Best meat dishes in NYC 2013: Chicken roti, beef ribs and more

Carnivores can stop hunting for the best meat dishes. Find Italian meatballs and fine-dining short rib on our definitive list.

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Calling all meat lovers! Are you ready to sink your teeth into the year’s best carne-centric dishes? Check out our favorites, including an elegant Wagyu steak at the Pines, homey chicken and waffles at Sweet Chick and righteous BBQ at Mighty Quinn’s.

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  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    Pork meatball polenta at L’Apicio

    There’s plenty of competition in meatball-obsessed Gotham, so it takes a true heavy-hitter to snag that spot on this list. Chef Gabe Thompson steps up to the plate with these spicy, tender pork orbs in amatriciana sauce, served over silky, Parmesan-infused Anson Mills polenta on a spianatora (Italian for “wooden plank”). Thompson’s secret is subbing bacon for guanciale in the amatriciana sauce, which adds a smoky depth to this decadent dish. 13 E First St at Bowery (212-533-7400, lapicio.com). $18.—Stefanie Tuder

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    Grilled short rib with romaine and sweetbreads at Betony

    Beef fat’s the undisputed star of Bryce Shuman’s indulgently viscous plate: Using leftover lard from dry-aged steak, Shuman coaxes the notoriously tough cut into a knee-weakening melt through a two-day slow-cook in the discarded fat. Among the luscious, meaty nuggets are charred, fat-brushed romaine hearts, a golden-fried sweetbread, a creamy daub of lettuce-potato puree and a funky kombu-and-radish-laced jus, fortified with—you guessed it—another sinful, diet-ruining slick of beef fat. 41 W 57th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-465-2400, betony-nyc.com). $34.—Christina Izzo

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Beef rib at Mighty Quinn’s

    Clinging to a massive bone, Hugh Mangum’s single “brontosaurus” rib tips the scale at a whopping one pound. As with his blue-ribbon brisket, a baseline beefiness and vivid notes of salt and pepper emerge through the smoke and crusty spice. Leaner sections of the meat boast a tooth-sticking chew, while those closest to the bone quiver with fat. 103 Second Ave at 6th St (212-677-3733, mightyquinnsbbq.com). $23.—Daniel S. Meyer

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Wagyu coulotte steak at the Pines

    At this avant-garde Gowanus joint, the boundary-pushing menu, and recently the chef, changes, but one dish has become a mainstay. While its accoutrements shift—earthy abalone mushrooms and mibuna, a Japanese mustard green, one week; nutty hon shimeji mushrooms and kimchi another—the star, Wagyu beef, never wavers. Cured and cooked sous vide, it’s then pan-roasted and basted with its own fat, which has been infused with thyme and garlic. Fingerlings also reinforce the beefy treble: Rendered Wagyu trim is used to confit the slender spuds. 284 Third Ave between Carroll and President Sts, Gowanus, Brooklyn (718-596-6560, thepinesbrooklyn.com). $36.—Jasmine Moy

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

    Fried chicken with bacon-cheddar waffles at Sweet Chick

    When a Southern restaurant stakes its name and reputation on a particular dish—especially one as iconic as chicken and waffles—it better be damn good. This comfort-food haven more than delivers. Free-range birds soak in an herbed, sweet-tea–tinged brine for a full 24 hours before the breasts, thighs, wings and drumsticks are dredged in flour, dipped in buttermilk and tossed into the deep fryer to develop a crisp, golden shell. Two supremely moist pieces arrive atop four pliant waffle quarters that teem with Vermont white cheddar and house-cured bacon, which fuse together in a salty, smoky finish. Skip the accompanying maple syrup and opt for the lip-tingling hot sauce. 164 Bedford Ave at North 8th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (347-725-4793, sweetchicknyc.com). $16.—Sarah Bruning

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    Braised rabbit at al di là

    Rabbit too easily suffers from acute dryness, but these legs are thumped into succulence by a long, gentle braise. White-winey jus lends a whisper of acid to the melting meat, and oil-cured olives a briny pitch. In case misplaced fear of leanness persists, underneath the meat is an absurdly creamy puddle of polenta supplying a balls-out helping of fatty richness. 248 Fifth Ave at Carroll St, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-783-4565, aldilatrattoria.com). $26.50.—Daniel S. Meyer

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    Spicy tripe with a sunny-side-up egg at Calliope

    This slow-cooked stew turns an oft-feared offal into irresistible Southern Italian comfort food. Thin ribbons of tripe undergo a three-hour braising with white wine, tomato paste, pig trotters, heaps of dried oregano and fresh red chilies to achieve maximum tenderness. The bright tomato and spicy heat counter the finishing touches of fatty shredded trotter meat, salty pecorino, a swirl of butter and a crispy-edged, olive-oil-fried egg. Brunch and lunch only. 84 E 4th St at Second Ave (212-260-8484, calliopenyc.com). $15.—Suzanne Lehrer

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Whole smoked goat neck at Ducks Eatery

    For this soul-warming dish, chef Will Horowitz marinates the fatty cut for two days in a rich, homemade yellow Punjabi-style curry of turmeric, cumin, coriander, mustard seed and mace. The meat is smoked over oak and hickory for eight hours, then braised in low and slow in the curry sauce. Ample marrow in the bone creates a rich, gelatinous bath, soaked up by coconut jasmine rice with tart dried cherries. 351 E 12th St between First and Second Aves (212-432-3825, duckseatery.com) $32.—Suzanne Lehrer

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Beef tartare at Estela

    Relentlessly imaginative Ignacio Mattos—last seen dispatching space-age plates at Isa—skips the conventional tartare trimmings. His dish of finely chopped strip steak—with the faintest touch of beef heart—gets its acidic tang not from cornichons, but from tart pops of pickled elderberries, and its earthy, saline punch not from capers, but bruting fish sauce. The pièce de résistance: fried sunchoke chips that retain their thrilling crunch as they tangle with the soft meat. 47 E Houston St between Mott and Mulberry Sts (212-219-7693, estelanyc.com). $15.—Daniel S. Meyer

  • Photograph: Loren Wohl

    Chicken roti at Veronica’s Kitchen

    There’s only a four-hour window to grab a clamshell of Veronica Julien’s deliciously messy West Indian specialties, including this luscious chicken roti. A stretchy flatbread—rolled out on a piping-hot pizza stone—encases poultry and potatoes simmered low and slow in a spicy pepper- and ginger-laced stew. Water St between Maiden Ln and Pine St (no phone). $6.—Patty Lee

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

Pork meatball polenta at L’Apicio

There’s plenty of competition in meatball-obsessed Gotham, so it takes a true heavy-hitter to snag that spot on this list. Chef Gabe Thompson steps up to the plate with these spicy, tender pork orbs in amatriciana sauce, served over silky, Parmesan-infused Anson Mills polenta on a spianatora (Italian for “wooden plank”). Thompson’s secret is subbing bacon for guanciale in the amatriciana sauce, which adds a smoky depth to this decadent dish. 13 E First St at Bowery (212-533-7400, lapicio.com). $18.—Stefanie Tuder


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