New York City's Best Dishes and Desserts
Hi RoadFood Posters,
I wrote an article on my NYC food website about the city's 85 best dishes and desserts. Below is my top 10, along with photos, videos and reviews from well known food critics. 10. Raoul's Burger
"The best burger in America is not easy to get. But sweet Jesus this thing is great...it is worth going early and going alone to eat Raoul's burger. And here is why. After ten years of rigorous hamburger puritanism, and an rancorous animosity towards any burger that isn't topped with American cheese and doesn't come on a white squishy bun, I have at last been won over by a gourmet specialty burger. Powered by a potent, piquant au poivre sauce, a separate au poivre mayonnaise, a sweet, brisket-heavy LaFrieda blend, topped with a little yarmulke of triple-cream St. Andre cheese, wilted watercress, cornichons, and served on the most delicate of challah buns, this is, in my opinion anyway, the must-have burger of 2014.
...I've gone four times in the last two weeks. And I'm going back soon. I'm not going to get into what it tastes like, and why you should go there, because frankly I'm hoping you don't. I wouldn't even write about it at all, but I feel a responsibility to my fellow burger-fetishists, and to Eat Like a Man readers." - Josh Ozersky, Esquire 9. Dizengoff's Hummus
"Several times sitting at Dizengoff’s curving red counter I’ve heard customers exclaim, "This is the best hummus I’ve ever tasted!" And I wondered, "Could it really be the best?
...The flavor is limited to a single strong and lingering note: cumin. The texture is fluffy; almost unbelievably so. In fact, as you sit mopping it from the inside of your black plastic container with a torn fragment of pita, it threatens to detach itself and ascend to the ceiling. Yes, it’s the best hummus in town.
By itself, hummus would forever remain a condiment or a side dish. So what goes in the middle for your further dipping pleasure is of supreme importance...Five hummus variations priced from $10 to $13 are available, but part of the genius of the place is that the roster is always shifting, making a visit to Dizengoff a culinary adventure.
Currently, the (topping) choice is coarsely ground chicken in red oil with Persian spices, which is beyond delicious. In fact, it’s my favorite topping of all those I’ve tried over the last four months." - Robert Sietsema, 8. Babbo's Beef Cheek Ravioli
"One of the singular pleasures of eating out in New York City in the early years of the new century is the arrival of a plate of steaming beef-cheek ravioli at Babbo, Mario Batali's flagship restaurant on Waverly Place in Greenwich Village.
The delicate pasta triangles glisten beneath a velvety sauce made of crushed squab liver livened with capers and anchovies. Soft shavings of pecorino Romano wilt in the sauce's heat. At the pressure of a fork, the dough gives way to the soft, buttery ooze of a melting beef interior, and the scent of Sunday gravy travels up from the plate on a magic carpet of shaved black truffles.
Accompanied by a glass of Barolo, and consumed alongside a person of beauty and intelligence, the beef-cheek ravioli at Babbo represent a pinnacle of the fine dining range in Manhattan." - Sam Sifton, The New York Times 7. Levain Bakery's Chocolate Chip Walnut or Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookie
Upper West Side & Harlem
"The two blocks to Central Park with your hot cookies are possibly the longest walk you will experience...I saw cookie casualties everywhere, people who couldn’t make the three blocks and instead sprawled themselves on strangers’ stoops.
What makes Levain’s cookies so irresistably delicious? These mammoth cookies are baked to perfection– crispy on the outside, properly gooey on the inside, made with the purest, highest-quality ingredients. Even after they have cooled off, days later, they still manage to retain the addictive texture and flavor." - Souvenir Finder 6. Marea's Fusilli With Red-Wine-Braised Octopus and Bone Marrow
"I've been lucky enough to travel all over Italy. I'm talking forming-gnocci-with-the-back-of-a-fork-in-nonna's-mountain-kitchen Italy. But the best bowl of pasta I've ever had was in Manhattan.
The Fusili with Baby Octopus and Bone Marrow that Chef Michael White serves at his Central Park South restaurant Marea is--can I say it?--genius. Yes, genius. Because the binder that brings the hand-rolled pasta, the San Marzano tomatoes, and the red wine-braised baby octopus together is none other than bone marrow. (Serious Eats details how it's done in The Making of Michael White's Fusilli at Marea.) The pasta is topped with mollica (Italian breadcrumbs) for a bit of textural contrast to that rich sauce. Perfezione. I mean it.
