Best of NYC: Our Critics List Their 10 Favorite Dishes

Robert Sietsema, Sarah DeGregorio, and Rebecca Marx recap their respective years in food

9. Chef Saul Bolton succeeded single-handedly in changing our attitudes about French charcuterie in the months after The Vanderbilt opened nearly a year ago via such succulent morsels as cumin-laced blood sausage, an assertively flavored North African merguez, duck rillettes so fresh they're still quacking, and a house-smoked kielbasy more delicate than the ones found in Greenpoint. King of the hill here is the boudin blanc, a creamy, herbal sausage whose pale color belies a megaton of porky flavor, served with a sumptuous cabbage slaw dotted with mustard seeds. 570 Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-623-0570

10. Momokawa has lain unnoticed for a long time, and if a Japanese friend hadn't enthusiastically recommended it, I might never have eaten there. There's no sushi, but the restaurant does offer a wealth of dishes like those served in Kyoto, situated 200 miles west of Tokyo, and once the country's capital. Included are many obanzai, which are the home-style dishes of that city. The homemade fish cake at this Murray Hill sleeper is stunning—a hamburger-size puck of coarse-textured (almost lumpy) sea-going material, carefully browned on the outside and served with a saucer of vinegary soy sauce. You might never go back to whole fish. 157 East 28th Street, 212-684-7830

Sarah DiGregorio's Top 10

Breslin Bar & Dining Room
Breslin Bar & Dining Room

Location Info


Mile End

97 Hoyt St.
Brooklyn, NY 11217

Category: Restaurant > Barbecue

Region: Park Slope

Yee Kee H.K. Style

1232 Ave. U
Brooklyn, NY 11229

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: Brooklyn


13 Barrow St.
New York, NY 10014

Category: Restaurant > Asian Fusion

Region: Greenwich Village

Sapthagiri Indian Restaurant

804 Newark Ave.
Jersey City, NJ 07306

Category: Restaurant > Indian

Region: Jersey City

The Meatball Shop

84 Stanton St.
New York, NY 10002

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Lower East Side

Northeast Taste Chinese Food

43-18 Main St.
Flushing, NY 11355

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: Flushing

The Breslin Bar & Dining Room

16 W. 29th St.
New York, NY 10001

Category: Restaurant > English

Region: Garment District

The Vanderbilt

570 Vanderbilt Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11238

Category: Restaurant > Bistro

Region: Prospect Heights


157 E. 28th St.
New York, NY 10016

Category: Restaurant > Japanese

Region: Gramercy Park

Tamarind Tribeca

99 Hudson St.
New York, NY 10013

Category: Restaurant > Indian

Region: Tribeca

Fatty 'Cue

91 S. Sixth St.
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Category: Restaurant > Asian Fusion

Region: Brooklyn


102 Lexington Ave.
New York, NY 10016

Category: Restaurant > Indian

Region: Gramercy Park

Lan Sheng Szechuan Restaurant

60 W. 39th St.
New York, NY 10018

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: West 40s


2 Lexington Ave.
New York, NY 10010

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Chelsea


137 Rivington St.
New York, NY 10002

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: Lower East Side

Red Apple Fast Food

4817 Eighth Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11220

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: Sunset Park

Cheeky Sandwiches

35 Orchard St.
New York, NY 10002

Category: Restaurant > Cajun

Region: Chinatown

Co Ba

110 9th Ave.
New York, NY 10011

Category: Restaurant > Vietnamese

Region: Chelsea


15 E. 17th St.
New York, NY 10003

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: East Village


240 9th Ave.
New York, NY 10001

Category: Restaurant > Basque

Region: Chelsea

No. 7 Sub Shop

1188 Broadway
New York, NY 10001

Category: Restaurant > New American

Region: Garment District

Bouchon Bakery

10 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10019

Category: Restaurant > Bakery

Region: West 50s

Cafe Katja

79 Orchard St.
New York, NY 10002

Category: Restaurant > German

Region: East Village

Little Buddy Biscuit Company

635 5th Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Category: Restaurant >

