Top ten dishes and drinks in New York City in 2013

Food-world heavyweights like Paul Liebrandt, Michael White and Dominique Ansel are behind this year’s top ten dishes and drinks in NYC.

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The top ten dishes and drinks of 2013 cover every corner of New York City, from spicy-sweet Vietnamese curry in Ridgewood, and upmarket chicken Kiev in Williamsburg to a certain line-baiting sweet in Soho. This year’s top crop comes from faces both fresh and familiar, including acclaimed industry vets like Daniel Humm to new kids on the block such as Bunker’s Jimmy Tu. These are the ten defining dishes and drinks of TONY’s dining year.

RECOMMENDED: All 100 best dishes and drinks

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    Costata for two at Costata

    The namesake steak—Italian for “rib eye”—at Michael White’s clubby chophouse is one of this year’s best new pieces of meat. Aged for nearly 60 days, the tomahawk rib has a mineral funk that lingers on the tongue, and a charred, salty crust forged in the raging fire of a 1,900-degree broiler. The dry-aged meat’s melted beef trim is sauce enough; consider béarnaise a crime. 206 Spring St between Sixth Ave and Sullivan St (212-334-3320, costatanyc.com). $118.—Daniel S. Meyer

  • Photograph: Loren Wohl

    Toro tartare with melted tuna lardon and tuna chicharrón at New York Sushi Ko

    For this pyrotechnic omakase plate, sushi hotshot John Daley lays two strips of tuna fat in a mesh strainer and blazes them with a blowtorch. They sputter and spark like firecrackers, as droplets of briny maritime fat splash onto an already luscious mound of minced toro and rice. The singed, crackling tuna “chicharrones” ornament the dish, adding salty texture to the supple, fat-slicked fish. 91 Clinton St between Delancey and Rivington Sts (917-734-5857, newyorksushiko.com). Part of omakase ($75–$200).—Daniel S. Meyer

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    Spicy rigatoni vodka at Carbone

    Pasta alla vodka is an Italian-American trope to rival the cannoli-loving mobster, a genre marker regurgitated at nearly every red-sauce joint under the sun. But in the hands of Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone, the banal bowl is rendered downright seductive: Curves of exceedingly fresh, house-made maccheroni arrive veiled in a buttery tomato sauce, flecked with tongue-tingling Calabrian chilies and salty pecorino shavings. 181 Thompson St between Bleecker and W Houston Sts (212-254-3000, carbonenewyork.com). $24.—Christina Izzo

  • Photograph: Krista Schlueter

    The Mess at the SmokeLine

    Daniel Delaney’s oak-fired, Texas-style brisket is exceptional on its own—fork-tender and moist, with a peppercorn-crusted bark—but goes next-level as a sandwich, blended with pulled pork and hooded with griddled Vermont fontina on a butter-grilled Martin’s potato roll. Piquant house-made chili sauce and tangy pickled-onion relish cut through the meats’ fattiness. High Line at Tenth Ave and 15th St, enter at Tenth Ave and 14th St (718-701-8909, delaneybbq.com). $10.—Christina Izzo

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    Chicken “Kiev Style” at the Elm

    Deconstruction specialist chef Paul Liebrandt—late of the two-Michelin-starred Corton—transforms the fusty Russian classic into a modern chicken-three-ways plate at his new Brooklyn showcase. Improving on Moscow’s rolled chicken-cutlet original, Liebrandt roasts two crispy-skinned roulades, liquefying their garlicky lemon-herb-butter core so that a golden river flows out when your fork hits the bird. Crunchy tempura-battered chicken wings and thigh croquettes round out the plate, along with a velvety, golden potato puree whipped with nutty Comté cheese. 160 North 12th St between Bedford Ave and Berry St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-218-1088, theelmnyc.com). $56 (serves two).—Soomin Shon

  • Photograph: Krista Schlueter

    Coffee cocktail at ZZ’s Clam Bar

    Even enlightened tipplers choked when word got out that the Torrisi boys’ fancy new joint was charging $20 a pop. For this luxe quaff, mixology maestro Thomas Waugh combines crème de cacao, two aged rums and Campari for a coffeelike balance of sweet and bitter. The refined eye-opener is shaken over ice in a glass rinsed with La Colombe cold brew, subtly hinting java without featuring it outright. And in a final nod to morning joe, the gorgeous drink is garnished with lavender and served in an ornate antique teacup, fulfilling its big-ticket promise. 169 Thompson St between Bleecker and W Houston Sts (212-254-3000, zzsclambar.com) $20.—Suzanne Lehrer

