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The Best Dishes Eater Editors Ate This Week

A just-right BLT, fried calamari at a waterside restaurant, and more

A BLT topped with potato chips.
BLT from Revelie in the Village.
Melissa McCart/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 31

BLT with a side of haystack zucchini at Revelie Luncheonette

I’m smitten with postage-stamp-size Revelie, especially for lunch. The sibling to Raoul’s has a throwback vibe to such a degree that I half expected to hear an incoming call from a house rotary phone. A hot day for lunch called for a housemade creme soda and a BLT ($18), one of the greatest sandwiches of the season; here, it’s served on thick-cut toast slathered with a horseradish remoulade. While the chips are great, that side of haystack zucchini ($8) upstages them by a mile. Sidenote: Whether you know him by Twin Peaks or Sex and the City, Kyle McLachlan was at the corner booth, though it didn’t appear he was sipping his own wine. 179 Prince Street, between Thompson and Sullivan streets — Melissa McCart, editor

Fried calamari at Johnny’s Reef

Johnny’s Reef on City Island, open in the Bronx for six decades, is close to what I’d describe as a perfect restaurant. Though there are a handful of seafood restaurants selling the same type of fried fish on City Island (yes, there are buses that go between it and the mainland), Johnny’s Reef has long been the local's pick, perhaps because of its particularly great waterfront views at the tip of the island and no-frills set-up, certainly continued by its appearance on an episode of Parts Unknown. Hard to do better in the summertime than their heaping plate of fried calamari ($15) and a pina colada, ordered from their yellow-light-up menus (if you want steamed items, that’s a separate ordering zone than the fried stuffs). It’s cash only, but there is an ATM. If you have room for dessert, take about a 10-minute walk down City Island Avenue, to Lickety Split, for ice cream. 2 City Island Avenue, near Belden Street, City Island — Emma Orlow, reporter

An overhead photograph of a lunch bowl with bulgogi beef.
Bulgogi at Ongi.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Bulgogi bowl from Ongi

Something interesting happened during the pandemic: The lunch bowl, once defined by grilled chicken and wilted arugula, has leveled up: Compostable bowls now brim with duck confit, Egyptian salad, joloff rice, and more. They’re more expensive, obviously, and their dining rooms seem to encourage lingering with cocktails and beer — giving us a new category of restaurants that I call “slow casual.” This brings us to Ongi, a new Korean restaurant in Murray Hill, where ordering goes like this: You grab a laminated menu at the front of the restaurant, check a series of boxes using a marker, and hand it over to a cashier. Five minutes later, you have a bowl. I chose the bulgogi beef ($15) and was rewarded with a sumptuous portion of beef and poached egg over a bed of sushi rice. 630 Third Avenue, near Third Avenue, Murray Hill — Luke Fortney, reporter

A browned omelet with rice and red sauce in a cup.
Jumbo crab omelet at Thai Food Near Me.

Jumbo crab omelet at Thai Food Near Me

Murray Hill has a new Thai restaurant with the seemingly un-Googleable name of Thai Food Near Me. It offers premium versions of Thai standards at premium prices, plus a few dishes not so often seen. Jumbo crab omelet ($22) is one, a nicely browned omelet filled with lump crab meat with cherry tomatoes. It is crisp when you cut into it with a fork, moist and sweet from the tomatoes, and a luxuriant quantity of crab. The rice that comes alongside is the perfect showcase; pour on the chile sauce! 625 Second Avenue, at 34th Street, Murray Hill — Robert Sietsema, critic

July 24

Makgeolli gelato at Sundaes Best

Sundaes Best is a new gelato shop from the owners of Baekjeong, a popular Korean barbecue restaurant across the street. And while there must be a dozen ice cream and fudge shops across the country with this same name, I guarantee this is the only one selling gelato made with honey butter chips. Many of the shop’s flavors nod to popular Asian foods, like ube, brown sugar milk tea, and injeolmi, a Korean rice cake. I ordered two scoops of makgeolli ($7), which you’ll have to hand over a driver’s license to try because it’s made with Korean rice wine each morning. The gelato was sweet — not a bad thing, but different than what I had read online — and tasted just like makgeolli. 4 E. 32nd Street, near Fifth Avenue, Koreatown — Luke Fortney, reporter

A pile of golden brown breaded shrimp with broccoli on the side.
Jumbo shrimp with salted egg sauce.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Jumbo shrimp in salted egg sauce at A1 Seafood

A1 Seafood appeared a few months ago over the D train stop on Grand Street, a branch of a Flushing seafood spot. It is reportedly owned by the seafood market directly across the street, and that spells fish of the freshest sort running from the obvious (shrimp, whole fish) to the less common (sea cucumber, eel, razor clam). The salty and crusty egg sauce that coats the jumbo shrimp in this dish ($28) is made with salted duck eggs, oven roasted and then ground up with rice wine. The sauce can be found all over Chinatown, most notably on fried pumpkin. Here it adds umami to the flash-fried shrimp, which pop when you bite into them and leave a briny aftertaste. Such a refreshing seafood dish. 250 Grand Street, at Chrystie Street, Chinatown — Robert Sietsema, critic

