Beyond Times Square June 2017

t h e t o w n c r i e r




New York City has a well-earned reputation as one of the culinary capitals of the world. The diverse array of cultures means that there’s no one style that dominates. Instead, there is every kind of cuisine and great food at every level — from Michelin-starred tasting menus to grab-and-go street food. Even with all of the renown, lots of visitors end up overlooking dining options and miss out on peak New York experiences. As a food lover myself, I wanted to share some of my favorite city dining destinations, including long-standing institutions and newer classics. You can’t talk about New York food without talking about pizza. It’s a staple of every (non-gluten-free) New Yorker’s diet, and all five boroughs are teeming with amazing pizza parlors. My favorite, without question, is Joe’s Pizzeria. The original location on Carmine Street is my go-to, but the outposts on 14th Street and in Williamsburg are equally delicious. Whenever I stop at Joe’s, I can’t resist getting both a standard and a Sicilian slice. Another iconic New York staple is the bagel. Bakeries in other parts of the country have even gone so far as to import water from Manhattan to try to capture the unique qualities of our bagels. Russ & Daughters, on Houston Street, is the gold standard for a true New York bagel. They’ve been open since 1914, so you know they’re doing something right. In addition to bagels, Russ & Daughters is a purveyor of insanely good smoked fish and schmears of every flavor you can imagine. In addition to these old-school favorites, there’s no shortage of forward-thinking chefs adding to the New York culinary pantheon. One item that immediately comes to my mind is the pork buns at Momofuku Ssäm Bar on 2nd Avenue. These bundles of pork belly, cucumber, and hoisin sauce will be among the best things you’ve ever eaten. They’re so delicious that it can be hard to resist ordering a second plate after the first disappears.

Another newcomer that’s quickly become a citywide favorite is Dough Donuts. From their original shop in Bed Stuy, they have grown to open locations in the Flatiron District and in the UrbanSpace Vanderbilt food hall. How

they get the ethereal texture of their donuts, I’ll never know. They are also known for using seasonal produce to craft interesting new flavors all the time.

If you want to have an extra-special dinner during your time in NYC, there’s a few places I can recommend without reservation — though you’ll probably need one to secure a seat at these places. Marea on Central Park South turns out some of the City’s best Italian and is the perfect way to top off an afternoon in the park. Jungsik in Tribeca takes Korean food to the highest level. Perhaps my favorite fine dining spot, though, is Atera, just a short walk from Jungsik. The food that the chefs create defies description — it’s plate after plate of exciting flavors, adding up to a meal where the only consistent element is surprise. There’s definitely not enough space here to list all of the restaurants I love, and I’m always on the lookout for new places. You can stumble upon an incredible meal on nearly every block in Manhattan. If you end up discovering something wonderful, I hope you’ll share it with me. Just promise me that you won’t end up eating at Olive Garden. – Eric


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