Slideshow: Kenji's 8 Best Bites in New York From 2013

The Marrow from The Marrow
The Marrow from The Marrow

The Roasted Bone Marrow at The Marrow reads like a greatest hits list of all my favorite foods: Roasted bone marrow covered in tongues of sea urchin, cubes of potato crisped up in clarified butter, a Meyer lemon aïoli, and micro celery greens, served with slices of grilled sourdough bread. It's so good that my dad and I broke our "one order of marrow per restaurant per visit" rule and ordered a second before we were half way done with the first. (Check out the first look here.)

Whitefish Donburi from Ivan Ramen
Whitefish Donburi from Ivan Ramen
The Whitefish Donburi from Ivan Ramen's Slurp Shop was the most surprisingly delicious thing I've tasted all year. Warm rice mixed with homemade furikake and topped with flaked white fish, cucumber, scallion, and salmon roe. Stir it all up and each bite brings you a crazy burst of flavors and textures: sweet bonito flakes and crunchy fried onions coat bits of crisp cucumber. Hints of smoke come through from the whitefish, which melts into the rice. Salty salmon eggs burst against your tongue. It reminds me of the simple breakfast my Japanese grandmother used to serve us of white rice with jarred furikake and grilled cod roe, but with better balance, more excitement. (Sorry grandma.) (Full review here.)

The Tasting Menu from Yuji Ramen
The Tasting Menu from Yuji Ramen

Yuji transferred the mussel shells to miniature French presses, added a handful of smoked shaved bonito flakes, then ladled in a clear broth and placed the pitchers in front of us on the table. A few moments later, bowls of noodles lightly dressed in soy sauce, Japanese pepper flakes, and scallions arrived and Yuji instructed us to strain our torched mussel-infused broth over them. This was the last course in one of the most remarkable ramen-based meals I've ever had. And I had it at a lunch counter. Inside a Whole Foods. Where Yuji is making some of the most strikingly original ramen around. (Full review here.)

Orecchiette With Lamb Sausage and Carrots from Del Posto
Orecchiette With Lamb Sausage and Carrots from Del Posto

The Orecchiette with Lamb Sausage at Del Posto starts with housemade 100% lamb merguez-style sausage that gets heavily browned in a skillet before being deglazed with chicken stock. Fresh orecchiette is added, the dish is plated, then topped with carrots cooked in their own juice and flavored with a hint of tangerine and olive oils. It's all very simple, with just a few ingredients, only a few steps in the process. But like many of Italy's finest foods, it's about the quality of the individual ingredients and the way in which they complement each other, building into more than a sum of their parts. (See how it's made here.)

Husband and Wife Beef From Han Dynasty
Husband and Wife Beef From Han Dynasty

If you stick to that first half of the menu at Han Dynasty, you'll be treated to what might be the finest version of Husband and Wife Beef I've had, not to mention a full-on telling of the story of its invention by an enthusiastic waiter. If you've ever thought of dabbling in tripe but have been afraid to try, this is the dish to do it with. Simultaneously cool and hot, fresh with cilantro and the intense camphor of Sichuan peppercorns, it's incessant, percussive in its flavors; it drives a beat that makes you helpless to reach for more. This is food with flavor you can tap along to. (Full review here.)

Everything at Tanoshi Sushi
Everything at Tanoshi Sushi

I can't really say that Chef Toshio Oguma at Tanoshi Sushi is doing Jiro-level sh*t, but conceptually, he hits every mark, so I'm going to say it anyway: The sushi at Tanoshi sushi is some serious Jiro-level sh*t, the likes of which I haven't seen anywhere outside of Japan. It's a hole-in-the-wall, run-down-before-it-even-opened sushi bar in the public transportation limbo just below Yorkville on the Upper East Side, and it serves one of the best omakase meals I've had anywhere. (Full review here.)