The first time I had it, I felt like streaking through Central Park screaming "It's been done! The pinnacle of pasta has been reached!" Each visit to Marea since then (and there have been many), the fusilli has been consistently that good. (But no, the streaking has not happened.)" - Julia Bainbridge, Bon Appétit 5. Xi'an Famous Foods' Spicy Cumin Lamb Noodles
"The most popular item on the menu and for good reason, this is the very best of everything Xi'an Famous Foods has to offer, and one of the 50 NYC foods you need to eat before you die. Unless you've eaten a lot of Northwestern Chinese food, which typically uses this balance of cumin and a bit of heat, you've probably never eaten anything quite like this -- or quite this good. Located along the Silk Road, the Chinese city of Xi'an had access to spices of the Middle East, including cumin, and was influenced by a sizable Muslim population. The cuisine persists today and finds a delicious and authentic embodiment in this dish, which is distinct from the more common Chinese cuisines found in America. The bits of spiced lamb are sautéed with red onion and hot peppers, for a spicy, aromatic mix that clings perfectly to the noodles. I've taken many NYC visitors on days-long eating tours across the five boroughs, and when it's all said and done they most often point back to one thing as the most memorable: these lamb noodles." - Bison Messink, Thrillist 4. Hometown Bar-B-Que's Brisket
"At Hometown, the line can wrap around the huge, picnic-tabled dining room and continue out the door, filled with customers waiting to order plates of ribs, bowls of beans, and, if they’re smart, servings of New York’s best brisket. Visiting Hometown can be trying as an overall experience — there are a lot of baby strollers — but the brisket is fantastic, offering an excellent blend of meaty substance and smoky fat. Most notable is pitmaster Billy Durney’s intensely peppery and smoky bark; you will wish every bite were crusted with it. But even those that aren’t are imbued with oaky flavor and tender as all get-out. Take a bite and let it melt on your tongue, close your eyes, learn to love the strollers, and you’ll achieve barbecue Zen." - Mary Jane Weedman, New York Magazine 3. The Arepa Lady's Arepas
Dekalb Market Hall
"When people ask me to name my favorite food in New York, I inevitably answer--without hesitation--"arepas from the Arepa Lady." This saintly woman grills Colombian corn cakes on her street cart weekends after 10:30 p.m., and they are magical.
I don't know her name; such knowledge would detract from my appreciation of her as an archetype. While I speak pretty decent Spanish, I've never been able to fully follow her conversation, but it doesn't matter. I go when I'm feeling blue, stand under her umbrella, and feel a healing calm wash over me as she brushes the sizzling corn cakes with butter. Zen master-like in her complete absorption in the task, she grills the things with infinite patience and loving care.
Everyone adores the arepa lady. The people on the street treat her with reverence and respect; there's always a small entourage of hangers-on standing around her cart or sitting on folding chairs. Fast cars and smoke-billowing trucks zoom down the street, the 7 train crashes by overhead, partying Latinos cavort up and down the block, but the arepa lady's peacefulness absorbs it all, transforms it, and gives back...corn cakes.
The arepas themselves are snacks from heaven. Coarsely ground corn, fried in pancakes about six inches in diameter and an inch thick, slathered with butter and topped with shredded white cheese, they're brown and crunchy, chewy and a little bit sweet, the butter and cheese imbuing the whole with salty dairy meltiness.
Nearby, others grill arepas on street carts, but they are not The Arepa Lady (look for the tiny, ageless woman with the beatific smile). They all use the same ingredients and similar grills, but only her arepas have that certain cosmic expansiveness. You try one, and first reaction is "mmm, this is delicious." But before that thought can fully form, waves of progressively deeper feelings begin crashing, and you are finally left silently nodding your head. You understand things. You have been loved.
I've brought Malaysian designers, Russian cookbook authors, Catalan drummers, and German set-painters to the arepa lady on the way home from shamefully gluttonous food outings. Way too full to object very forcefully, clutching their sides in pain, I drag them there for the proverbial "one more bite." Her sanctified vibe somehow coaxes them to try a nibble, and suddenly eyes brighten and appetites rekindle. My guests invariably swoon over the things, even when sampled after binges so overindulgent that they had sworn never to eat again. The magic of the arepa lady gives them the strength to eat on. " - Jim Leff, NY Press 2. Peter Luger's Porterhouse
"There are no lobsters at Peter Luger. There are no major credit cards, either. And those looking for a great wine list will be disappointed. But Peter Luger does have one thing: the best steak in New York City.
You know the steak is great before you even taste it. You know it from the fine, funky, mineral aroma that wafts across the table and announces that this is a piece of meat. When the waiter appears with the platter, he stands there spooning a mixture of butter and meat juices across the sizzling porterhouse in an exercise of pure theater. He is merely prolonging the moment, allowing the aroma to revive all your primal instincts as he stretches out the time until you can actually sink your teeth into the flesh. Finally he serves, slowly doling out slices of fillet and sirloin. As your mouth closes on the incredibly tender piece of beef, aroma and flavor come together, exploding on the palate.
Some people order lamb chops, which seems inexplicable to me; the chops are thick and powerfully delicious, but I'd rather eat steak. Others, who have been dragged along by ardent carnivores, console themselves with salmon. I tried it once, just for science. It was a fine piece of fish, but I felt cheated. The steak's the thing here, an enormous porterhouse charred to perfection over intense heat. It is so good that if you're not careful you find yourself gnawing on the bone, picking the marrow out of the middle and generally covering yourself in greasy goodness.
In the current climate of anti-fat hysteria, steak for most of us has become an occasional treat. Since I have only a limited number of steaks in my future, I'd like to eat them all at Peter Luger." - Ruth Reichl, The New York Times 1. BAOHAUS's Chairman Bao
"For $4, you get a lily-white bun — the bao — brimming with Niman Ranch pork belly, glossy with fat and topped with the classic Taiwanese condiments: peanuts pulverized to a powder and tossed with red sugar; suan cai (pickled mustard greens), and a fistful of cilantro.
Dissenters will quibble that you can get gua bao for less in Chinatown. Not with this quality you can’t.
God is in the details. The buns are steamed in lotus leaves. The pork is flash-fried, and then simmered in rice wine, soy sauce, rock sugar, ginger and star anise — a technique called “red cooking” in Mandarin — plus cherry Coca-Cola, which adds a hint of caramel." - Ligaya Mishan, The New York Times
post edited by yumcitymike - 2017/09/17 16:40:20