Macaroni and Cheese at Artisanal
Deep cheese flavor in a beautifully silky béchamel, with a perfect sauce-to-noodle ratio, the exceptional melted-cheese and crumb crust is broiled to crisp perfection. Bring it on, winter.
Matzo Ball Soup at Mile End
The best matzo ball soup I've had recently has been at Mile End; its intensely chicken-y broth comes with a single large, schmaltz-laden matzo ball.
Steak at Porter House New York
A prime, 28-day dry-aged bone-in ribeye is the essence of minerally, meaty, red-meat-inducing pleasure. Have a long meal, finish with an ice cream sundae, and enjoy the view out onto the winter wonderland of Central Park.
Hot Chocolate at Grom
There's no hot water or milk added to this one. It's purely melted chocolate—a mix of Bolivian and Venezuelan, with a taste that almost borders on a roasted coffee bean flavor. And about as exciting as the drink itself is the whipped cream, fluffy and housemade and absolutely delicious. Shake Shack's is mighty fine, too, and you get to play in the Madison Square Park snow afterward.
Ramen at Ippudo
The light-brown broth is a revelation: porky, nutty, complex, and deeply satisfying, its flavor enhanced by the slices of tender Berkshire pig. Factor in the tender, bouncy noodles and fun, lively atmosphere and you've got a perfect steamy winter escape.
Mussels and Spicy Lamb at Fish Tag
Spicy and lamb-y and big enough to send me into a pleasant winter nap, the Bouchot Mussels & Spicy Lamb is made remarkable by a broth laced with ginger, saffron, pickled leeks, merguez, and chickpeas—best soaked up with grilled bread. Their Sheep's Milk Dumplings are great warming eats, too.
Roast Beef, Eggplant, and Mozz at Defonte's
Fall-apart roast beef, lean but incredibly juicy, piled on terrific crusty seeded Italian bread—crusty and thick enough to soak up the jus ladled on top. It's layered with house-made mozzarella and gets a bit of salty extra weight from paper-thin slices of fried eggplant.
Eggplant Parmesan at Torrisi
The eggplant is sliced super-thin, the tomato sauce is bright with basil, and covered in a blizzard of Parmesan, it's the kind of hearty lunch I'm dreaming about today.
Pastrami Sandwich from 'wichcraft
As our writer Kathy YL Chan has said, "Pastrami, sauerkraut, swiss cheese, and whole grain mustard on rye bread. Grilled to order, served warm. A tiny thing for $9.50, but it's immensely satisfying on a cold day."