Tag Archives: Sunnyside

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

Being an adventurous eater in New York, I’ve eaten food from many different cultures and countries. We have (just about) everything in this uareat diverse city. But sometimes I realize just how much I have never tried, There’s literally an entire world out there.

I recently learned about a Paraguayan restaurant in Queens and became immediately interested. We have plenty of Ecuadorian, Brazilian, and even Uruguayan restaurants, but this would be the first time I have ever tasted specialities from the small Latin American country of Paraguay.

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I’ve devoured Time Out’s 100 Best dishes and now, once again, I’ve been inspired to create my own list. These are the 100 dishes I have continued to think about since tasting them at some point in 2011. Look for another five dishes every few days. These are in no particular order. 

25. TRES HOMBRES at DINOSAUR BARBEQUE

It’s quite a statement that we took this barbecue platter to go from the ultra-busy BBQ joint up in Harlem and by the time we found our picnic area on a holiday weekend, the meat was still so tender and full of flavor.

I can never decide what to eat at a BBQ joint (or anywhere for that matter) because I want a little taste of everything. The Tres Hombres combines my favorite smoked meat staples: pulled pork, beef brisket, and 1/4 rack of ribs. There’s more than enough food and all of the meat is incredibly tender and loaded with sweet, charred flavors. Served with sweet cornbread and a choice of sides, it’s a testament as to why Dinosaur BBQ is my favorite in the city. Price: $19.50

DINOSAUR BARBEQUE
700 West 125th Street (between 12th Avenue and West Riverside Drive)
Harlem
(212) 694-1777
dinosaurbarbeque.com

24. PORK CHOP at APIARY

SADLY, APIARY IS NOW CLOSED.

I’ve been working as a server at Apiary for about a year now and in that time, I’ve had the honor to learn of the culinary genius of Chef Scott Bryan. Many in the food industry know him (there’s even an entire chapter about him in one of Anthony Bourdain’s books), but he tends to fly under the radar. His food is simple, but with powerful, rich flavors that make you question whether something as plain as chicken should be allowed to taste this good.

This year I’ve been pretty obsessed with his pork chop. It’s a thick cut of Berkshire pork that’s pan roasted to a soft, tender texture. On its own, it’s full of deep, moist flavors but the chef pairs it with a rotating group of accompaniments. Currently, the hearty mascarpone polenta, sweet braised escarole. Price: $26

APIARY
60 Third Avenue (between 10th and 11th Street)
East Village
(212) 254-0888
apiarynyc.com

23. STEAK TARTARE at BRINDLE ROOM

Our first trip to Brindle Room was sort of lackluster. Nothing was bad, but nothing blew me away. That changed on the second visit when I got some tastes of amazingly flavorful dishes and was taken care of like I was part of the family.

The dishes this time around, including a nice kale salad and a thick juicy pork chop, were much more memorable, but it was their version of steak tartare that really got me excited. It’s served with housemade potato chip crisps which are much preferable to a limp baguette. Chef Jeremy Spector’s raw chopped meat is fresh, flavorful, and kissed with some special hot sauce that gives it a surprisingly tangy, mustardy kick. Price: $9

BRINDLE ROOM
277 East 10th Street (between First Avenue and Avenue A)
East Village
(212) 529-9702
brindleroom.com

22. OXTAIL TERRINE at SALT & FAT

I was frightened about eating at Salt & Fat. All the reviews, while raves, talked about how rich and fatty the dishes were. The “Crack and Cheese” (which was no longer on the menu when I finally made it out to Sunnyside) sounded like a heart attack. But I am pleased to announce I did not suffer a heart attack at Salt & Fat and I discovered dish after dish of deliciousness.

The Oxtail Terrine was my favorite dish. The presentation is rather dark and rough – it looks like a big, black brick. If this was dessert, I might have been more eager to dig into what looked like a brownie. Once I touched my fork to the terrine, it generously fell apart and revealed itself to be a meaty, umami delight. It’s been braised in a dashi and shiitake mushroom broth before being assembled and perched on some exotic mushrooms with a spread of  sweet, rich caramelized onion puree. Price: $10

SALT & FAT
41-16 Queens Boulevard (between 41st and 42nd Street)
Sunnyside, Queens
(718) 433-3702
saltandfatny.com

21. LECHON ASADO at EL NUEVO BOHIO

“Lechon asado” simply translates to roasted pig, but the version at old-time Puerto Rican restaurant El Nuevo Bohio is so much more than that. And the always crowded dining room is proof. I don’t know if I ever would have discovered this place if not for a summertime visit to the Bronx Zoo.

The chopped pork is a moist, meaty mess of flavors with crispy pork skin shards for texture. A wonderfully intense mojo sauce gives the meat an extra garlicky kick, while the side of tostones (fried green plantains) provide a sweet. starchiness that complements the meat. And even though it’s simply roasted pork, this dish makes the trip to the Bronx worthwhile. Price: $7

EL NUEVO BOHIO
791 East Tremont Avenue (between Prospect Avenue and Mapes Avenue)
East Tremont, Bronx
(718) 294-3905

I’ve devoured Time Out’s 100 Best dishes and now, once again, I’ve been inspired to create my own list. These are the 100 dishes I have continued to think about since tasting them at some point in 2011. Look for another five dishes every few days. These are in no particular order. 

