Tag Archives: Burgers

I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2017…

This year was another crazy ride. And while politics and breaking news stories often drifted into my anxious psyche, food still played an important role. And this year was full of surprising dishes that were nourishing, pleasurable, and a much-needed distraction. Here now are the top 10 dishes – an exciting mix of hearty classics like burgers and lasagna, along with some brilliant vegetable concoctions.

NUMBER 5: FRESH MOZZARELLA at JOE’S ITALIAN DELI

If you study this 100 Best list, you’ll see I spent a lot of time up on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx this year. It was part of my job giving food tours. Tough job. By far the best thing we taste on the tour are these bits of fresh mozzarella made throughout the day. Joe’s is only a second generation run business, but both generations have the magic touch when it comes to making the cheese. The mozzarella is so clean and fresh that I feel absolutely no guilt when eating it. It’s truly the best I’ve ever tasted.  Price: $8.49/pound

JOE’S ITALIAN DELI
685 East 187th Street (between Cambreleng and Beaumont Avenue),
Belmont, Bronx
(718) 367-7979
joesitaliandeli.com

NUMBER 4: NEW CREATION at SUPERIORITY BURGER

Amazingly, this is a vegan cheesesteak. But instead of bland and temperamental soy or tempeh, we get shaved and griddled yuba, Yuba is the skin of tofu and in this vessel, it is shaved very thin and browned to an almost meaty-crispness. It also has the tenderness of thinly sliced steak. To enhance the cheesesteak sensation, gloppy cashew cheese, caramelized onions, and some pickled cucumbers are added. It’s served in a roll and is truly one of the best cheesesteaks I’ve ever had. Even though there’s no cheese and there’s no steak. And this establishment is definitely not in Philadelphia. Price: $7

SUPERIORITY BURGER
430 East 9th Street (between First Avenue and Avenue A),
East Village
(212) 256-1192
superiorityburger.com

NUMBER 3: LASAGNA ALL BOLOGONESE at TRA DI NOI

It’s hard for me to resist classic lasagna when I find it on the menu and I’m so glad I gave in at Tra Di Noi. The amazing thing about this lasagna was how richly flavored it was yet it also had a surprising delicacy. The thin pasta layers were masterful with just the right amount of cheese and the meaty bolognese was hearty without being a full-on gutbomb. Imagine that: a refined red sauced lasagna in a classy restaurant nestled in the Bronx that most Manhattanites have never heard about. Price: $13.95 (lunch)/$17.95 (dinner)

TRA DI NOI
622 East 187th Street (between Hughes and Belmont Avenue),
Belmont, Bronx
(718) 295-1784
tradinoi.com

NUMBER 2: BURGER at CAFÉ ALTRO PARADISO

Every year I manage to discover a new burger that changes the game of my view on the burger scene in New York. And this year it came from an Italian restaurant in Soho of all places. Unlike most burgers in the city, this rich patty was peppery and charred like usual but it also had an extra kick of flavor from fish sauce, chile oil, and rosemary. Then it’s topped with funky gorgonzola, a sweet caramelized radicchio, a red pickled onion and a caper before it’s sandwiched on a buttery brioche bun. Can’t wait to see what burger will steal my heart next year. Price: 22

CAFÉ ALTRO PARADISO
234 Spring Street (at 6th Avenue),
Soho
(646) 952-0828
altroparadiso.com

NUMBER 1: CORNBREAD + CRAB at GRISTMILL

I never would have guessed my top dish of the year would have been discovered at an unassuming brunch in Park Slope, Brooklyn. But here is the exquisite cornbread from Gristmill. I’ve never seen a piece as browned and caramelized on the exterior with a sweet rich and crumbly corn-filled center. To ensure it’s place in infamy, it’s topped with some serious jumbo lump crab and a garnish of edible purple flowers. Needless to say, this is not your grandmother’s cornbread. Price: $12

GRISTMILL
289 5th Avenue (between 1st and 2nd Street),
Park Slope, Brooklyn
(718) 499-2424
gristmillbk.com

Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

Every year I discover a new burger that changes the game for my view on the burger scene in New York.

Last year, I finally got to try Joe Jr. which I still recommend as a great classic burger in the city. In 2015, it was the Fedora Burger at the tiny Bar Sardine. And the now sadly closed Frtizl’s Lunch Box rocked my world in 2013. And this year, it is no doubt Café Altro Paradiso that I will be remembering when I write a similar post in 2018.

