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The Best Dishes Eater Editors Ate This Week

Delicate Peking duck, bean curd skin salad, and more

Plates and utensils are set for service at a light wood dining room inside of a restaurant
Joomak Banjum opened on June 23
Adam Friedlander/Eater

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.

June 28

An overhead photograph of what appears to be two tacos filled with slices of duck and a dark glaze on a dark-colored plate
The Peking duck at Joomak Banjum
Luke Fortney / Eater NY

Peking duck at Joomak Banjum

Following a sold-out run as a pop-up last year, Joomak has found a permanent home in Koreatown, where it’s operating under the name Joomak Banjum. The restaurant is serving two tasting menus to start — priced at $85 for four courses or $125 for six — and thankfully, its version of Peking duck is a centerpiece of both dinners. The dish comes served on a paper-thin pancake with sides of eggplant, cucumber, and hoisin for an assemble-yourself preparation. Despite the chopsticks and ornate Sabre cutlery on our table, our server instructed us to eat the pancake using our hands — “like a taco” — and the delicate duck went down in two quick bites. 312 Fifth Avenue, between West 31st and 32nd streets, Koreatown — Luke Fortney, reporter

Wobbly multilayered wads of tofu skin with dark brown wood ear mushrooms in an oily dressing on a blue plate.
Dress cold bean curd skin at Deng Ji Yunnan Guo Qiao
Robert Sietsema / Eater NY

Dress cold bean curd skin at Deng Ji Yunnan Guo Qiao

No better summer coolant than this salad ($5.99) of bean curd skin, wood-ear mushrooms, and carrots in a dreamy dressing tasting of chile and sesame oils. The dish is further flavored with a very pungent variety of cilantro, and the curd itself has a wobbly and chewy quality that is a delight. Deng Ji opened late in 2019 in the old Fu Run Dongbei space, now spruced up and modernized, with a comfortable outdoor dining area. A previous branch was to be found in Manhattan’s Chinatown, both places specializing in the rice mixian noodles of Yunnan, of which the apex of the tradition is the legendary crossing the bridge noodles, available here in several forms, designated “guo qiao” (“cross the bridge”). 40-09 Prince Street, between Roosevelt Avenue and 40th Road, Flushing — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

four tacos de canastas with different fillings
Tacos de canasta at Taquitos De Canasta San Vicente
Bao Ong / Eater NY

Tacos de canasta at Taquitos De Canasta San Vicente

Count me as a big fan of the famed Birria-Landia truck in Jackson Heights, but as much as I love the birria, the line is often too long. So it was a relief when I finally made it to Norberto Sánchez’s Taquitos De Canasta San Vicente, and there was no 30-minute wait at the intersection of 83rd Street and Northern Boulevard. My recent visit was my first time tasting tacos de canasta, a popular street food item consisting of soft corn tortillas often made with simple fillings. Here, Sánchez offers three different typical fillings: chicharron, potatoes with chorizo, and beans. These no-frills tacos (four for $5) look like they may not fill you up, but they’re satisfying and comforting in that home-cooked-meal sort of way. I hope to be back soon because it wouldn’t at all be surprising for people to start lining up for these excellent tacos. 83 Street and Northern Boulevard, Jackson Heights — Bao Ong, editor

A slice of pastry with layers of dough and topped with sesame seeds and honey is on a rectangular white plate sitting on a wooden table
Sabaya at Qahwah House
Erika Adams / Eater NY

Sabaya at Qahwah House

I popped into Yemeni coffee shop Qahwah House — a Williamsburg newcomer — on a sweaty Sunday afternoon to find the large, shiny shop bustling with customers conversing over trays of individual coffee pots and pastries. I staked out a window seat with a book, a pot of sweet Mofawar coffee, and a thick slice of sabaya ($4), a comforting Yemeni pastry made with layers of butter and dough, baked to achieve a crispy outer layer, and then finished off with a sprinkling of sesame seeds and a drizzle of sweet honey. The mild treat was a perfect partner to the cardamom-tinged coffee, and the large portion size lasted me through most of the pot. 162 Bedford Avenue, near North 8th Street, Williamsburg — Erika Adams, reporter

House slice at Mama’s Too!

