Tag Archives: Brooklyn

I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2016…

Totonno’s should have been on a previous 100 best list, but it wasn’t until this year that I fully understood its greatness. I was unimpressed on my first visit many years ago, but goes to show variables can make me wrong. The pizza here is great and a true New York classic – thin chewy charred crust and a sweet tomato sauce tamed by a rich buttery tang from the globs of cheese. Price: $16.50/$19.50

TOTONNO PIZZERIA NAPOLITANA
1524 Neptune Avenue (between West 16th and West 15th Street),
Coney Island, Brooklyn
(718) 372-8606
totonnosconeyisland.com

I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2016…

Spice comes in all forms and while the fried chicken at Carla Hall’s Brooklyn restauarant may look harmless enough – it has a serious burn. This is especially true as you get higher in numbers on the sampler plate of her hot fried chicken tenders. They range from a bold honey and hot paprika marinate (Number 2) to a fiery pineapple and habañero (Number 4) all the way up to a hellish trio of banana, carolina reaper, and ghost chili peppers (Number 6). I couldn’t get through the last one, but it was a fun paleate-challenging journey to take. Price: $14.25
CARLA HALL’S SOUTHERN KITCHEN
115 Columbia Street (between Baltic and Kane Street),
Columbia Waterfront, Brooklyn
(718) 855-4668
carlahallssouthernkitchen.com

I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2016…

First they did it with sodas, like Root Beer and Cream Soda. Now Coney Island Brewing Company has turned to famous cocktails to inspire their beers. The Hot Toddy is an unlikely beer style, but it works wonders. The strong ale (12.5% ABV) is fermented with honey, cinnamon, and lemons. It is then aged on whiskey barrel staves before being served hot or cold. Yes, it’s beer, but you’d be forgiven if you thought you were actually drinking a cocktail. .Price Varies.

CONEY ISLAND BREWING COMPANY
1904 Surf Avenue (at West 17th Street),
Coney Island, Brooklyn
(718) 996-0019
coneyislandbeer.com

I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2016…

2016 was a tough year. From a whirlwind political circus to the loss of many beloved celebrities to worldwide tragedies, the news was full of sad things. But there was still joy out there and as usual, I found a lot of that joy through food. And here in New York, these are the 5 dishes that gave me the most joy….

NUMBER 5: RICOTTA HOT CAKES at TWO HANDS BAR & RESTAURANT

Australian-owned coffee shops and cafés are taking over the city. And if they all do brunch as well as Two Hands, I’m happy to give it to them. I’m especially taken with their amazingly gluten free ricotta hot cakes. The large hotcake is browned to the edge yet the interior is cheesy and doughy (although not with actual dough). It’s topped with a tangy whipped ricotta, seasonal berries, and pecans for crunch. Of course, as any brunch cake should, it’s served with a side of maple syrup. Price: $14

TWO HANDS RESTAURANT & BAR
251 Church Street (between Leonard and Franklin Street),
Tribeca
twohandsnyc.com

NUMBER 4: U & I at MU RAMEN

This is an appetizer fit for a king. I probably went a little overboard eating it by myself, but it’s been a tough year. If translated into English terms, the uninitiated might not want to try the sea urchin gonads (uni) and fish eggs (ikura), but these are two of the greatest culinary pleasures I can think of. And together, they are just amazing. The bright orange uni is as creamy, sweet, and rich as it gets. The four lobes sat on a bed of warm rice and a spicy tuna mixture. More texture was provided in the abundant briny roe which was tamed by the strips of toasted dried seaweed. And then on top, sat a round of potent and fresh wasabi. Market Price

MU RAMEN
1209 Jackson Avenue (between 48th Avenue and 47th Road),
Long Island City, Queens
(917) 868-8903
ramennyc.wixsite.com/popup

NUMBER 3: PASTRAMI BACON at HOMETOWN BAR-B-QUE

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Hometown Bar-B-que is the best barbecue we have in New York. It’s worth trekking out to Red Hook to get a taste of anything they smoke. This year, I was brought to meat heaven by a slab of grilled, smoked bacon. It was seasoned generously with pepper and pastrami spices and featured char marks along the exterior. It had the perfect layer of fat, which was buttery but not unctuous. Each bite was peppery, smoky, and luscious. I can’t think of a better pairing than the accompanying sweet and spicy honey mustard sauce. I’m excited to see what smoked meat from Hometown will end up on next year’s list. Price: $14 per 1/4 pound

HOMETOWN BAR-B-QUE
454 Van Brunt Street (at Reed Street),
Red Hook, Brooklyn
(347) 294-4644
hometownbarbque.com

NUMBER 2: CARROT CREPE at OLMSTED

This particular dish is not just at the top of my list, but many restaurant critics and bloggers around the city. Olmsted was hand’s down one of the top dining experiences of the year. And this crepe made from carrots was impeccable. Yes, it’s a crepe made from carrots, but it’s similar in texture to a giant tender ravioli. Inside littleneck clams are buttery and briny and pair perfectly with the creamy complex carrot reduction. Sunflower seeds and sweet carrot ribbons provide crunch and texture. It’s a gorgeously plated dish and one of the rare ones that tastes as good as it looks. Price: $15

OLMSTED
659 Vanderbilt Avenue (between Park Place and Prospect Place),
Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
(718) 0552-2610
olmstednyc.com

NUMBER 1: SHIITAKE “CACIO E PEPE” at NIX

Cacio e pepe is a classic Roman pasta dish that is as simple as it gets: cheese and black pepper. It has also somehow become quite trendy in NYC lately. Chef John Fraser’s version loses the pasta and replaces it with rich polenta and tender peppery shiitake mushrooms that are sliced to provide an al dente texture. The rich woodsy notes of those shrooms are countered with sweet bites of corn kernels and a few bright green beans. Of course, as is appropriate, the dish is showered with plenty of sharp pecorino cheese. It’s honestly a dish I have been thinking about since I tasted it and it’s the best thing I tried all year. Price: $24

NIX
72 University Place (between East 10th and East 11th Street),
Greenwich Village
(212) 498-9393
nixny.com

I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2016…

Chawanmushi is not a dish you see on many menus at hip, seasonal Brooklyn restaurants. But Olmsted is not your typical hip, seasonl Brooklyn restaurant. It’s the best restaurant I visited all year and the fact that Chef Greg Baxtrom is reinterpreting this Japanese egg custard is a win for everyone involved (the Japanese, the Brooklynites, and the diners). A rotating roster of seasonal ingredients (like earthy truffles or maitake mushrooms) come mixed with charred onions and that delicate creamy egg custard. Price: $16
OLMSTED
659 Vanderbilt Avenue (between Park Place and Prospect Place),
Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
(718) 0552-2610
olmstednyc.com

I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2016…

The two times I’ve been to Greece, I could not get enough of the tiny little fish that were breaded and fried with a hint of salt. I haven’t found smelt on most Greek menus in the city but was excited when I uncovered them at a modest little Carroll Gardens taverna. These were briny and crunchy with a nice squeeze of lemon. The only thing missing is a glass of ouzo. Price: $12
AVLEE GREEK KITCHEN
349 Smith Street (between Carroll and 2nd Street),
Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn
(718) 243-2641
avleegreekkitchen.com

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