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The Best Dishes Eater Editors Ate This Week

Bargain sandwiches, show-stopping cakes, shrimp wontons, and more

A hand holds a takeout bowl of wontons floating in soup.
A bowl of shrimp wontons from Maxi’s Noodle in Flushing.
Luke Fortney/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.

February 27

Shrimp wontons at Maxi’s Noodle

Maxi’s Noodle, a small restaurant known for its wontons, recently opened another location in Queens. I haven’t made it over yet, but I was in Flushing over the weekend and checked in on the original restaurant, which opened in 2019. No surprise here: The wontons are still great ($11). They’re as big as silver dollars with a plump shrimp filling and a thin wrapper that trails behind like a bridal gown. You get six in an order — four, if you have them with noodles — in a mild seafood broth that will have you tilting back the bowl. 135-11 38th Avenue, near Prince Street, Flushing — Luke Fortney, reporter

A small sandwich on a brioche.
Enter the tiny sandwich.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Uovo at Madman Espresso

We’ve seen tiny houses and tiny burgers. The day of the tiny sandwich has finally arrived. With prices pushing $20 apiece, regular sandwiches are becoming passe, and are often so overstuffed (to justify the price) that you’re better off not eating the whole thing. Enter the tiny sandwich, often sold in coffee bars and costing about the same amount as a cup of coffee. Madman Espresso’s uovo ($5.50) is just the right size for a snack or even a small meal, with sliced egg, scallions, lots of mayo, and an optional slice of ham on a brioche. Eat it in four or five bites and be on your way, not feeling you’ve been fleeced for something delectable. 332 Bleecker Street, near Christopher Street, West Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

A dark brown slice of cake with two spoonfuls of cream on a white plate.
The ginger cake at Sailor.
Stephanie Wu/Eater NY

Ginger cake at Sailor

There are so many hits on the menu at Gabe Stulman and April Bloomfield’s Sailor — the raved-about half chicken, the crispy sweetbreads, the green toast with a pile of shaved Parmesan on top — that you could forget to save room for dessert. That would be a mistake, as the hefty ginger cake ($12), served with two massive quenelles of vanilla-specked cream, is a star. The crunchy baked exterior gives way to an intensely flavorful cake, which is tamed by the vanilla cream — a wonderful showcase of Bloomfield’s bold flavors. 228 DeKalb Avenue, at Clermont Avenue, Fort Greene — Stephanie Wu, editor in chief

Stone crab claws at Scale Fish Market

It’s still stone crab season in South Florida and Scale Fish Market, from Geovanna and Antonio “Tony” Rodriguez in Jersey City, offers them to take home and eat in house. The shop also has a slender counter for dining in (it’s BYOB) and a great little menu of crudo, chowders, fried fish, oysters, and other items available Tuesday through Sunday nights. I can’t say enough good things about the place, and it shows that Tony hits the Fulton Fish Market in the Bronx every morning. Slightly sweet and a touch decadent, the crab claws (MP) were for me a February evening pick-me-up. Keep an eye out for Lenten specials Friday nights, too. 45 Coles Street, near Third Street, Jersey City — Melissa McCart, editor

February 20

An overhead photograph of a crab dip, Hawaiian rolls, and french fries.
The cheesy crab dip at Sidney’s Five.
Nat Belkov/Eater NY

Cheesy Crab Dip with Housemade Sweet Hawaiian Rolls

On Monday, I sat with five of my friends at the last drag trivia night at Sidney’s Five. (The restaurant announced last week that it’s closing on February 23.) As a tried and true Marylander, their hot crab dip took me straight back to my roots. It’s served with soft, homemade Hawaiian rolls, and it doesn’t skimp on blue crab flavor, thanks to the addition of Old Bay, tangy cheddar cheese, and lots of fresh chives. The evening served as a reminder to appreciate what you’ve got before it’s gone. In addition to great dip, this East Village haunt has a killer pickle brine martini and a plethora of comfort food items, like andouille corn dogs with tangy Carolina mustard and burgers with pimento cheese. 103 First Avenue, near East Sixth Street, East Village — Nat Belkov, design director

