Dish no. 9: Patty melt from the Derby (187 Orchard Street, 212-777-8469)
When we sat down for brunch at the Derby, there was a celebrity in the house — Seth Rogen was sitting just a few tables away. But we were soon distracted from slyly glancing his way: Our neighboring party’s order showed up, and all three people had ordered patty melts. That turned out to be the correct move — the restaurant serves a solid menu of Southern fare, but the patty melt, prepared non-traditionally, is one of the best we’ve had in the city. Burgers cooked to spec (served, in our case, a perfect medium-rare) come smeared with pimento cheese and layered with crisp lettuce and tomato. It’s all sandwiched between two slices of buttery toast, that familiar diner finish that coats your fingers with a greasy sheen, and served with a pile of salty fries.
In conjunction with 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.
More:100 Favorite Dishes