10 best things to eat and drink in New York City

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  • Black Label Burger at Minetta Tavern

  • Ricci at Marea

  • Arroz de pato at Aldea

  • Roasted Manila clams at Umi Nom

  • Maple budino at Locanda Verde

  • Margherita pizza at Keste Pizza and Vino

  • Shio-tama at Ramen Setagaya

  • Pecorino potatoes at Convivio

  • Fried Chicken and biscuits at Roberta's Pizza

  • Pilot Punch at Mayahuel

Black Label Burger at Minetta Tavern

1. Black Label Burger at Minetta Tavern
Much has been written about Minetta Tavern's ground-meat masterpiece—perhaps the year's single most exciting new dish on a bun (and maybe the richest patty ever created). It's expensive, but remarkably—given that there are no foie gras nuggets or truffles hidden inside—worth every penny. The secret is in the meat, a proprietary Pat LaFrieda blend that makes this burger as complex and beefy as an aged porterhouse steak. 113 MacDougal St between Bleecker and W 3rd Sts (212-475-3850, minettatavernny.com). $26.

2. Ricci at Marea
Among ingredients fetishists, sea urchin and lardo may be more coveted than truffles. A cult dish was born when Michael White combined the two, offering crostini gloriously shrouded in saline urchin and translucent fat. 240 Central Park South between Seventh Ave and Broadway (212-582-5100, marea-nyc.com). $14.

3. Arroz de Pato at Aldea
Chef George Mendes's duck rice, a rich flavor-packed riff on a Portuguese classic, comes stocked with tender meat (confited legs, slow-poached breast, crisped skin) tossed with chorizo, olives and saffron rice. Paella, eat your heart out. 31 W 17th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-675-7223, aldearestaurant.com). $23.

4. Roasted Manila clams at Umi Nom
Use the emptied shells to slurp up the excess sauce—an addictive fermented black-bean broth fortified with a pat of butter—that comes with King Phojanakong's tender roasted clams. 433 DeKalb Ave between Classon Ave and Taaffe Pl, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn (718-789-8806, uminom.com). $11.

5. Maple budino at Locanda Verde
After an invariably filling meal at this trattoria, we always have room for Karen DeMasco's maple budino. The creamy pudding, rich with cooked syrup flavor and topped with toasted, candied pecans, tastes of autumn itself. 377 Greenwich St at North Moore St (212-925-3797, locandaverdenyc.com). $9.

6. Margherita pizza at Kest Pizza & Vino
It's all about the crust at this Neapolitan pizza joint—blistered, salty and elastic, we'd happily eat it plain. Add ace toppings like sweet-tart San Marzano tomato sauce, milky mozzarella and fresh basil, and you have one of New York's finest pies. 271 Bleecker St between Cornelia and Jones Sts (212-243-1500, kestepizzeria.com). $12.

7. Shio-tama at Ramen Setagaya
How can a simple egg be one of the best things we ate in 2009? Because the firm white and barely runny yolk, when infused with the flavors of salt and sake, become a savory sensation. 141 First Ave between St. Marks Pl and E 9th St (212-529-2740, setaga-ya.com). $1.50.

8. Pecorino potatoes at Convivio
Chef Michael White's mashed disks of twice-roasted Yukon gold potatoes—topped with grated pecorino cheese—are half potato chip, half french fry, and twice as good as both. 45 Tudor City Pl between 42nd and 43rd Sts (212-599-5045, convivionyc.com). $7.

9. Fried chicken and biscuits at Roberta's Pizza
Some of the best north of the Mason-Dixon: The chicken is crispy, salty and greasily good; the biscuit, topped with sweet honey, is plenty flaky. 261 Moore St between Bogart and White Sts, Bushwick, Brooklyn (718-417-1118, robertaspizza.com). $14.

10. Pilot Punch at Mayahuel
There may be no drink that burns and refreshes better than this jalapeo-infused tequila punch, which balances the cooling effects of cucumber, mint and lime with herbal Yellow Chartreuse, and just enough spicy heat to make you seek relief with another sip. 304 E 6th St between First and Second Aves (212-253-5888, mayahuelny.com). $13.

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