"People used to say, 'the streets in New York are paved in gold,'" Laura Silver said to me over the phone. "No they're not. They're paved in knishes." Born in Brooklyn and bred in Queens, Silver is the world's leading authority on the knish, and she knows just how vital it is to Jews'—and New Yorkers'—culinary heritage, even if everyone else forgets about the poor thing.
'New York' on Serious Eats
Beecher's Cheese in Seattle and New York makes their signature Flagship, a Cheddar-Alpine hybrid, in full view of customers in their stores. Here's how it's done.
Most of our favorite cheeses have one thing in the common: They tend to have some age. While some cheeses are best eaten the day they're made, others take time. And mold. And the right temperature and humidity. And a bat cave to linger in until they're ready to emerge fully formed. Here's what happens in those caves when the humans aren't watching.
Imagine if tuna salad had a silky texture and a delicately smoky and oily flavor. That's whitefish salad. Acme Smoked Fish, a standard-bearer of the form and certainly the largest producer in New York City, makes over 5,000 pounds of whitefish salad every day. Wolphram Alpha tells me that's the equivalent of 1.3 small cars or 40% of an elephant. Of fish-mayo salad. Every. Day.
Next to dumplings, I don't know a better gateway dish to other cultures than meatballs. So if you're looking to expand your culinary horizons, take yourself on this meatball world tour of New York, the tastiest non-Italian meatballs I can find.
I've had a egg- and toast-loaded three months of eavesdropping while eating my way through New York's diners, as many as I could without getting divorced, and have come to the inescapable conclusion that they are as essential to our way of life, our democracy, and our sense of community, as any other American institution we have right now.
"The bialy is more of a secret love," says Jane Ziegelman, the director of the Tenement Museum's culinary program. "Everyone knows you can love a bagel. Not everyone knows you can love a bialy."
"It's like a yeasted fruitcake with all of the good stuff and none of the bad," says baker Zachary Golper of his best-in-class stollen. It's a dense, buttery loaf perfumed with citrus zest, orange blossom, and rum. The crumb is stuffed with a delicate almond cream, and the whole thing is "baptized" after baking in a bath of clarified butter, then finished with powdered sugar as fluffy as the season's first snowfall.
The dining room of Staten Island's New Asha is all styrofoam and steam tables. But when you step into the back kitchen, it's a wholly different world. Bamboo steamers gurgle over pots of boiling water and jars of homemade spice blends line the walls. A hand-powered drill and a machete are on hand to transform hirsute whole coconuts into snowy white mounds of freshly ground flesh.
New York is home to many great restaurants. But how many of them offer truly great desserts? I'm not talking about having one beloved signature item that's been on the menu for years. I'm talking about places that offer ever-changing, reliably delicious desserts that are worth staying around after your meal.
Whether you're sticking to the tourist mainstays of midtown or venturing to the far corners of the city, this master guide has everything you need for your New York trip.
New York is one great noodle town, but my new favorite bowl comes from a forward-thinking restaurant hugging the eastern border of Chinatown, where some excellent noodles take inspiration from an unlikely source: linguine with clam sauce.
Welcome to Astoria, home of the city's greatest Greek food and shawarma. It's where neighborhood sausage shops and Italian delis are still part of daily life, and where cafes line the streets with games of backgammon and strong mint tea, or tiny cups of even stronger coffee with flaky phyllo pastries. Here's how to eat it all.
Riccardo Romero has a dream, and arepas play a starring role. "I think arepas have a shot to become the next great American food," he says. He should know, as he's serving some of New York's finest.
Tarte tatin was a big restaurant dessert that fell off our collective sweet radar. Now, in New York, it's come back with a vengeance, perhaps better than ever. Here's why it's worth an order all over again.
Longtime New York deli-goers know all about Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray soda, the herbaceous, bitter, and peppery soft drink that, yes, is still in production, with a zaftig perfume that's equal parts beguiling and refreshing. So where did this weird soda come from, and how has it survived so many of the delis that stocked it?
When travelers to New York ask me where to eat, I send them to Flushing. When locals ask me about a new restaurant I'm excited about, the answer's often there. But let's say you have just one day to take a whirlwind tour of the neighborhood. What do you need to try?
Indian food in New York keeps getting better and better. Need proof? Look to its snacks. Meet chaat, the compulsively delicious South Asian carb salad that represents some of the best of what New York's Indian restaurants have to offer.
Meeting with the Community Board is basically like doing martial arts. Win, lose, or draw, it's gonna hurt. You don't really engage so much as struggle for survival. And somewhere in the middle of all this, all you want to do is curl into a ball and whimper for your mommy.
The iconic red sauce meatball—one of the foundational foods of Italian cuisine in the U.S.—has more to do with the New World than Naples. Its development, and its influence on what Italian-American cuisine would become in the U.S., is inextricably tied to New York City. This is the city where Italian-American became American, and where the meatball as we know it began.