Tamale pie is a dish that screams for an update. I mean, it's cornbread and chili all rolled into one! This version uses tender, slow-cooked, shredded skirt steak flavored with layers and layers of aromatics and vegetables for a rich, complex, chili-based stew topped with corn bread flavored with browned butter.
'American' on Serious Eats
Tamale pie is a dish that screams for an update. I mean, it's cornbread and chili all rolled into one! Just imagine how great it could be if we took the time to make a real, deeply flavored, meaty chili from scratch, eschewing the dump-and-stir approach and instead building up layers of spices and aromatics. Now imagine that chili topped with tender, moist, crisp-edged, buttery cornbread with those chili juices seeping up into it as it bakes in the oven. That's the kind of meal I'd love to come home to after a long day out in the cold. Wouldn't you?
Beefaroni, macaroni and beef, chili mac, Johnny Marzetti, or American chop suey, call it what you will, but whatever its origins, there's one thing for sure: the stuff is delicious. Tender pasta with a rich tomato and beef sauce flavored with garlic and oregano, cooked together with onions and peppers, and finished with cheese, this is Italian-American comfort food at its finest. Not only that, but it's a ridiculously easy dish to put together, cooked 100% on the stovetop, and requiring nothing more than a pot, a bowl, and about half an hour of your time.
Classic smashed burgers are all about maximizing that deep, brown crust. But I found myself wondering, what if I were to take this to the extreme? Is there a way I could pack even more flavor into a burger? And thus, the ultra-smashed burger was born. Same burger size, but twice the amount of crisp, browned crust.
Creamed corn, made in the slow cooker, is gussied up with cream cheese, American cheese, and crème fraîche.
Having visited Mayfield only three times I can't say whether it's always as lively and friendly as I've seen it. But if my experiences have been any indication, this is a neighborhood spot that's filling a void—it's as successful a bar as a restaurant, gathering place as eatery, with a menu I'd eat from any day of the week.
"I was on a date here last week," said the lady at the table next to ours at Alice's Arbor. We'll summarize for you: the date went well! Perhaps the couple simply had chemistry, but we think this seasonal American restaurant/grocery/cafe on the border of Clinton Hill and Bed-Stuy played a big part. After all, it's a date-tastic place.
When we think of American classics our minds jump to the comforting standbys we grew up with: burgers, fried chicken, meatloaf, chocolate chip cookies, and potato salad. Here are some of our all-time favorites that will never get old no matter how often we eat them.
The innovative and sometimes quirky drinks of The Wayland have catapulted the renovated dive bar into the latest cocktail mecca of the East Village. Chef/co-owner Robert Ceraso has come up with a great selection of shareable plates for his partner Jason Mendenhall's libations.
The basement space at the corner of Broadway and Bleecker has taken many forms throughout its existence, but perhaps none as interesting as its original: a mid-19th century hangout for America's original bohemians. Charles Pfaff's beer cellar was long a waterhole for a group of literary thinkers such as Walt Whitman and Henry Clapp Jr., who were promoting such radical ideas as abolitionism during the Civil War era. (Gives a whole new meaning to "countercultural," doesn't it?)
This restaurant is more sweet than spice. With its decor and dishes steeped in innocent American domesticity, Sage General Store is best for: a date with someone you'd like to hold hands with.
Much like its sister bar Royale in the East Village, the recently opened Williams & Bailey successfully toes the line between posh and pedestrian, balancing between pseudo-speakeasy (think faux tin ceilings and fancy whiskeys) and local watering hole (think $3 beers and Giants games on the big screen).
With rows and rows of heavy wooden picnic tables and a full outdoor barbecue setup that includes a grill and smoker, Greenpoint's t.b.d. is Destination Summer. Easily accessible by East River Ferry or a short bike ride from the Williamsburg Bridge, the expansive bar and beer garden boasts the "biggest, baddest backyard in Brooklyn."
What used to be a private commissary to the historic Kaufman Astoria Studios has been recently transformed into the Astor Room, a traditional American supper club complete with the long marble bar and baby grand piano. With a hint of imagination, it's easy to picture hobnobbing with the movie stars who once used to wander the halls, from Gary Grant to Woody Allen and everyone in between.
On Grand Street's restaurant row in Williamsburg, Walter Foods has the dimly-lit charm of a speakeasy. And though it's a damned fine place to get a nightcap, it's the gentlemanly grub that warrants a twilight visit.
Danny Meyer's newest venture, a cafe for the Whitney called Untitled, takes the coffee shop of the '60s as its inspiration but manages to incorporate what's best about most of Meyer's operations: locally sourced, seasonally fresh fare, prepared by talented hands and offered at reasonable prices.
'Tis the end of the school year. So, in that spirit, we'd assign the risotto an A, the sliders a B, the octopus a C+, and the spaghetti an A+, for an overall 3.4 FPA (flavor point average). A few glasses of wine, a few dishes, and you might feel up for a walk around Gantry Plaza State Park or the graffiti mecca that is 5 Pointz, both 100% Queens. LIC Market is best for: a date with interborough connotations.
The brilliantly sourced American whiskeys and Charles Bukowski-inspired stylings of nightlife wunderkind Alla Lapushchik—a Death & Co. founding member at the pre-legal age of 19—are already enough of a draw to her new bar Post Office, but it's the brash yet simple cooking of chef Sam Glinn (Brooklyn Star, Momofuku Ssam Bar) that will have you coming back again and again.
American's love for cider never really returned after the repeal of Prohibition. But almost a hundred years later, American cider is once again on the rise.
"Do all chefs think their vegetarian customers only want to eat fried foods, mac and cheese, and salad every time they go out to dinner? Or do they care?" [Photographs: Maggie Hoffman] Tipsy Parson 156 9th Avenue (near 20th St;...