Editors who eat best dishes ate this week, January 2022

Editors who eat best dishes ate this week, January 2022

The amount of excellent food available in New York City is staggering – even during a pandemic – but mediocre meals somehow continue to worm their way into our lives. With Eater editors sometimes eating out several times a day, we encounter lots of excellent dishes, and we do not want to keep any secrets. Come back weekly for the best things we ate this week – so you can too.


January 10th

A hand wearing a navy blue sweater holds a sandwich with a plate of golden fried fish.

The fried fish sandwich at Tai Pan Bakery.
Luke Fortney / Eater NY

Fried fish sandwich at Tai Pan Bakery

While walking along Chinatown’s Canal Street last week, I popped into Tai Pan Bakery, intending to buy some fried pork buns for a weekend indoors and ended up with so much more. It’s easy to happen here when you walk through the store with a plastic tray and a pair of stainless steel tongs while scratching in cakes. The best of the moves was this sandwich, priced at around $ 3 for a heaping plate of fried fish with a mug of mayonnaise and a few lettuce leaves tucked underneath – just the right amount to balance this potentially too heavy dish. The fish, flagged and flavorful, was still crisp when I got back to my home half an hour later where this picture was taken. 194 Canal Street, near Mott Street, Chinatown – Luke Fortney, reporter

A clear rice soup with fish, red chili and green herbs visible in a white low bowl.

Chao ca at Ha’s Dac Biet.
Robert Sietsema / Eater NY

Chao ca at Ha’s Special

Ha’s Đặc Biệt caused a sensation when it joined a stay with other pop-up Kreung Cambodia last summer in East Williamsburg’s Outerspace, scoring an overwhelming hit and closing immediately. Now collaborators Anthony Ha and Sadie Mae Burns have reappeared on the Lower East Side with a new version of their peripatetic pop-up with a similarly enticing and challenging Vietnamese menu reaching for nine dishes, including a wonderful rice porridge called chao ca ($ 16 )). Thinner than Chinese congee, the broth explodes with flavor, including perfumed red bird eye chili, chopped shallots and fresh green herbs. The center of attention is commanded by monkfish liver and kimme-dai – a pink plank of a fish, also known as goldeneye snapper. The effect is amazing and you do not sloppy as much rice soup as exploring it, with different flavors in each spoonful. 70 Forsyth Street, between Hester and Grand Streets, Lower East Side – Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Lamb barbecue tacos at Empellon Taqueria

Alex Stupak, after months of pandemic-related delays, finally opened the Empellon Taqueria on Waterline Square, a small nook on the Upper West Side next to the Hudson. I’m still considering how this evolving empire fits into the city’s thriving modern Mexican scene; The Midtown Empellon continues to attract diners with trompe l’oeil avocados and other avant-garde sweets, while the Taqueria concept mixes both modern and traditional influences. But less academically, I had a very nice meal at this new place not so long ago. I liked the coarse carrot-chorizo-tacos, but I really enjoyed the tender lamb barbecue tacos for their straightforwardness. They tasted exactly how slow-cooked and shredded lamb should taste – funky and sweet – while the plentiful juice did not suck up the sturdy corn tortillas. A few mezcal margaritas helped dampen the mild heat. Maybe I want to test drive the crispy bean flutes on a return visit. 645 West 59th Street at Freedom Place South, Upper West Side – Ryan Sutton, chief critic

A Vienesse apple strudel with powdered sugar on top of a blue-white, antique-looking plate on a wooden surface.

Vienesse apple strudel in Chocnyc.
Bao Ong / Eater NY

Wiener apple strudel in Chocnyc

When New Yorkers watched the first snowfall of winter last week, I fell more in love with the dusting of powdered sugar on this Viennese apple strudel ($ 4.75) from Chocnyc, which is by far my favorite bakery in the neighborhood. The crispy, tissue-paper-thin strudel dough looked like an overflowing burrito filled with sour apples, reminding me of the fall months that feel like ages ago. But the rum-soaked raisins, toasted cake crumbs and walnuts brought back fresh memories from holiday parties of the past month and made an argument for being an idyllic comforting winter dessert. It is a cake without frills that is familiar and timeless – like an American apple, but older world with its European roots. However, unlike the short window where a snowfall in NYC is actually appreciated, every bite of this strudel was enjoyed to the last bite. 4996 Broadway, between West 212th and 211th streets, Inwood – Bao Ong, editor

Rice, fish chop and a brown pork curry are served in a banana leaf in a woven basket.

The lamb rice at Staten Islands Lakruwana comes with several protein options like the pork curry pictured.
Emma Orlow / Eater NY

Lamprais and Lakruwana

After seeing discount tickets for the NYC Winter Lantern Festival held in Snug Harbor, my friends and I drove out to Staten Island – though without first checking the weather. Damp and cold without umbrellas, we decided to chase the enchanting outdoor light show with a visit to Knockout Lakruwana, one of several local Sri Lankan restaurants. Although there is also a buffet at Lakruwana, we opted for the a la carte. The resounding audience favorite was lamprais – a dish made with basmati rice, eggplant, fish chop, fried eggs and cashew nut curry with pork, served in a banana leaf – which according to the menu is a 300-year-old recipe. It was just what we needed to warm up our stomachs. 668 Bay Street, on Broad Street, Stapleton Heights – Emma Orlow, reporter

The interior of a pizza box with a circular brown injera rolled out and balls of colorful veggie preparations placed on top.