  • Photograph: Liz Clayman

    Khao soi kaa kai at Uncle Boons

    Co-chefs and owners Matt Danzer and Ann Redding’s fine-dining chops are evident in their rendition of the Chiang Mai specialty. Nestled in a bowl of golden coconut curry—zinged with fresh turmeric—are a falling-off-the-bone-tender stewed chicken leg, pickled mustard greens and hand-rolled egg noodles. The surface is decorated with a tangle of fried egg noodles, plus cilantro and scallions. Doctor it up with a squirt of lime and a dollop of chili paste, served on the side. 7 Spring St between Bowery and Elizabeth St (646-370-6650, uncleboons.com). $20.—Laren Spirer

  • Photograph: Loren Wohl

    Miso-maple salmon head at Chez Sardine

    For this gastronaut play on miso-maple salmon, the head—prized for succulent bits like the cheek and collar—is marinated in the sweet-savory sauce, with a heap of shallots, garlic and lemon. Roasted until the glaze is sticky and the flesh flaky and moist, it’s served alongside soy mayo, sriracha and radish salad–consider the wonderfully messy plate the buffalo wings of the sea. 183 W 10th St at 4th St (646-360-3705, chezsardine.com). $13.—Soomin Shon

  • Photograph: Jessica Lin

    Cronut at Dominique Ansel

    When madcap pâtissier Dominique Ansel unleashed his croissant-doughnut last May, it was an international event right up there with the royal baby—spawning break-of-dawn lines, copycats across the world, more think pieces than a Girls episode, and more controversy than Ben Affleck as Batman. Ansel has since propelled cronut mania into a charity effort (the Cronut Project) and an epic collaboration (Shake Shack’s cronut-hole concrete), while delivering more ingenious desserts (frozen s’mores, magic soufflé). With flavors changing monthly (fig-and-mascarpone in September, caramelized apple in October), we don’t expect the frenzy to die down, and for good reason: The cutesy concept is backed by Ansel’s serious kitchen cred; this crossbreed is truly exquisite. To achieve the delectable peel-apart layers, he dunks rounds of buttered-and-layered dough into boiling grape-seed oil until crispy. He then fills them with rich pastry cream, spins them in sugar and slicks them with a pastel glaze, before releasing them to the food-crazed masses. 189 Spring St between Sullivan and Thompson Sts (212-219-2773, dominiqueansel.com). $5. Patty Lee

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    Carrot tartare at Eleven Madison Park

    Newfangled tartares abounded this year, with envoys like Ignacio Mattos’s New Agey, sunchoke-chip–spoked version at Estela and Dani García’s tomato adaptation, concocted with molecular tricks at Manzanilla. But it was Eleven Madison Park that moved the form from sideshow to dining spectacle. Harnessing the haute-vegetable trend that’s been blowing about in California (where all-produce menus are the vogue) and Europe (where foraging mania first took off), Daniel Humm spent nine months tweaking and tinkering with the French bistro classic, first working with beef before going rootsy. The result of all that R&D was a wooden-board palette of flavors—nine thumb-size ceramic dishes of condiments and two mini squirt bottles. Some ingredients mimic the original, like smoked mackerel, which takes after Worcestershire sauce with its rich, briny must. Others echo a singular flavor, as with the trio of plum mustard, pickled mustard seeds and mustard oil. Sunflower seeds provide crunch, and a cured quail-egg yolk is the demure analogue of its chicken cousin. To make the dish, a chef appears tableside with a vintage meat grinder and a fistful of cartoonishly orange carrots from upstate’s Paffenroth Gardens. He grinds the brilliant stalks—which have been cooked sous vide in olive oil—down to their lacy green tops (watch it in this GIF). Mix the chromatic grindings with 11 seasonings, and the effect is nothing short of a revelation: Slathered on rye crisps, the spread—no mere shadow of its steak antecedent—swells with meaty depth and kicky bite, boosting the vegetable’s own earthy sweetness. A hyperreal carrot? Now that’s what’s up, Doc. 11 Madison Ave at 24th St (212-889-0905, elevenmadisonpark.com). Part of $195 tasting menu.—Mari Uyehara

Photograph: Filip Wolak

Costata for two at Costata

The namesake steak—Italian for “rib eye”—at Michael White’s clubby chophouse is one of this year’s best new pieces of meat. Aged for nearly 60 days, the tomahawk rib has a mineral funk that lingers on the tongue, and a charred, salty crust forged in the raging fire of a 1,900-degree broiler. The dry-aged meat’s melted beef trim is sauce enough; consider béarnaise a crime. 206 Spring St between Sixth Ave and Sullivan St (212-334-3320, costatanyc.com). $118.—Daniel S. Meyer


Users say

1 comments
Elena K
Elena K

So excited to see this! Please put it on foursquare this year, you forgot to do it in 2012.

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