Food & Drink

  • Robert Sietsema's Top 10: No. 1

    Mile End

    This doesn't mean I'm forsaking my first love, Katz's pastrami, but the smoked-meat sandwich at Mile End is denser, redder, and offered in a sandwich that's just the right size for one person to eat, which means I don't have to go around looking for someone to share it with me. Spread mustard on it and add a sour pickle,… More >>
  • Robert Sietsema's Top 10: No. 2

    Yee Kee H.K. Style

    A haystack of glistening vegetables sat before me: bright green garlic chives, pungent Chinese celery, carrots, woodsy mushrooms, onions, matchsticks of fried purple taro, and onions, all of it surmounted by the snap, crackle, and pop of crispy lo mein noodles. There wasn't a smidgen of meat, poultry, or fish anywhere to be found in the Farmer Special at Yee… More >>
  • Robert Sietsema's Top 10: No. 3

    Annisa

    The restaurant rose like a phoenix after a devastating fire, and the food became better than ever, as if the near-death experience stimulated it to greater efforts. The pan-roasted farm chicken at Annisa from chef Anita Lo's original menu remains the best thing: a bird—surprisingly plump compared with the desiccated specimens found elsewhere—that has undergone a subdermal stuffing of pig… More >>
  • Robert Sietsema's Top 10: No. 4

    Sapthagiri

    One of my favorite things to eat in the world is upma, a South Indian porridge that begins with plain cream of wheat, but then gets mutated like hell by the addition of such things as black mustard seeds, curry leaves, onions, ginger, and pistachios. Imagine my excitement at discovering that upma is incorporated into a dosa at Jersey City's… More >>
  • Robert Sietsema's Top 10: No. 5

    Meatball Shop

    It was a brilliant move on the part of chef Daniel Holzman to take an Italian-American classic, the meatball hero, and make slight improvements to it, instead of transforming the fuck out of it so that it was no longer recognizable. He began by selecting really, really good bread, which yields soon after you chomp down, instead of resisting your… More >>
  • Northeast Taste Chinese Food

    Robert Sietsema's Top 10: No. 6

    Northeast Taste Chinese Food - CLOSED

    It sails in to oohs and aahs around the table, a wiggly yellow dome composed of egg and cornmeal, dotted with shrimp in a refreshingly light gravy. Really, if someone just set the sautéed egg with egg at Northeast Taste Chinese Food before you at a picnic table in the park, you'd have no idea what country it came from.… More >>
  • Robert Sietsema's Top 10: No. 7

    Maima's

    Every once in a while, you need to eat something so hot that it blows the top of your head off. So it was with the shrimp pepper soup at Maima's, the city's only Liberian restaurant. Sure, the other things are great there—mainly the combinations of such well-kneaded starches as white yam and cassava, paired with rich fish, chicken, and… More >>
  • Breslin Bar & Dining Room

    Robert Sietsema's Top 10: No. 8

    Breslin Bar & Dining Room

    We've been bombarded by burgers the past couple of years: big, two-fisted ones, tiny sliders, and ones with odd toppings. April Bloomfield's lamb burger at the Breslin Bar & Dining Room is different in an utterly refreshing sort of way: The meat is pink and juicy, with a faint barnyard scent that you'd never mistake for beef, and the… More >>
  • Robert Sietsema's Top 10: No. 9

    The Vanderbilt

    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… More >>
  • Robert Sietsema's Top 10: No. 10

    Momokawa

    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… More >>
  • Sarah DiGregorio's Top 10: No. 1

    Tamarind Tribeca

    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… More >>
  • Fatty \'Cue

    Sarah DiGregorio's Top 10: No. 2

    Fatty 'Cue

    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… More >>
  • Sarah DiGregorio's Top 10: No. 3

    Bhojan

    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,… More >>
  • Sarah DiGregorio's Top 10: No. 4

    Lan Sheng

    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… More >>
  • Maialino

    Sarah DiGregorio's Top 10: No. 5

    Maialino

    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… More >>
  • Sarah DiGregorio's Top 10: No. 6