A hamburger cut in half with slaw on top an orange sauce.
The chimi des res at Rico Chimi.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Chimi des res at Rico Chimi

Rico Chimi is a small chain, and its branch under the elevated Myrtle Avenue stop out-glosses any of the other storefronts on the commercial strip. The large menu features Dominican snacks and street food, including some traditional dishes like yaroa (french fries with meat and cheese) and mofonguitos (fried mofongo balls topped with grated cheese), but the chimi des res ($11) is the most popular order. It’s a giant loose ground beef patty on a Portuguese roll with tomato and a slaw dressed with orange golf sauce. The sandwich is a gloppy mess, but it’s delicious and fun to eat. 1492 Myrtle Avenue, at Irving Avenue, Bushwick — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Coal-roasted scallop in a shell at Stissing House.
A coal-roasted scallop at Stissing House.
Emma Orlow/Eater NY

Scallop at Stissing House

Stissing House is one of two restaurants to open in the last couple of years pulling inspiration from Shaker recipes. Being there, I couldn’t help but remember that one of the last remaining Shakers had found the trend amusing — and wondered what he would think if he saw my Brooklyn friends clinking mugs of broth. I was there in Pine Plains for a friend’s birthday where we feasted on chicories with persimmon, smoked lamb shoulder with beans, and most memorably, a coal-roasted scallop with green garlic butter that glides down the throat. The restaurant from Clare de Boer of King in Soho has candlelit warmth on all levels — so much so that it makes you wish the 18th-century building was still an inn so you could stay a while longer. 7801 South Main Street, at West Church Street, Pine Plains — Emma Orlow, reporter

Two slices of toast grilled on top and coated in black and white sesame seeds.
The crab rangoon toast at Chino Grande.
Stephanie Wu/Eater

Crab rangoon toast at Chino Grande

I had the chance to try the revamped menu at Chino Grande last week, and a highlight for me was the crab rangoon toast ($16). The restaurant’s version takes golden, buttery milk bread, slathers it with a cream cheese and imitation crab mixture, and then dips it in white and black sesame seeds for crunch. As far as appetizers go, it’s on the heavy side — but it’s a beautiful encapsulation of the creativity that is peppered throughout the menu, with inspiration from Chinese, Dominican, Cuban, and Peruvian cuisines, to name a few. 253 Grand Street, near Roebling Street, Williamsburg — Stephanie Wu, editor-in-chief

Oatmeal raisin walnut cookie at Kernel

The first location of Kernel opened last week from Steve Ells, the founder of Chipotle, and it’s a trip. The salads may be dressed by robots, but I have to say, the olive oil dark chocolate chunk and oatmeal raisin walnut cookies were quite good ($3). They’re soft with a bit of texture from milled wheatberries, and look at that salt! Don’t miss them. 315 Park Avenue South, at East 24th Street, Flatiron — Melissa McCart, editor

February 12

A plate of cabbage, mussels, and cheese at Dame, a seafood restaurant in Greenwich Village.
The cabbage with mussels at Dame.
Stephanie Wu/Eater NY

Grilled cabbage with mussels at Dame

While much of Dame’s biggest hits — grilled oysters, fish and chips, the kedgeree to name a few — have remained menu mainstays, I visited recently with the goal of trying as many new-to-me dishes as possible. The tuna tartare and bottarga on their sourdough was one highlight, with buttery tuna and funky roe, but my favorite dish of the night was the grilled cabbage with mussels and horseradish ($22). The smokiness of the cabbage played beautifully with the briny bivalves, making for a comforting yet not overly heavy dish. It was fantastic for a chilly night, and my only regret is that we didn’t get a second order. 87 MacDougal Street, at Bleecker Street, Greenwich Village — Stephanie Wu, editor-in-chief

A zoomed-in photograph of four deflated dumplings on a plate.
Sheng jian bao at Shanghai Time.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Sheng jian bao at Shanghai Time

