For the fourth year in a row, I present the 100 most exciting dishes I’ve consumed during my food adventures around the five boroughs. Look for another five dishes every few days.
I have to give credit where credit is due. While there are now many publications that release a 100 Best list each year, the one that gave me the inspiration was Time Out New York (Tony). I’ve been scouring and conquering their annual list for almost five years now. And although I didn’t officialy write about my journey this year, I still managed to eat most of their recommended dishes. Here are five that I never would have discovered without their guidance.
NUMBER 80: THE GODFATHER at GRAHAM AVENUE DELI & MEATS
When I first moved to New York and I could get an overstuffed sandwich at any corner deli for $5, I was impressed. Not so much 10 years later. It takes a special kind of deli sandwich to make me take notice. Graham Avenue Deli & Meats is that place. Established in 1985, this Italian butcher and deli makes killer (and I mean killer sandwiches). The Godfather is a soft seeded hoagie that has amazingly been soaked in oil and vinegar. Inside, the sandwich is stuffed with provolone cheese, mortadella, copocollo, spicy sopressata, spicy roasted peppers, and arugula. Drizzled with more oil, vinegar, basil, and parmesan, it’s a wonderful play on sweet and spicy and makes me excited about deli sandwiches once again. Price: $7.75
|GRAHAM AVENUE DELI & MEATS|
|445 Graham Avenue (between Richardson and Frost Street),
NUMBER 79: BUFFALO CHEESE CURDS at MURRAY’S CHEESE BAR
I had been to Murray’s Cheese Bar the first week it opened. It’s a fun date spot, especially for cheese lovers (which is why I think it’s also a popular girl’s night out haunt). We ordered the mac and cheese, the grilled cheese sandwich, etc. but we didn’t even contemplate the buffalo cheese curds. I’m glad TONY pushed us to try these little nuggets because they were pretty great. Packed with all the flavor of spicy buffalo chicken wings, the chewy squeaky curds hold up well to all the bold flavors around them and it finally makes sense to dip into the accompanied blue cheese. Cheese on cheese. Nothing wrong with that. Price: $10
|MURRAY’S CHEESE BAR|
|264 Bleecker Street (between Morton and Cornelia Street),
NUMBER 78: PORKY MELT at PORK SLOPE
SADLY, PORK SLOPE IS NOW CLOSED.
Despite the hokey name, Pork Slope never seemed like a destination to me. It’s not in my neighborhood and specializes in gutbomb bar food. It also sounded more like a bar than a proper restaurant, so I may never have made it out here if it wasn’t for this item on Time Out’s list. The Porky Melt was a brilliant (and richly flavorful) sandwich. Trapped between two grilled slices of marbled rye bread, a gingery pork sausage bursts with distinct sweet notes that sing with the addition of caramelized onions, melted cheese, and a generous schmear of mustard. Shockingly, this elegant lowbrow food is worth traveling for. Price: $13
|247 5th Avenue (between Garfield Place and Carroll Street),
Park Slope, Brooklyn
NUMBER 77: AJI SASHIMI at BLUE RIBBON SUSHI
I love my sushi, but if I’m ordering a la carte, I have a little bit of trouble. I usually stick to the fish and the rolls that I’m used to. Aji (horse mackerel), a fish that I’ve enjoyed on omakase menus, is not one I’m crazy about on its own. But at Blue Ribbon Sushi, the aji is an experience. They serve the fish raw, cut up and presented once again as a whole fish. The silvery skin was less fishy than usual and heavenly tender.
Then once you’ve languished on the flavors of the raw fish, the platter is retracted for a moment while the chef fries up the bones as to not waste a single component of this wondrous fish. While you’re crunching on the salty bones, you realize this is a real head-to-tail eating experience. Price: Price Varies
|BLUE RIBBON SUSHI|
|119 Sullivan Street (between Spring and Prince Street),
NUMBER 76: ROCKET PIG at ROCKET PIG
Nestled on a quiet corner of Chelsea, this unexpected little take-out shop is serving one dish and they are nailing it. Rocket Pig is an extension of Trestle on Tenth and this is where they showcase their pork sandwich. The entire set-up is reminiscent of Porchetta in the East Village and I think this sandwich deserves the same press and hulabaloo. Brined pork is rubbed with herbs and smoked before being planted on a cibatta bread along with red onion jam. Sweet and smoky flavors are revealed, but balanced nicely with a tangy mustard sauce and the ever flavorful fat from the moist and tender meat. Price: $14
|463 West 24th Street (between Ninth and Tenth Avenue),