    Baohaus

    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… More >>
  • Sarah DiGregorio's Top 10: No. 7

    Red Apple Fast food

    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… More >>
  • Sarah DiGregorio's Top 10: No. 8

    Cheeky Sandwiches

    A good po'boy is no longer hard to find in New York. For one of the best, head over to Cheeky Sandwiches and order the Half-and-Half: That's half fried shrimp, half fried oysters. While you wait, listen to the sweet sound of cornmeal-battered seafood hitting hot oil. Once fried, it's tucked into a squishy but resilient white roll with mayo,… More >>
  • Sarah DiGregorio's Top 10: No. 9

    Co Ba

    Cooking savory proteins in sweet caramel sauce is a common technique in Vietnam, and at Co Ba it results in the clay-pot caramel pork belly, one of the richest, most luscious dishes I've eaten in a long time. Chef and restaurateur Steven Duong first marinates the pork belly in fish sauce and pepper, then braises it in young coconut water,… More >>
  • Sarah DiGregorio's Top 10: No. 10

    Laut

    Oddly enough, Laut is actually a good Malaysian restaurant masquerading as a screechy pan-Asian joint. So ignore Usher panting loudly over the speakers and skip over the superfluous sushi and Thai stuff in favor of the curry laksa—a rich coconut-based soup, creamy orange in color, the chile-oil-stippled surface hiding a generous pile of yellow egg noodles underneath. The pungent base… More >>
  • Rebecca Marx's Top 10: No. 1

    Txikito

    At first glance, the bakalao al pil pil at Txikito is just an unassuming hunk of Basque salt cod, with about the same dimensions and pearlescent hue of a bar of soap. But the simplicity of its presentation makes it that much easier to focus on what's really important here, which is the way the fish's buttery flesh (poached in… More >>
  • Rebecca Marx's Top 10: No. 2

    No. 7 Sub

    With his General Tso's tofu, No. 7 Sub's Tyler Kord has done more to promote vegetarianism than PETA could ever dream of. Deep-fried slabs of tofu are layered with julienned carrots, arugula, broccoli mayonnaise, and caramelized onions. The crunchy-creamy tofu is more reminiscent of a controlled substance than soybeans, and it harmonizes beautifully with the sweet onions and silky mayonnaise.… More >>
  • Rebecca Marx's Top 10: No. 3

    Bouchon Bakery

    At a time when chefs are racing to revamp beloved yet unpedigreed childhood classics, Bouchon Bakery's take on the Nutter Butter still occupies a class of its own. Two peanut butter cookies the diameter of a CD enclose a prodigious serving of butter, peanut butter, and confectioner's sugar that's been whipped together to satiny perfection. The cookies straddle the crisp-chewy… More >>
  • Rebecca Marx's Top 10: No. 4

    Cafe Katja

    While sausages and goulash predominate at Café Katja, equally satisfying sustenance can be found in the tiny Austrian restaurant's herring salad. The cool flesh of the fish, which is pickled in-house, is chopped into fat pieces, swaddled in sour cream and dill, piled onto a bed of thinly sliced new potatoes, and crowned with a little clump of pickled purple… More >>
  • Little Buddy Biscuit Company

    Rebecca Marx's Top 10: No. 5

    Little Buddy Biscuit Company - CLOSED

    The ruthlessly hot summer of 2010 spawned many an ice cream sandwich, but almost none so wonderful as the strawberry-gingersnap ice cream sandwich found at the Little Buddy Biscuit Company. It's distinguished, simply, by perfect ice cream–cookie alchemy. The sweet-spicy cookies, pebbled with chunks of crystallized ginger, are chewy but soft enough to prevent ice cream from squirting out with… More >>
  • Rebecca Marx's Top 10: No. 6

    Underground Lobster Pound

    Given all the hype accompanying Ben Sargent's not-so-secret lobster roll delivery service, it's easy to forget what made people get worked up about the Underground Lobster Pound in the first place. Until, that is, you eat one of the lobster rolls. Sargent, a/k/a Dr. Claw, gets all of the details exactly right: He butters and toasts his Pepperidge Farm bun… More >>
  • Rebecca Marx's Top 10: No. 7

