Bowery Steak at Bowery Meat Company. Normally in the food blogging universe, when a steak is compared to a Hockey puck, its usually in order to describe a poorly cooked piece of meat. But in this case, its the odd looking Hockey puck shaped perfection sitting on top of creamy whipped potato puree, and topped with a little bit of Chimichurri. One little touch of that thing with your fork or a prolong stare breaks the spiral roll of ribeye cap, aka the more flavorful part of the ribeye. A most noble cut, generated by none other than the legendary Pat LaFrieda of course. Don’t believe me? Ask fellow meat lover Justin Bieber who was spotted there a day after yours truly and his family. “Way to go dad, always picking the wrong days”
Oxtail Soup at Pam Real Thai – I’m starting to believe this soup has special healing powers. Whether you are suffering from Flu like symptoms, Depression, Frontal Baldness, Cholera, try the soup and see a doctor. Best to have the soup solo, as it will clear up both your nostrils and allow free grazing of the two giant oxtail bones in a way that should leave no witnesses. Its spicy, complex, addictive and just about my favorite soup in NYC at the moment. Which really means America!
Patate Alla Carbonara at Marta – The White pizza section to me is like the pet isle in the supermarket. I only get there by accident or under some form of influence. My wife found me there once and though I was having an affair. These days the only way for me to cheat on the reds is with this Bianca, featuring Guanciale, Pecorino and egg “juice” poured ever so slowly all over the pie. It took a few initial incarnations (started as “Gricia” with an egg in the middle) until this thing was perfected by Nick Anderer who perfected so many things at Maialino. Its Roman style pizza which means Matsoh like cracker thin (especially at the edges), but it holds its own nicely throughout so knife needed.
Lobster Roll at The Grand Banks. This place rocked! Literally! In fact we almost left upon entering this Schooner (a ship for the German readers) parked on Pier 25 in the warmer months. But the food obsessed that we are, we braved it out and stayed for the main event. A Maine style Lobster Roll (cold) using the meatiest and clawiest parts of the lobster, with tarragon mayonnaise and cucumbers which isnt very “Mainely” I know, but serve as barriers between meat and bun. Very often lobster rolls lose its luster due to a soggy bun, but here the cucumbers keep it fresh and dont deter from the taste. The roll which comes with well seasoned potato chips (no frier on board) is not exactly a value play at $25, but you gotta pay up for the good stuff mon. Especially on the island I call Manhattan
BBQ Squid at Annisa – Stunner! Actually the first word that comes to mind is “gorgeous” but its hard even for the feminine inner Ziggy to say the G word these days. When was the last time you heard a straight man say something is gorgeous. And adding the F word just makes it sound awkward. But this dish is not only attractive to look at, but got the flavors to match. Marinaded, perfectly grilled Squid with fried tentacles, mint, and fresh peanuts boiled to match the texture of the tender Edameme. Add Hoisin sauce for some sweetness and tanginess and the formula is complete. I hope it never leaves the menu. Anita Lo are you reading?
Carrot Wellington at Narcissa – A rarity. A meal where the veggie dishes outperform the meats and fish. Even the beet dish here made me question everything I knew about beets and seek Borscht the next day. I never seek Borscht. The carrots are cured, roasted and simply shine in those puff pastries. They are tender and rich enough that you wont miss the meat. And the accompanied veggies especially the earthy Bluefoot mushrooms complimented nicely. Along with Piora’s carrots, perhaps the carrot dish to beat. If you are having commitment issues, you can always share it as a middle course.
Strozzapreti Con Aragosta at Lincoln (Top). Orange is the new crack! Possibly the most ingenious pasta dish I ever had. First of all its looks
gorgeous sensational, and you smell the sea as soon as it arrives. Smell it! Its an important aspect of any meal. The Strozzapreti (invented I suppose when someone envisioned a pasta shape while witnessing a priest being slowly strangled) is made with lobster coral, the female egg sac, to bring that bright sexy orange prison look. Sweet lobster chunks are added to the mix along with Tarragon and a delicate citrusy sauce. But the best part and what puts this thing over the top was the shockingly flavorful lobster and scallop “sausage” bits which had the texture of chicken skin nut tasted nothing like it. As of this writing the dish is not on the menu, so write to your local congressman
Scrambled Eggs at Gato. I’m quite the sucker for nicely executed egg dishes, and this one topped a year filled with good ones (Casa Mono comes to mind). Almond Romesco (spanish red pepper sauce), Boucheron cheese, and fluffiness levels that I’ve yet to produce no matter how hard I try. I Google the heck out of how to make my scrambled eggs this fluffy, and it looks like Boucheron may be the answer. Bobby Flay got something nice going there, but dont tell him that, or mention this pick. We dont want success to get to his head.
Zabzi Tagine at Bar Bolonat – I attacked this mini Tagine on more than one occasion in 2014. But I confess that the first time, closer to the Bar Bolonat debut was the best rendition. Homemade couscous, aromatic fresh herbs, and short rib or beef cheek (it changes from time to time) so tender and flavor packed, even the Goyim foodies can appreciate this modern Israeli delight. Get this, the kibbeh, Creme Brulee, and any of the other “Best of 2014” dishes circulating the web. Einat Admony got herself another winner.
Fried Chicken at Root and Bone – Last year it was the Ma Peche Habanero, this year its R&B singing the chicken song. Choon! The bird is brined in sweet tea, onions and garlic for 24 hours, and finished with a dusting of dehydrated lemon powder to add that nice zesty tone. Perfectly crisped skin, and juiciness levels I havent seen since college. Great dish and a great menu that features all sorts of goodies like Sticky Toffee Pudding with whiskey sauce and beer flavored ice cream.
Burger at the NoMad Bar
Marinated Pork at Somtum Der
Falafel plate at Zizi Limona
Agnolotti at All’onda
Chicken Burrito at Missions Cantina
Beer Braised Pork Tongue Tacos at Empellon Taqueria
Octopus at Marea
Kimchi Fried Rice at Louro
Tofu at Dunji
Samsa at Nargis Cafe
Elk Chops at Henry’s End
Carrots at Piora
Green Curry Ramen at Bassanova
Dirty rice at Ivan Ramen
Cha Ca La Vong at Pok Pok Brooklyn
Oxtail and Bone Marrow Fried Rice at Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill