In the Philippines and at Papa's Kitchen, karaoke is not a gimmicky sideshow for diners to gawk at, but a deeply ingrained part of a culture that values the ability to carry a tune. It's put to good use at this tiny restaurant that also serves some commendable Filipino cooking.
While I can't say that the food court at Fei Long Market deserves a pin to merit its own excursion, it's certainly worth having on your radar. If you're shopping in the Fei Long market or passing through Brooklyn Chinatown when that irrational hunger hits, let it lead you to the food court.
The Nugget Spot fits the mold of a single item restaurant that offers creative variations of an iconic dish. The playful theme of the menu at the Nugget Spot is reinforced by incorporating ingredients like Cheez-Its, Ritz crackers, pretzels, and rice crispies.
Cafe At Your Mother-In-Law, aka Elza Fancy Food, offers authentic Koryo Saram cuisine, the food of ethnically Korean Uzbekistani immigrants.
Many prepared food stores, at any price point, value quantity over quality, so there is not much pride behind the dishes that they put out. Not so with the Family Store, where you can see and taste the care in everything they do.
By reputation, Lavender Lake is known as a bar more than a restaurant, but their kitchen is putting out thoughtfully prepared dishes that pair well with a few stiff drinks.
Sitting at the window in one of the booths at Al Safa offers a framed view of the ever-evolving population of Bay Ridge. Once an enclave for Irish and Italian immigrant families, it's now home to Brooklyn's largest middle eastern community. Looking into the restaurant, you'll find Zein Safa, the amiable chef/owner of Al Safa preparing an abundance of middle eastern dishes, heavily influenced by his Lebanese roots.
Indonesian food is rare in New York, rijsttafel especially. But the Dutch colonial feast is alive in South Slope at Java, and even if the food isn't perfect, it's a good deal for an uncommon dining experience.
Perhaps it's a blessing in disguise that Jamaican patties in New York are so bad, as the low, low bar set for the Caribbean hot pocket makes the ones Christie's of Prospect Heights even more enjoyable.
During the dog days of summer, Stan's Cafecito hides behind a bamboo roller shade that provides cover for the few lucky guests who have snagged a stool at the window while they wait for their iced coffee or breakfast burritos. The tiny, table-less space in south Williamsburg houses a sparing kitchen with little more than an electric skillet and griddle; it would be easy to miss all together, if not for the line out the door.
At ZZ's Clam Bar, cocktails from Thomas Waugh (formerly of Death & Co.) share equal billing with the food.
Rich Torrisi, Mario Carbone, and Jeff Zalaznick love nothing more than eating raw fish and drinking cocktails. "That's what we do in our free time. It's our favorite thing," explains Zalaznick, "we built a place that's an idealized version of what we like to do most." That place is ZZ's Clam Bar
Stepping into Karczma is like entering an Epcot Center version of a Polish farmhouse. Wagon wheel chandeliers and gas lamp fixtures light up a dining room that centers around a prop water well. The waitresses, costumed in billowy peasant dresses, push the vibe dangerously close to theme restaurant territory. Thankfully though, that's where the tacky facade ends—the kitchen is genuinely Polish, putting out food that rivals any other restauracja in Greenpoint.
As the weather warms and outdoor seating becomes a premium, I'm drawn to the Lobster Joint's backyard. It's not an idyllic landscaped urban garden, but rather an expansive gravelled lot with rows of picnic tables, a no-frills but happy setting to dig into some lobster rolls, fried fish, and discount cocktails.
Arepas Cafe's arepas are thin and overstuffed, with fillings like pulled pork with cheese and avocado or stewed chicken with peppers and tomatoes.
In Vietnam, signs that read bia hơi mark open spaces where locals sit on plastic kiddie chairs, swill cheap fresh beer, and snack on salted fried peanuts. Bia in Williamsburg doesn't aim to replicate the experience of a night out in Hanoi, but it captures a similar bacchanalian spirit.
