Dish no. 79: Rabbit from Gato (324 Lafayette Street, 212-334-6400)
Whatever your feelings on the unofficial sad clown of food television, Bobby Flay is cooking some compelling Mediterranean food at Gato, his first new restaurant in nearly a decade. In a cavernous downtown space, the celebrity chef presents rabbit as a massive leg anointed with petite cylinders of loin, hidden under a scattering of crispy ham and peas. What sends the dish into overdrive, however, is a faintly sweet, extra piquant hot sauce made from carrots. It’s a common chef trope to pair animals with the foods associated with their diets, but Flay finagles precariously cliche territory with confident finesse.
In advance of our 2014 Best of NYC issue, we’re traipsing through the boroughs and divulging our favorite dishes of the year. They’re presented here as a countdown, but we’re listing them in no particular order. Consider this a guide to what’s good to eat in this town right this very second.