Tag Archives: Italian

My search for the best pizza in New York continues….

One of the newest tours I give is a food tour up on Arthur Avenue, which any New Yorker will tell you is the real Little Italy. The Bronx neighborhood is densely populated with traditional Italian bakeries, cheese shops, butchers, and amazing restaurants. In fact, I’ve been trying to work my way through all the red sauce joints and I realized there must also be incredible pizza up here.

So my journey has been reignited specifically up in the Bronx. There will be a number of reviews in the coming weeks of the pizza options in and around the neighborhood of Belmont. (more…)


Category: Pizza

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

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

Those that have been to the iconic Dominick’s on Arthur Avenue know there is no menu. The surly waiters come over and ask what you want. Not everything is available every day, but you should hope for the baked clams which have browned crisp bread crumbs and a pool of lemon butter and herbs. It tastes like Little Italy.
DOMINICK’S
2355 Arthur Avenue (between East 187th Street and Crescent Avenue),
Belmont, Bronx
(718) 733-2807
restaurantsnapshot.com/Dominicks/

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

There are many bakeries along the Italian enclave of Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. But only one makes something called white chocolate bread. And Madonia Bakery only makes it for holidays and on the weekends. When I’m lucky enough to give our Arthur Avenue food tour, I find myself in heaven. I’m not even a fan of white chocolate but it works wonders in this perfectly made soft bread with a just browned crust. The baked pieces of cooked white chocolate are a pleasant not too sweet surprise. And if you’re lucky enough to get a loaf right out of the oven, you’ll enter a whole other dimension of delicious. Price: $4.50

MADONIA BAKERY
2348 Arthur Avenue (between East 187th Street and Crescent Avenue),
Belmont, Bronx
(718) 295-5573

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

You are forgiven if you are surprised that there is a bit of a restaurant row all the way over on Avenue C. These are under-the-radar neighborhood spots but they are beloved by the community and actually worth traveling for. One of the more authentic Italian restaurants I’ve been to in Manhattan is Fiaschetteria Pistoia focused on Tuscan food paired with Italian wine. As an appetizer, you can’t miss the decadent zucchini flan with parmesan cream and a soft center so rich that you may have to check again to be sure these are vegetables. Price: $16

FIASCHETTERIA PISTOIA
647 East 11th Street (between Avenue B and Avenue C),
East Village
(212) 777-3355
fiaschetteriapistoia.com

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

There’s a lot to choose from at Caffe Marchio, one of the new Danny Meyer concepts inside the  The Redbury Hotel. It’s modeled after casual Roman coffee shops where you can get pastries, sandwiches, and some serious coffee. I stopped by for a quick bite and found one of the types of pizza bianca to be pretty delicious. The chewy pizza dough is transformed into a small sandwich with slices of sweet butternut squash, fresh arugula, creamy stracciatella cheese, and tangy pesto. Seems I chose right.  Price: $7

CAFFE MARCHIO
30 East 30th Street (between Madison and Park Avenue South),
Inside the Redbury Hotel
Nomad
caffemarchio.com

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