At 7 Spices, a Turkish restaurant in the East Village, the meatballs come grilled.
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Until Mighty Quinn's opened its doors, here are the words I would use to describe the better barbecue joints in town: sincere, well-meaning, tasty, digitally derived from copious sampling across the country, deferential, and stylistically derivative. Most people would come out any one of a half-dozen cue joints in town and say, "Hey, that was good barbecue, for New York." It'd be the culinary equivalent of damning with faint praise.
But the the arrival of pitmaster Hugh Mangum's East Village restaurant creates a new standard for barbecue in New York City. Smoked meat that is good—not just for New York—but for barbecue fans everywhere.
Never mind that a New York sandwich has tomatoes on it in January. The feta, tomato, and cubanelle pepper ($6.99) from Simit and Smith makes it work.
Mama Gyro's pita wraps may not be destination gyros, but they're worth a visit if you're in the neighborhood, and plenty cheap to boot.
Every restaurant exists in context, of neighborhood and price, of cuisine and competitors. Guy's American Kitchen and Bar—the massive big-box restaurant that Food Network star Guy Fieri opened last week in Times Square? No one expects it to be good, per se. The questions you're answering: would a tourist wandering in after a Broadway show have a better meal than he would elsewhere in the neighborhood? Would a Food Network fan visiting from out of town enjoy her Slammin' Jammin' Chicken Parm? Basically—is Guy's American Kitchen and Bar better than the Cheesecake Factory?
We've been on a tofu kick recently at Serious Eats. In its pure form, sure, refreshing and virtuous. But we've got no problem loading it down with meat and oil, either.
I've yet to meet anyone who doesn't love a good icebox cake in all its fun, easy-pleasing simplicity—chocolate wafers and whipped cream with a touch of sugar, piled and layered upon one another to a construct a literal cake tower.
Pepe Rosso To-Go on Sullivan Street is a tiny place, so tiny that they post (friendly, cheeky) signs suggesting you eat fast and make room for the next guest. Which is why this restaurant is one of my favorite takeout and delivery spots in the area.
All you Robicelli fans in downtown Manhattan tired of venturing uptown or to Brooklyn to get your cupcake fix, take note: as of last week, Robicelli's cupcakes are now available at Battery Place Market.
Cristina's favorite of the trio is the Bourbon Pecan Caramel sundae which couples a seductive, slow-flowing caramel sauce with candied pecans between scoops of vanilla and bourbon pecan gelato.
This is one you'll just want to toast and eat plain; no butter or jam, for it has plenty of flavor on its own.
Desserts at Tiny's and the Bar Upstairs in Tribeca are created by Anna of the popular NYC-based blog, VerySmallAnna—and they're both delicious and consistent.
Growing up I used to make these steamed rice balls at home, small and chewy mochi balls stuffed with a molten filling of sweet black sesame bean paste. Heaven! But here in New York, you can find me at Shanghai Cafe with at least two orders of their very fine Black Sesame Rice Balls.
The Dulce de Leche Crepe ($6.75) features smoky sweet caramel brushed over the crepe, which is then folded into quarters and finished with an extra drizzle of caramel and dusting of cinnamon and powdered sugar. It comes with Ciao Bella's vanilla gelato, but I prefer substituting it with their matcha gelato; the slight bitterness from matcha tempers the sweet caramel, a lovely pairing my books.
The orange color in Boubouki's Carrot Bread comes from both grated carrots and fresh oranges. A citrus spin on your ordinary carrot bread, it's abundant with cinnamon and black walnuts.
Keep an eye out for the Butternut Squash Crème Brûlée ($8), the single housemade dessert.
When my friends and I stepped out of the 137th Street station on the 1 train on the way to a friend's get-together, we all thought the same thing: what would we eat for dinner? How fortuitous it was...