At Fabian von Hauske and Jeremiah Stone’s leisurely, wine-focused Wildair (142 Orchard Street, 646-964-5624), the Lower East Side’s dynamic duo get up to all kinds of fun, like frying squid and lemons to dip into stormy squid ink aioli and whipping up flawless granita-topped custards and peanut-chocolate tarts. Unlike at Contra, their flagship neo-bistro down the street, recipes here are somewhat less cerebral, but the food’s no less nuanced for it — even when you’re eating with your hands.
Take their Georgia white shrimp, poached in olive oil and served whole. They’re the most elegant peel-and-eat beauties you’ve ever tasted. Briny and crisp, their shells give way to tender, sweet meat accented by grassy cilantro and bright and snappy coins of celery. Don’t forget to suck out the head fat before chomping down on those antennae-riddled noggins. As the setting calls for it, we’d suggest raising a glass of bubbly petillant-naturel (“pet-nat” to oenophiles) with your tomalley-stained shrimp mitts.
The Village Voice is counting down to our Best of New York City issue in October. We’re combing the city every day, one dish at a time, to guide you to the most delicious food in NYC. These are our 100 Favorite Dishes for 2015, in no particular order, save for the top 10. To read about previous dishes, browse our 100 Favorite Dishes page.