    Prune

    Gabrielle Hamilton's cold spicy eggplant at Prune illustrates one of her great strengths as a chef, which is to get the hell out of the way and let the ingredients do the talking. Here, the nightshade is engaged in deep conversation with nuggets of fried salt cod and a lone hard-boiled egg. Piled onto a long plank of flatbread, the… More >>
  • Rebecca Marx's Top 10: No. 8

    Mimi's Hummus

    Though Mimi's Hummus is known primarily for the magic it works on chickpeas, it also serves a kickass rendition of shakshuka, the Moroccan tomato stew with sunny-side-up eggs. At Mimi's, it's served in a scorching-hot cast-iron skillet, which makes the stew bubble and hiss mellifluously as you attempt to get it in your mouth. The tomato stew is spicy and… More >>
  • Rebecca Marx's Top 10: No. 9

    Agnanti Meze

    Saganaki is another way of saying "baked or fried cheese," which is another way of saying "inherently delicious." At Astoria's Agnanti Meze, the saganaki are about the size of softballs and come three to a plate, surprisingly wrapped in phyllo dough, making them one of the city's most unapologetic gutbombs. But their brawniness belies a surprising delicacy: The dough falls… More >>
  • Rebecca Marx's Top 10: No. 10

    Fort Defiance

    Sometimes the most memorable dishes are the simplest. But while Fort Defiance's deviled eggs may be short on menu descriptors, they're certainly not lacking in thoughtful preparation. In addition to using the usual mayo, chef Bobby Duncan whips his yolks with Greek yogurt, which makes them even creamier and bestows a subtle tang. They're further adulterated with Old Bay, lemon… More >>
  • Robert Sietsema's Best Hot Dog

    Bark Hot Dogs

    The dogs themselves are proprietary links made by Hartmann's Old World Sausage of Canandaigu, New York, and these franks are finished by being basted in a crazy lard-butter mixture. Onto this august platform underlying the pickle dog at Bark Hot Dogs tumbles a shifting roster of cured cucumber products, usually including two kinds of pickle spears as well as pickle… More >>
  • Robert Sietsema's Best Hamburger

    The Commodore

    It's not a grandiose burger, by any means. The meat probably doesn't total more than a quarter-pound; in fact, the whole thing—bun, patty, and all—forms a compact mass. But the hamburger at The Commodore is supremely flavorful, sourced from free-range Angus at an upstate farm and cooked to a turn so it's still pink in the middle. Garnishes include lettuce,… More >>
  • Robert Sietsema's Best Fried Chicken

    EN Japanese Brasserie

    One of the owners was born in Japan, the other in America, and they've collaborated to produce the crispy fried chicken at EN Japanese Brasserie. Ever since Yanks occupied the vanquished empire—and introduced fried chicken and mayonnaise, among other American specialties—the Japanese have been studying how to make the best fried chicken. Employing a mild soy marinade, and not neglecting… More >>
  • Robert Sietsema's Best Pizza

    Totonno's

    Ever since a fire nearly a year ago closed the premises—a shack, almost—amid Russian auto-body shops at the ass end of Coney Island, pizza fanatics worried that the pies would not be the same. They needn't have been concerned. The place looks nearly identical, and the margherita pizza at Totonno's Pizzeria Napolitano still arrives puffy like an overweight, out-of-breath runner,… More >>
  • Robert Sietsema's Best Ice Cream

    Blue Marble

    Among all the gelatos, fro-yos, ice pops, and frozen-cakes-on-a-stick, the kind of normal ice cream you ate as a kid has gotten lost. Filling that need, Blue Marble churns up some of the best in the country—ice cream that's just plain good, without distracting you with extraneous features or additives. What's more, without much fanfare, the product is made with… More >>
  • Sarah DiGregorio's Best Hamburger

    Kaz An Nou

    Kaz An Nou opened this year in Prospect Heights, a creation of owners Michelle and Sabastian, she from Vermont, he from Guadeloupe and France; the food is their brand of French-Caribbean fusion. The most interesting burger I've had recently is their Guadeloupe-style version, called an agoulou: By default, it's cooked more well-done than I usually find ideal, but it's the… More >>
  • Sarah DiGregorio's Best Hot Dog

