Tag Archives: Hometown Bar-b-que

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

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

HOMETOWN BAR-B-QUE, 454 Van Brunt Street (at Reed Street), Red Hook, Brooklyn

I unequivocally claim that the best barbecue in New York City (and perhaps in the northeast) is at Hometown Bar-B-Que in the hard-to-reach neighborhood of Red Hook. People in the food world have made the pilgrimage to Hometown. And after eating there for the second time recently, I know that there is nowhere better.

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Come back every Wednesday for another funny, informative video documenting my inept food adventures. 

As we put 2014 to bed, I one more time dream about the ten best dishes I tasted throughout the year. You can read more about each dish here or you can just watch this video and revel in my gluttony.

Top 10 Dishes of 2014


Looking back on 2014, I present the most memorable and greatest dishes of my year.

I can’t believe 2014 is practically over. It was fun while it lasted. And this year I really got a great taste of some new, hot restaurants in addition to dishes from classic New York institutions that I should have visited a long time ago. Here are the top five dishes I tasted this year:

NUMBER 5: SEA URCHIN GUACAMOLE at ÉLAN

SADLY, ÉLAN IS NOW CLOSED.

Sea Urchin Guacamole at ÉLAN

Asian-influenced guacamole really sounds like a mash-up gone horribly wrong, but in the capable hands of veteran chef David Waltuck, it is simply marvelous. Waltuck returned to the city this year with élan and brought his refined French technique together with unexpected flavors. The sea urchin guacamole adds a briny, rich layer to avocados that most taco joints would only dream about. Greaseless and light taro chips make the perfect vessel for a creamy guacamole that is dotted with sweet soy sauce and bright wasabi, along with the piéce de résistance: tongues of luxurious sea urchin. Price: $19

ÉLAN
43 East 20th Street (between Park Avenue South and Broadway),
Flatiron District
(646) 682-7105
elannyc.com

NUMBER 4: GRILLED SHORT RIB at BETONY

SADLY, BETONY IS NOW CLOSED.

Grilled Short Rib at BETONY

My birthday dinner this year was a huge blowout at Betony, which has reinvigorated the Midtown dining scene. It’s both fancy and high-end, but without too much stuffiness and if you play your cards right, you could get out of the restaurant without taking out a second mortgage. The dish I’m raving about now is one that most critics praised last year. Chef Bryce Shuman sous vides then grills a giant fatty beef rib, so it has both a masterful tenderness and a smoky crisp exterior. As perfect as the meat was, it’s heightened by its accompaniments which includes the greatest smoked mashed potatoes I’ve ever tasted. I wish it was my birthday all year long. Price: $40

BETONY
41 West 57th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenue),
Midtown West
(212) 465-2400
betony-nyc.com

NUMBER 3: ESPECIAL ADOBADA at LOS TACOS NO. 1

Adobada at LOS TACOS NO. 1

Forget kale salads or fried chicken, this was the year of Mexican food. There’s even now a bona fide high-end Mexican restaurant (Cosme) in New York selling NY strip tacos for $35. It’s supposed to be excellent, but for now, I’m going to stick with cheap and unfussy Mexican food. And this year, I discovered the best Mexican that Manhattan has to offer. Los Tacos No. 1 is nestled inside Chelsea Market. And here they are not only preparing impeccable tacos, but they are also deep frying a quesadilla. It’s called their Especial and can be stuffed with any filling, but I urge you to try the adobada (marinated pork and pineapple). Once you try this, you’ll have no interest in saving up for an expensive Mexican meal. This is all you need. Price: $5 ($6 with filling)

LOS TACOS NO. 1
75 Ninth Avenue (between West 15th and West 16th Street),
Inside Chelsea Market,
Meatpacking District
(212) 256-0343
lostacosno1.com

NUMBER 2: MILLE CRÊPES at LADY M CAKE BOUTIQUE

Milles Crêpes at LADY M CAKE BOUTIQUE

A cake boutique sounds ultra-fancy and intimidating, but don’t let it scare you away. Because Lady M is making one of the most interesting and mind-blowingly delicious treats in the entire city. The cake/crêpe hybrid known as a Mille Crépes means “thousand layers,” but all you really need are twenty. Each delicate layer of eggy pastry is cemented together with whipped cream and composed into a light, but decadent dessert with a perfect caramelized crown. If this is a cake boutique, I want to try everything on. In my belly. Price: $7.50

LADY M CAKE BOUTIQUE
36 West 40th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenue),
Midtown West
(212) 452-2222
41 East 78th Street (between Madison and Park Avenue),
Upper East Side
(212) 452-2222
The Plaza Food Hall,
One West 59th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenue),
Midtown West
(212) 452-2222
ladym.com

NUMBER 1: BEEF RIB at HOMETOWN BAR-B-QUE

Beef Rib at HOMETOWN BAR-B-QUE

I’m such a barbecue snob. I often tweet out remarks about very popular barbecue joints in the city that just don’t live up to my standard. I can never say that about Hometown. This place makes the best I’ve tasted in New York. It’s worth the trek out in Red Hook to splurge on their gigantic beef rib. I’m normally a fan of pork ribs, but this mammoth features a blackened crust of peppercorns and spices protecting a neverending slab of buttery meat and sweet fat. It almost feels like a smoked meat marshmallow. And it’s my favorite dish of the year. Price: $25/pound

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

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

HOMETOWN BAR-B-QUE, 454 Van Brunt Street (at Reed Street), Red Hook, BrooklynMy hope was to have a Halloween themed Dish of the Week today, but I haven’t had any scary (in a good way) dishes in a while. So instead, I want to write about my new favorite barbecue restaurant in the entire city. And the dish that really changed the game for me was a gigantic monster. And monsters are very appropriate for Halloween. You like how I did that?

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