The burger at Café Altro Paradiso is a new addition to this classy Italian restaurant from the talent behind the nearby Estela. I hadn’t been to Altro Paradiso before because they only served dinner which has become tough for me with a newborn.

But now that they have opened up the place for weekday lunchers, I finally stopped by. And while I had always wanted to try one of their well-praised pasta dishes, this new burger was getting all sorts of attention. And I was craving a burger.

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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 10 dishes that gave me the most joy….

NUMBER 10: HOT DOG at FELTMAN’S OF CONEY ISLAND

A Coney Island historian named Michael Quinn bought the Feltman’s brand this year. For those that don’t know, Charles Feltman was the originally creator of the hot dog in 1867 and was the employer of the more famous Nathan’s. Pepper and garlic flavors explode with each snap of the lamb casing. The warm grilled sauerkraut and homemade apple cider vinegar mustard plus the addition of no nitrates or chemicals help put this in the running for best hot dog in the city. Price: $4

FELTMAN’S OF CONEY ISLAND
80 St. Marks Place (between First and Second Avenue),
Inside William Barnacle Tavern,
East Village
https://www.facebook.com/Feltmans-of-Coney-Island

NUMBER 9: PUEBLA DRINK WITH NO NAME at MAYAHUEL

SADLY, MAYAHUEL IS NOW CLOSED.

It’s no secret that I love Mayahuel. It’s become one of my favorite bars, visiting it often on the Craft Cocktail tour but also bringing friends who are in town by for a drink. I was looking for a smooth, chocolatey drink to pair with their excellent churros and one of the servers suggested this classic. It has no name (well, sort of) but lots of intense flavors – spicy and smoky mezcal infused with chile de arbol, a moscatel sherry infused with ancho cili, some aged rum, cacao, and mole bitters. It’s modeled after a Oaxacan mole sauce, but it’s also the perfect final sipper to a night out. Price: $15

MAYAHUEL
304 East 6th Street (between First and Second Avenue),
East Village
(212) 253-58888
mayahuelny.com

NUMBER 8: KUBANEH BREAD at TIMNA

It’s hard for me to justify paying for a basket of bread. But this is not just any basket of bread. It’s called kubaneh and is a traditional Yemenite breakfast bread with a yeasty, steamy center. It arrives in a flowerpot with accompaniments of jalapeño salsa, crushed tomatoes, and a dollop of yogurt. Each piece rips apart easily and releases aroma and steam that adds to the experience. This slightly sweet, soft and tender bread disappeared too quickly. It had the sweetness of a brioche, the softness of a popover, and the brownness of a pretzel. Imagine that lovechild. Price: $12

TIMNA
109 St. Marks Place (between First Avenue and Avenue A),
East Village
(646) 964-5181
timna.nyc

NUMBER 7: CLASSIC BURGER at SALVATION BURGER

SADLY, SALVATION BURGER IS NOW CLOSED.

After Salvation Burger finally re-opened following a debilitating fire, I finally made it up to check out April Bloomfield’s hip, swanky burger palace. I was hesitant to spend so much money for a burger and even more doubtful that it would be worth it. It well-exceeded my highest expectations. The classic burger is modelled after thin-patty fast food burgers but it’s full of meaty char and topped with a secret cheesy sauce, sweet caramlized onions, and bold tangy pickles. If McDonald’s burgers tasted this good, I would have a serious problem. Price: $17

SALVATION BURGER
230 East 51st Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenue),
Inside the Pod 51 Hotel
Midtown East
(646) 277-2900
salvationburger.com

NUMBER 6: PANDI-ICE CREAM at HOUSE OF INASAL

We’ve all probably had an ice cream sandwich, but not necessarily one quite like this. The popular Filipino street food is composed of sweet eggy pandesal bread that is toasted and liberally painted with thick halaya, which is ube (purple sweet potato) jam. Then it’s topped with a scoop of the same deep purple-colored ice cream. And finally, it’s garnished with some pinipig (crunchy rice) and young coconut. It’s sweet, warm, cold, crunchy, and absolutely luxurious.  Price: $5.50

HOUSE OF INASAL
65-14 Roosevelt Avenue (between 67th Street and 65th Place),
Woodside, Queens
(718) 429-0709
houseofinasal.com

Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

JOE JR. RESTAURANT, 167 Third Avenue (at 16th Street), Gramercy

Most people will be surprised that the city’s best burger might just be hiding at the counter of an ordinary looking old diner in the middle of well-to-do Gramercy.

