This week, our gluttonous exploits have taken us up to Harlem, out to Bushwick, and to many places in between, where we’ve feasted on Ethiopian food, Japanese kaiseki, and a traditional Purim treat. Here are five dishes we’ve been digging around town.
Finocchi al forno at Union Pizza Works, 423 Troutman Street, Brooklyn, 718-628-1927
We’re unconvinced that Union has the pizza prowess to knock off Roberta’s when it comes to pie supremacy in Bushwick, but we’ll be back to give it another shot thanks to one of the appetizers. Vaguely anise-y fennel is baked soft in the oven under a coating of creamy bechemel; the dish hits the table bubbling seductively. You’ll want crusts of bread to sop up the rest of the sauce.
Fresh botan shrimp and sea urchin at Kyo Ya, 94 East 7th Street, 212-982-4140
This best way to approach this seasonal kaiseki restaurant is to call ahead for the full kaiseki experience, an eight-, nine-, or ten-course hyperseasonal and metered tasting menu that exhibits this spot’s masterful work. But if you do drop in for just a dish or two, order the botan shrimp and sea urchin, a beautifully plated mixture of shimeji mushrooms, tongues of sea urchin, and salmon roe in a light, tangy, wasabi-spiked kuzu sauce.
Hamantaschen at Breads Bakery, 18 East 16th Street, 212-633-2253
Purim is this weekend, and so Breads is baking up scads of hamantaschen, the filled three-corner pastries that are traditional accoutrements to the holiday. While the bakery makes a formidable poppy seed variety, our favorite is the less-traditional marzipan, a bittersweet almond-infused bite that reminds us of breakfast croissants.
Crudite and dips at General Assembly, 360 Park Avenue South, 212-951-7111
The Flatiron’s Hurricane Club has evolved into a shiny new neighborhood bistro, and among the steak frites and obligatory burger, you’ll find a section of vegetables and dips that will, at the very least, help convince you that spring really is just around the corner. We’re partial to the sweet fava-avocado and the smoked tomato and white bean blend, which is reminiscent of hummus (though a bit more mild).
Vegetarian combination at Zoma, 2084 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, 212-662-0620
New York’s not exactly teeming with great Ethiopian food, so this Harlem spot is shines brightly, and it’s worth making a destination. We love the lamb dishes here, and the beef kitfo is a great order, too, but it’s the vegetarian platter that’s really the star. Zoma’s stewed red lentils, chickpeas, and split peas boast varying levels of spice; scoop them up with sour injera flatbread and wash them down with a beer.