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The Best Dishes Eater Editors Ate This Week

Fried clam strips, sold-out pastries, and more

Fried clam strips in a basket with red and white checkerboard paper.
Fried clams from Jordan’s Lobster Farm.
Emma Orlow/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.

May 22

Fried clam strips at Jordan Lobster Farm

I took off work last Friday for my birthday and spent it thrifting on Long Island, followed by lunch at Jordan Lobster Farm for some waterfront views and seafood. The restaurant, which in addition to being a seafood market also has an attached Ferris wheel, serves up shore shack classics with plenty of outdoor seating. We went for fried clam strips ($20) and fish and chips ($22) with extra tartar sauce on both, and because it was my birthday, I reverted back to childhood and ordered an Arnold Palmer to wash it down. 1 Pettit Place, Island Park, Long Island — Emma Orlow, reporter

Pink meat with beige sauce on top.
Vitello tonnato at Maialino.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Vitello tonnato at Maialino

What does a tuna salad sandwich have in common with vitello tonnato, one of northern Italy’s tastiest and most cherished recipes? Both are made with canned tuna, which may seem out of place in a dish that sets you back $24 for a serving that can be inhaled in seconds. Yet canned tuna pureed to imperial smoothness and oceanic saltiness is what makes the beige sauce in the dish at the recently reopened Maialino. Not stinting on quantity, it’s layered over the pink, finely shaved roast veal with fried capers on top. You’ve never tasted a better marriage of land and sea. 30 E. 30th Street, between Park and Madison, Murray Hill — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Butter and anchovy on triangles of bread.
Butter and anchovy on bread at Alice.
Melissa McCart/Eater NY

Pane e alice at Alice

I really enjoyed Alice from chef Riccardo Orfino, a fish-and-vegetables Italian restaurant sibling to Osteria 57 nearby. The seafood was quite nice and I’m hard-pressed to home in on one dish or another, but I’ll go with the pane e alice ($19), bread with butter and anchovy that I’d have as a snack any day. This, with the market salad that included peas, favas, and radishes — and perhaps a fritto misto to share — is my kind of dinner. We sat in the front dining room which is more like a lair, but I enjoyed the tile-covered bar and the airy back room and would probably sit there next time. 126 W. 13th Street, near Sixth Avenue, Greenwich Village — Melissa McCart, editor

Hands grab for pastries on a busy table
Pastry scraps at Radio Bakery.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

The pastries at Radio Bakery

This weekend, New Yorkers lined up to be the first to try the pastries at Radio Bakery, a new business that opened in Greenpoint last week. Not unusual right now, the bakery had lots of hype leading up to the opening — in this case, due to a string of sold-out pop-ups across town and its connection to Rolo’s, a restaurant in Ridgewood. Doors open at 7:30 a.m. five days a week until pastries sell out, and another wave of customers descends around 11 a.m., when sandwiches and more baked goods come out. Over three visits, favorites include a roasted cauliflower sandwich with green tahini and an everything bagel-seasoned focaccia with salmon and cream cheese. 135 India Street, near Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint — Luke Fortney, reporter

Tempura at Mitsuwa Marketplace

The food court at the Japanese megaplex Mitsuwa Marketplace in Edgewater, New Jersey, is basically the one of my dreams — where else can I choose between karaage onigiri, generous bowls of tempura, plates of hambagu steak, glistening chirashi, unctuous ramen, and adorable Totoro-shaped macarons on a brief lunch stop on a drive home to Washington, D.C., from Connecticut? That tempura ($19), from vendor Hannosuke, was the star of my recent visit. The bowl features a generous mixture of delicately fried shrimp, shishito pepper, kabocha squash, soft-boiled egg, broccoli, and a perfect piece of whitefish, drizzled in sauce atop white rice. Miso soup and pickles come on the side. 595 River Road, at Archer Street, Edgewater — Missy Frederick, cities director

May 15

Vegetarian bibimbap at Little Banchan Shop

I was reporting a story in Queens when I stopped by Little Banchan Shop, a provisions shop from the Korean chef Hooni Kim that opened last year. The storefront is selling some of the best to-go bibimbap at $13.50. Kim and his team make all the parts that go into the bowl, topped with a runny egg, plenty of mushrooms, and its signature gochujang, which makes all the difference in this bowl being so memorably good. There are a few counter-seats inside, but on a lovely day like that one, you can sit and eat your food in a community garden next door. 5-28 49th Avenue, near Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City — Emma Orlow, reporter