    Mrs. Kim's

    If you think hot dogs can only be improved with kimchi, then the kim dog is the sausage for you, slipping right in next to its older Polish neighbors in Greenpoint. It's a homemade, juicy pork sausage—snappy, garlicky—garnished with Mrs. Kim's kimchi and a mix of ketchup and gochujang, the sweetish, thick Korean chile sauce. It has about a thousand… More >>
  • Sarah DiGregorio's Best Fried Chicken

    Peaches HotHouse

    The Nashville-style fried chicken at Peaches HotHouse emerges from the kitchen like a dream—crackly, golden-crusted pieces stained orange with cayenne, as gnarled and wrinkly as an old marathoner's knee. The chicken is fried at such high temperatures it's almost greaseless. If you want the really hot chicken experience, though, you must order it extra-spicy. Crunch through the incendiary, salty coating,… More >>
  • Sarah DiGregorio's Best Pizza

    Campo de' Fiori

    You can't pick Di Fara or Motorino every year! The most notable new pizza this year came from Campo de' Fiori, a Roman-style joint in Park Slope. With a thinnish, crusty-crunchy crust, it was a welcome antidote to all that wet, pillowy Neapolitan dough. The rectangular pizzas come by the slice or the pie. One of the best is the… More >>
  • Sarah DiGregorio's Best Ice Cream

    Spot Dessert Bar

    Pichet Ong plays with Asian and American dessert conventions and almost always comes out on top. At Spot Dessert Bar, the Ovaltine ice cream has a silken, dense texture, and tastes just like the malted milk drink. Get it with chewy mochi on top, or walnut "soil," which turns out to simply be crushed nuts. … More >>
  • Rebecca Marx's Best Hamburger

    5 Napkin Burger

    A disclaimer: As the only member of the Voice food department who doesn't eat meat, I don't have much to say about normal burgers. But I do have a lot to say about the veggie burger at 5 Napkin Burger. The patty's ingredients include barley, black beans, brown rice, sesame seeds, jalapeños, carrots, and beets, the latter of which lend… More >>
  • Rebecca Marx's Best Hot Dog

    Bark Hot Dogs

    It would be easy for Bark Hot Dogs to slap a Tofu Pup in a bun and call it a day, but the restaurant's conscientious sourcing extends to its veggie dogs, too: Bark uses Field Roast Grain Meat, which is the Pat LaFrieda of the veggie-wiener world. The dogs are fat, juicy, and firm, and built from potatoes, onions, sage,… More >>
  • Rebecca Marx's Best Fried Chicken

    Pies-N-Thighs

    Even if I ate poultry, I'd still be inclined to sing the praises of the fried catfish at Pies-N-Thighs. It's the kind of catfish that is usually confined to a hyperbolic memory of something consumed south of the Mason-Dixon Line: crunchy, salty, and nearly greaseless on the outside; tear-jerkingly moist and tender on the inside. The agreeably gritty cornmeal crust… More >>
  • Rebecca Marx's Best Pizza

    Pizza a Casa

    Given that the city has of late been beset with a surplus of high-end pizzerias, it's easy to forget that the best pizzas don't necessarily require a wood-burning oven imported from Naples. And that's why the pies that Mark Bello teaches his students to make at Pizza a Casa are such a revelation. Bello doesn't use fancy ingredients—think Fleischmann's yeast… More >>
  • Rebecca Marx's Best Ice Cream

    The Bent Spoon - CLOSED

    Because New York abounds with good ice cream, I'm almost ashamed to admit that my favorite comes from . . . New Jersey. But the monthly appearance of Princeton's the Bent Spoon at the New Amsterdam Market is akin to the arrival of Christmas or Hanukkah or asparagus season: something to be celebrated and greedily enjoyed. And that's because it's… More >>
  • Best Sea Intestines