A twirl of pasta on a white plate.
Linguine and clams with Calabrian chiles.
Melissa McCart/Eater NY

Linguine and clams at the Noortwyck

The Noortwyck, having opened in the Village about a year ago, could easily become one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants. The spot comes from Eleven Madison alums, chef Andrew Quinn and sommelier Cedric Nicaise with a menu of seasonal ingredients, an interesting wine list, and fluid service. It’s one of the few places I’ve been lately where the mains were more memorable than the small plates, with morels and favas, a perfect branzino, and pork belly with peas among them. Here, I’m highlighting the linguine with clams ($27) since the dish is probably my last supper kinda order anyway, and it’s especially savory and restrained. 289 Bleecker Street, near Seventh Avenue South, Greenwich Village — Melissa McCart, editor

Crispy cheddar pancakes on a plate on a marble countertop.
Cheddarmelt pancakes and scrambled eggs.
Emma Orlow/Eater NY

Cheddarmelt pancakes at Day June

The Wildair team recently opened a luncheonette in Hensonville, a little over 30 minutes away from Hudson. Day June Luncheonette, next door to their general store Paracasa, and nearby a hotel with a restaurant from them still in the works, is a luncheonette serving classic breakfast staples with their own spins. Nothing about Day June feels fussy, and the interiors are charming but subdued. The breakfast burrito is excellent, as are the cheddarmelt pancakes with chipotle salsa and scrambled eggs ($14), served in the style of the New York icon, Shopsin’s. 387 NY-296, near Goshen Road, Hensonville — Emma Orlow, reporter

July 17

A brown crock with giant bony lamb shanks on top and almonds all over.
Mansaf at Al Badawi.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Mansaf at Al Badawi

Few dishes delight the eye and palate as completely as the mansaf at Al Badawi, which bills itself as a family-style Palestinian restaurant. This communal dish ($42) easily feeds three or four and consists of several bone-in lamb shanks deposited on a bed of yellow rice dotted with slivered and toasted almonds, giving it a nutty fragrance. The shanks have been tenderized in a marinade of dehydrated yogurt called jameed, and more of it comes on the side as a thick sauce, into which bites of lamb may be dipped. You won’t be able to stop eating until the bones have been picked clean and the marrow extracted. 151 Atlantic Avenue, between Clinton and Henry streets, Brooklyn Heights — Robert Sietsema, critic

An overhead photograph of a table of soups, salads, and rice dishes at Hug Esan, a Thai restaurant in Queens.
The crispy rice salad, middle, at Hug Esan.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Crispy rice salad at Hug Esan

Before this avenue in Queens was recognized as Little Thailand by the city, there was Hug Esan. The small business, which has around a dozen seats, became a spokesperson for the food of the Isan Province in northeast Thailand when it opened in 2017: Eater’s critic said it served a wider range of dishes from that region “than any restaurant in New York.” Though the Thai food scene has twisted and turned since then, I know what he means: The half-dozen dishes we ordered tingled our tongues and had me asking for iced coffee, which offered some relief from the spice, at 7 p.m. My favorite on a crowded table: the restaurant’s nam khao tod, a chewy and crispy rice salad with sour sausage and peanuts ($20). 77-16 Woodside Avenue, near 78th Street, Elmhurst — Luke Fortney, reporter

A plate of stewed lamb atop rice with carrots and raisins.
Kabuli pulao at Sami’s Kabab House.
Emma Orlow/Eater NY

Kabuli pulao at Sami’s Kabab House

I wish Sami’s Kabab House had been open when I was a child visiting my grandmother’s house, just a couple blocks away, and later looking for a break on weekends, cleaning out her apartment after she died. Enter through a takeout area on Crescent Street, and find a full-service restaurant, which feels like a family’s home dining room, connected through the side. Yes, there are of course kebabs on the Afghan menu, but I had the aushak dumplings, vegetarian dumplings that are similar to mantu ($7), and the kabuli pulao, a stewed lamb dish over rice ($23), studded with strips of carrots, and raisins, which both deserve attention. There’s a follow-up location in Long Island City. 35-57 Crescent Street, at 36th Avenue, Astoria — Emma Orlow, reporter

Coniglio in porchetta at I Sodi

The new, larger location for I Sodi is open and it’s very smart: The front room keeps the same close-together feel and room layout of the impossible-to-get-into original (averting “the old-one-was-better” sentiments). Around the corner, the room is a bit more private, with tucked-away tables and minimalist walls, aside from handsome wood-paneled wainscoting. Plate-glass windows overlook a lovely little garden — a quintessential West Village, outdoor space. While the night I went there was no booze yet available, the cooking was as great as ever, particularly the rabbit ($31), wrapped in pancetta, fragrant with rosemary. 314 Bleecker Street, at Grove Street, West Village — Melissa McCart, editor

