’shpi is a newer Albanian restaurant in town, located in a part of Brooklyn called Mapleton, in a Slavic neighborhood that also boasts a burek bakery. 2307 65th Street, near 23rd Avenue, Mapleton — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

A pile of white and yellow rices in a metal container.
The goat biryani at Hyderabadi Zaiqa.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Goat biryani at Hyderabadi Zaiqa

Pictured here is one of my favorite dishes of the year so far, a mountain of fragrant, long-grain rice with bits of tender goat meat still clinging to the bone. It’s one of a handful of dishes worth seeking out at the new Hyderabadi Zaiqa, the small restaurant that opened in Hell’s Kitchen this summer. The space is set below street level, but you can make out the smells of simmering spices from the sidewalk. Follow your nose, and you’ll end up ordering this biryani, made by slow-cooking goat in rice with saffron. For around $18, a shareable portion comes on a metal platter with a side of raita. 366 West 52nd Street, near Ninth Avenue, Hell’s Kitchen — Luke Fortney, reporter

A soup, kimchi, and gochujang.
Dweji gomtang at Okdongsik.
Melissa McCart/Eater

Dweji gomtang at Okdongsik

I was super psyched to get seats at the popular Okdongsik, the sensational slip of a restaurant (in collaboration with Hand Hospitality) like the one in Seoul with the same name. It’s genius and I’m not sure how it stays open, with so few seats and such reasonable prices, but I’m grateful it’s there. The menu features basically two dishes: a rich and satisfying pork broth with rice on the bottom, dweji gomtang ($18), and the very filling kimchi mandoo ($12) stuffed with tofu and pork. Served with barley tea in this case, both were fantastic. 13 E. 30th Street, near Madison Avenue, Koreatown — Melissa McCart, editor

Gaeng kua hed at Wan Wan

As crowds devastated Mulberry Street during the Feast of San Gennaro, otherwise known as the Feast of All Feasts, I couldn’t help but feel like I was paying homage one story underground at Wan Wan’s low-lit bar. The mushroom curry is a triumph of various fungi afloat in a generous portion of coconut cream and red curry paste. Scooping in white rice, with a fish bowl-esque boozeless drink in hand, I felt like the Michelin Guide-recommended restaurant was a total steal. Prices are relatively low — or so says the person flying in from San Francisco — and that extends to appetizers like the nicely fried taw hu tod: six quivering cubes of tofu atop spicy peanut sauce for $9. In this case, skip the cannoli; eat the Thai food. 209 Mulberry Street, near Spring Street, Nolita — Paolo Bicchieri, reporter, Eater San Francisco

October 2

Lamb gyro bowl at Kebab Express Halal Grill

I’m normally resistant to places that force you to make dozens of choices when assembling your bowl-based meals. But I was blown away this last weekend by the gyro bowl ($10) I got at this Greenwich Village fast food newcomer. First, the lamb gyro was herby and pure lamb, rather than the lamb and beef amalgam you find in most places, and the other choices were easy as I walked down the steam table display. Skip the garlic sauce, which is sweetened, in favor of the mint chutney, at this establishment with Eastern Mediterranean, Afghan, and Indian influences, which makes for some exceedingly pleasing flavor combinations. Falafel, tandoori chicken, and beef chapli kebab are some other choices. 235 Bleecker Street, at Carmine Street, Greenwich Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

A grilled salmon set with soup, rice, tea, and sides.
A set meal at Dashi Okume.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Grilled salmon at Dashi Okume

Last month, I asked my barber about his favorite Japanese restaurants in the city and ended up at Dashi Okume. The dashi shop, one of several businesses that operates out of 50 Norman in Greenpoint, operates a grilled fish counter at the back of the space. It has three tables and about as many items on the menu. How it works: You choose a fish, it’s then grilled, and served as the centerpiece of a set meal with rice, miso soup, pickled cucumbers, and tea ($35 to $45). It comes with two sides, too: I chose the eggplant soaked in dashi and the roasted kabocha squash. After tax, tip, and an Asahi beer, this must be one of the best ways to spend $50 on food right now. 50 Norman Avenue, near Guernsey Street, Greenpoint — Luke Fortney, reporter

A fried sweetbread over a spinach with a creamy lemon sauce.
Veal sweetbreads with lemon and caper at Sailor.
Emma Orlow/Eater NY

Veal sweetbreads with lemon and caper at Sailor

Like all hot restaurants with big-ticket names opening in a city as expensive as New York, it is easy to rack up a tab at Sailor. But having been to enough of these types of spots for Eater, I thought the portion size across the board was quite reasonable here. A prime example: the veal sweetbreads ($18), from the starters section. Prepared like a schnitzel with lemon and capers in a creamy sauce bath, this is a hearty dish that could easily pass as an entree somewhere else. A word of advice: At least during the weekend, if you don’t have a reservation, come at 5 p.m. when the restaurant opens. There was already a line down the block when I arrived. 228 Dekalb Avenue, Clermont Avenue, Fort Greene — Emma Orlow, reporter