    M & T Restaurant

    Should that be "See Intestines"? No, this terrifying denizen of the deep (zoological name: Urechis unicinctus) is found mainly in the Yellow Sea between China and Korea, and it's imported here by homesick former residents of Qingdao, a gritty port city in Shandong province. Sea intestines are actually marine spoon worms that live in the sand—with their heads, tails, and… More >>
  • Best Fish Maw Soup

    Best Fuzhou

    Best Fuzhou is one of the most outsider-friendly Fujianese restaurants we've found, with a broad roster of seafood at bargain prices. One of the best—and oddest—choices in this regard is a voluminous potage, enough for several diners, called "water melon and fish stomach soup" on the English menu. The "stomach" part is really something more often called a "fish maw,"… More >>
  • Best Pernil

    El Nuevo Bohio

    If you pass by the storefront on busy East Tremont Avenue, you're sure to be drawn in by the window display featuring several giant garlic-and-parsley-stuffed pork roasts, with the burnished copper skin shining under the heat lamps. El Nuevo Bohio ("The New Barrio") is the Bronx's premier producer of pernil, a dish that originated in Cuba but is beloved of… More >>
  • Strip House

    Best French Fries

    Strip House

    What's the best medium for frying potatoes? The usual answer is peanut oil, or even lard, but there's something better: At Strip House, a Village steakhouse done up to look like a brothel, the spuds are fried in goose fat, which imbues them with a delicate flavor and greasy gloss that doesn't make them sit heavy on the tongue—or in… More >>
  • M. Wells

    Best Beef Tartare

    M. Wells - CLOSED

    Newcomer M. Wells—descended from a famous pig restaurant called Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal—is intent on transgressive cuisine, serving up delicious stuff that's definitely not for folks who crave nonfat yogurt. Among the many permutations of meat on the menu is one that you can get at breakfast: steak tartare, which comes in a submarine-shaped wad of red raw… More >>
  • Best Thanthunk

    Katmandu Spice - CLOSED

    Nothing more refreshing on a crisp autumn day than thanthunk, a light broth that glistens with droplets of oil freighted with the lightest free-form dumplings imaginable. But that's not all: Visible in the deep bowl are strips of beef and daikon radish and baby spinach leaves that wilt slightly as the magnificent soup is brought to the table. While Katmandu… More >>
  • Best Coffee Beans

    Intelligentsia

    This is an exceedingly difficult category, because we love many different kinds of coffee, and routinely stop for a cup at Stumptown, Blue Bottle, Joe the Art of Coffee, and Ninth Street Espresso, among other places. But what is the coffee we buy to take home and brew in our French-press pots? Intelligentsia, made by a coffee roaster started by… More >>
  • Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

    Casa Calamari

    This most quintessential of Italian-American culinary inventions—meatballs were unthinkable in Italy, where ground meat was a rarity—is available at dozens of ma-and-pa red-sauced restaurants in Brooklyn, but the best version we tasted this past year came from Casa Calamari, a Sicilian establishment that specializes in seafood, oil-glossed vegetables, and pastas. The spaghetti is cooked a little beyond al dente, the… More >>
  • Best Chicken Tabaka

    Skovorodka

    Brighton Beach is home to a slew of Russian restaurants, many of them founded on the Vegas nightclub model. But under the Q tracks lurks Skovorodka ("The Skillet"), a family-style restaurant that eschews the Casio-pounding, sequins-wearing floor shows of the other spots, offering instead home-style fare of the former Soviet republics, including the Georgian standard, chicken tabaka—a pullet flattened like… More >>
  • Best Fried-Fish Sandwich

    A Taste of Seafood

    Descended from a beloved shoebox across the street, once staffed by a fundraising crew from a Bronx church, the most recent incarnation of A Taste of Seafood is a spacious, bi-level place that verges on the luxurious, plastered with all sorts of maritime geegaws. Luckily, the quality of the fried whiting (or pick catfish, if you must) remains unsurpassed, so… More >>
  • Best Variety Meat

    Takashi

    West Village newcomer Takashi is a yakitori-horumon, an offal-heavy restaurant style invented by Korean immigrants in Japan shortly after World War II. You can go as crazy as you want—slurp raw liver like Hannibal Lecter, or chew on strips of Achilles tendon. But perhaps the most enjoyable variety meat is the "Tongue Experience," which sounds like it could mean several… More >>
  • Best Gutbomb

    Honeychiles' - CLOSED

    In a take on the original po'boy, which was filled with fried potatoes and gravy, the guys at Honeychiles' have created the O.G.: Handfuls of thick fries crammed into heavily mayo'd crusty white bread. The whole thing is then doused in delicious beef gravy floating with bits of roast beef. It's like a French dip, but with fries—or like poutine,… More >>
  • Best Kebab

    Bhatti Indian Grill

    Gilauti kebab hails from Lucknow, once known as the City of the Nawabs—Muslim noblemen of the Mughal Empire. The story goes that this particular kebab was invented for a toothless nawab who wanted some lamb, but could no longer chew. So a clever (or terrified) cook minced the meat so finely that it resembled a paste, mixed it with spices… More >>
  • Best Pickle

    Namaste Dumpling Palace

    Pickle backs were all the rage this year, but we prefer our pickles straight up. And there's perhaps no better place to get your fix than the Himalayan eatery Namaste Dumpling Palace, where the daikon and cucumber achar is a tart delight. The pile of vegetables is pungent, lubricated with mustard oil and dyed yellow with bitter-edged turmeric. Although the… More >>
  • Best Tripe

    Ma Peche

    You might be fooled into thinking, at first glance, that Má Pêche's frisée aux lardons with tripe is just a big bowl of salad. But root beneath the spicy greens and find a wiggly poached egg, crunchy pork-jowl lardons, and, at the very bottom, a tomato-based tripe stew. The tender braised stomach lining takes the traditional French salad to an… More >>
  • Best Use of Squid Ink

    Tangled Vine Wine Bar

    Squid ink is one of nature's most perfect seasonings, and it's put to expert use at the Tangled Vine Wine Bar in a wonderful version of fideos negros. The Spanish dish is made from short, thin noodles—likely of Moorish origin—plus braised cuttlefish, all of it dyed midnight-black by oceanic ink, plus a squirt of garlicky aioli for richness. The flavor… More >>
  • Istanbul Cafe

    Best Baked Potato

    Istanbul Cafe

    Even in a city obsessed with stunt dishes, the kumpir is an awe-inspiring thing. The KFC Double Down has got nothing on this Turkish twice-baked potato. The insides are scooped out and puréed with sheep's-milk cheese and butter, packed back into the jacket, then topped with various ingredients. At Istanbul Café, you can top your kumpir with red cabbage, pickles,… More >>
  • Best Surf-and-Turf

    Bromo Satay House - CLOSED

    A relatively new addition to Elmhurst's many Indonesian eateries, Bromo Satay House specializes in satay and the foods of East Java. Daging krengsengan is an earth-meets-sea umami-bomb, a dish of braised beef as tender and luscious as a grandmotherly pot roast seasoned with a dryish spice mixture that includes a wallop of trassi, the Indonesian fermented shrimp paste. … More >>
  • Best Place to Marvel at Unfamiliar Food Slang

    Bunny Chow - CLOSED

    British foodisms are much ballyhooed, what with "spotted dick" and "tipsy hedgehog," but South Africa more than holds its own in the annals of amazing food slang. How about "bunny chow"? It involves neither carrots nor braised rabbit, instead consisting of a hollowed-out heel of bread filled with curry and topped with chutney and crowned with the virgin—that's the scooped-out… More >>
  • Best Free Bar Snacks

    Casa Mezcal

    At first, Casa Mezcal doesn't seem a budget-friendly sort of place—drinkers slurp at snifters of sipping-quality mezcal or meticulously made cocktails. But just wait until the free snacks start to arrive: First, super-sweet oranges dredged in smoky-dark chile powder are plunked down with your drinks, then better-than-usual homemade tortilla chips and guacamole. Or perhaps you'd rather dip that chip in… More >>
  • Best Use of Flying Fish Roe