Last week I reviewed the excellent slices at L’industrie, which meant I ate quite a bit of pizza at the newly expanded Williamsburg venue — and elsewhere. Whenever I write up a local pizza parlor, I do my best to revisit another classic spot or hit up a place or two I’ve not yet been to, as a relevant point of comparison. This time I decided to check out Frank Tuttolomondo Mama’s Too! on the Upper West Side, which I’d heard impressive things about. No surprise here: It was quite good! The pizzeria was sold out of its famous square pepperoni slices by the time I swung by, but a house slice got the job done in a technically astute and delicious way. The inner crust, a few degrees thicker than at L’industrie, was light and airy. The tomato sauce, in turn, was tangy; the thick layer of mozz was stretchy and gently burnished; and the entire slice was covered by a light canopy of sharp basil. I’ll definitely make this place a more regular part of my pizza repertoire. 2750 Broadway, near 106th Street, Upper West Side — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

June 21

A bowl of green soup with wad of whitish smoked fish in the middle and a few croutons dancing around.
English pea soup
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

English pea soup at L’Accolade

After this latest stretch of temps approaching 90 degrees, most soup lovers find it’s time to switch from hot to cold — and that is just what I did at L’Accolade this past weekend. This French restaurant in the Village, which partly specializes in natural and skin-contact wines, just reopened after a long pandemic slumber, with a commodious dining shack on the street and, even better, a backyard that makes you feel like you’ve gone back in time to the previous century — you may even spot laundry flapping from a line stretched from an adjacent building. The English pea soup ($17) is the most refreshing thing I’ve tasted recently, cold and green and tasting of the farmers market. The preserved trout makes a delightful floating island of smoke and salt, and will cause you to practice getting just the right bite of fish, soup, and crouton all at once. 302 Bleecker Street, between Grove Street and Seventh Avenue South, West Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

A brown and pink scone sits on a white paper on a grey table
Strawberry scone
Erika Adams/Eater NY

Strawberry scone at Daily Provisions

There are few things that are worth hauling out a Citibike before 8 a.m., and pastry chef Claudia Fleming’s strawberry scone ($4.50) at Daily Provisions — marking her return to Union Square Hospitality — is one of them. A humble little breakfast treat under normal circumstances, the scone under Fleming’s watch is a hefty specimen that nails the two tenets of great scone-making: A crispy exterior shell that gives way to soft, dense innards, and, in this rendition, there’s sweet strawberries bursting out of every crevice. But you’ll have to go early, and maybe wait in line, to grab one. The scones aren’t available for online ordering due to demand and a staffer at the Union Square shop says that they’ve been selling out by 9 a.m. 103 East 19th Street, near Park Avenue South, Union Square — Erika Adams, reporter

A sizable bowl of pho with scallions, basil, jalapeno, and a hunk of bone-in short rib sits on a table next to other dishes
Pho bo with short rib at Em Vietnamese Bistro
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Pho bo at Em Vietnamese Bistro

Over the last two months, Eater has been documenting how Dumbo — a neighborhood historically maligned by tourists and overhead scaffolding — appears to be poised for a comeback. Despite recent heavy-hitting openings from Evil Twin Brewing and % Arabica, I’ve mostly written those words in disbelief, but a visit to the new location of Em Vietnamese Bistro this weekend has me wondering. The new restaurant from chef Ly Nguyen is focused on saucy bowls of seafood, but oddly my favorite dish was its pho bo, a holdover from Em’s first location in Bensonhurst made with a 24-hour beef broth ($15). Did we need to add a heaping portion of bone-in beef to a bowl already filled with filet mignon, rib eye, and beef balls ($8)? Maybe not, but we’d gladly do it again for a taste of Em’s tender short rib, if not my favorite in the borough, then definitely in this up-and-coming neighborhood. 57 Front Street, near York Street, Dumbo — Luke Fortney, reporter

A baugette sandwich with three kinds of meat inside
Three-meat sandwich from Standalone Cheese
Bao Ong / Eater NY

Three-meat sandwich at Standalone Cheese

All the triple crème, blue cheese-like brie and cheddar I’ve consumed from Standalone Cheese helped me get through the pandemic no doubt. I’d place my order online for pickup but it’s only recently that the tiny shop allowed customers to come indoors again. It’s a dangerous move for someone who likes to linger and wants to buy everything. So I ordered more cheese, some mortadella, and for the first time, I decided I needed to try the three-meat sandwich ($8). The layers of coppa, salami, and soppressatta between the stirato baguette from Grandaisy Bakery was a perfect, salty afternoon snack. It was filling but a few hours later, I dug into my stash of cheese. 79-07 37th Avenue, between 79th and 80th streets, Jackson Heights — Bao Ong, editor