Group dining can be a hassle in New York City—just try scouring Opentable for a 'table for six in a few hours from now.' If you don't have a reservation, and don't want to go to Chinatown for a big table, you could find yourself with something of a hassle. Feast, with its communal tables, is designed for just such an outing, with service we found swift and attentive.
The food at Post Office, a whiskey bar in Williamsburg that makes a mean cocktail, is comfort-food simple but surprisingly good, and the bar's crowd is much more civilized than many of its neighbors.
Though Wise Men puts up a speakeasy facade—inconspicuous signage, no windows, incongruous in the neighborhood—it's considerably less expensive and less crowded than other hidden bars in Manhattan. Though the cocktails are strong and well executed, the food is more hit and miss.
The pintxos menu at Jarro XIV liberates you from any such dilemma. The dozen or so Mediterranean-inspired canapés (all $5 or less) are thoughtfully constructed, with great attention paid to the balance of savory, sweet, sour, and bitter flavors. They make for an actually affordable small plates menu, with good entrées to boot.
La Slowteria is part of a new breed of Mexican restaurant: one that delivers serious and thoughtful cooking beyond the expected taco forms, but with substance to back up its style.
Lobster, caviar, foie gras, black truffles, sea urchin: The ingredients featured on the menu at Sakamai are what I imagine would be served at an upscale wedding banquet with champagne fountains, not in a sake bar in the Lower East Side. But Chef Takanori Akiyama is using such provisions to make intensely flavored and smartly constructed Japanese small plates.
The food at the Brooklyn Sandwich Society isn't always perfect, but it's very often delicious and absolutely affordable (come dinner). Perhaps it's best to enter with casual expectations and let the surprises come as they may.
The flood waters of hurricane Sandy were deceptively cruel to the Red Hook seafood restaurant. "At first, it seemed like all items above the flood line were okay," says chef Kevin Moore. "We thought we'd replace the sheetrock, the wainscoting... but then we noticed the floor tiles were buckled, and the fear of mold became paramount... there was a dull quiet in the place like the life had drained with the sea." But after a long rebuilding period, the restaurant, which opened in 2008, has returned.
With snappy noodles and smartly made broths and toppings, Ganso is a welcome addition to Brooklyn's ramen scene.
Until Mighty Quinn's opened its doors, here are the words I would use to describe the better barbecue joints in town: sincere, well-meaning, tasty, digitally derived from copious sampling across the country, deferential, and stylistically derivative. Most people would come out any one of a half-dozen cue joints in town and say, "Hey, that was good barbecue, for New York." It'd be the culinary equivalent of damning with faint praise.
But the the arrival of pitmaster Hugh Mangum's East Village restaurant creates a new standard for barbecue in New York City. Smoked meat that is good—not just for New York—but for barbecue fans everywhere.
Each week we talk to a member of the Serious Eats community. This week we chatted with Dhorst whose name produces more than a thousand search results on our site and hundreds of pictures of beautiful home cooked pizzas.
Don't wait to head down to Parm for their Thanksgiving hero, as it will only be available until the end of the week. At $14, it's definitely expensive for a sandwich that you won't want to share with anyone, but it's everything Thanksgiving should be.
Ever since I was a wee little cook ripping up my first chives, burning my first steaks, and toughening up my first squid, I'd dreamt of poultry-stuffed-poultry-stuffed-poultry. The idea of a Turducken—a chicken stuffed into a duck stuffed into a turkey—is just so damn appealing. How could three such glorious birds not taste all the more glorious together? My goal for the last few years has been to try and perfect the ultimate Thanksgiving roast. This year, I finally succeeded, producing what is perhaps the finest roast to ever emerge from my oven. Turkey meat gave its juice away freely to anyone who asked. Perfectly rendered duck fat, tender to the teeth. And flavors that blended as harmoniously robotic lions joining forces to save the universe. Here's how it's done.