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.

The state of bread has changed considerably in New York. Gone are the days that complimentary bread was served at every restaurant and was really just a foil to the main course. “Don’t fill up on bread” is no longer a concern. Today many restaurants have turned their bread course into a full-on appetizer. Here are five bread dishes that are worth paying for…

NUMBER 50: WHISKEY BREAD at GWYNETT ST.

Whiskey Bread at GWYNETT ST.

In the past, five dollars would have been an outrage to charge for bread and butter. But back then, nobody was serving Gwynett St.’s whiskey bread. Five bones is a steal for this plate of browned biscuit-like slices that have a lavish buttery texture and sweet, but potent whiskey flavor throughout. Served with housemade butter, complimentary bread baskets of the past are now hanging their heads in shame. Price: $5

GWYNETT ST.
312 Graham Avenue (between Ainslie and Devoe Street),
Williamsburg, Brooklyn
(347) 889-7002
gwynettst.com

NUMBER 49: MAPLE BACON CORNBREAD from JACK’S CHEDBREAD

Maple Bacon Cornbread from JACK;'S CHEDBREAD

I arrived at Smorgasburg as cold evening as tands were shutting down. So it’s my own fault that most places were running out of their most popular items. However, I lucked out that Jack’s Chedbread still had some slices of their Maple Bacon cornbread. It was just one of many cornbread varieties they offer (and evidently not their most popular choice) and it was spectacular. Loaded with smoky bacon bits, Vermont cheddar, and a maple-drizzled crumble, this wonderfully sweet and crumbly cornbread would be perfect for breakfast or on a cold evening when you realized it must be the hidden treasure at a practically sold-out food fest. Price: $3

JACK’S CHEDBREAD
Smorgasburg:
80 North 5th Street (at Wythe Avenue),
Williamsburg, Brooklyn (Winter Location: Saturdays and Sundays)
chedbread.com

NUMBER 48: PRETZEL at RUNNER & STONE

Pretzel at RUNNER & STONE

Many tourists come to New York and think they have to get a pretzel from a food cart in Times Square. Those poor tourists will be very disappointed. Philadelphia has us beat when it comes to street pretzels, but you can find stellar German-style pretzels at bakeries across the city. My current obsession is this specimen at Runner & Stone. Whether you like a soft, doughy pretzel or a crunchy salty hard pretzel, you’re going to love this as the best of both worlds are represented thanks to the thin knotted top and the buttery yeasty salt-laced bottom round. Tourists need to start finding their way to Gowanus. Price: $2.50

RUNNER & STONE
285 3rd Avenue (between Carroll and President Street),
Gowanus, Brooklyn
(718) 576-3360
runnerandstone.com

NUMBER 47: PASTRY BASKET at L’APICIO

Pastry Basket at L'APICIO

With L’Apicio’s generous pastry basket at brunch you get it all. An oversized cinnamon crumb cake provides sweetness, a lemon poppyseed muffin is hearty and wholesome, while a decadently delicious rosemary-parmesan biscuit provides saltiness, and two slices of multi-grain toast are the perfect vessel to savor the accompanying honey and seasonal butter (I got to try the surprising rhubarb butter). If  all brunches started off like this, who’d need eggs and pancakes? Price: $9

L’APICIO
13 East 1st Street (between Second Avenue and Extra Place),
East Village
(212) 533-7400
lapicio.com

NUMBER 46: SAKE KASU CHALLAH at SHALOM JAPAN

Sake Challah at SHALOM JAPANGrowing up in a Jewish household, I’ve had my fair share of challah bread. But nothing any bubbe could have fed me would have prepared me for the unusual loaf at Shalom Japan. This perfectly braided, poppy seed-studded challah is baked with sake kasu (the residual yeasts  from fermenting sake)! Japanese rice wine flavors are present and give the bread a healthy kick and a bit more sweetness. It was served with a side of raisin butter (also infused with sake) and was an excellent example of what this exciting new restaurant is doing – fusing the flavors of Japanese and Jewish kitchens. Price: $8

SHALOM JAPAN
310 South 4th Street (at Rodney Street),
Williamsburg, Brooklyn
(718) 388-4012
shalomjapannyc.com
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About the Author

Brian Hoffman is a classically trained actor who is now a full-time tour guide, blogger, and food obsessive. He leads food and drink tours around New York City, which not only introduce tour-goers to delicious food, but gives them a historical context. He also writes food articles for Gothamist and Midtown Lunch in addition to overseeing this blog and a few food video series, including Eat This, Locals Know, and Around the World in One City.

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