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.
35. DIRTY PICKLE MARTINI at SWEET AFTON
This drink could have easily fit into my strange combination category (or my vegetable category for that matter), but anybody who has frequented dive bars or Brooklyn has probably encountered the wonders of the pickleback. That’s right, that’s a shot of pickle juice used as a chaser. So pickles and alcohol are nothing strange.
And really, is a pickle garnish much different than the briny, salty flavors of the standard martini olive? The signature cocktail at this Astoria gastropub is a take on both a dirty martini and a pickleback. It’s a crisp, tangy, briny sensation that’s one punch up from your usual martini. Price: $9
|30-09 34th Street (between 30th Avenue and 31st Avenue)
34. VIA VERO at WEATHER UP TRIBECA
The sleek Tribeca outpost of Weather Up is one of my favorite new cocktail dens. It’s not on everybody’s radar, so there’s no line around the corner, it’s warm comfortable and homey, and the drinks are pretty darn good.
The Via Vero, which no longer appears on the cocktail menu (although I’d bet the well-trained bartenders could whip it up again), was my favorite. A quaffable potion of spicy Añejo rum, pear liqueur, sweet vermouth, and herbaceous bitters. It’s a well-balanced concoction that really plays up on the sweet and spicy with a round bitterness at the end. It pairs beautifully with the housemade spiced potato chips. Trust me, I speak from experience. Price: $14
|WEATHER UP TRIBECA|
|159 Duane Street (between Broadway and Hudson Street)
33. BRONX PALE ALE from BRONX BREWERY
The craft beer revolution has finally begun! We’re seeing more beer making in and around New York in the last year than we have in the past decade! Bronx Brewery is the newest addition to that community and so far they’re making just one style of beer. And they’re making it really well.
While the pale ale is currently being brewed in Connecticut, it can only be found in the city and plans are in motion to open a facility in the namesake borough next year. It’s a balanced brew made with five types of barley malt and two distinct types of hops. The result is a mellow concoction with sweet and spicy flavors and a hint of grapefruit bitterness at the end. Looking forward to trying more from these guys. Price: Varies
|Available at craft bars across the city|
32. SMOKIN’ BONE at FATTY ‘CUE
I’m not a big fan of Zack Pelaccio’s Fatty restaurants. Both of TONY’s list items from last year were pretty much a bust and aside from some flavorful bites here and there, I find all the food overpriced and way too fatty (I know, I know). But there was one thing that I kept thinking about after my disappointing meals ended. And that’s this unlikely cocktail.
The Smokin’ Bone is the perfect compliment to this over the top lard-heavy food: a blend of spicy warming bourbon, mixed with smoked pineapple, lime juice, chocolate bitters, and some Tabasco sauce. A new location of Fatty ‘Cue recently opened in the West Village to more promising press. I may check it out and if I do, you can be sure of which cocktail I’ll be ordering. Price: $11 (Brooklyn), $13 (West Village)
|91 South 6th Street (between Wythe Avenue and Berry Street)
|50 Carmine Street (between Bleecker and Bedford Street)
31. THE COMPANION from BROOKLYN BREWERY
Brooklyn Brewery’s brewmaster Garrett Oliver is truly a master of brews. This year he released a 900-page encyclopedia on all things beer called The Oxford Companion to Beer. And as a celebration of the book’s release, the brewery released a special beer as a companion to the book. It’s called The Companion.
The style here is that of a wheat wine, which I had never even heard of. I love strong barley wines and this is similar in strength, but with much lighter and with more wheat characteristics. There’s a nice sweet, honey flavor at the start and then the flavors move into more complex bready, spicy notes. It’s a strong, utterly drinkable beer with some untapped flavors. The only problem is, at 9% alcohol, if I drink too much of this, it might be tough to concentrate on that encyclopedia. Price: Varies
|79 North 11th Street (between Berry Street and Wythe Avenue)
|Also available at craft bars across the city|