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.
While an occupation as a fisherman is not in my future, I owe much of my enjoyment to those hard workers. I’ll devour seafood in just about any form – raw, poached, smoked, fried, etc. The variety of flavors and textures from the ocean is immense and these five fish dishes just skims the surface.
NUMBER 75: SMOKED TROUT & WILD MUSHROOM SALAD at VAN HORN SANDWICH SHOP
Who’d have guessed that a Brooklyn restaurant known for their fried chicken and pulled pork sandwiches would make a healthy and flavorful salad? Amidst frisée and red cress lettuce are chunks of smoky, salty trout and warm marinated wild mushrooms. Some toasted hazelnuts are added for texture and a sweet ginger molasses dressing tops things off. This is the pescatarian’s version of surf and turf and it’s every bit as meaty and umami-loaded as one would hope. Price: $11
|VAN HORN SANDWICH SHOP|
|231 Court Street (between Baltic and Warren Street),
Cobble Hill, Brooklyn
NUMBER 74: 2ND STREET SALMON WAFFLE at WAFLES & DINGES
One of my favorite food trucks in the city, Wafels & Dinges, opened a brick-and-mortar location this year in the Lower East Side. And with all the New York history nearby, it only made sense for them to take an iconic NYC dish (bagels & lox) and give it the old waffle twist. Here, smoked salmon is placed on a savory hashbrown waffle and married with capers, pickled red onions, and a schmear of lemon-dill sour cream. Who needs bagels anymore? Price: $12
|WAFELS & DINGES|
|194 East 2nd Street (at Avenue B),
NUMBER 73: MUSSELS at PIG AND KHAO
I’ve had mussels at many French and Belgian bistros with all sorts of preperations (white wine, cream, beer, etc.) but I’d never had mussels the way Chef Leah Cohen prepares them at Pig and Khao. These bivalves are steamed open through the flavors of a rich pineapple curry broth that’s infused with dashi and yuzu. Scattered throughout the dish are hunks of chinese sausage and torn Thai basil. The final touch is sweet fried mantao buns perfect for soaking up the residual flavor. They put any crusty French baguette to shame. Price: $14
|PIG AND KHAO|
|68 Clinton Street (between Rivington and Stanton Street),
Lower East Side
NUMBER 72: TUNA TATAKI at SHALOM JAPAN
While it sounds goofy and gimmicky, the new restaurant Shalom Japan is pretty successful at fusing classic Jewish and Japanese dishes. Lightly seared tuna tataki is often served with a sweet ponzu or soy sauce and garnished with sesame seeds. So it makes perfect sense to substitute that out for a sweet and smoky black tahini (sesame) sauce. Those flavors work wonders together here and are a great accompaniment to tender and meaty tuna slices. It makes for a recognizable, but totally fresh presentation. Price: $17
|310 South 4th Street (at Rodney Street),
NUMBER 71: SEARED RED SNAPPER at APIARY
SADLY, APIARY IS NOW CLOSED.
The old rule, of course, is that red wine goes with meat and white wine goes with fish. Well, rules are meant to be broken. At Apiary (my restaurant of employment) Chef Scott Bryan pairs meaty red snapper with a bounty of winter flavors, including delicate chanterelle mushrooms, rich celery root puree, and bright pickled celery root slices. The capper is the unique spiced red wine sauce which is deep in warming flavors and makes this dish pair well with just about anything you wanted to drink. Price: $29
|60 Third Avenue (between East 10th and East 11th Street),