Soho might automatically come to mind as a place filled with throngs of slow-moving tourists and not populated with tasty treats, but the neighborhood spanning from Houston Street to Canal Street and Lafayette Street to Sixth Avenue is actually chock-full of prime eats. So without further ado, here are Fork in the Road’s 10 Best Soho Eats. Of course, many other gourmet delights had to be left off the list, so feel free to add your personal favorites in the comments.
10. Fried Ipswich Clams at Ed’s Lobster Bar: These juicy, jiggly bivalves are a taste of summers spent in New England. Nicely briny with a hint of mineral flavor and a clean crunch, you won’t even need the accompanying lemon or tartar sauce. 222 Lafayette Street, 212-343-3236
9. Chicken Curry Dosa at Hampton Chutney: Dosas, the light and crispy rice-and-lentil-based crepes, are most often found in South Indian states … not the Hamptons. But the unlikely marriage of the dosa and decidedly American fillings at Hampton Chutney proves delicious. One of the best offerings, though, is slightly more Desi in concept, filled with spiced chutney curry chicken, spinach, and balsamic roasted onions. Topped with cilantro chutney, you’ve got the best two-foot-long treat in the neighborhood, if not Lower Manhattan. 68 Prince Street, 212-226-9996
8. Pretzel Croissant at Birdbath Bakery: The love child of the pretzel and the croissant is so ingenious, it makes you wonder why someone hadn’t created it before Maury Rubin, City Bakery’s founder. This flaky baked good can be found outside of Soho, yes, but this small Birdbath outpost in the old Vesuvio Bakery spot is charming, and nothing works better as a mid-shopping expedition snack than this salty, sesame-studded treat. 160 Prince Street, 212-612-3066
7. Warm Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onion Tart at Balthazar: Balthazar’s heyday might be over, but the goat cheese and caramelized onion tart appetizer lives on as the ultimate gooey savory prelude to dinner in what’s perhaps the most Soho of Soho restaurants. Comfort food with a Francophilic bent. 80 Spring Street, 212-965-1414
6. Pikilia “Combination Platter” at Snack: This plate of three different meze, or cold appetizers, with pita and stuffed grape leaves is a steal at $12.50. Pair cool, creamy tzatziki with feta and sliced tomatoes and skordalia (zippy, garlic-loaded potato puree) and you’ve got yourself a meat-free meal ticket. 105 Thompson Street, 212-925-1040
5. Chicken Platter at La Nueva Conquista: A filling $8 meal in Soho? It can be had — and a tasty one, to boot. What this tiny hole-in-the-wall Dominican restaurant lacks in space, it makes up for with huge platters of succulent chicken, lightly sauced and herbed, served with beans and rice. And now that it’s almost spring, what better takeout option to eat in Petrosino Square, just one block south? 236 Lafayette Street, 212-226-9835
4. Da Vinci Sandwich at Alidoro: Pretty much everything on the tiny Italian sandwich shop’s menu is a good bet, but we’re partial to the Da Vinci. Sardines or mackerel are layered with sun-dried tomatoes and Bel Paese cheese along a plank of bread the length of a baby’s leg. It is satisfying on many levels, and a joyous middle finger to those who insist you can’t eat fish with cheese. 105 Sullivan Street, 212-334-5179
3. Whitefish Salad Banh Mi at Mooncake Foods: Mooncake’s sandwich combines much of what is wonderful about Jewish cuisine — the smoked fish, the excess — and partners it with jalapeños, pickled carrots and daikon, and cilantro. In doing so Mooncake shows us what good can come of fusion cooking when it’s properly executed. 28 Watts Street, 212-268-2888
2. Seasonal Meal at Omen: Slightly under the radar, Omen specializes in Kyoto cuisine served in a zen-like setting. The udon specialty is definitely great, but some of the most intriguing bites (cold burdock root, chawanmushi, yuba with crab) can be had in the ever-changing seasonally driven (in the vein of kaiseki ryori) multi-course special occasion (read: expensive) meal. 113 Thompson Street, 212-925-8923
1. Cappelletti at Osteria Morini: Michael White has made his name by whipping up excellent pasta, and these stuffed ravioli are no exception. But then again, it’s hard to go wrong when you fill toothsome pasta with truffled mascarpone and bathe it in a silky, rich butter sauce. A sprinkling of prosciutto only sweetens the deal. At $18, it’s not a cheap eat, but that’s still a small price for gustatory happiness. 218 Lafayette Street, 212-965-8777
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