Like soup dumplings? You’ll love sheng jian bao. The Shanghainese dumplings have crisp bottoms and delightfully juicy fillings that slurp like xiao long bao — to the point that they’re sometimes called pan-fried soup dumplings. My favorite look like the ones at Shanghai Time, near Times Square. The restaurant turns the dumplings over in the oil and fries them upside down. The surface is pale and doughy, but turn them over, and you’ll find that the dumpling’s top knot has been flattened and fried into a crunchy brown spiral. They can be ordered with various meats and seafoods but first timers should try the standard pork and chive. An order of four dumplings costs around $10. 273 W. 38th Street, near Eighth Avenue, Garment District — Luke Fortney, reporter

A round metal tray with a series of Nepalese dishes.
Pork thali at Gorkhali.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Pork thali at Gorkhali

A Nepalese thali is like a TV dinner, but better: an entire meal on one metal tray, with just the right quantity of each dish to stimulate interest, but not bore you by the end. This one ($20) has fatty chunks of pork curry, a spice-coated dish of potatoes and cauliflower, steamed mustard greens, a papadam, white rice, a very mild dal (spoon it over the rice), crudite, and hot sauce. What a feed! Find it at Gorkhali, a new Brooklyn branch of a well-regarded Jackson Heights restaurant. 160 Havemeyer Street, near S. Second Street, Williamsburg — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Cevapi at Kafana

I had one of those perfect New York meals when I came to town for work last week and found myself having dinner with a festive group of six at Kafana. Everything was delicious and interesting, while still managing to feel like a decent value. (The same goes for the epic Eastern European-leaning wine list.) It’s truly difficult to pick a standout dish among the sharp salads, savory schnitzels, and silky stuffed cabbages — with effort, I’m going with the cevapi ($17). The minced meat kebabs pack a surprising amount of flavor into a small bite, and I can’t imagine going back to the restaurant without making sure there’s an order or two on the table. 116 Loisaida Avenue, between East Seventh and Eighth streets, East Village — Missy Frederick, cities director

February 5

Three tacos from Ilegal Taqueria, a taco shop in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
Beef cheek tacos at Ilegal Taqueria.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Beef cheek tacos at Ilegal Taqueria

There are small, colorful plates of street tacos to be found just off the Wilson Avenue subway stop in Bushwick. This is the home of Ilegal Taqueria, which opened four months ago on Wilson Avenue. The taqueria serves tripe, cecina, and al pastor. That’s all fairly straightforward. For something different, try the tender beef cheek barbacoa, which has the consistency of something slow-cooked for hours (around $5). The tacos have two tortillas apiece. They’re thicker than I like, but the experience is better when you split them apart and scoop a little meat into each one. 614 Wilson Avenue, between Cooper and Decatur streets, Bushwick — Luke Fortney, reporter

Tofu with scallions at Mắm.
Tofu with scallions at Mắm.
Emma Orlow/Eater NY

Fried tofu at Mắm

I had been following, Mắm, a Lower East Side Vietnamese restaurant, since its pop-up days. As of December, the team expanded next door with more seating, which means you can get in as a walk-in. Lately, the menu has been focused on beef pho, which is terrific, but I think the sleeper hit is the pillowy tofu served with scallions ($15). The sauce was so good that I dumped the dredges into my bowl of pho, just to savor it all. Would come back just to eat that plate alone. 70 Forsyth Street, near Hester Street, Lower East Side — Emma Orlow, reporter

Four roll-ups of scallion pancake with pink sliced meat and cucumber in the center.
Pastrami scallion pancake at Excellent Dumpling.

Pastrami scallion pancake at Excellent Dumpling

Excellent Dumpling House had been a Chinatown mainstay since 1983, when a rent increase forced it to relocate to Chelsea in 2017. The emphasis changed somewhat — there are still plenty of dumplings, but some new and novel things were added, too. Among them was the pastrami scallion pancake ($14), an outsize green-onion-dotted flatbread with pretty good fatty pastrami rolled up inside, along with cucumbers and cilantro for a wonderful East-West fusion. The fatty and salty pastrami buoys the other flavors along like a tidal wave. 165 W. 23rd St, near Seventh Ave, Chelsea — Robert Sietsema, senior critic