Monday, April 14, 2008

10 New York City Dishes You Can't Miss

A 2008 Spring Round-Up of The Best of the Best

Yes, New York is full of terrific spots... but one thing is certain... New Yorkers love to single out their favorite dishes. Let me give you an example.

Friend: "How was your weekend?"
Andre: "Great! We ate at Otto Saturday night."
Friend: "Otto! Well did you have the cheese plate with the truffled honey?"
Andre: "Of course I did, don't be stupid."

Case in point. As good as any one restaurant may be, it's the special dishes themselves that drive traffic.

So below, I give you my early 2008 list of killer dishes.... sit down style. In the coming days, I'll post my "casual" list, but for now here is a checklist for you to work on as you make those reservations!

10. Crispy Tuna Roll, Koi

Made famous in LA, the NY outpost of Koi carries on the tradition with great care. What is it? Well, first you combine fresh minced tuna with fine scallions and mix it in a creamy hot sauce to create a thick tuna mixture you can form into fingers. Next, you take a same-sized finger of sushi rice, and actually “grill” it on an open fire BBQ, giving the rice a crispy, smoky flavor. You place the tuna on top of the rice and finish with a thin slice of jalapeno… and presto… you have the most popular sushi dish on the west coast. I’ll see you there.

9. Plantain Fried Rice with Avocado Salad, Asia De Cuba

Another dish I first tried at The Mondrian in Los Angeles, this terrific side dish can be had in all its glory here in The Morgans Hotel. You’d never think that this combination would work, but the guac piled on top of this heaping bowl of rice is magical.

8. Black Spaghetti with rock shrimp, spicy salami calabrese and green chiles, Babbo

It’s hard to believe that a pasta dish can be one of the best in the city, but when Mario is cooking, look out. This is a dish I had in a pasta sampler a while back, and it knocked me out. If you are interested in eating at Babbo anytime soon, you may find yourself in the bar…. rezo’s are a month at best right now.

7. Texas Pink Grapefruit Soup infused with green cardamon, star anise, and tahitian vanilla, Bouley
Only David Bouley could cook up an idea like this and make it amazing… and yes, this is one amazing dish. So good, it’s part of his award-winning tasting menu. One thing is for sure.. there are few places in the city more special on a chilly Saturday night than settling into Bouley’s “living room” for a killer meal.

6. Roasted Hen of the Woods Mushrooms, Craftsteak

Simply put, this is the best mushroom in the world. When you pan roast it in butter and serve it along side a perfectly cooked filet, you have an OMG moment. It eats like a steak itself… with a flavor that will send you searching gourmet grocers across the city. If only I could find them at retail.

5. Corn Creme Brulee, Quality Meats

I appreciate a good, creative side dish… and this one is just that. Fresh, crisp corn in a creamy base and toasted on top… between this and the buttered edamame, Quality Meats knows their side dishes.

4. Truffle Egg Toast with bottarga, inoteca

This has been on my list for 2 years running now, and how can you leave it off? Inoteca is one of the NY's best wine stops, and with perfect panini and dishes like this, it only seems to get better.

3. Sautéed Shrimp frisée, artichokes & capers, Landmarc

The new kid on the block in the Time Warner Center is turning heads… not only for it’s approachability, but for their great tasting dishes. This salad, perfectly balanced with a warm vinaigrette and fresh sautéed shrimp may be the best salad in the city at the moment.

2. Fried Chicken "Blue Ribbon Style" wasabi & honey, Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar and Grill
Blue Ribbon has always been known for fried chicken, and their best version now lives in Midtown. Crispy and delicate, it’s bizarre location on a killer sushi menu is at first a head-scratcher, until you taste it.

1. Sweet Potato Agnolotti with pecan, craft
I wish I could write something clever here, but words can't sum up just how good this dish is. Yes, this is THE best pasta dish in the city at the moment (sorry Mario) and as an extra bonus, it just happens to be at craft.

COMING SOON: Andre's Top 10 Dishes You Can Eat Standing Up......