Dish no. 6: Smoked trout from Nordic Preserves (Essex Market, 120 Essex Street, 646-450-4544)
Smoked-fish fiends should find their way to this Essex Market counter, where a glass case holds gleaming slabs of cured seafood. You might want to compare the different smoked salmons, or taste a little smoked tuna, and you should think about walking away with some pickled herring or caviar or Nordic accoutrements, too. We’ve tasted our way through many of the offerings, but we keep returning for the trout. Smoked whole and in the skin, the meaty fish retains its delicate flavor, and is ideal for forking onto brown bread or crackers with a little crème fraîche and chopped onions or dill. You’ll have to take your paper-wrapped packet away — Nordic Preserves has no tables — so you might as well make an occasion out of it. If you’re feeling really festive, Champagne pairs nicely. So does cheap light beer.
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