Tag Archives: Seafood

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…

We were not lacking for poke this year in New York. Everywhere you turned you saw advertisements for this Hawaiian bowl of raw fish on salad. It was so ubiquitous that it became rather annoying and the quality no doubt suffered since you could find it at any corner bodega. But the one that stood above the rest for me this year was Kome Waza. The quality was high, their ingredients were unique (hamachi, mango anchovy sauce, cold kale noodles, pumpkin seeds), and the flavors popped. In a sea of poke, this one stood out as the best this year.

EL ATORADERO BROOKLYN
708 Washington Avenue (between Prospect Place and St. Marks Avenue),
Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
(718) 399-8226
elatoraderobrooklyn.com

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

As a kid, I was pretty averse to whitefish salad. As an adult, I realized how wrong I was. Or at the very least I had never tasted the stuff at Shelsky’s. The chunky meaty whitefish has an irresistible smokiness and creaminess. The fish pieces melt in your mouth and are nicely broken up by bits of crisp celery. Price: $5.50/quarter pound

SHELSKY’S OF BROOKLYN
141 Court Street (between Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street),
Cobble Hill, Brooklyn
(718) 855-8817
shelskys.com

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

Pasquale Jones is certainly not the first business to put clams on a pizza, but they have done justice to the tradition started at places like Lombardi’s and New Haven’s Frank Pepe. The hipster chefs here run an expert wood-fired oven crisping the sides to a nice charred pillow. This homage is richer than most with heavy cream standing in for mozzarella. Plump tender clams are plentiful playing beautifully with the bright lemon, garlic, parsley, and chopped broccoli rabe. Price: $24

PASQUALE JONES
187 Mulberry Street (at Kenmare Street),
Nolita
(917) 472-7230
pasqualejones.com

Come back on Wednesdays for another funny, informative video documenting my inept food adventures. In Locals Know, I explore a new city through the tours of Urban Adventures.

I’ve been to Lisbon more than any other city in Europe. I have truly been seduced by the beauty, the food, and the people of this great historic capital. But it wasn’t until I took the Experience Lisbon Walk that I really got under the skin of this city.

My guide Sofia from Lisbon Urban Adventures uncovered all the secret spots from a local pastry shop to a miradouro with killer views to the best seafood restaurant on the other side of the river.  It’s featured on the latest episode of Locals Know. And after watching this video over and over again, I can’t wait to visit Lisbon one more time and experience it the way only a local can.


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