But that’s where it is. Forget your Shake Shacks or your Burger Joints or your fancy Minetta Tavern. Sure, you can get a good burger at any of those places. And if they’re willing to fight the crowds, I even recommend those spots for some people I meet on my tours.

But now that I have finally tried the respected but under-hyped burger at Joe Junior, I will direct my recommendations over to Third Avenue.

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I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2015…

I have such fond memories of eating some wonderful dishes in 2015. But these five were so surprising and hugely delicious, that they stand above all the rest. While I still can taste their flavors in my mind’s palate, I can’t wait to truly try them again.

NUMBER 5: KASHK BADEMJAN at TASTE OF PERSIA

Kashk Bedemjan at A TASTE OF PERSIA

In the coming weeks, I will be releasing a video all about Persian food in the city and it will feature Saeed Pourkay talking about his incredible dishes. My favorite at his hidden counter inside a non-descript pizzeria is the kasha bademjan. For those unfamiliar with Persian food (or Farsi), this is a delicate, richly flavor eggplant dish. The browned eggplant is sweet and nutty; its flavors enhanced by lots of garlic, onions, and an amazing thing called kashk (drained sour yogurt whey).

TASTE OF PERSIA
12 West 18th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenue),
Flatiron District
(917) 592-3467
facebook.com/TasteOfPersiaNYC

NUMBER 4: FEDORA BURGER at BAR SARDINE

Fedora Burger at BAR SARDINE

I had some really great burgers this year, but the one that I crown as the best was the modest little creation available at Bar Sardine in the West Village. I even send tourists to this local spot to get a taste of the flattened potato roll filled with an excellent chuck and brisket patty. It’s topped with smoked cheddar, frizzled potato strings, and a sweet/smoky barbecue mayo. Crisp, crunchy textures shine alongside the complex juicy flavors. And it’s rightfully named king of the burgers. Price: $13

BAR SARDINE
183 West 10th Street (between Seventh Avenue South and West 4th Street),
West Village
(646) 360-3705
barsardinenyc.com

NUMBER 3: CANELÉ at BOSIE TEA PARLOR

Canelé at BOISE TEA PARLOR

Food tour groups go up and down Bleecker to the usual spots, like Murray’s Cheese and Amy’s Bread. But they never wander down Morton Street to try the best French pastry in the neighborhood. Unassuming Bosie Tea Parlor offers a full-on tea service and pastries to go. However you get it, make sure to try the canelé – with a dark caramelized crust that breaks open to reveal a soft, eggy vanilla-scented cake. Price: $3

BOSIE TEA PARLOR
10 Morton Street (between Bleecker Street and Seventh Avenue South),
West Village
(212) 352-9900
bosienyc.com

NUMBER 2: POP’S PASTRAMI at HARRY & IDA’S MEAT AND SUPPLY CO.

Pop's Pastrami at HARRY & IDA'S MEAT AND SUPPLY CO.

It’s rare that a chef re-invents and reinvigorates the classic pastrami sandwich. But Will Horowitz has gone above and beyond at his new butcher and sandwich shop. The place specializes in smoked sandwiches and nothing is better than the pastrami. It’s as tender as anything from Katz’s with layers of smoke, pepper, and meaty goodness in each bite. The brilliant combination of pickled cucumbers, tangy mustard, and fresh dill separates the sandwich from the usual Jewish deli construction. Price: $17.50

HARRY & IDA’S MEAT AND SUPPLY CO.
189 Avenue A (between East 11th and East 12th Street),
East Village
(646) 864-0967
meatandsupplyco.com

NUMBER 1: HONEY BUTTER CHIPS at OIJI

Honey Butter Chips at OIJI

The most exciting meal I had all year (at Oiji) was capped off by a plate of potato chips!?! These incredible, unique bites are listed as a side but are served as a dessert. The freshly fried potato slices are glazed with, yes, butter and honey. There’s also a surprising dusting of cayenne pepper to give the dusg a slightly, smoky, savory note. No question, though, they are an indulgent sweet, rich capper to an exquisit meal. And I literally could not stop popping them in my mouth. They are something I will think about long after 2015 has come to an end. Price: $6

OIJI
119 First Avenue (between East 7th and East 8th Street),
East Village
(646) 767-9050
oijinyc.com

Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

PETER LUGER STEAK HOUSE, 178 Broadway (at Driggs Avenue), Williamsburg, BrooklynLast week, I sang the praises of the burger from one of New York’s newest modern steakhouses. Today I’m going to continue my burger party by highlighting one of New York’s oldest and msot iconic steakhouses.

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