Beyaynetu in a pizza box from Bunna Cafe.
Erika Adams / Eater NY

Beyaynetu from Bunna Cafe

Over the last couple of particularly freezing days, I have found myself keeping an eye on restaurants that are having a lot of fun on the takeaway front. While reading our Eater 38 series recently, I was reminded of the Ethiopian restaurant Bunna Cafe and its overflowing plates, which they change to take-away in pizza boxes. The Beyaynetu feast for two ($ 45) comes with bouncy rolls of injera and nine cups of vegetables treated with expert care, including herbal mushrooms, a selata mixed with crispy kale and garnished with sweet dried cranberries and shiro, a stewed mix of ground chickpeas, which we dripped with daata ($ 2) a fiery Ethiopian hot sauce that I highly recommend adding to your order. We rolled the injera out into the pizza box, stacked on the heaps of colorful vegetables and dug in. It was exactly the elevated takeaway I was looking for to give a warm night. 1084 Flushing Avenue, near Knickerbocker Avenue, Bushwick – Erika Adams, Deputy Editor


January 3rd

On a light blue tile background, several dishes in baskets and bowls.

Mixed starter dish at Salma.
Robert Sietsema / Eater NY

Mixed starter dish at Salma

Three months ago, Salma appeared in the East Village, named after a woman who is remembered in a poem on the restaurant’s website and joined a number of other Lebanese businesses in the neighborhood, including Balade and Au Za’atar. All the usual elements of Middle Eastern cuisine are on the menu, including pita sandwich, bread dip, kebab and casseroles, but of particular interest is this expansive starter dish ($ 24.50), which can fully feed two or three when treated as a shared late afternoon snack washed down with jugs of mint tea or Lebanese coffee. The range includes falafel, torpedo-shaped chicken stuffed with minced beef, stuffed grape leaves, hummus with a reservoir of chickpeas, an eggplant moussaka, a fattoush salad, yogurt sauce and lots of knife-thin pitas, perfect for scooping up small portions. of food. 351 East 12th Street, between First and Second avenues, East Village – Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Dishes with mapo tofu, dumplings in chili oil and pickled cabbage soup are spread on a white table top.

Mapo tofu (left), dumplings (bottom) and boiled fish on Guan Fu.
Luke Fortney / Eater NY

Boiled fish with pickled cabbage on Guan Fu

Eating in Flushing more often was at the top of this year’s list of decisions, and contrary to my ambitions to exercise, get eight hours of sleep, etc., I started things off strongly with a trip to Guan Fu. This Sichuan restaurant just off Roosevelt Avenue is home to an award-winning dish of boiled fish ($ 23), a favorite among New York Times critic Pete Wells and apparently most of the restaurant, as the oversized dish (top right) could be found on most tables. I was expecting a lip-numbing broth, based on the number of red chillies and peppercorns dabbing around, but I ended up wrinkling, packed as it was with pieces of pickled cabbage. It’s an easy challenger to our best soup menu and a great way to start another year of New York dining. 39-16 Prince Street, near Roosevelt Avenue, Flushing – Luke Fortney, reporter

Guinea fowl pasta at Rezdôra

One of my (complete) friends had just moved back to New York from London when a fight with COVID robbed her of her sense of taste for about a week, so after she got well, I did my best to show her and her husband a good time at a nice fancy restaurant. Luckily, Stefano Secchi’s noodle palace, Rezdôra, had a cancellation the same day for the outdoor patio, so I grabbed the reservation. No surprise: We ate really well and shared seven small pasta plates among the four of us. I could go on about any of them, but I was especially in love with the bottone del cacciotore ($ 28). Secchi stuffs small button-shaped slices with a strong puree of guinea fowl; decorate each one with a slice of black truffle; and ends it all with a touch of sweet saba. The portion was small, but with earthy and wild flavors that were so large, you only needed a few bites. 27 East 20th Street, near Broadway – Ryan Sutton, chief critic

A takeaway box lined with a green banana leaf and filled with noodles and green vegetables.

Pad kee mao from Pad Thaimee.
Erika Adams / Eater NY

Pad kee mao from Pad Thaimee

It has been my thoughts for a while to try Chef Hong Thaimee’s takeaway and delivery operation Pad Thaimee, and last night, in the last hours of our holiday break, it felt like a necessary moment for some hot, spicy noodles. I ordered pad kee mao ($ 15) just because of the ingredient list – rice noodles tossed with makrut lime leaves, chili jam, Thai basil, a top-secret sauce and a polishing of young peppercorns – and as promised, the noodles arrived quickly, hot and coated with tingling, well-balanced layers of spicy goodness. The end result was a fun little heat-packed feast of a takeaway box, and the sticky, cool, sauce-ground noodles disappeared in about 10 minutes. 116 West Houston Street, between Thompson and Sullivan streets, Greenwich Village – Erika Adams, Vice Editor

A bowl of cold noodles, spicy chicken and cucumbers topped with scallions and peanuts stand on a wooden table.

Spicy chicken with cold noodles at the Burp Bowl.
Bao Ong / Eater NY

Spicy chicken with cold noodles at the Burp Bowl

The gut-wrenching serving of spicy chicken with cold noodles ($ 12) at the Burp Bowl is something I would order in the middle of summer – or a balmy December day. I was looking for a quick meal when I came across what seemed like a completely ordinary riff on peanut noodles that is common in Chinese-American takeaway places. But this overflowing bowl of carbs was a surprise: The bouncing noodles were covered in just the right amount of nut sauce. A generous serving of chili-licked chicken cubes was a nice contrast to the cool cucumber slices. It all disappeared within 15 minutes before I could consider taking leftovers home. Still, I walked out of this little restaurant with four tables happily satiated and not weighed down. Note to self: Do not wait until summer to order this dish again. 134 East 27th Street, between Lexington and Third avenues, Kips Bay – Bao Ong, editor

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