If you're visiting Little Italy in Chinatown in New York, get ready to eat well. But you have to know where to eat—and just as importantly, where to avoid. This guide aims to break it all down for you, handy printable map included.
'rubirosa' on Serious Eats
It's been a great year for sandwiches in this city. We found new loves in pastrami and patty melts. We celebrated grilled cheese in all its oozy forms. We even hacked a few sandwiches of our own. Here are 30 standout sandwiches we had this year.
Vegetables can be incredibly tasty when done right, and yet when most people go out to eat, they tend not to order a vegetarian dish unless they're, well, a vegetarian. Here are 30 examples to make you reconsider.
Beef, that delicious master of forms. We love it cured into salty pink pastrami and layered on rye. We love it ground with Parmesan, shaped into meatballs, and lined up on a saucy sub. We love tender short ribs and grizzly burnt ends, stringy brisket and tangy corned beef. It's just so tasty in all its outfits; here are 25 to get you drooling.
A really good chicken sandwich can be hard to find; so many are dry or stringy or downright boring. But great chicken—juicy, flavorful, maybe with some crisp skin in the mix—is perfect sandwich fodder. You can't really beat fried chicken on a bun, but it's just as good grilled and stacked with avocado, roasted and slicked with fat...or, well, we'll let this list of chicken sandwich stars speak for itself.
Chicken sandwiches, often filled with overcooked white meat and weak toppings, tend to be boring or, at worst, nearly inedible. The Rubirosa Sandwich ($12) at our neighborhood favorite Rubirosa is fortunately several notches above the archetypal poultry-between-bread ordeal.
Eggplant is one of those culinary chameleons that can take on the flavors of just about any cuisine. Italian? Bring on the mozzarella. Japanese? Hello, miso. Indian? Israeli? Sichuan? Azerbaijani? All good. The humble eggplant has an awful lot of stamps in its passport. So let's look at our favorite eggplant dishes in the city.
Meatball Madness was a hot ticket at this year's New York City Wine & Food Festival, as evidenced by the sold-out tickets and by the long line stretching far down Mercer Street. We understand; after all, who doesn't love meatballs? Particularly when they're being made by New York's hottest chefs. With our discerning meatball palates on high alert, we wove our way through the crowd of food-lovers and Food Network lovers alike (Giada De Laurentiis was the evening's host, and Guy Fieri made an appearance), sampling all sorts of meat- (and meatless!) balls.
We write about a different sandwich every day on Serious Eats: New York. (And we eat even more than we write about!) But let's be honest: some sandwiches are much better than others. In our daily eating adventures, we come across plenty of good sandwiches, but just a few that are truly memorable. Here's a look at some of the sandwiches we're still dreaming about—our favorite recent finds in the city.
If you're looking for a chill restaurant in Nolita for a group lunch, Rubirosa is a great choice. My party of five had no problem getting a table at 1 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon (they can seat larger parties in their back room). Their made-for-sharing pizzas come in large (eight slices) and small (six slices). We ordered two large pies and still had a few slices left over when we were done, despite the pizza's seemingly not-that-filling thin crust.
As we've seen, there are some tourist-frequented spots that really do serve good food. But where do we think tourists should go? Here are a dozen places that we think visitors to our fair city shouldn't miss. (Pizza, bagels, burgers, Italian-American spots, picks for Food Network and Top Chef fans, and the best way to get into great restaurants for less cash—it's all here.)
Braciole, the Italian dish of thinly sliced meat rolled around a cheese, herb, and bread-crumb stuffing, is a staple of the Italian-American sunday gravy. Made with garlic-and-Parmesan-stuffed beef, the tiny involtini get seared and braised in tomato sauce until rich and tender. Like the meatball before them, it was only a matter of time before they got reinvented in sandwich form, and what a sandwich they make!
How often do you eat a chicken sandwich and think, wow? Really, wow. Ever? It's a rare situation but the Chicken Francese from Rubirosa ($10) lives in that special realm.
We never tire of meatballs—be they beef or lamb, pork or veal, all of the above. We've found ones we love on sandwiches and on "sliders," of Mexican and of Swedish persuasion, at pizza joints and lunch counters and pork stores. In the end, we couldn't rank one above the rest—but we can present you 15 meatballs in New York City we love.
In 2011, the Italian red sauce tradition has devolved to the likes of Carmine's, where there is no pizza and quantity trumps all, and Mario's on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, where at dinner you are discouraged from ordering the excellent pizza because the owners want diners to experience the more ambitious food on the menu. But now, coming to our rescue, is Rubirosa.
At Rubirosa, the Black and White Tagliatelle ($16) in itself deserves a visit.