NUMBER 65: BLACK TRUFFLE AND SEA SALT CHOCOLATE from MAST BROTHERS

The black truffles in the chocolate bars from Mast Brothers, which is a bean-to-bar chocolatier based in Williamsburg, are not the French candy variety. Rather these are real black truffles. The kind you may get with your fancy pasta. Mushrooms. That’s right. This is mushroom chocolate.

And it is incredible. The black truffles give this chocolate a deep, rich earthy flavor that plays in to the bittersweet frutiness of the dark chocolate. The salt rounds it out and not only works on the sweet salty front, but also plays up the sea and earth flavors. This seasonal bar is available at the storefront in Brooklyn and many grocers around the city. Unless you have a mushroom or chocolate allergy (God forbid), you must give this a taste. Price Varies

MAST BROTHERS
105A North 3rd Street (between Wythe Avenue and berry Street)
Williamsburg, Brooklyn
(718) 388-2625
mastbrothers.com

NUMBER 64: ROBIOLA WITH EGGPLANT CROSTATA at DEL POSTO

Hopefully I already convinced you on the wonders of chocolate and mushrooms. But chocolate and eggplant? And cheese? This might be the wackiest savory sweet combination of all. Yet it’s one of the most delicious.

This was served to us as a cheese course during a spectacular lunch this year at Del Posto. The expertly fried fritter was stuffed with tender eggplant, served with sweet, melty robiola cheese and drizzled with just the right amount of rich, decadent dark chocolate. This was heavenly. The flavors worked so well together. The eggplant contributed sweet, soft textures and if I hadn’t known any better, I might have mistaken it for banana. Oh, now you’re on board!?!

DEL POSTO
85 Tenth Avenue (between 15th and 16th Street)
Meatpacking District
(212) 497-8090
delposto.com

NUMBER 63: COLD SMOKED CORN SOUP at DO OR DINE

Even if I didn’t know the owners of Do or Dine, it would have been high on my destination list. Justin, George, and Luke were friends of mine from when we worked at The Modern together. They have wacky ideas and fun personalities with an eye for flavor and hospitality. And the fact that none of them are trained chefs was not a reason to deter them from creating some of the most exciting and creative food I’ve tasted the entire year.

We didn’t try the now infamous Foie Gras Doughnut (it will be ordered on a future visit), but I fell in love with their seasonal soup that is now sadly no longer on the menu. What a crazy concoction that delighted my tastebuds and played with my mind! A roasted corn and chipotle puree took care of the sweet and spicy balance. But then more layers were added with sweet honeydew cubes and surprisingly subtle Crunch and Munch (the poor man’s Cracker Jacks) croutons. The soup is smoked with a hand smoker and the hickory aromas are released at the presentation, making this a full-sensory experience. And I’m not just being biased, believe me.

DO OR DINE
1108 Bedford Avenue (between Gates and Lexington Avenue)
Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn
(718) 684-2290

NUMBER 62: BACON POPCORN at SALT & FAT

To some it might not seem so strange, but I can assure you to all naysayers that bacon popcorn is delicious. Especially the way they serve it at Salt & Fat, a newish neighborhood spot in Sunnyside, Queens with Korean and Southern influences. I loved the entire meal at my recent visit, but the one thing I couldn’t get out of my head was the complimentary bag of bacon popcorn.

The popcorn is popped in bacon fat, which could make for a very greasy and heavy flavor. But these are surprisingly light and addicting. The bacon flavors are fully present, but not overpowering. It adds smoky, umami notes to the already buttery and salty popcorn. This bag disappeared in a matter of minutes and it was to my delight (and detriment) that the server was only too willing to bring us a re-fill. It’s a perfect way to open up a meal of salt and fat (which is much more pleasant and refined than it sounds). Price: Complimentary with Meal

SALT & FAT
41-16 Queens Boulevard (between 41st and 42nd Street)
Sunnyside, Queens
(718) 433-3702
saltandfatny.com

NUMBER 61: KATZ’S PASTRAMI EGG ROLL at REDFARM

Chinese and Jewish culture have been intertwined since the early days of the Lower East Side. And there are still some great Cantonese restaurants down there serving up egg rolls and the like. And of course, so is Katz’s Deli, which makes some of, if not the, best pastrami in the entire city. So you’d think it would be a natural fit to combine the two flavors. Yet nobody in this city has tried something as outlandish (and obvious) as the egg roll at the new high end Chinese gastropub RedFarm.

This classic Chinese American appetizer is given the kosher treatment with the addition of some generous slices of Katz’s tender, smoky pastrami. Along with the meat, Chef Joe Ng fills the fried egg roll with cabbage and hot chilis. A tangy honey mustard sauce on the side cuts all that delectable fat. They make for a great starter to a consistently creative and delicious meal at RedFarm. Price: $7

REDFARM
529 Hudson Street (between 10th Street and Charles Street)
West Village
(212) 792-9700
redfarmnyc.com

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