Monday, March 15

best NYC food.

heres the third edition of best NYC food. some of the titles have been copied as there may be more than one place that has the best burgers, mexican.. its a big city after all! enjoy the recommendations and be sure to send me feed back! and as always, let me know if theres anything you'd like me to research/add to the list. (many of these recommendations are centered around food and most of the food only reccomendations (not cocktails, taverns..) are recommended for lunch. however, if you're shooting for atmosphere, check out my first food post, "best big-city eats")

best pizza:

MaximoPino Cafe
504 6th Ave at, 13th St; Greenwich Village; 646.360.4143

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Split between a quick-bite cafe and a white leather chaired lounge, MPC's granite counters and curved glass displays're stocked with homemade pies (based on a 50-year-old family dough recipe) topped with imported comestibles from fresh & smoked mozz, to Apulian artichokes, to 600-day-aged prosciutto; Italian-made cannoli, cakes, and confections; and 50+ ultra-high end flavors from the cafe's namesake gelato master, who goes so far as to make his Pistaccio from Sicilian nuts, which are es-Pesci-ally tasty.
check out the full menu here

best mexican:

113 7th Ave S, at Christopher St; Greenwich Village; 212.924.2305

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Dinner kick-offs include chimichangas with crab or pigs feet, sherry & garlic shrimp, and boquerones w/ warm potatoes, while mains range from chicken mole w/ ancho/mulato/pasilla chiles, to rack of lamb with poblano-radish sauce, to battered cauliflower-abetted shrimp balls, which you'll presumably have to eat by the thousands to get full. Sangria, Mexican suds, and wine're all present, but the standout's an agave spirit-heavy cocktail list that includes the jalapeno tequila/lime/cilantro Watermelon Tanteador, the mango-fied Ofrenda Mangorita (tropical tequila/Cointreau/agave), the Cerveza Azteca (ginger beer with mezcal & lime), plus non-Mexican action like the gin/apple cider/creme de cassis "Sargento Pepper", for when getting by requires more than a little help from your friends.
Early grubbing includes huevos-fueled breakfast, weekend brunch, and a lunch menu with everything from cemitas sandwiches stuffed with portobello, pulled pork, or grilled chicken, to a hamburgeusa topped with serrano ham, pepper jack, jalapeno strips, and chipotle aioli, all of which will contribute to your meteoric thighs.
check out the full menu here

best burgers:

Mikey's Burger
134 Ludlow St, btw Stanton and Rivington; Lower East Side; 212.979.9211

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The hyper-focused menu boasts just four different, potato roll'd, six oz sammies (sided w/ jalapeno-cilantro slaw), with the namesake headliner a chuck/short rib/brisket concoction -- pressed with raw onions/corned beef hash, griddle crusted, and finished with pickled mustard seeds -- that "evokes the flavors of the coffee shops of yesteryear" (nothing says Small Town, USA like Asian-influenced condiments!). Off the beaten path you'll find a satay-style lamb job w/ spicy peanut sauce and fresh mint, a wasabi aoili/pickled onion abetted tempura-fried tilapia patty (w/ optional caviar topping), and a BLT burger rocking chinese bacon/sausage and Kewpie mayo, which is crazy considering some of those dolls are worth, like, thousands of dollars. You can also grub up on fries and spicy curry-chili smothered hot dogs, and while the beer-and-wine license pends you can slug down classic egg creams or exotic shake flavors from toasted almond, to black sesame, to tamarind caramel, to avocado -- if you don't like 'em, just send 'em on their way-ay-ay-ay-ay...ay-ay-ay...semi-ama-way.

best "mini food" (small portions):

Mini Bar
131 E 7th St, btw 1st and A; East Village; 212.358.7582

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Plating up a full menu of salads and toasted sandwiches, plus pies from Key lime to sour cream apple, currently-BYOB Mini's decor does it up safari lodge style thanks to zebrawood tables and paneling, pillow-strewn green benches, and exposed ceiling beams, sure to help attract NYCs sexiest celeb: Gazelle Bundchen.

best whiskey and eats:

Vintry Wine and Whiskey
57 Stone St; Financial District; 212.480.9800

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VWW’s a brown booze and vino temple that feels like the inside of a swanky tree thanks to a 23ft bar made of rare African "flaming bubinga" redwood; rainforest marble table tops; port-colored custom leather stools; and handcarved, bone-like maple "vines" snaking throughout the space...sadly not also made out of flaming bubinga. Using a life-extending dispensing system, more than 80 global wines typically available only by the bottle are broken down into 2oz & 5oz pours, including big time vintages like a '95 Carruades de Lafite Rothschild, an '07 Rochioli Pinot from the Russian River Valley, 1er Cru from Henri Gouges and Les Fremiers, and a '79 Chateau Talbot, unfortunately not accepting coupons from the Sunday paper. Whiskeys hail from all over as well, from Irish offerings like Knappogue Castle's '51 (the "oldest Irish whiskey in the world"), to Japan's Suntory, to America's Pappy Van Winkle, but most impressive are the 100-plus single malts broken down by region, including Speyside, Highlands, Campbleton, and islands from Skye, to Mull, to Orkney, where batches are set aside to help cope with the mental anguish of massacring hobbits.
There's also a bourbon-heavy cocktail list, plus quaff-enabling small plates including lobster stuffed mushrooms, lamb spare ribs, smoked salmon knishes, and veal meatballs, reminding you that maybe if yours weren't always hanging out on the couch you'd still have a roommate.
check out the full menu/drink list here

best montreal-inspired meat:

Mile End
Opens Mon, Jan 25th; 97 Hoyt St, btw Atlantic and Pacific Ave; Brooklyn

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Known only as "smoked meat", the house specialty's a slab of Creekstone brisket, heavily spiced and cured for days (a la pastrami), punched up by a 10-hour smoker stint, and thrown in a steamer for good measure; the finished product's then hand-cut, piled between Orwasher's rye, and plated w/ full sour pickle and house-blended mustard that subs beer for water, suggesting the true pickle is you. Turkeys from Murray's get similar treatment, while other noshes include house-brined cabbage and spicy tomatillos; proper poutine made with Maine curds and drizzled-not-drowned with fresh-cooked gravy; and salami (also in-house) pressed into an onion roll that comes w/ mustard unless you pay a 10 cent charge to skip it (for a quarter they'll agree not to make your sandwich at all).
For those who may die before lunch, ME's flying in bagels from Quebec's St. Viateur and making their own Alaskan king salmon lox, plus stuffing breakfast sammys with the likes of egg, cheese, and smoked pork belly "chazzer", a phattening affair that'll make it easy for your girlfriend to tell why this can't be love.
check out the full menu here

best fancy american:

328 W 12th St, at Greenwich St; West Village; 212.414.3000

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The constantly rotating American menu debuts with smaller "snacks" of curry chickpeas w/ cucumber & bottarga, pork belly with a grapes/tarragon/yogurt sauce, and crispy giant clam w/ chili compote, plus charcuterie like cacciatore, tete de cochon, prosciutto cotto, and foie gras parfait, proving that animal cruelty's so sweet it can be prepared like a dessert. Shareable "plates" offer the likes of hamachi crudo with uni and blood orange; duck carpaccio w/ chicken liver mousse; black cod abetted by smoked bacon, chanterelles, and shellfish emulsion; crispy sweetbreads on escarole; and Berkshire pork belly plated with rock shrimp, which are fresh off a European tour as part of Motley Stüe.
Along for the ride's a Per Se pastry alum who also was part of the private dining club, who'll drop roasted apple Napoleons w/ earl grey milk jam, and S'mores-inspired Graham Cracker ice cream w/ chocolate wafer/toasted marshmallow/hot chocolate sauce -- so delicious you won't even notice the throngs of mullets and mesh tank tops gathering around the table to watch you eat.
check out the full menu here

best beruit-style pizza:

Opens Monday; 208 First Ave, btw 12th and 13th St; East Village; 212.529.6868

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The product of two Beirut-born buddies, Balade augments its more familiar Lebanese fare with a slew of traditional oven-fired pizzas known as "manakeesh", all served up amidst brick-and-tile walls, slatted wooden benches with deep red throw pillows, heavily grained tables, and an enormous mosaic of unvarnished tree trunks -- eat enough pizza and it'll be the only wood you can see. Starting with a special house-made dough, pre-set 'keeshes include the spiced ground beef/onion/parsley Kafta, a traditional-white-cheese-and-tomato job called the Jebneh, and a breakfast pie with thyme, sesame, sumac, and olive oil; other oven fare includes open-face pitas topped w/ familiar stuffings (e.g., sliced beef/onions/cucumber/tahini), and Sfiha Bjebne, aka "squares of cheese to your heart's desire", because there's nothing that hearts crave more than blocks of cheese. To abet your 'za there's mezze like hummus and zatar-blended cheese; lightly toasted pita pockets stuffed with grilled tuna and Lebanese-spiced sausage; and platters of chicken shawarma, falafel, and a lentils-and-rice blend called the Mujuddara Crush, a move the Iron Sheik could have used to pin Hulk Hogan if America wasn't so totally irrepressible.
All can be washed down with suds from Lebanon's Almaza, plus Bekka Valley vino from producers including Massaya and Chateau Kefraya, whose existence proves the French taught the Lebanese their most important culinary tradition -- getting richly stewed
check out the full menu here

best lebanese food:

Al Bustan
319 E 53rd St, btw 1st and 2nd Ave; Midtown East; 212.759.5933

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Recently relocated to new classy digs (glossy dark wood, exposed brick & white fabric walls, crystal chandeliers...), the Lebanese pioneer's locking down a first-ever booze license to create imbibeables like the muddled oregano/vodka/chartreuse Rash Nicra and the limoncello-based Amrit. Meanwhile, the venerable menu's been updated to include feta-n-lamb stuffed phyllo cigars, grilled organic boneless Cornish hen, and spinach-and-chickpea stuffed ovals of pumpkin and cracked wheat, which totally ripped off Mad wheat.

best franco-italian bistro:

Bistro De La Gare
Opens Wednesday: 626 Hudson St, at Jane; West Village

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Abetting green market goods with local ingredients from the likes of Murray's Cheese and Ottomanelli's, apps lead with roasted beet & tarragon goat cheese sformato, country-style pate w/ homemade pickled veggies, confit of rabbit salad w/ carrot vinaigrette, and grilled baby octopus w/ cannellinis & potato cake, or, as the Irish call it, cake. Italianate mains include corn tagliatelle w/ braised leeks, green market lasagna, and chicken cacciatore w/ homemade pancetta & polenta, while more Parisian joints run from braised rabbit w/ mustard sauce, to a cassoulet passed down through four generations, to braised lamb shank w/ winter vegetables; fish get Med-style with sauteed skate w/ French lentils, and even grilled barramundi, also known as Asian sea bass.
check out the full menu here

best sports bar-inspired food:

Bistro Vendome
405 East 58th St, btw 1st Ave and Sutton Place; Midtown East; 212.935.9100
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Frog-tastic starters include garlic & parsley buttered snails, duck liver pate, and fish soup w/ Swiss, plus five variations on mussels, from the basil/ white wine/ garlic "Basilic", to the curry/ lemongrass/ coconut milk "Thai", to the "Normande", whose creamy chicken broth, shrooms, and truffle oil will have patrons' guts storming their britches. Heartier plates cut from Dover sole meuniere (floured and fried in butter), to broiled bronzini w/ artichokes a la barigoule (wine, mushrooms, pork fat...more butter), to grilled filet/ sirloin/ ribeye steak frites w/ green peppercorn or Bearnaise sauce; there're also a trio of winter specials: duck confit/ bacon/ garlic sausage cassoulet, beef cheek shepherd's pie, and intestine & calves foot Tripe A La Mode De Caen -- after getting baked for 12 hours, even Superman has trouble spelling his name.
Happy endings stick to crowd pleasing classics like Grand Marnier creme brulee, profiteroles, tarte tatin w/ creme fraiche, and Nutella Napoleon, named for the man who defined going for it all and coming up short.
check out the full menu here

best japanese food:

1 or 8
66 S 2nd St, at Wythe; Williamsburg; 718.384.2152

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The adventure starts with sakizukes (snacks traditionally paired w/ the first sake order) like hijiki seaweed w/ cream cheese paste, and burdock root & carrot w/ sweet soy, then moves to ceviches of octopus with grapes/yam/vinegar jelly, and terrines from monkfish liver/grilled peach to rib-eye/onion/shiitake/egg; cooked mains include a chicken pot-au-feu (chicken/pork sausage/kombu broth/red pepper paste), Pork Belly Two Ways (a la plancha and cutlet), and something called "Flap Steak", a great new nickname for a body part you long to know better. Raw-wise, seasonal offerings abet a sushi menu that includes three kinds of tuna, bi-coastal salmon, sea bream, and sea urchin, while original concepts run from a salmon job w/ mozzarella/sun dried tomato/basil, to the Mushroom Tuna w/ red pepper & asparagus, to the meatless, tempura Vege-ten, though a true ten requires something more than vege.
To up your own risk taking there's beer & wine, a 30-strong sake list, and a bevy of original cocktails, from the rum/lime/brown sugar/shiso/yuzu juice "Shiso Mojito", to the sesame shochu/soy milk/white sesame "Goma Shake" -- drink too much of either, and you'll have to tell someone "SOOOORRRRRY!".
check out the full menu here

cheapest sophisticated dinner:

Dinner: Wall and Water
75 Wall St, at Water St; Financial District; 212.590.1234

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The Andaz is just launching dinner in their rustic-glam dining room, where live-edge wood tables cut from a single tree are surrounded by plush leather seating, and weathered hardwood floors offset a slate ceiling cut with patterns emulating a dollar bill's watermark. The totally-open kitchen'll pump out American-brasserie starters like seared scallops w/ mussels and slow-roasted peppers, and lamb sausage w/ baked Jerusalem artichokes, plus bigger bites from venison filet w/ smoked bacon, to sweet & sour duck breast w/ rainbow chard, to braised veal cheeks w/ black cabbage -- also a British metal band that used titanic blues riffs and satanic imagery to get kids to eat their vegetables.
check out the full menu here

best bakery:

Village Tart
86 Kenmare, at Mulberry St; Nolita; 212.226.4980

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The bakery's ready-made menu's divided between savory & sweet, with the former including tarts (shrimp pot pie w/ sherry cream, mushroom & Gouda quiche) and pizzettas (prosciutto & fig w/ walnuts, peking duck w/ hoisin sauce & scallion pancake crust), and the latter covering more than twenty bites from pistachio yogurt cakes, to grapefruit curd tarts, to a fresh squeezed lime & tequila Margarita Bar, which surely'll cause a jealous Margaritaville to exclaim "Son of a son of a bitch!". Meanwhile, on the cafe side the "upscale but uncomplicated" fare kicks off with snacks of spiced deviled eggs and wagyu beef franks in a blanket, and starters of hamachi ceviche and tuna w/ milk poached veal, while more substantial 'stuffs include polenta souffle, meat or vegetarian lasagna, apple cider short ribs, and mac & cheese made w/ Humboldt Fog, a phenomenon that curiously makes you crave more cheese, man.
Adult bevs're on the way, but currently you can slam back single origin drip coffees hailing from Nicaragua and Ethiopia; fresh-made, exotic frescas from pink guava to lychee; and variously flavored organic smoothies called Sassy Lassis, who're the very reason your mama told you not to come.
check out the full menu here

best country food:

Charles Gabriel at Aretsky's Patroon
Every Fri, 5-11pm, 160 E 46th St, btw Lexington and 3rd Ave; Midtown East; 212.883.7373
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Harlem's czar of soul food's bringing his act downtown, where $25 will get you three pieces of his ballyhooed fried chicken (carefully done in a pan instead of a deep fryer), two sides (collards, candied yams, mac & cheese...), and banana pudding. Live honky tonk'll be busted out by pianist Ben Healy, who, unlike his Double Deuce-ing brother Jeff, can totally see who threw that beer bottle at him.
check out the full menu here

best diversity in the menu:
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Eli Kirshtein at Solo
550 Madison Ave, btw 55th and 56th St; Midtown East; 212.833.7800

The Top Chef-testant's setting up shop as Executive Chef in Solo's kosher kitchen, personally creating daily-rotating 3- and 5-course prix-fixe menus, the inaugural iterations of which include persimmon w/ cacao nibs & yuzu, amber jack w/ tobiko gremolata, and duck breast w/ chicharrones and sunchokes, which are much less messy than Menendez Farms' sonshoots.


Catarina said...

wow, thanks for sharing! I hope to go to NY in September or a bit later so this will come in handy!

Clara Marinelli said...

These places look great !
If only I could go there...

Monika P. said...

mmm, you made me feel so hungry;D! :) And it's too late to eat something as it's 11 pm in Poland.

Monika from J'adore Fashion

Jay said...

I haven't been to New York in almost a year now! ahh, I wanna go so badly.

Kim said...

ps: don't forget to join my giveaway !

Kim said...

looks so nice !

LyddieGal said...

I'm definitely making a note of these places for my next trip to NYC! Thanks!!

Chic on the Cheap

Jonesy said...

Great post! I love this because I'm in NY and can go to these. thanks : )

Anita Putri said...

aw nice post and you made feelso hungry baby :)
thank you for lovely comment

Veronique said...

new york ... I wanted so much to...

Amillian said...

Thank you 4 this note! Very useful :) I'm going to NYC in 2 weeks and I was looking 4 something like that :)))

thingsIlove said...

Ooh, you made me hungry.

Great post!

soooali said...

WOW! I'm so hungry...need a trip to NYC! haha

B a la Moda said...

You really work hard for this entry! It is a shame I am not going to NYC soon.

B* a la Moda

Clochette said...

I just can't wait to go to NYC! I'm going there in January 2011 for a semester at the FIT and i'm pretty sure going to keep this article! I'm obssessed by good food and those restaurants are going to make me like crazy!