The New Years’s revelry is over and hopefully everyone has recovered from their extended hangovers and emerged from their food comas. As the first week of the new year has passed, it is time to break all resolutions to eat less, exercise more, and lose weight.
We can’t think of a better way to begin the New Year by sampling some of the best dishes from New York’s culinary finest. If you thought our compilation, by the Foodboomblooger West, of the best dishes coming out of L.A.’s kitchens was tempting, we think that the best list compiled by the exemplary restaurant reviewer and blogger Ken Shin will have you hitting Open Table and Tock to get in on some of these amazing plates. So here goes the first ten:
1. Salt baked potato @ Mekelburg’s
Mekelburg’s is the type of place that makes me go back to Brooklyn more often than I used to. A totally unassuming eating space inside a grocery shop, they make this mean baked potato. The one I had with black cod, crème fraiche and caviar was just so addictive, I didn’t know when to drop my fork to keep digging at it. Who would’ve thought a baked potato dish can be so exciting?
If you want an intro lesson on Singaporean food, look no further than this oyster omelet dish (“oh lauk”) with garlic chives that displayed a ton of hearty feel without overpowering my palate.
3. Beef loin @ Blanca
I finally had a chance to visit Blanca which I think epitomizes what fine dining in Brooklyn would look like. You have this single counter in front of the kitchen in action rolling out all these small plate dishes that showcase a remarkable level of creativity throughout the night. The favorite of the night clearly was this little beef loin dish with impeccably juicy meat while minimizing the seasoning to make sure it is the texture that truly shines.
4. Beef tenderloin stir fry @ Llama Inn
New York City’s dining scene could certainly have more Peruvian cuisine with it’s rich culinary tradition. Llama Inn was quite a pleasant surprise when I visited this charming space in Williamsburg. Their modern take on Peruvian-Chinese classic dish of lomo saltado (a stir fry of beef steak with onions and other vegetables) is a must have. Every bite of this wrapped in scallion pancake was pure bliss to my taste bud!
5. Ebi (shrimp) @ Ichimura at Brushstroke
I’ve been to a lot of outstanding sushi counters this year, but the best one that I’m willing to put in my 9.5 KenScale stratosphere is chef Eiji Ichimura’s unassuming counter inside Brushstroke restaurant. (News Flash: Chef Ichimura has left Brushstroke and will be opening a 10 seat counter @ 69 Leonard St very soon). Every ingredient was so fresh and handled with such master craftsmanship, including this silky smooth ebi that I don’t think I’ll ever have a better one than what chef Ichimura put on my table.
6. Seaweed bucatini @ High Street on Hudson
This year has seen the Big Apple invasion from some of the established Philadelphia restaurants and High Street on Hudson really delivers on the market-driven New American cuisine that offers something for everyone. I’ve had an occasion to try this awesome pasta dish that not only looks beautiful but has magnificent balance of flavor and the black noodle that grew more and more on me as I savored the dish.
7. Soufflé @ MIMI
MIMI was a surprise hit in the New York dining scene this year, and this modest operation certainly made French bistro food quite exciting. Sadly, chef Liz Johnson that helmed the kitchen is leaving soon, so I wonder what will happen to this restaurant in her absence. Suffice to say though that I would love to come back to this place if they offer the same soufflé (which took over 20 minutes to prepare) that had decadent richness from the speculaas (a type of biscuit) cream.
8. Tajarin with veal ragu @ Pasquale Jones
At Pasquale Jones an imposing oven is where all the magic is happening. Everyone is getting the clam pizza at Pasquale Jones (and it is definitely one of the best pizza dishes I’ve had this year), but my personal favorite was this off-menu special pasta of egg noodle and veal ragu that looks so simple but is so delicious that I was busier devouring this than the pizza.
9. Roast beef @ Mr. Donahue’s
More often than not, simplicity is the virtue. A retro diner from the acclaimed Uncle Boons team, there is nothing inside Mr. Donahue’s that makes you scream this is the “It” restaurant of the moment. At the same time, I couldn’t help thinking about the satisfactory dishes here, including this giant piece of roast beef that was prepared to such perfection in texture while maintaining a moderate level of seasoning.
10. Horseback mackerel @ Sushi Zo
L.A. is one place in America that I would love to stay for at least a week just to tour all of the amazing restaurants in the city. I especially would like to check out some of the ones that the Foodboomblogger West raves about to see if they are really up to our great NY standards. At least I don’t have to do that anymore for Sushi Zo, which decided to open a second location in NYC, and boy am I glad they did! I was very impressed with the high level of consistency in texture of different nigiri pieces. Just look at this beautiful piece of horseback mackerel with soy sauce that was just so fresh and smooth.