June 14

Two small squares of chicken on a wooden skewer.
Chicken oysters at Chikarashi Isso
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Chicken omakase at Chikarashi Isso at Hotel 50 Bowery

The setting is dramatic: a wooden pavilion on a second floor roof deck at a new Chinatown hotel. A counter with 10 seats is set up and is focused on a charcoal brazier fed with Japanese binchotan charcoal, behind which stands chef Atsushi Kono, manipulating a row of wooden yakitori skewers. In a $150, 15-course marathon, these are rotated and shifted over the charcoal, sometimes brushed with a sauce, then delivered to the guests in intervals. Most of the skewers contain chicken parts, of which my favorite was the chicken oyster, a very tender morsel on the bird’s back side. After the meal concludes, a selection of further skewers are offered at an additional charge, of which rooster testicles were my favorite, but I also enjoyed a brochette of Spanish Mangalitsa pig. The volume of food was large and you wouldn’t want to eat this meal every day, but on rare occasions, it is a delight. 50 Bowery, between Canal and Bayard streets, Chinatown Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Two hands hold two halves of a California burrito, stuffed with rice, pico de gallo, French fries, and carne asada
Two halves of a California burrito at Electric Burrito
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

California burrito at Electric Burrito

While perched on a bench with a friend and two halves of this burrito, a couple walking down the street stopped to ask us. “I’m sorry,” they said, “but are those french fries in that burrito?” Sure, we were already turning heads with audible groans and lots of laughter, having finally found a California burrito to scratch our cravings, but it’s interactions like ours — filled with confusion, disbelief, and ultimately, pleasant surprise — that led Alex Thaboua to open Electric Burrito in May. While beloved in San Diego and other parts of the southwest United States, the french fry-filled California burrito has yet to catch on in New York, but this walk-up counter in the East Village is beginning to change that, sold-out week after sold-out week. For a proper first impression, order the carne asada version, made with pico de gallo, salty, al dente fries, and a see-through-thin tortilla that never leaks. 81 Saint Marks Place, near First Avenue, East Village — Luke Fortney, reporter

A plate of rice pilaf with chunks of bee, carrots, and chickpeas
Uzbek plov at Farida
Bao Ong / Eater NY

Uzbek plov at Farida

Despite Farida’s lackluster location — it’s sandwiched between the Port Authority and Lincoln Tunnel — I already knew I was coming back after one bite of the Uzbek plov ($15). For a carb fiend like myself, there’s nothing much more exciting than a heap of rice pilaf topped with tender cubes of beef, which tasted like they had been finished with a touch of butter. There were carrots and a smattering of scallions, but let there be no confusion here: This plov is a perfect marriage of carbs and fatty protein. 489 Ninth Avenue, between West 37th and 38th streets, Garment District — Bao Ong, editor

A dark red clay bowl filled with lamb meat on the bone, and apricots, almonds, and other fruits in a dark sauce
Lamb tagine at Nomad
Erika Adams / Eater NY

Lamb tagine at Nomad

For a lowkey weeknight dinner on a hot and rainy evening last week, it was hard to beat the lamb tagine ($27) at Algerian restaurant Nomad in the East Village (not to be confused with the currently shuttered NoMad restaurant further uptown). The lamb, soaked in a sweet and slightly spicy sauce, pulls apart at the touch of a fork. The plate was scattered with almonds, dried apricots and raisins — warm and puffy from cooking with the sauced lamb — and the dish is served with a side cup of couscous that made a great vessel for sopping up the sauce. It was a deeply satisfying rendition of the popular North African meal. 78 Second Avenue, between East Fourth and Fifth streets, East Village — Erika Adams, reporter

June 7

A half-moon of masa with a thick breaded steak on top drizzled with gravy and a green sauce between steak and masa.
Chicken fried steak tlaycoyo
Robert Sietsema / Eater NY

Chicken fried steak tlaycoyo at Parklife

Three years ago, Denisse Lina Chavez and her son Johnny Rosas were running El Atoradero Taqueria out of the Gowanus bar Parklife, centered on Chavez’s luscious pork carnitas wrapped in handmade blue tortillas. Nowadays, the dining is limited to the outdoor yard, which catches the breeze off the Gowanus on summer evenings, and the menu is a mash-up of Mexican, Texian, and Persian cuisine under chef and co-owner Scott Koshnoodi. Tlaycoyo is a thick masa flatbread stuffed with beans, and at Parklife in one of several permutations it comes with a chicken fried steak on top drizzled with gravy ($12). This is not your typical tortured minute steak that usually makes its way into chicken fried steak, but a block of tender beef cooked medium rare, and every corny, meaty, avocado-ey, and gravy laden bite is a pleasure. 636 Degraw Street, between Third and Fourth avenues, Gowanus Robert Sietsema, senior critic

