[Photograph: Jessie Pascoe]

Restaurants do not get more darling than Jennifer Potenzo's Penelope. Named after her turtle, this Murray Hill cafe/bakery has been turning out Potenzo's comfort food favorites since 2003 and has drawn accolades for its Cape Cod-inspired interior. Even though this place has been open for almost a decade, it continues to cater to a packed house—from 8 in the morning to 11 at night—while recruiting new fans thanks to its classics-with-a-twist menu.

Take their C.J.'s Fish and Chips ($14.50; two big fillets and a generous serving of fries). While not served in traditional white paper and newspaper, this version (named after a former chef) also lacks the excessive greasiness normally associated with the dish. Frying makes the most of the tender haddock: the interior batter absorbs the fried fillet's juices and is tasty enough to eat plain—a true mark of good fish and chips. Of course, adding a squirt of lemon and dipping into the homemade tartar sauce or house balsamic mayo helps. Throw in their fries—slender, crispy pieces sprinkled with parsely—and you're in flavorful, fried heaven.

A warning: after dipping the fries in the balsamic mayo, you will not want to eat fries any other way.


159 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10016 (map)


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