The Five Best Things We Ate This Week – 4/17/2014


Our edible escapades this week turned us on to a worthy brisket substitute at one of NYC’s most popular Texas barbecue joints, a killer grilled cheese sandwich, and some addictive babaghanoush. Behold, the five best things we ate this week.

Bucatini all’amatriciana at Emily, 919 Fulton Street, 347-844-9588

When first we tasted the fare from Emily, the homey new Clinton Hill Pizzeria that opened this winter, we fell for her crisp, crusty, wood-fired pizzas, her hot sausages oozing with fatty goodness, her sparse Caesar dusted with herbs. We vowed to return to taste her pastas. Last weekend, we did, and they didn’t disappoint. Rather than fuss with rolling pasta in house, chef Matthew Hyland outsources the task to Sfoglini, the Brooklyn-based pasta artisan known for creative, superfresh semolina creations that toe the line between classic and avant-garde. Hyland puts Sfoglini bucatini to excellent use, tossing it with rich, fatty guanciale, tempered by red onion and bathed in bright fra diavolo for a serious kick. –Hannah Palmer Egan

Grassfed beef at Beautique, 8 West 58th Street, 212-753-1200

In this gilded (and already star-studded, at least on the night we were in) dining room, chef Craig Hopson is serving some beautiful food. See, in particular, the savory crab flan, the crisp and addictive seasoned potato fries, and the rabbit, fava, and grape salad for proof. But the stone cold stunner of our meal was the grassfed beef, which pairs mid-rare, juice-drooling hunks of well-seasoned steak to a rich bone marrow flan, toast spackled with sweet caramelized onions, and — because it is spring — ramps. It looks heavy but eats light, which means it’s as ideal for a warm night as it is for one of these last cold days. –Laura Shunk

Iberico at Hogar Dulce Hogar, 341 West Broadway, 347-705-2290

Although it’s not specifically mentioned as such on the menu, the Iberico, listed under “savory breakfast snacks” at this new bakery/cafe, is a grilled cheese sandwich — and at $12 with no sides, it’s a pricey one at that. It’s also not much to look at, but its humble appearance belies one of the best toasted sandwiches we’ve had in months. Hidden between slices of soft-baked, airy white bread, grilled and buttery, find creamy, bright white manchego, a generous scattering of shredded ruby-red ham from the storied pigs of Southern Spain, and thinly spread tumaca, the garlic, tomato, and olive oil mix often lopped on toast for a refreshing bruschetta. This otherworldly grilled cheese is so much more than the sum of its parts. –Hannah Palmer Egan

Smoked turkey at Hill Country Barbecue Market, multiple locations

We’ve always gone straight for the brisket at this Texas barbecue market, and while we’ve occasionally considered siding that meat with more meat, our second choice would be ribs or sausage — certainly not turkey. That was an error, though, because the smoked turkey here rivals the bird anywhere — the poultry is tender, moist, and imbued with throat-stinging smoke; the edges crisp and peppery like the rest of the restaurant’s proteins. We’ll have a few more slices, thanks, with a side of mac & cheese and a little cornbread. –Laura Shunk

Babaghanoush at Bodrum Mediterranean, 584 Amsterdam Avenue, 212-799-2806

It takes a special kind of mezze spread to lure us away from brick oven pizza scattered with chunks of lamb merguez sausage, but that’s exactly the kind of power the babaghanoush from this Upper West Side Turkish restaurant holds over us. Charred in the same brick ovens used to make the pizzas, the eggplants achieve an intensely smoky char, tempered by the fatty, nutty, and tangy flavors of tahini, olive oil, and yogurt. Scooped up with strips of ridged, sesame seed flatbread, it’s worth a special trip, especially on Monday nights, when the restaurant sells wine at half price. –Zachary Feldman