I’ve devoured Time Out’s 100 Best dishes and now, once again, I’ve been inspired to create my own list. These are the 100 dishes I have continued to think about since tasting them at some point in 2011. Look for another five dishes every few days. These are in no particular order.
NUMBER 75: POTATO CHIPS WITH AWESOME SAUCE at WEATHER UP TRIBECA
I do have a weakness for potato chips, but it takes a superior version for me to stop the automatic hand-to-mouth process and pay attention to what I’m actually crunching on. Weather Up Tribeca is a cocktail bar (in Tribeca, duh!) that has a small bites menu furnished by Chef Tyler Kord, of No. 7 and No. 7 Sub Shop. And thanks to him, the chips almost overshadow the cocktails.
The menu says they’re served with “awesome sauce”, which is truth in advertising. The orange hued sauce is reminiscent of a thicker, smoother Thousand Island dressing. It’s the perfect sweet, tangy topping for the homemade chips which are browned to perfection and salted to addiction. And so my weakness continues. Price: $5
|WEATHER UP TRIBECA|
|159 Duane Street (between Broadway and Hudson Street),
NUMBER 74: SWEET POTATO FRIES at SCHNITZEL & THINGS
Schnitzel & Things, which now has both a mobile truck and a storefront on 3rd Avenue, is known mostly for their breaded and fried meats. But vegetarians and lighter eaters can rejoice in their selection of delicious side orders. There’s no shame in skipping a schnitzel one day and just ordering a sampling of sides, like roasted beets with feta and cucumber salad. When the storefront opened, they added another magical side option to those favorites.
When I tasted the sweet potato fries for the first time, I wanted to share them with the world. But I couldn’t because I ate them way too quickly myself. They’re thin-cut and fried to the perfect crispness. The generous seasoning of salt plays off the sweet candy flavors of the potatoes to make that perfect sweet, savory, salty combination. I could eat these for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. With schnitzel or without. My visits to this store will never be the same again. Now if only they’d start serving them on the truck, life would be perfect. Price: $3
|SCHNITZEL & THINGS|
|723 Third Avenue (between 45th and 46th Street)
NUMBER 73: ROSEMARY FRIES at STRONG PLACE
There’s nothing better than a pail full of golden fried french fries. Well, maybe if you add some flavorful seasonings to it. And maybe some special homemade dipping sauce. At gastropub Strong Place, all those things are taken to the next level and that’s why these are the best french fries I tasted all year.
The fries here, which are simply seasoned with rosemary and salt, have the proper balance between crisp exterior and soft starchy center. Each bite is a burst of flavor. These golden nuggets are served with a bottle of homemade ketchup. The ketchup is much darker than the store bought variety and has a deeper, truer tomato flavor with just a hint of sweetness. It doesn’t get much better than that. But Strong Place’s huge selection of craft beer sure helps.
|270 Court Street (between Butler Street and Douglass Street)
NUMBER 72: CRACK KALE at WHITMAN’S
Kale is the favorite green leafy vegetable of hipsters and foodies in New York. You’ll find a kale salad on every single locavore and market-driven menu in Brooklyn and the East Village. But I wouldn’t say it’s the favorite food of meth addicts, yet Whitman’s, a burger shop in the East Village has brought those two ideas together when they created crack kale.
I’ve enjoyed kale chips that I’ve bought in health food stores and even made roasted spiced kale at home that turns out incredibly crispy. Both of those recipes hint at what crack kale is, but neither come close. Here they flash fry the green leaves until they resemble crackly shards and then dust the chips with salt and seasonings. It’s a flavorful, crunchy, dangerously addicting experience and the healthiest type of crack you could possibly consume. Price: $4
|406 East 9th Street (between First Avenue and Avenue A)
NUMBER 71: FRIED EEL BONES at EN JAPANESE BRASSERIE
We came to En Japanese Brasseries to experience their monthly Fish Heads, Eel Bones, and Beer dinner. The tuna collar was on Time Out’s list last year, but we also got lots of well-prepared interesting leftovers – the parts of the fish and meat that they don’t serve to customers. Waste not, want not.
And while I enjoyed the tuna collar and many of the other dishes, the one thing I kept adding to my plate from the buffet were the fried eel bones. These are not something I ever anticipated eating in my life. They just don’t sound digestible. Well, they certainly are. There are basically two layers of crunch: a lightly Panko breaded and salty exterior and then the fragile bones themselves that crunch away much easier than you anticipate. Part of the fun is realizing you can eat through these delicate little bones. The flavor isn’t much aside from salty and greasy with very subtle hints of the sea. But with all this beer and fish parts, what more do you want? Price: Only available with $45 dinner
|EN JAPANESE BRASSERIE|
|435 Hudson Street (between Leroy and Morton Street)