A whole fried fish bathed in red curry, with cabbage and lime
Fried sea bream and pea shoots at Falansai
Luke Fortney / Eater NY

Pea shoots at Falansai

Don’t be mistaken: The sea bream sitting at the center of this table, served whole in a tangy bath of red curry, is one of the best fried fish I’ve had in recent memory (perhaps rivaled only by the pla tod kamin at Ugly Baby). Yet, after a visit to the recently reopened Falansai, the dish I left dreaming about was actually the bowl of gravy-colored broth to its right. Easily missable and simply titled “pea shoots” on the restaurant’s menu, this comforting side of stewed pea shoots and smoked duck broth isn’t trying to be anything but what it is: essentially, a hug in bowl-form ($10). It’s a must-order pairing for heartier options on the menu, like house-made mortadella and duck neck confit. Even on a 90 degree day seated outdoors. 112 Harrison Place, at Porter Avenue, East Williamsburg — Luke Fortney, reporter

Raw oysters at Tong

Sitting inside a restaurant at a bar isn’t something I’ve done in quite some time, but that’s precisely what I did at Tong, having been lured over by Robert Sietsema’s review of the Bushwick venue. Chefs Chetkangwan Thipruetree and Sunisa Nitmai have put together an impressively lengthy collection of small plates, with some of the dishes turning out quite fiery (see: kou kling moo), but I found myself thinking about the raw oysters long after the meal. The kitchen dresses them with chile jam, mint leaf, lemongrass, and shallot leaf — enough garnishes to transform each bivalve into a small composed salad with distinct notes of sugar and acid from the toppings. Other dishes were great too, but I think the memory of the oysters stayed with me the most because it had been ages since I enjoyed the luxury of slurping down raw shellfish at a restaurant — something that doesn’t translate too well to takeout. It’s nice to be back. 321 Starr Street, near Cypress Avenue, Bushwick — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

A plate of spinach con queso pastry
Spinach con queso from Todo Rico Bakery
Bao Ong / Eater NY

Spinach con queso at Todo Rico Bakery

I’ve picked up my fair share of conchas at this fairly new Mexican bakery located on a bustling stretch of Roosevelt Avenue just steps from the popular Birria-Landia truck. On a recent visit, however, I wanted something savory and found a try of pastries labeled as “spinach con queso” at $2 a pop. I’m not sure how authentic these treats are, but I can’t stop eating them. They look like Pop-Tarts but with a fancy, glistening lattice pattern on top. It’s too thin to be spanakopita and there’s no flaky phyllo dough holding everything together. Instead, each bite is like sinking into a precisely cut tea sandwich that’s been compressed and filled with the best creamed spinach — not too cheesy or vegetal. They’re open 6 a.m. to midnight, so I’ve had this pastry for each of the day. 76-17 Roosevelt Avenue, between 76th and 77th streets, Jackson Heights— Bao Ong, editor

Chicken drumsticks laid over orange sweet potato with a green salad served on a white plate
Poulet at Ghaya
Erika Adams / Eater NY

Poulet at Ghaya

This past weekend, I took a spin inside Jacx & Co — the Long Island City development that opened its doors last fall — to check out restaurant newcomer Ghaya, a spot that has been on my list to try out since the place first opened. The Tunisian-leaning cafe, from award-winning pastry chef Ghaya Oliveira, has some gorgeous sweets on the menu, but I opted to go savory with the poulet ($15.85). It was a great lunch decision: The tender chicken comes lightly crusted in pistachios, lending a good bit of crunch to the skin, and it was paired with some shockingly velvety scoops of mashed sweet potato. I’ll be back to plow through the baked goods on the next visit. 28-17 Jackson Avenue, near Queens Plaza, Long Island City — Erika Adams, reporter

June 1

A whole fish with orange crumbs on top on an orange plate.
Pla tod kamin
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Pla tod kamin at Ugly Baby