    Russ & Daughters

    While Russ & Daughters long ago secured a place in the city's culinary lexicon thanks to its impeccable smoked and cured salmon, its sandwich menu harbors some creations that are just as deserving of adulation. Chief among them is the Super Heebster: Whitefish and baked salmon salad is heaped on top of a bagel that has been smeared with horseradish… More >>
  • Best Spirulina Makeover

    Boomtown Baked Goods

    Typically associated with musty health-food-store aisles and diet supplements, spirulina can thank the folks at Boomtown Baked Goods for providing it with a decidedly more appetizing role. The blue-green algae are used as food coloring in the bakery's vegan, gluten-free Oreo mint cookie, giving the mint filling an attractive olive-green hue. Rest assured the spirulina is present only in color:… More >>
  • Sorella

    Best Breadsticks

    Sorella

    Sorella has plenty of excellent Piedmont-inspired dishes to its name, but you'd be forgiven if you never made it past the grissini that land on the table before the beginning of the meal. Long and slender as Pixy Stix, they're baked until they achieve a deep tan and are presented in a white-paper cone that reclines against a thick linen… More >>
  • Best Excess

    Quality Meats

    Home to a staggering selection of animal parts, Quality Meats is also an unlikely destination for wandering dessert fiends. That's because its recently installed ice cream counter sells what is the city's most obscene frozen dessert. It is, technically, an ice cream cake: Layers of cake and ice cream are crammed into a half-pint container, and then submerged beneath whipped… More >>
  • Best Carrots

    Yummus Hummus - CLOSED

    As its name suggests, Yummus Hummus traffics primarily in pulverized garbanzo beans. And while its take on the Middle East's most famous spread is very good, the tiny restaurant's carrot salad is flat-out fantastic. Borrowing a page from Morocco, Yummus seasons the root vegetables with just enough cinnamon to give them a pleasant warmth, throws in chopped parsley to brighten… More >>
  • Paradis To-Go

    Best Spinach Pie

    Paradis To-Go

    With its rotating menu of soups, salads, and sandwiches, Paradis To-Go is something of a lunchtime oasis for Union Square desk jockeys. It's also home to the best spinach pie in Manhattan. About the same diameter as a 45, the pie is comprised of a thick coil of phyllo dough that's been stuffed, tunnel-of-fudge-style, with an excess of well-seasoned puréed… More >>
  • Best Grilled-Cheese Sandwich

    Saxelby Cheesemongers

    Her excellent selection of American farmstead cheeses is her calling card, but Anne Saxelby may also want to consider getting into the sandwich business. The proprietor of Saxelby Cheesemongers is known to show up at various outdoor food markets peddling a superlative grilled cheese: At a recent New Amsterdam Market, she layered Wisconsin cheese curds and Mother-in-Law Kimchi into a… More >>
  • Sel de Mer

    Best Pescatarian Burger

    Sel de Mer

    Sel de Mer is a pretty by-the-books seafood joint: Both its décor and its fish are simple and straightforward. But it veers into wonderfully unconventional territory with its fish-cake sliders, which come two to a plate and could rival any of their beefy counterparts for gutbombing capabilities. Two fat patties, made from hake and pan-fried, are served on toasted English… More >>
  • Best Hummus Alternative

    Tanoreen

    Muhammara is to hummus what a Ferrari is to a Volvo: Where hummus is earthy and unassuming, muhammara is all fire and bold proclamations. And like a Ferrari, the Middle Eastern dip—made from walnuts, red peppers, hot pepper flakes, bread crumbs, and pomegranate molasses—is relatively difficult to find. Fortunately, Tanoreen serves an excellent version. At the recently expanded Palestinian restaurant,… More >>
  • Best Edible Repackaging of Beer

    Liddabit Sweets

    While most people seem to prefer their beer in liquid form, the beer and pretzel caramels from Liddabit Sweets make a very persuasive case for consuming them in bite-size pieces. The Brooklyn-based confectionery company appropriates Brown and East India Pale Ales from the Brooklyn Brewery, and then reduces and stirs them with bits of Martin's pretzels into its thick, fragrant… More >>
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