Another year, another amazing eating year in the city of New York. Keeping up with all the new and excitement here is like keeping up with the Kardashians. But 2013 proved to be one heck of a year, probably the best ever. And if there’s ever a post on EWZ that could be helpful to visitors or locals seeking great chow in NYC, this is IT!
Ma Peche – Fried Chicken (with a side of the Brussels Sprouts). I’ll start with the last great dish. Haute Fried Chicken doesnt get any better than this. Habanero, coriander, black pepper and other spices used to create this fried pieces of awesomeness. Its a large shareable whole chicken at $48, but for lunch you can get half for $24 which can still feed an Armanian village, or 2 Americans. And the amazing Brussels Sprouts dish are worthy of their own spot here.
Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop– Smoked Whitefish Donburi. With salmon roe, sweet soy dashi, cucumber, scallion over rice. Need I say more? I probably should. Tell me if you heard this story before. A Jewish man from Long Island opens a Ramen shop in Tokyo which becomes critically acclaimed, then comes back to NYC to open a Ramen shop in the New Gotham West Market in Hell’s Kitchen. Sounds familiar? The Donburi is a nice clash of the 2 cultures (Japan meets Jew)
Momofuku Ssam Bar – Spicy Sausages & Rice Cakes. Second Momofuku mention already (Ma Peche is the first) This dish is insane. Plenty of heat and plenty of joy. Its a beautiful medley of ground sausage, Chinese broccoli, Sichuan peppercorn, and the awesome rice cakes which were essentially Korean Gnocchi made from rice flour. Puts the Mssion Chinese rice cakes to shame. Photo courtesy of Never Too Sweet
Betony – Short Ribs. A revelation! Tender, full of flavor goodness. It takes 3 days to make them we were told. We told the waitress that we cant stay that long, but we quickly understood the meaning.
Maialino – Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe. Its so simple, it shouldnt be here. But along with the carbonara perhaps my favorite dish at one of my favorite Italian spots in the city. Perfectly creamy, peppery, and addictive. Having it sit there among the other pastas on the table is like visiting the bunny ranch after trying out all the bunnies, and constantly picking your favorite.
The NoMad – The Chicken. This is a no brainer, and a top dish nominee even before it reached our table. Once you get over the facts that a) is costs $78 (for 2) and b) its freakin chicken, you will enjoy this one no doubt. Perfectly crispy skin, moist juicy white meat, along with some foie gras and black truffles (all cooked) nicely tucked beneath the skin. Each bite of that combination together was a Tour de Force. But that’s not all. Add a glorious plate of the dark meat with garlic espuma (foamy light garlic goodness) in the middle to share.
Ippudo – Akamaru Modern (with egg). “Welcom”, “Goodbye”, “Aim Well”? I have no idea what they are screaming in Japanese at Ippudo every time someone arrives or goes to the bathroom. All I know is that this is my favorite dish here. Rich, complex pork broth, along with hefty pieces of pork belly. Add the egg and spicy miso paste for even richer flavors
Costata – The Costata. Perhaps the dish of the year. A mammoth 44oz $120 very shareable Tomahawk Ribeye cooked to perfection. Basted ever so beautifully with a rosemary brush, this beast was a feast for all senses. Add some Black truffle butter, fries and asparagus, but good luck remembering the sides in between bites of perhaps the best steak in town
Nish Nush – Falafel. I know Falafel. I grew up with falafel. My car runs on falafel (its the trade-in period while waiting for the new car so dont want to use the real thing). This is good falafel. Fresh pita from the oven, and free (great) hummus can only help
Kashkar Cafe – Geiro Lagman. Little Asia in little Odessa (Brighton Beach) and perhaps the only Uyghur spot in town. I’ve had this dish 3 times in the last 8 months. Nice and chewy hand pulled noodles with lamb, veggies, cumin, garlic, other spices and herbs make up this highly palatable dish.
Malai Marke – Chicken Xacuti (and Bindi Sasuralwali)
Sakagura – Maguro Tartar
Pure Thai – Wok Curry Paste with Pork
Mercato – Trenette
Jungsik – The rice dish that comes for free for b-day boy 😉
Louro – Octopus Bolognese (tie with monkfish)
Mission Chinese – Kung Pao Pastrami