Crustless mortadella sandwich on milk bread.
A mortadella sandwich to share with a friend.
Melissa McCart/Eater NY

Mortadella katsu sandwich at Katana Kitten

Our critic Robert Sietsema has extolled the virtues of the Katana Kitten katsu sandwich ($16), but when I was hungry before a dinner reservation last week, it was a reminder as to why mortadella reigns as one of the world’s greatest sandwiches — the simpler the better. Here, it’s cubed and slathered with a pebbly Dijon and served between slabs of crustless milk bread, pleasing one’s inner child. While I had ordered the shiso gin and tonic, it was a better pairing for a can of Kirin. 531 Hudson Street, near West 11th Street, West Village — Melissa McCart, editor

Three tubes smothered in red and green salsa and grated cheese.
Potato taquitos at TQTO.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Potato taquitos at TQTO

Call them what you will — flautas, tacos dorados, taquitos, or, as they do in San Diego, rolled tacos — these masa tubes produce a satisfying crunch and should be picked up with your fingers to enjoy, smothered with salsa or not. Newcomer TQTO on MacDougal Street’s dense restaurant row concentrates on these snacks, which it describes as Tex-Mex. Ones stuffed with chicken and steak, with your choice of cheeses, are fabulous, but both are outdone by the version made with potato ($13). Two salsas are available, the green one laced with habaneros and hot as hell; the red one considerably more mellow. I’d suggest both for maximum flavor. 99 MacDougal Street, near Bleecker Street, Greenwich Village

A hand holds a rice ball wrapped in seaweed that’s generously stuffed with flakey, orange-colored tuna.
The spicy tuna onigiri at Juju Cafe.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Onigiri from Juju Cafe

A sold-out selection of onigiri at Ten Ichi Mart, a Japanese grocer in Cobble Hill and my go-to for affordable rice balls, led me to this smaller shop a block away. Juju Cafe offers a wider selection of onigiri that’s made to order, rather than pre-made and wrapped in plastic like at most Japanese grocers, for about twice the cost. I tried the umeboshi (fermented plum), mentaiko (cod roe), and spicy tuna mayo versions ($4 to $6 each). The onigiri were warm and generously stuffed, made up of about as much plum and seafood as rice. Other fillings include Spam and egg, buttermilk fried chicken, and tofu teriyaki. 143 Smith Street, between Dean and Bergen streets, Cobble Hill — Luke Fortney, reporter

May 8

Bucatini Amatriciana at Basilio Inn

I biked around 40 miles through the five boroughs yesterday along with 32,000 other New Yorkers. The Five Boro Bike Tour ends in a grueling, slow and steady climb across the Verrazano Bridge to which no less than four hearty bowls of pasta are most certainly the cure. Two good friends that happen to also be locals understood the assignment and took me straight to the oldest restaurant on Staten Island, which boasts a menu of homemade pastas and other well-done fare loosely tied to the owner’s home region of Piedmont. We went in on grilled long hots, fork-tender ossobuco, and mussels swimming in butter and garlic, but the bucatini amatriciana ($22.95) stood out. Smoky guanciale punctuated a simple base of onions, tomato paste, and pecorino. I can’t wait to come back later in the season, when vegetables and herbs grown behind the restaurant tag in for purchased produce. 6 Galesville Court, at Lily Pond Avenue, Arrochar — Nat Belkov, design director

A platter of rice topped with pork and duck.
Roast pig and roast duck at Sun Sai Gai.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Lap cheong at Sun Sai Gai

Sun Sai Gai has held court at the corner of Canal and Baxter streets for what feels like forever, serving a classic Cantonese menu with soups, noodles, and the charcuterie known as lap cheong. But the Vietnamese writing on the outdoor signage and the full menu clues you that this place is also a Teochew restaurant, with dishes representing the Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia. The list of lap cheong is particularly lush, and on this occasion, I picked the roast pig (as opposed to “roast pork,” which is char siu) and roast duck over rice ($10), which comes with steamed napa cabbage. The roast pig has a supremely crunchy skin, like a potato chip. Make sure you ask for the green ginger and scallion relish, which adds a salty and pungent kick. 220 Canal Street, at Baxter Street, Chinatown — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Pieces of scallion pancake share a bowl of broth and clams at a restaurant, Win Son in Brooklyn.
Clams and basil come with ramp pancakes.
Kristen Kornbluth/Eater NY