July 10

Tetelas at Cafe Miguel

The stuffed, colorful triangles known as tetelas are a delight. If only they were easier to find in New York. My favorite is at Casa Susanna, a restaurant in Leeds, New York, that opened earlier this year, although the most popular ones in town seem to be found at For All Things Good, a cafe with two locations in Brooklyn. Now there’s a new tetela in town. Cafe Miguel, ostensibly a Mexican coffee shop, opened last month on a stretch of Grand Street in Williamsburg. Its tetelas come in two colors: blue, filled with cactus, peppers, and chihuahua cheese; or yellow, with pinto beans ($6 for one). Both are vegetarian, and an egg can be added on top for two more dollars. 636 Grand Street, near Leonard Street, Williamsburg — Luke Fortney, reporter

Two halves of a baguette sandwich, one half leaning rakishly on top of the other.
Sriracha chicken salad sandwich at Cannelle.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Sriracha chicken salad sandwich at Cannelle Patisserie

The original Cannelle Patisserie, founded in 2007, was a remote point on the Jackson Heights map that developed a cult following for its French pastries and other coffee house fare. Now a second branch has grown in Long Island City, only a few blocks from the 7 train at Vernon Boulevard. I went to check it out and picked up a scrumptious-looking Sriracha chicken salad sandwich. It came on a walnut cranberry baguette — adding a welcome touch of sweetness — and the hot sauce caused each bite to glow on the lips without being overly spicy. Gallic-style, it came wrapped in a swatch of brown paper tied up with twine and seemed like a bargain at $8.75 since I could only finish half of it. 5-11 47th Avenue, at 5th Street, Long Island City — Robert Sietsema, critic

A container of rice noodles with curry fishballs.
Curry fish balls with rice noodles.
Emma Orlow/Eater NY

Curry fish balls with rice rolls at Chang Lai Fishballs Noodles

Chang Lai Cheong Fun Cart, a food cart stationed on Bowery, closed after almost a decade earlier this year. But fans of the Chinatown staple don’t have to fret: Last week I got tipped off that it was actually a good thing. The husband-wife duo now serve their rice rolls from a permanent counter-service spot in the neighborhood. The menu is more expansive than at the food cart, but the go-to is still the same. The move is curry fish balls over rice noodles (a small one is priced at $5.75 and is plenty for breakfast). Ask for it smothered in everything, which means soy sauce, hoisin, sesame, peanut sauce, and sriracha. Bring cash. It’s located right across from Mei Lai Wah if you want to brave the lines and chase it down with a pineapple bun. 55B Bayard Street, at Elizabeth Street, Chinatown — Emma Orlow, reporter

July 5

A hand holds up a wooden skewer with pieces of scallion draped like seaweed at the beach.
A grilled chive skewer at BBQ Truck.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Grilled chive at BBQ Truck

A cloud of smoke hangs over Elmhurst, the combined efforts of torta trucks, Taiwanese restaurants, and other food vendors stationed along both sides of Broadway. The popular skewer cart at the intersections of Whitney Avenue is one of its main contributors: The business, which has amassed a few dozen reviews on Google under the name BBQ Truck, has a hood affixed to its roof like a chef’s hat. Out pour the smells from around 30 types of skewers, including those made with chunks of chicken heart, pork chop, and lamb balls, prepared until 2 a.m. The grilled chive was our favorite of the three we tried: a row of scallions pierced with a wooden skewer, then cooked over coals until black and wilted ($1.75). Intersection of Whitney Avenue and Broadway, Elmhurst — Luke Fortney, reporter

A bread and tomato salad.
The panzanella salad at Roscioli.
Melissa McCart/Eater NY

Panzanella salad at Roscioli

A panzanella salad with bread from Frenchette Bakery arrived as part of the first course of the downstairs tasting menu at the new Roscioli. Ariel Arce is a partner in the comely wine room in what used to be Niche Niche: It’s a big deal that she helped bring Roscioli to New York, the first location opening outside Rome, where the original consists of a bakery, salumeria, and provisions shop, as well as Rimessa Roscioli, a wine destination that’s a must-visit for locals and tourists. The tasting menu that’s just begun here is as noteworthy for its wines — with pours from Sicily, Basilicata, and Lazio — many of which are available through the Roscioli Wine Club and for sale on the premises. Four courses with four pairings cost $105 per person. Reservations open on July 10 for a communal tasting menu and a regular tasting menu served at your table. The more casual upstairs opens later this month. 43 MacDougal Street, near King Street, Greenwich Village — Melissa McCart, editor

Left to right: chicken katsu, right shrimp patty.
Left to right: chicken katsu, right shrimp patties.
Emma Orlow/Eater NY

Chicken and shrimp onigirazu at 969 Coffee

Since opening in Jackson Heights in 2016, 969 Coffee has been a favorite of neighborhood regulars — both for its onigirazu (a rice-based sandwich) and its genial owner Mitsumine Oda (the business name is reportedly related to his favorite number, not the address). Though it serves coffee it’s really known for its Japanese snacks. There was no menu listing for the variations on onigirazu on a recent visit, but my colleague Nadia, who was with me had been before and knew her way around the menu. We went with the chicken katsu and shrimp patty variations, layered with avocado, carrots, and American cheese, also getting one of the heart-shaped onigiri 969 has come to be known for to share (everything was around $5). 3761 80th Street, near Roosevelt Avenue, Jackson Heights — Emma Orlow, reporter