It seems just like yesterday that we began counting down 100 of New York City’s dishes to try now. But we actually began the journey of deliciousness way back in June. Now, after four months, our countdown has come to an end, having culminated with the publication of our “Best of 2011” issue. For those of you who weren’t able to check in with us on a daily basis, we’re giving a final farewell to the rundown, with our 10 Best 100 Dishes to Eat Now. Read ’em and eat.
10. Classic Falafel Sandwich at Kulushkät Gourmet Falafel (Dish No. 36): Fried chickpea patties share pita real estate with a cilantro-spiked red-cabbage salad and a roasted eggplant at gourmet falafel newcomer Kulushkät. Crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside, these “damn fine balls” are spiked with cilantro, onion, parsley, and spices including cumin and paprika. The pita, too, is soft and pliant, and all-around delicious. 446 Dean Street, Brooklyn, 347-799-1972
9. Montanara Pizza at Forcella (Dish No. 15): Everyone knows that frying food makes it taste better, so when you take an already delicious dish — pizza — and then submerge it in bubbling oil, you know you’re gonna end up with something out of this world. Williamsburg pizzeria Forcella’s specialty is the montanara, essentially a margherita pizza whose crust has been fried, creating a base that’s simultaneously chewy, crispy, and airy. 485 Lorimer Street, Brooklyn, 718-388-8820
8. Geez Beez at Cupola Samarkanda II (Dish No. 59): Pronounced “jizz biz,” this classic sauté of liver, kidneys, lungs, and heart at Uzbek restaurant Cupola Samarkanda II is cradled in a parabolic cracker called toki. The organs bathe in rich, buttery juices, and you scoop up the whole shebang with the cracker, which has the taste and texture of matzo. 1797 McDonald Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-375-7777
7. Dutch Pancake at Fort Defiance (Dish No. 84): Not to be confused with a Dutch baby pancake, this skillet cake served for brunch at Red Hook’s Fort Defiance is soft and studded with fruit and crème fraîche. We first sampled it during the height of blueberry season, which, alas, has ended. But don’t worry: The dish is still on the menu, and is just as good, only now it’s crowned with juicy apples. 365 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn, 347-453-6672
6. Phing Khatsa at Phayul (Dish No. 80): Phayul is one of the city’s newest Tibetan cafés, where you can sample highlights of the cuisine in dishes like momos (dumplings) and tingmos (steamed breads). But you’d better not leave without digging into a bowl of phing khatsa, a soup with a mild broth filled with soft mung-bean noodles, verdant torn herbs and soybeans, and gritty hot pepper paste. It’s a blistering soup, perfect for the chilly weather now upon us. 37-65 74th Street, second floor, Queens, 718-424-1869
5. Pan Bagnat at Épicerie Boulud (Dish No. 22): The pan bagnat is essentially the salad Niçoise in sandwich form, and thus elevates the combo of Mediterranean flavors to a greater art form. One of the best we’ve found this side of the Atlantic is at Épicerie Boulud. The fish has been poached in olive oil, which renders its texture silky and agreeably unctuous. It’s parked between two halves of a salted focaccia bun with chopped black olive, slices of ripe avocado and heirloom tomato, a few leaves of spinach, and bits of hard-boiled egg. This isn’t just any tuna salad sandwich. 1900 Broadway, 212-595-9606
4. Rotisserie Duck Lunch at Momofuku Ssäm Bar (Dish No. 77): They say duck is the new pork, and that’s surely the case at Momofuku Ssäm Bar, which has instituted a “duck lunch” program, selling only quackers in various forms. Our favorite is the rotisserie duck, which drapes juicy slivers of meat over a bowl of rice, served alongside lettuce and pancakes for wrapping. Eat this, and you’ll never want a pork ssäm again. 207 Second Avenue, 212-254-3500
3. Deep-Fried Rabbit at Fatty Cue (Dish No. 24): Fried chicken might have been the year’s big trend, but we say forgo the bird and go for the bunny. And there’s no better place to get it than at the new Manhattan outpost of Brooklyn barbecue joint Fatty ‘Cue. Accompanying the crunchy nuggets is a vinegar containing fermented baby shrimp, lime juice, and a smattering of other flavorings. It’s so good, you’ll want to dump it on everything in sight, just to see what it tastes like. 50 Carmine Street, 212-929-5050
2. Roast Carrot Salad at ABC Kitchen (Dish No. 91): Carrot salad might seem like the throwaway vegetarian app, but at locavore haunt ABC Kitchen, it takes center stage. Bright-orange spears are kissed with cumin and roasted until sweet, then tossed with slices of avocado, a bevy of sprouts and seeds, a few sourdough croutons, and a small dollop of sour cream. It’s a salad for those who’ve long disavowed salads. 35 East 18th Street, 212-475-5829
1. Spicy Big Tray of Chicken at He Nan Flavor (Dish No. 10): Think of this dish as “Soupy Mass of Chicken in a Wok,” but an utterly sublime soupy mass of chicken. You can find it at He Nan Flavor, one of the city’s few Henan restaurants. Primarily flavored with dried chilies, Sichuan peppercorns, and cumin, the poultry is fiery as hell. After chomping on the bits of bird, the waitress will offer you a mess of wide homemade noodles to plunge into the sauce. Heed her suggestion, then lap it all up. 68 Forsyth Street, 212-625-8299
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