And starving. Like, literally starving to death. There was a point where I realized that the safest time to read Aynat’s (Trip Advisor handle) daily accounts of her NY adventure is between 6 and 6:45, before my stomach wakes up from its beauty rest. This was not Aynat’s first trip to NYC, and she already logged countless of great meals under her belt. But this time it became apparent after day two (out of 27) that included a marathon meal at Ko (the best marathon there is), that Aynat picked up her game to almost unreachable levels. From my vantage point (living room, transferring to kitchen soon) this is the Michael Jordan of trip reports. The basketball player, not the chef. Although the chef is pretty darn good too (miss Rosemary’s in Vegas dearly).
I read trip reports on various boards like Chowhound and Trip Advisor on occasion, and it usually doesn’t take long to get a sense of the due diligence involved. Aynat on the other hand, essentially has redefined food research, and is probably already planning her next trip to NYC (best medicine to post vacation blues.. Alcohol. Second best.. rebook). This was 27 days of eating bliss and blissful eating. After her trip was over, I figured it would be criminal not to write something about this on EWZ, but the challenge was how. So I asked Aynat to compile a list of her favorite dishes of the trip and here are the results. Top 20 dishes (comments are mine) with pictures whenever I could find them
Momofuku Ko – Chef’s Multi Course Tasting Menu. Its impossible to pick one dish from this 18 dish ecstasy. Its like asking Evander Holyfield which Illegitimate child is his favorite. Perhaps the best eating experience NYC has to offer at the momeny
Bowery Meat Company – Bowery Steak with Salsa Verde, Whipped Potato. The ribeye cap, arguably the cows most delicious part is rolled into this hockey puck of dreams. One of the most delicious steaks I ever ate. Aynat agrees.
Marta – Carbonara Pizza with Potato, Guanciale, Black Pepper and Egg. I’ve watched Nick Anderer try to perfect this Roman beaut over the first few months, until he settled on arguably the best white pie NY has to offer. Aynat also liked the Rabbit meatballs very much.
Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Bistro – Oxtail Fried Rice with daikon, Shiitake & Bone marrow. Aynat hesitated at first with this one. “Why is he suggesting Fried Rice, in a hotel no less.” Easily made the top dishes mark, along with the brilliantly simple sautéed squid (Ika shuga)
The Marshal – Wood Oven Roasted Meatloaf stuffed with Mozzarella, Squash Carrots and Kale. Sometimes a man just wants to eat meatloaf. Apparently same rules apply for women. One of Hell’s Kitchen’s hidden gems, dishing out proper farm to belly American classics.
Annisa – Barbecue Squid with Thai Basil and Fresh Peanuts (top picture). Aynat asked me about some of my favorite squid/octopus dishes in town and I directed her to one of Anita Lo’s best sellers. Needless to say she liked it.
Ivan Ramen – Pork Meatballs with Buttermilk Dressing, Bulldog Sauce, Bonito. Perhaps it’s the hypnotizing dancing bonito flakes, the tangy Bulldog sauce, or those tender juicy meatballs. Whatever that is, hope this LES Ivan branch keeps it on the menu for a while.
Alta – Shrimp and Chorizo Skewer with Avocado, Garlic and Sherry Vinegar. Another winner at this old tapas staple. Aynat also praised the Brussel Sprouts with apple, Creme Fraiche and pistachios. The dish that essentially made us start cook Brussel sprouts. And many chefs around town followed.
Balaboosta – Crispy Cauliflower With Lemon, Currants and Pine Nuts. It’s not an Israeli meal without a cauliflower dish. (Hmmm, I knew something was missing from my meal in LA last night). This is one Balaboosta must
Nougatine at Jean Georges – Fried Calamari with Basil Salt and Citrus Chilli Dip. Never been to Nougatine so never had it. But I can just taste it…
Root and Bone – Crispy Free Range Fried Chicken, Tea Brined and Lemon Dusted. Perhaps the NYC fried chicken to beat, along with Ma Peche’s Habanero infused bird. The brine and the magic dusting gives it a deeper, lasting flavor. Aynat also really admired the Charred Asparagus with Fire Roasted Tomatoes and Crunchy Peanuts. And talking about deeper and lasting, Root and Bone apparently means something else entirely down under (where half of the owners are from. Coincidence?)
Santina – Guanciale e Pepe. Aynat also hit some of the new kids on the block, and enjoyed Santina’s Cecina as well. I’ve personally been to Santina three times now, so ye.. I’m a fan too.
Rounding the top 20…
The NoMad Restaurant – Suckling Pig with Ramps, Potatoes and Salsa Verde. Been twice, never had it
ABC Cocina – Spring Pea Guacamole with Warm Tortillas
Timna -Lamb Saddle with Persian Lemon Dust, Black Garlic Mousse, English Pea Purée. Along with Fried Cauliflower (doh!) with Homemade Labane, Curried Tahini and Sumac. Top of my to do list
Inti – Ceviche Mixto. Love this dish. They make great ceviche here
Mercato – Gnocchi in Beef and Pork Ragu. Havent had this in a while and got tomorrow free. m..u..s..t r..e..s..i..s..t…
Kati Roll Company – Unda chicken roll. Never had it.
Gazala’s – Sun dried tomato Bourekas with Hummus, salad and olives. Still best hummus in town
Ample Hills Creamery – Salted Crack Caramel. Seriously addictive ice cream (like seriously!) . Aynat also gives major props to the Sullivan Street Bakery Bomboloni and Amorino gelato.
So there you have it. There were many other great dishes Aynat enjoyed in this one, but these are the highlights. This is a great starting point for those researching their next trip. Thanks Aynat for this glorious report