Clams and basil at Win Son

Visiting Brooklyn? Check out Win Son. Have friends in town? Take them to Win Son. On a first date? Win Son. The East Williamsburg restaurant works well for any dining occasion, and this clams & basil ($24) dish from the Taiwanese American restaurant was a hit for one of them this past weekend. We kept going back for more spoonfuls of the broth between clams and soaked it all up with the spring-appropriate ramp pancake. Scattered fennel fronds brightened up the dish and artichokes added a meaty bite. I generally can’t say enough good things about the food I’ve had at this restaurant, and this was no exception. 159 Graham Ave, at Montrose Ave, East Williamsburg — Kristen Kornbluth, social media manager

May 1

Hot dog at Five Guys

Perhaps it’s illogical to expect one of the city’s greatest franks at a hamburger chain, but the all-beef, quarter-pound, kosher-style frank ($7.25) at Five Guys is astonishingly good. It is split in half lengthwise, then fried in the hamburger grease that pools on the griddle, giving it a Frankenstein flavor — what shall we call it, a hamfurter or frankurger? The bun is grilled, too, then the weenie is deposited on it and heaped with any choice of the chain’s ingredients. In my case, I always get mustard, raw onions, dill pickles, and fresh jalapenos — seeds and all. Since the whole thing comes to only 500 calories or so, it makes for a nice diet meal. 2 Metrotech Center, between Willoughby and Johnson streets, Downtown Brooklyn — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

A pile of orange salmon appears on a bed of ice with lime zest.
Salmon, soba, and makgeolli ice.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Salmon hwe gooksu at Ariari

In early March, I texted my friend James Park to tell him the good news: We had a table at Ariari, the hottest Korean restaurant in Manhattan right now. The reservation — a Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. — wasn’t for another month, and last week we were finally allowed inside, mixing soju with beer in broad daylight and picking apart dishes said to be inspired by the South Korean port city Busan. On a full table, the most memorable plate was this makgeolli shaved ice ($17), so sweet it could have stood in for dessert if it weren’t for the orange slices of salmon perched on top. Buried in the snow is a large portion of chewy soba, great on its own and almost worth the month-long wait when mixed with the other components of the dish. 119 First Avenue, near East 7th Street, East Village — Luke Fortney, reporter

A cheeseburger with drippy cheese appears on a charred bun next a long hot pepper that overflows from a plate.
The burger at Rolo’s.
Kristen Kornbluth/Eater NY

The double cheeseburger at Rolo’s

This isn’t the first time I’ve posted a dish on social media for work and went to get it for dinner that very night. While the cocktails were delicious too, the burger at Rolo’s is worth the trip alone ($18). It’s juicy and substantial, ideal for sharing with a friend alongside the also-amazing Caesar salad. The hot pepper next to the burger really steals the show — its acidic bite is perfect for balancing out the meaty sandwich. For $3, you can add coppa bacon, but I don’t think this burger needs it. 853 Onderdonk Avenue, at Cornelia Street, Ridgewood — Kristen Kornbluth, social media manager

The dining room of a Chinese restaurant that’s open and industrial looking.
The dining room at the Jersey City location of Peppercorn Station.
Melissa McCart/Eater NY

Sliced pork belly with garlic in chile sauce at Peppercorn Station

Jersey City has a newish Chinese restaurant, Peppercorn Station, a sibling to the one that opened in Midtown (66 W. 39th Street, near Sixth Avenue) in March of last year. It’s exciting that most of the dine-in clientele the nights I’ve visited is almost entirely Chinese, a reflection of the burgeoning immigrant population in Jersey City and the inevitable restaurants that are opening as a result. Get the sliced pork belly with garlic in chile sauce, a satisfying spin on a classic presented with some flair — rolled up on a long tray, with cucumber and peanuts ($13). Fish with pickled cabbage ($28), stir-fried beef with green peppers ($25), and fried rice with yibin pickles ($15) are also quite good. 120 Morgan Street, near Warren Street, Jersey City — Melissa McCart, editor

Five Guys Metrotech

2 Metrotech Center, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (718) 852-9380 Visit Website