Food is the inebriate’s best friend, and that’s even more true when one more turns into one too many. But rather than hurrying home to raid the icebox, the food-loving substance abuser knows that a suitable snack is usually merely blocks away. In this series, we’ll explore ideal ways to line your stomach while while you’re imbibing, paying special attention to New York City’s best late-night eats.
Today, we head to Williamsburg for a snack stuffed inside a steamed bao at Fatty ‘Cue.
After enduring a year of skepticism from New York’s fervent restaurant observers, the Fatty crew recently reopened their newly redesigned flagship barbecue restaurant in South Williamsburg with a new menu from Momofuku Noodle Bar alum and West Village Fatty ‘Cue chef Anthony Masters. A highlight of the revamped menu are the steamed Taiwanese-style buns called bao.
A late-night version of this snack comes filled with plump fried oysters, bacon, kimchi, and puffed rice; that special is available from midnight until 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. But getting plastered needn’t only be a nighttime activity, and two additional varieties are available starting at 5 p.m. During those earlier hours, order pairs of the Bao Chicken Bao Bao and green chili lamb bao for $7 and $8 respectively. The fried chicken bao is the better of the two, and it’s a worthy adversary for any hungry drunk. A crispy tender of moist fried bird is doused in maple butter and hot sauce; the first bite reveals a bright green sauce hidden beneath the breading that delivers the unmistakable punch of cilantro. The balance of sweet, hot and piquant is reason to rejoice in this Fatty resurrection. Pickled cucumbers sit on the side, but they work best as a topping for complementary texture and acidity.
Boasting a lower price point than the Momofuku version that originally put bao on the map, these buns are already a good deal (especially late-night when you can get single buns for as little as $3). That they’re tended to with the same attention to detail that Masters applies to his smoked meats nudges them into the detour-worthy category for Williamsburg residents and commuting revelers alike.