If Time Out New York can do it, so can I. I’ve been inspired and satiated by Time Out’s 2009 Top 100 list and look forward to conquering their 2010 list very soon. But from now until the end of the year, I present my own Top 100 Dishes of the year in reverse order. Look for another five dishes every few days.
NUMBER 95. MISO RAMEN at TOTTO RAMEN
The ramen revolution has moved uptown. It was the food of the East Village for many years (and still is), but now you can find a handful of new Japanese ramen noodle soup bars on both sides of midtown.
The one I ventured to this year was Totto Ramen (owned by the folks at Yakitori Totto) and it’s tiny and cramped. But the ramen was delicious and perfect for a blistery day.
The Miso Ramen had all the usual suspects inside (al dente ramen noodles, barely hard boiled egg, sharp scallions, crunchy bean sprouts, and a decadent piece of broiled pork). But where this version stands out from the others in a few ways: the comforting flavorful chicken based broth, the pork is almost bruleed (by a mini blow torch) to give it a crispy char, and the soup is topped with a scoop of ground pork that has been mixed with a very fine sweet, miso paste.
Sounds like midtown is finally giving downtown a run for its ramen. Price: $10.25
|366 West 52nd Street (between 8th and 9th Avenue)
Photo courtesy of atigerinthekitchen.com
NUMBER 94. CORN CRAB CHOWDER at PETITE CREVETTE
I discovered this cute little sea shanty of a place last year when Time Out featured their Corn Crab Chowder on their 100 Best list. I enjoyed it then and earlier this year found myself in Carroll Gardens and figured I’d revisit Petite Crevette.
The big difference between this time and last time was that the service was horrendous. Seriously, if laughably bad service could ever ruin a meal, this would have been it.
Except the food was fresh and delicious. And the chowder was still the highlight. It’s a sweet buttery creamy soup with lots of pieces of tasty crab and fresh corn. It’s so rich that it can certainly be a meal all by itself. And then you might not have to wait for the waitress to re-appear.
It’s the only reason I would ever return to this frustrating little gem. Price: $8
|144 Union Street (between Columbia Street and Hicks Street)
Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn
Photo courtesy of: eatbrooklynfood.blogspot.com
NUMBER 93. LATKE CHIPS at MILL BASIN DELICATESSEN
I travelled all the way out to Mill Basin to try the corned beef/pastrami sandwiches at their namesake deli. I had few expectations for a deli this far from the city (it’s closer to Coney Island, but further from any subway stops). And I certainly didn’t expect to discover anything of note beside the sandwiches.
But the latke chips sounded intriguing and even though I had already ordered enough fat calories, I figured since I was this far out, I had to give them a try.
And I’m very glad I did. They were a creative treat. Latkes are more commonly known as potato pancakes. These are sliced thin and then fried until crispy so that they really are somewhere between a pancake and a potato chip. Apple sauce replaces ketchup. And greasy doesn’t do it justice, but delicious will suffice.
|MILL BASIN DELICATESSEN|
|5823 Avenue T (between East 58th and East 59th Street)
Mill Basin, Brooklyn
NUMBER 92. PORK WITH SHRIMP SAUCE at M & T RESTAURANT
My experience at M & T Restaurant involved lots of unfamiliar fried greasy dishes – a refreshing alternative to the usual bar food. And they all ended up being finger-licking good. This Flushing place has gotten lots of press in the last year (including on Time Out’s list) for their dishes specializing in Qingdao cuisine (a Chinese region mostly unrepresented in NYC).
Every NY publication seems to put one of their dishes on their top lists. The one that makes mine is the pork with shrimp sauce. The meat was tender and flavorful. And the addition of the (marinated?) shrimp sauce added an extra sweet, salty zing to the battered peppery pork.
It was two flavors I would never expect to put together, but they worked perfectly and made the grease fest worth every bite.
|M & T RESTAURANT|
|44-09 Kissena Boulevard (between Cherry Avenue and 45th Avenue)
NUMBER 91. BUTTERSCOTCH PECAN BAR at TREATS TRUCK
SADLY, TREATS TRUCK IS NOW CLOSED.
Sugar is the name of the heavenly truck Kim Ima drives around the city to spread good cheer and fresh baked sweets. She offers both unusual creative concoctions (like Dessert Nachos and the Never Melting Ice Cream) and more traditional favorites (Oatmeal Jammys, Chocolate Brownies).
The confection that I have grown addicted to is called innocently enough the Butterscotch Pecan Bar. But after you take your first bite, it has taken its hold on you and it’s become a habit that is impossible (and pointless) to kick. You may as well give in to Kim and the Treats Truck.
The bar has a rich buttery, caramel that reveals sweet toffee notes and an earthy crunch from the pecans. She often cuts some up and gives them away as free samples from the truck. But be warned, if you taste one (which you most definitely should), there’s no turning back. The first one’s free…. Price: $3
Check Twitter: @TheTreatsTruck