Toro's Espardeñas, One of Our 100 Favorite Dishes
No. 21: Espardeñas from Toro Don't be put off by the price tag or the presentation here--if you can spare the cash, you'll be thinking about the sea cucumber for days.
Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer waxed poetic on the lowly sea cucumber when we spoke to them about Toro, the spin-off of their Boston restaurant that just opened in Chelsea last week. "We eat it whenever we can find it," they gushed, assuring us that the Catalonian version is in a different league from the chewy--and sometimes slimy--species you find in Japanese and Chinese restaurants. They were excited to bring it to New York, they said. Still, we raised an eyebrow at the $27 price tag for the espardeñas, especially when it came to our table in a presentation that can only be described as rustic, with strands of sea protein piled into a ceramic dish. Days later, though, we're still thinking about it: Far from tough, this sea cucumber is supple yet tender, its delicate flavor bolstered by a hit of acidity and good Spanish olive oil. Simple and seductive, we'd gladly shell out for it again.
Later this year, we'll pen our Best of New York issue, our annual love letter to what's great in this town. When that paper hits the streets, you'll find our picks for the very best this city has to offer when it comes to dozens of cuisines, restaurants, dishes, and drinks. Until then, you can get a taste of our contenders as we count down, in no particular order, our 100 favorite dishes from around the boroughs, a list of laudable eats worth tracking down right now.
No. 100: Taqueria Lower East Side's carnitas No. 99: Tartine's steamed mussels No. 98: Malu's Cookie Monster ice cream No. 97: Coppelia's Havana salad No. 96: Falansai's clay pot catfish No. 95: Uncle Boons' Khao Soi Kaa Kai No. 94: ABC Cocina's salted caramel "impossible" flan No. 93: Shu Jiao Fu Zhou Cuisine's peanut noodles No. 92: Distilled's country-fried duck and waffles No. 91: Calliope's octopus salad No. 90: Charlie Bird's diver scallop crudo No. 89: Silver Moon Bakery's fig and pepper bread No. 88: Stage Restaurant's egg, cheese, and sausage on a roll No. 87: Manzanilla's Marbella's Full Moon No. 86: Bia's Cary Ga No. 85: La Newyorkina's pineapple jalapeño paleta No. 84: Empellón Taqueria's skirt steak tacos No. 83: Sugar Sweet Sunshine's pistachio cupcake No. 82: El Chivito d'Oro's skirt steak No. 81: Saro Bistro's satarash No. 80: Oda House's adjaruli khatchapuri No. 79: Hill Country Chicken's pie milkshake No. 78: Fletcher's Brooklyn Barbecue's chili mac No. 77: The Musket Room's steak and cheese pie No. 76: Battery Harris' Baked Patties No. 75: Legend's Dan Dan Noodles No. 74: Pure Thai's Nakorn-Patom duck noodles soup No. 73: Melt Bakery's Morticia No. 72: Calexico's Baja Fish Taco No. 71: Sushi Dojo's Omakase No. 70: Bear's smoked whitefish No. 69: Locanda Verde's corn ravioli No. 68: Ghenet's Ghenet Combination No. 67: Ample Hills Creamery's ice cream No. 66: Burger & Barrel's Burger No. 65: Radegast's Munich pretzel No. 64: Mighty Quinn's Burnt End Baked Beans No. 63: Cho Dang Gol's spicy galbi jjim No. 62: Tacos Mexico's chorizo taco No. 61: Pork Slope's loaded nachos No. 60: Pine Box Rock Shop's bloody mary No. 59: Franny's antipasto plate No. 58: Num Pang's curry red lentil soup No. 57: Khe-Yo's Jurgielewicz duck salad No. 56: Dough's doughnut (any doughnut) No. 55: King Noodle's ma po tofu fries No. 54: Terri's green power smoothie No. 53: Estela's beef tartare No. 52: Pho Grand's pork chop pho No. 51: Stella 34 Trattoria's chocolate gelato No. 50: RedFarm's spicy crispy beef No. 49: Bhojan's daal tadka No. 48: Pig and Khao's khao soi No. 47: The Grand's handmade pierogies No. 46: Dominick's Deli's Dante's Inferno No. 45: The Queens Kickshaw's deep-fried squash blossoms No. 44: Black Tree's squash blossom sandwich No. 43: Nan Xiang's xiao long bao No. 42: Jones Wood Foundry's bangers and mash No. 41: White Bear's wontons No. 40: The Harrison's toasted couscous and farro salad No. 39: Katja's sausage sampler No. 38: Magpies' strawberry-balsamic magpie No. 37: Bunker's pho ga No. 36: Fritzl's Lunch Box's burger No. 35: Biang's lotus root salad No. 34: BrisketTown's brisket No. 33: Bronx Ale House's alehouse nachos No. 32: Shinobi Ramen's mabo ramen No. 31: Pok Pok NY's papaya pok pok No. 30: Land of Plenty's Szechuan Pork Dumplings No. 29: Financier's pistachio macaron No. 28: Arancini Bros' Nutella arancini No. 27: Di Fara's calzone No. 26: Atera's bone marrow No. 25: The Mermaid Inn's brunch bread basket No. 24: Hospoda's fried cherries No. 23: Xe May's Lam'bretta No. 22: Cafe Ghia's biscuits and gravy
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