The newly reopened Ugly Baby is hitting its stride, despite a complicated system for reserving and ordering based mainly on Instagram communication. This last weekend two friends and I enjoyed an amazing meal via some last-minute seating at the bar overlooking the kitchen — which was actually the best seat in the house. This sea bream (sometimes called red drum, sea bass, or dorado, $30) was a highlight of our meal, flipped right from the saute pan onto the serving plate and heaped with crunchy yellow crumbs — which is partly where the turmeric part comes in. The yellow spice, with its earthy flavor, showcased the clean taste of the fish, which came off in great chunks as we raked our forks over the creature’s crisp sides. Altogether, it’s one of the most satisfying whole-fish presentations in town, and not a shred of flesh was left. 407 Smith Street, between Fourth and Fifth streets, Carroll Gardens — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Half of a sandwich sits in a red broth in a bowl on a wooden table. A metal spoon is submerged in the broth.
A salsa-soaked torta ahogada at La Superior
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Torta ahogada at La Superior

I first encountered the torta ahogada as a Monopolio-addled undergraduate student in Guadalajara, Jalisco, where the sandwich is most popular. (Friends in the western Mexico city have described the dish as the platonic ideal of late-night eating, but here in New York it makes for an equally comforting weeknight dinner.) The version served at La Superior in Williamsburg (more of a half-torta, size-wise) is made from sourdough bread that’s been drenched in tomato sauce and tongue-tingling arbol pepper salsa ($14). The restaurant’s housemade bread was pungent and sour, but my favorite bites actually came after the half-loaf had been finished, by spooning bits of pork confit and salsa directly into my mouth. 295 Berry Street, between South Second and South Third streets, Williamsburg — Luke Fortney, reporter

Beef jerky at Le Marais

I’ve been eating a whole lot of packaged jerky lately as part of a published ranking of dried meats and mushrooms from across the country — even my tea cabinet smells like cumin right now — but the assignment reminded me that a kosher steakhouse in Midtown also does a fine homemade version. So I ordered a bit of beef jerky from Le Marais, and I do mean just a bit, as the stuff starts at $35 for one quarter pound. The restaurant, I understand, takes the meat, smokes it, freezes it, marinades it, then air dries it. The result is a very different style of jerky than most folks encounter at gas stations; it’s exceedingly tender, with a consistency that’s barely firmer than, say, grilled dorade. The sweet-salty flavors are about par for the course, but again, the texture is what’s so nice here, as you can eat the jerky as an appetizer without destroying your jaw before a proper steak frites dinner. 150 West 46th Street, near Seventh Avenue, Midtown West — Ryan Sutton, chief critic

A plate of crispy roasted pork with rice noodles
Banh cuon heo quay at Bánh Vietnamese Shop House
Bao Ong / Eater NY

Banh cuon heo quay at Bánh Vietnamese Shop House

I feasted on what felt like an endless buffet of Vietnamese food the past two weeks while working remotely in Minnesota and spending time with my family. So when I landed back in New York on a rainy start to the Memorial Day weekend, comfort food was in demand. I hadn’t been at Bánh since they were in pop-up mode and am now kicking myself for not coming back sooner, especially after ordering the banh cuon heo quay ($15), or steamed rice rolls with crispy pork. This dish had my name all over it: the crackly cubes of fatty pork, dipped into the sweet-and-sour nuoc cham, paired perfectly with the pleasantly chewy noodles topped with fried shallots. All the familiar flavors brought me back home again. 942 Amsterdam Avenue, between 106th and 107th streets, Upper West Side — Bao Ong, editor

A close-up photo of a sandwich stuffed with fried soft shell crab and purple cabbage
Soft shell crab banh mi at Two Wheels
Erika Adams/Eater NY

Soft shell crab banh mi at Two Wheels

My Instagram feed has been joyfully flooded lately with a ton of fried soft shell crab specials and — unable to resist the call of fried crab — I cycled up to Two Wheels’s new spot on the Upper East Side last week to try out the Vietnamese restaurant’s take on the seasonal special. It’s a half of a banh mi ($12.95) absolutely bursting with fried soft shell crab, greens, a sprinkling of jalapeños, and a cabbage slaw piled on top. The sandwich packed a punch all on its own, but I followed the restaurant’s tip and ordered a side cup of warm pho broth ($3.50) for dipping, which softened the bread and highlighted the crab-filled flavors in each bite. Highly recommend. 1382 Second Avenue, at the corner of East 71st Street, Upper East Side — Erika Adams, reporter

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