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.
10. PORK MILANESE at ROMAN’S
At most restaurants you may never have the same meal twice, but at Roman’s in Fort Greene, it’s completely true. The menu is brand new every day and while some favorites, like the pork milanese from the Time Out list return, the restaurant seems to constantly re-invent itself. This might make for an inconsistent meal, as other bloggers have hinted at, but the one time we went, I was pretty impressed and satiated by the Italian influenced meal.
Everything was good, but Time Out hit the nail on the head with this pork cutlet. It took a few phone calls to confirm it would be on the daily menu, but it was well worth the wait. This is the Italian version of a pork schnitzel, pounded until very thin and then breaded and fried until tender. The one at Roman’s was rather greaseless and perfectly seasoned. It’s topped with some bitter greens for bite and garnished with a lemon for acidity. If you find it on the menu at Roman’s, I urge you to order it while you can. Price: $19
|243 DeKalb Avenue (between Clermont Avenue and Vanderbilt Avenue),
Fort Greene, Brooklyn
9. CHICKEN BISCUIT at PIES ‘N’ THIGHS
At Williamsburg hangout Pies ‘n’ Thighs, the best things to order are the fried chicken and the dreamy rotating dessert pies. In many ways this chicken biscuit, which is served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner brings both those worlds together.
It’s a brilliant combination of sweet and savory. The biscuit might be the best I’ve ever had with a firm, browned crust and a buttery, flaky middle. Sandwiched between those two gorgeous buns is a battered and fried chicken breast that’s slathered in honey butter and drizzled with hot sauce. The spicy and sweet flavors linger as you savor the rich butteriness of the chicken and the biscuit. It’s a match made in heaven, well more specifically, at Pies ‘N’ Thighs. Price: $6
|PIES ‘N’ THIGHS|
|166 South 4th Street (at Driggs Avenue)
8. JERK GRILLED CORN at MISS LILY’S
When you think grilled corn in this city, the one place that comes to mind is Cafe Habana. Their classic Mexican-style corn found its way a bit higher up on my list. But this year Miss Lily’s opened a few blocks away from Cafe Habana and they’re serving a version of grilled corn that is changing the game.
This place is so interesting – serving both homemade cakes and refined, hip takes on Jamaican food. The vibe is a cross between the lounge of a big music producer and an island luncheonette. Here they serve what they call jerk grilled corn. The cob is grilled and blackened playing up the sweet and smoky flavors of the corn kernels. It’s loaded with a spicy and garlicky jerk mayo and studded with crunchy toasted coconut. It’s an inventive flavor explosion that makes me re-question where I should go for my grilled corn cravings. Price: $4
|127 West Houston Street (between Sullivan and MacDougal Street)
7. BUTCHER’S STEAK at ST. ANSELM
This turned out to be a beef heavy year for me. I ordered large ribeyes, bone-in strip steaks, and other cuts from some of the hotter new restaurants, like Red Farm, The Dutch, and Tertulia. And I have to admit that they were all pretty flavorful and tender. It was a good meat year, but the best steak I tasted happened to be at newly re-designed grill restaurant St. Anselm.
Hanger steak may be my favorite cut of beef since it’s thin, lean, and full of flavor. I quite enjoy the chewy tenderness of the cut when it’s done right. And here it’s done perfectly. Charred on the outside, rich and tender throughout, and bursting with seasoned and meaty flavors. The bright garlic butter melting on top puts this steak right up there with the best in the city. Price: $15
|355 Metropolitan Avenue (between 4th Street and Havemeyer Street)
6. GOAT’S MILK ICE CREAM at VICTORY GARDEN
SADLY, VICTORY GARDEN IS NOW CLOSED.
That first fateful evening that I stepped inside the clean and bright shop known as Victory Garden was the night I begin my new obsession. This store sells any number of healthy and lactose free items, including soaps and sachets. But the main attraction is their soft-serve goat’s milk ice cream.
Not only is this ice cream healthier and cleaner than most soft serves, but Victory Garden offers it in exotic and cathartic flavors like Mastic (an anise-like plant resin that aids in digestion), Cinnamon Lemon, and Healing Powers of India (turmeric, carrot, nigella, and ginger). These flavors are balanced with sweet, spicy, herbal, and floral notes. It’s a wonderful combination and with some crunchy cocoa nibs or sweet honeycomb candy as toppings, you’ll certainly feel like you’re eating dessert. But won’t feel nearly as guilty about this new obsession. Price: $4-$5
|31 Carmine Street (between Bleecker Street and Bedford Street)