Dish no. 5: Fideuá negra from Boqueria UES (1460 Second Avenue, 212-343-2227)
From our corner table at Boqueria’s newest outlet, we watched a pair of septuagenarians share a pitcher of sangria; a gaggle of young, professional women gossip over a table full of tapas; and at least two or three couples engaged in what appeared to be first dates. The Spanish restaurant seems to be settling in to the neighborhood nicely — it was packed on a weeknight. This establishment offers slightly different dishes than its siblings (although you’ll find the classics on the menu here, to be sure), including this strangely compelling Catalan dish. Cooked similarly to a paella, the base here is garlic-tinged squid ink noodles, which hide chewy bits of mollusk and serve as a nest for fat prawns and sweet clams. That white dollop in the center is garlic aioli, and it works best if you incorporate a dab into each bite — the aioli adds rich creaminess to the crusty bits of noodle.
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