When I first saw the soufflé potatoes at Antoine's Restaurant as a kid, they seemed unreal: smooth, balloon-like cylinders of fried potato that had nothing inside but caverns of air.
'eat this now' on Serious Eats
The five boroughs are dotted with numerous cuisine-unspecific kosher restaurants, serving everything from shawarma to pizza to sushi, all rabbinically approved for Orthodox Jewish consumption. Benjy's Kosher Pizza Dairy Restaurant & Sushi Bar in Flushing is one notable example. According to the restaurant's extended name, a woman I spoke to while having lunch there, and this blog post (picked up by Gothamist), the pizza is the thing to order at Benjy's. And having read that post, there was no way I'd be ordering anything other than the Falafel Pizza.
Unmoved by tapas? The salt cod croquetas at Ataula will change your mind.
Portland, Oregon's Mi Mero Mole's spicy and complex Frijoles Charros has a secret ingredient: time.
If the cold weather alone doesn't convince you, the long walk to Avenue C just might; cold snaps like this call for something like braised beans and sausage, and Kafana, a tiny Serbian spot in Alphabet City, does especially good versions of both.
Rose's Luxury is a new spot on Barracks Row from former Momofuku Noodle Bar chef Aaron Silverman, featuring an eclectic menu spanning pho to popcorn soup, but the dish we can't stop talking about is this complex pork and lychee salad.
First Avenue Pierogi & Deli, a tiny stall of a shop off St. Marks Place, offers an extensive selection of pierogi to eat right away or cook at home. They're not perfect, but they're cheap and satisfying all the same.
It looks a little like chow mein, but lagman, the handmade noodles native to the Uyghur people of western China and central Asia, are a different thing altogether.
Dosa Garden on Staten Island makes a big deal of their Chettinad-trained chefs. When it comes to the curry, you should listen.
Your average Sichuan restaurant may turn out a decent, if not exceptional, plate of dry-fried cumin lamb, a dish that tastes pretty solid even when it's not that inspired. But at Hunan Kitchen of Grand Sichuan, it's the must-order plate.
Poke around the menu and you'll see that this decades-old Polish joint isn't just serving geriatric food. Their Bigos, for instance, is impressive, well worth an order at the counter.
There's not much to look at on the walk to Skal, a Nordic cocktail bar and restaurant on the far end of Canal Street. But a recent visit on a cold, cloudy night was rewarded with surprising warmth from the bar and a chatty but civil crowd. And, of course, this tartare.
The name pretty much says it all —these are Hide-Chan's standard fried pork and vegetable gyoza, topped with a layer of mozzarella cheese (think less Joe's Dairy and more Kraft), then broiled the mozz has liquified and formed a golden, bubbly crust. Embrace the gutbomb.
The double-layer pizza is basically what would result from the union between a Margherita pizza and a calzone. It sounds overstuffed—and it kind of is—but in this case I suspect that's the point.
Frying is something of a specialty at Telly's Taverna in Astoria, from the Greek fried doughnuts that end your meal (on the house) to the thinly sliced fried vegetables that should begin it. Zucchini, red pepper, and eggplant are available for $6 apiece or $14 in combination; the zucchini, rendered intensely sweet and tender by the heat of the fryer, is your best bet.
When it comes to breakfast there's savory and sweet, and usually ne'er the two shall meet. Not so with Ceci-Cela's Spinach Pie ($3).
St. Marks Place has its share of late night taco stops, some more disreputable than others. The latest to join the fray is Taqueria Diana, which was opened by a homesick Californian.
There's no shortage of street carts in Chinatown that sell freshly steamed rice noodle rolls. But if you can only go to one, I'd suggest skipping them all in favor of a visit to a tofu factory near the Manhattan Bridge, which makes a fresher, more delicate rice roll than any I've had from a cart.
In the past couple months I kept hearing whispers from Middle Eastern food devotees about Saeed Pourkay's Persian cooking lodged in the corner of a Flatiron pizzeria. Then he received some glowing press. So here's hoping Taste of Persia NYC becomes the city's ambassador to homestyle Persian cuisine, a vacant position we'd do well to fill. The food certainly merits the title.