New York Tops Writers’ Best Meals of 2010


No one needs to tell us that the Big Apple tops the charts when it comes to eating. But for additional proof that it’s the best city for dining, Gadling has rounded up some food and travel writers’ best meals from 2010. New York takes the cake!

Says Frank Bruni, former New York Times restaurant critic:

And I remember, in a totally different vein, the pimento cheese toasts at Cookshop, one of the many comfort-food snacks on that Chelsea restaurant’s menu. There’s not enough pimento cheese in this life. Not nearly enough. A friend and I split an order of these toasts, then got another, then debated a good long while before passing on a third. I regret the decision still.

Susan Orlean, staff writer at The New Yorker enjoyed

An Ethiopian feast at Awash, on the Upper West Side. My first experience with Ethiopian food, and I loved the earthy warmth of it, and couldn’t get enough of the “injera” — the spongy, grainy Ethiopian bread.

Says Dan Saltzstein, assistant editor of the New York Times Travel section:

M. Wells. As a long-time Queens resident, I was thrilled when this diner-with-a-twist opened earlier this year. Doesn’t hurt that it’s a 5-10 minute trip on the 7 train from my office, too. The food — available for now only from 10am-4pm — is a combination of kicked-up diner classics (say, an egg and hash dish that features both mussels and pulled pork; it works) and even kookier stuff. I try to avoid words like “addictive” and “orgasmic” when referring to food, but the appetizer of marrow and escargot comes pretty close to filling definitions of both words.

Says Mary Morris, novelist and travel writer:

[R]ight here in Brooklyn El Jalapeno — closest thing to real Mexican I’ve had since Mexico. Tiny place, wonderful kitchen and I love the portabello fajitas. The owner dresses like a cowboy, not sure why.

Ayun Halliday, author of Zinester’s Guide to New York City, loved

Tong Sam Gyup Goo Ee Korean Restaurant. Going here reminded me of what it’s like to be a timid first-time traveler, worried about doing something foolish, like drinking the finger bowl liquid, or that the best parts of the experience will be denied you because you don’t know how to ask for them, or that you’ll get stuck with all kinds of hidden costs. In the name of full disclosure, I should also say that my husband and I were just coming off of a ridiculous, explosive fight, spawned by his insistence on driving to Spa Castle (I always take the subway), then refusing to pull over for directions when we got lost. Embodying a tired punchline sucks but there’s comfort in knowing that anyone who’s traveled with a romantic partner should relate. Did I mention that it was his birthday? And that I’m the one with the mania for pursuing unfamiliar dishes served in out of the way locations? He would’ve been content with a nice meal in our neighborhood.

I’m still not sure he preferred grilling strips of pork belly on a convex grill set into our table over say, Steak Frites at Bar Tabac, but it was delicious, and filling. The novelty of the food and our surroundings provided ample conversational fodder to speed the recovery from the many harsh words unleashed earlier in the day. Our waitress, who spoke Spanish and Korean but very little English, snipped homemade kimchi into bite-size pieces with scissors and showed us how to cook and eat the meat. A big TV in the corner broadcast an Asian newsmagazine-type program concerning, if what I gleaned is accurate, a therapist’s attempt to teach the parents of an autistic child how to not resort to violence when everybody was approaching the ends of their tethers. I remember consuming a lot of chili-marinated bean sprouts, while various family members occupied the table across from us, doing homework and dealing with giant mounds of raw produce. (We’d arrived in that nether hour between lunch and dinner) There were only four items on the menu, not counting bibimbap which could be added to any order for $1.99. Actually, there was no menu, just a sign listing the four items. Were I to go back, and I’d like to, I would endeavor to bring another couple, preferably of jolly disposition and expansive palate. We could order BBQ pork and beef intestines in addition to the Sam Gyup Sal, and maybe even laugh about how I virtually ruined Greg’s birthday by taking him to Spa Castle.