Region: Brooklyn


54 E. First St.
New York, NY 10003

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: East Village

Mimi's Hummus

1209 Cortelyou Road
Brooklyn, NY 11218

Category: Restaurant > Mediterranean

Region: Brooklyn

Fort Defiance

365 Van Brunt St.
Brooklyn, NY 11231

Category: Restaurant > Cafe

Region: Red Hook


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Eats & Treats
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Eats & Treats
Our critics list their 10 favorite dishes
by Robert Sietsema, Sarah DiGregorio, and Rebecca Marx

People & Places
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by Tom Robbins

Shops & Services
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Sports & Recreation
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by Allen Barra

1. Deer were once plentiful in many parts of India, and the pickled venison at newcomer Tamarind Tribeca is a riff on a classic preparation for preserving the meat. In this version, the fat chops emerge sizzling from the tandoor, utterly tender, their lean minerality enhanced by a marinade of tart pickling spices and yogurt. A sprinkle of roasted chickpea flour lends nuttiness and another level of deliciousness. 99 Hudson Street, 212-775-9000

2. It may not be a bargain, but there's no denying that Fatty 'Cue serves some of the most exciting, flavor-bombed food of the year. The restaurant's signature combination of American barbecue technique and Southeast Asian seasonings finds its apotheosis in the smoked duck with red curry dipping sauce. The bird goes blackened and craggy over the fire—like Napoleons of crisp skin, juicy fat, and dark meat—and is sensational dipped in the aromatic, coconut-enriched sauce. 91 S. Sixth Street, Brooklyn,718-599-3090

3. Bhojan means "home-cooked meal," and the restaurant's vegetarian Gujarati thali lives up to its moniker. The stainless-steel platter holds a score of little dishes around its circumference, the middle of the plate occupied by a pile of white rice, an airy puri, and a bit of pickle. One bowl is filled with a thin, white potage of warm, spiced yogurt, a dish typical of the region. It has the consistency of water but a tangy, milky, assertive flavor; it's best poured over rice and eaten, goopily, with your hands. Another holds a wonderful daal dhokli—lentils swimming with chewy homemade noodles. 102 Lexington Avenue, 212-213-9615

4. At Lan Sheng, a relatively new Sichuan spot on 39th Street, the glory of the menu is the Chongqing braised fish. The dish is named after its native home, a municipality near Sichuan province that Fuchsia Dunlop describes as having a "filthy magnificence." The preparation is staggeringly generous—a huge, bubbling hot pot of chile oil, Sichuan peppercorns, leeks, Napa cabbage cooked down to silk, and delicate pieces of carp, its flesh stained orange with spice. I wish I could eat it every day. 60 West 39th Street, 212-575-8899

5. The namesake suckling pig at Danny Meyer's new Roman restaurant, Maialino, looks exactly like a huge sheet of fried dough, bubbly-topped and golden, with only the tiny ribs emerging from one side reminding you of its animal origin. The roast is presented to the table before it gets ferried back to the kitchen to be sliced and plated with potatoes limpid with pork fat. It's a simple meal—the only discernible seasonings are salt, pepper, and rosemary—yet it's wonderful, one of the best roast pigs in the city, with lush meat hiding under blowsy white fat and skin so crisp you can hear people crunching it across the room. 2 Lexington Avenue, 212-777-2410

6. These are the days of a pork bun in every pot, but they're not all created equal. This year, Eddie Huang's Taiwanese gua bao joint Baohaus gained a following for its outrageously delicious signature steamed snacks. The best of the bunch is the Chairman Bao, which harbors a tender, sticky, thick slab of pork belly, evenly striated with lean and fat. It's sprinkled with coarse Taiwanese red sugar, crushed peanuts, and pickled vegetable relish, and tucked into a spongy mantou wrapper. 137 Rivington Street, 646-684-3835

7. There are all sorts of oyster pancakes—eggy renditions popular in some parts of China and Southeast Asia, and the jiggly, potato-starch Taiwanese versions—but the fried Fujianese oyster pancakes are harder to find, despite the proliferation of Fujianese restaurants. So I was excited to stumble upon Red Apple Fast Food, where not only do they serve the UFO-shaped rice-flour fritters, but they also do them right, stuffed with oysters, scallions, and ground pork, and fried crisp with peanuts embedded in the crust. Grab a wax-paper bag and help yourself to as many oyster cakes as you can eat before they get cold. (They're best straight from the fryer, and with a dollop of Sriracha.) For only 70 cents each, there's no better snack in Sunset Park. 4817 Eighth Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-853-8811

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