The Sauce at Randazzo's
South Brooklyn legend Randazzo's is still killing it with their spicy tomato Sauce (capital S) ladled over steamed and raw seafood. A case for getting it over delicately steamed mussels: the shells act as spoons to make sure you won't miss a drop. And did you know you can buy the sauce to take home? Just ask your waiter and they'll slip you a pint of the stuff for eight bucks.
Pork Belly Skewers at Ootoya
Teishoku restaurant Ootoya has a whole menu of yakitori. Our favorites might be these thick strips of pork belly wrapped around grape tomatoes. The fatty pork chars and turns meltingly soft on the grill while the tomato heats up into a juicy water balloon. Try to eat each pork ball whole—the tomato has a tendency to spurt.
Tuna Melt at Odessa
Solomon Gundy at M. Well Steakhouse
You can read our full take on M. Wells Steakhouse here, but how about a highlight: the restaurant's take on Solomon Gundy. The kitchen turns this pickled fish snack on its head by starting with a savory potato pancake cooked in a waffle iron. Then come curls of lightly pickled smelts, a fistful of trout roe, and a fat quenelle of crème fraîche. Will it waffle? Yes it will.
Pan-Fried Rice Rolls at M Star Cafe
Cheap eats spot M Star Cafe takes fresh rice noodle rolls and pan-fries them until they develop crackly, lacy crusts, then tops them with peanut and hoisin sauces and sesame seeds. It's a dirt-cheap way to get more fried food in your diet.
Bacon, Egg, and Cheese at Landmark Diner
Ed's been bringing these little sandwiches into the Serious Eats office for weeks now, and while they're hardly remarkable, they go fast. It's just your basic bacon, egg, and cheese on an English muffin done well, but it's such a good breakfast that Ed counted it among his best bites of 2013.
Hot Pot at Hou Yi
Hou Yi, one of the few places we like in Manhattan for hot pot, has moved to a larger, more glamorous location on Hester Street. Though the price jumped a few bucks, there's also a full sauce bar to customize your bowl of soup. Otherwise it's the same solid hot pot—hellishly spicy hot broth included.
Frozen Custard at 5 Oz. Factory
Up until recently, the only place to get Midwestern frozen custard these days was at Shake Shack. Now there's 5 Oz. Factory in the West Village, a custard and grilled cheese shop making an abundantly rich and creamy custard that stands up to—and is arguably better than—the burger chain's. Read more »
Batata Sev Puri at Pippali
Murray Hill's Pippali is Peter Beck's newest venture in dressed-up cooking from all over India. His Batata Sev Puri, small fried shells filled with chickpeas, onion, yogurt, mint and tamarind chutney, and crunchy sev noodles does this snack food justice and then some. A garnish of pomegranate seeds is a welcome addition.
Pancetta-Mopped Bread at Contra
At Contra, the bread is an additional $3 but worth getting. It doesn't look like much, but a mop of pancetta fat gives it an extra-crunchy crust reminiscent of lard bread. A soft crumb and plenty of softened butter are an added bonus.
Nachos at Taqueria Diana
Kenji's been on a nacho binge for the last two weeks in a quest to find the best in New York. The leader so far is the gargantuan tray of fresh-fried chips topped with cheese, Mexican crema, cooked beans, guacamole, carnitas, salsa verde, and pickled jalapeños and carrots from Taqueria Diana. Even better: a great salsa bar so you can make sure that your chips stay topped even as you dig down to the bottom of the big pile.