So you read the Times Top 10 ramen list and planned to head toward Long Island City to hit up Mu Ramen on the top of the list. Unfortunately, it's in hibernation while sorting out future plans. But Ed Cotton, the executive chef of Sotto 13, has lived in Mu's adopted neighborhood, Long Island City, for the past four years (he's in a building right behind the Pepsi-Cola sign). Here are his favorite local spots worth checking out.
Pizza: My favorite place is actually just over the Pulaski Bridge from LIC in Greenpoint. I probably eat at Paulie Gee's once a month. The Hellified Pork Pie with Mike's Hot Honey is my favorite.
Burger: Corner Bistro opened up in our neighborhood recently, and it's owned by the same people as the West Village one. They do a great pub-style burger. I also like Petey's Burger, which is more fast-food style, but the beef is still really great.
Sandwich: I like the banh mi at this Vietnamese place called Cyclo. They're the best as far as cheap eats go. I usually get the classic banh mi with ham, ground pork, and pâté.
Coffee: I don't drink coffee, but if I did, I'd go to Sweetleaf. My girlfriend really likes their coffee. The Center Boulevard location actually doubles as a speakeasy-style bar at night, so I've gotten cocktails there.
Breakfast/brunch: M. Wells Dinette at MoMA PS1. I get whatever jumps out at me there. It's different every time, but I loved the oysters bolognese and porcini tart. But I miss the breakfast sandwich at M. Wells Diner.
Bakery: I head over to Astoria D&F Italian Deli in Astoria. Every Sunday they serve this incredible prosciutto bread. They take the burnt ends of the prosciutto and fold it into a baguette-like bread.
Bar: Dutch Kills. I generally leave it up to the bartender to make my drink, but I request whiskey or rye.
Date spot: M. Wells Steakhouse is cool, but I also really like this place called Shi. They have a really nice dark dining room and you can see the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline from their windows.
Fine dining: M. Wells Steakhouse for sure. My favorite dish that I've tried there so far is the trout. Fantastic. Also the Caesar salad with smoked herring.
Thai: There's a place called Tuk Tuk on Vernon Blvd. with great pad Thai.