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  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Duck lunch at Momofuku Ssm Bar

    Duck lunch at Momofuku Ssm Bar
    David Chang is well-known for putting pork on a pedestal. With his new fancy rotisserie, he's thrusting duck up there too, roasting boutique-farm birds to a gorgeous caramel sheen. A whole duck is the centerpiece of the blowout large-format dinner ($140), but the best part of the beast---its tender pink breast meat with a candy-crisp skin---is available daily at lunch, served with flaky scallion pancakes and fragrant white rice. 207 Second Ave at 13th St (212-254-3500, momofuku.com/restaurants/ssam-bar). $14.

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    Beef tongue at Hospoda

    Beef tongue at Hospoda
    The Czechs give good tongue---or at least at Hospoda they do. Here the muscle is poached until meltingly tender, then gently smoked. The meat is sliced into supple batons and stacked over a demi-glace and pickled red onion. If your only experience with tongue is at the deli counter, consider the difference between chopped liver and foie gras---it's that good. 321 E 73rd St between First and Second Aves (212-861-1038, hospodanyc.com). Available on the $32 prix fixe.

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Red Wattle pork chop at Roberta's

    Red Wattle pork chop at Roberta's
    Anyone who's sawed through a tough, gray pork chop will barely recognize this double-cut, heritage-breed behemoth as the same meat. Chef Carlo Mirarchi brines and pan roasts it to a gorgeous medium-rare, with blushing pink flesh beneath a crust that's marbled, succulent and as tender as any swine we've encountered. 261 Moore St between Bogart and White Sts, Bushwick, Brooklyn (718-417-1118). $26.

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

    Fried pig tails at the Brooklyn Star

    Fried pig tails at the Brooklyn Star
    Texas native Joaquin Baca (Momofuku) turns porky off-bits into addictive bar snacks at his Southern tavern. He simmers the pig tails for up to four hours with tomatoes, whole-grain mustard, and caramelized garlic and onions until soft. The pliant nuggets are peeled, deep-fried to order and coated with a sticky sauce made from the sweet-savory braising reduction. 593 Lorimer St at Conselyea St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-599-9899). $12.

  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

    Tripe at Lyon

    Tripe at Lyon
    Tripe, or stomach lining, is a divisive bit of offal that can give even the most adventurous eaters the willies. The best preparations are tender, not rubbery, and stewed with great aromatics. You might still be a skeptic until you've had an exceptional version, like the one at Lyon---here the tripe is braised for five hours, tossed with cannellini beans and spicy merguez, topped with garlic bread crumbs and crisped in the broiler. 118 Greenwich Ave at 13th St (212-242-5966, lyonnyc.com). $19.

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

    Rib eye at Isa
    Chef Ignacio Mattos brings the steakhouse classic (so tender here it's served with a table knife) to artistic heights with a flourish of outr accompaniments. Dabbles of rich marrow caramelize atop the meat in a scorching wood-burning oven, while a scattering of seasonal and foraged produce---chive blossoms, roasted onion petals and paper-thin pickled horseradish shavings when we visited---provide surprising palate-refreshing contrasts. 348 Wythe Ave at South 2nd St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (347-689-3594). Occasionally available on the rotating menu: $32.

  • Photograph: Alex Strada

    Smoked chicken wings at Hill Country

    Smoked chicken wings at Hill Country
    Chicken-wing purists might bristle to know that our favorite version of the game-day staple takes its cues from Central Texas, not Buffalo. This fowl, rubbed with a mixture of mustard powder, cayenne, brown sugar and other spices, gets its smoldering flavor from a two-hour ride in a Texas-Post-oak--fueled smoker. Just be sure to call ahead before hopping a taxi to the Flatiron District---these burnished beauts are available only on Wednesdays after 5pm, Thursday through Saturday after 11pm and during football games. 30 W 26th St between Broadway and Sixth Ave (212-255-4544, hillcountryny.com). Ten for $7.50, 24 for $18.

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    Taiwanese fried chicken at Bian Dang

    Taiwanese fried chicken at Bian Dang
    Brave the K-town chaos and be rewarded with exceptional fried chicken from this standout stall inside Food Gallery 32. It's an all-dark-meat affair of crunchy, moist legs and thighs, squirted with a salty pork sauce. Devour the fowl with its accompanying sides of white rice and pickled cabbage. 11 W 32nd St between Fifth Ave and Broadway (212-695-5995, biandangnyc.com). $8.

  • Photograph: Noah Devereaux

    Rib tips at John Brown Smokehouse

    Rib tips at John Brown Smokehouse
    These quivering nuggets of pork and fat---cut from pork ribs' skirt---are what pit master and owner Josh Bowen calls the "upscale McRib." They're ubiquitous in his native Kansas City but rarely seen in Yankee territory. That's why it's well worth venturing to Queens for Bowen's version, rubbed down with paprika and brown sugar (among other things), then smoked over peach and pecan wood for three hours. You can get the rib tips in a sandwich, but we like them with a simple squirt of the sweet-and-thick house BBQ sauce. 25-08 37th Ave between Crescent and 27th Sts, Long Island City, Queens (718-361-0085). $8.

Photograph: Virginia Rollison

Duck lunch at Momofuku Ssm Bar

Duck lunch at Momofuku Ssm Bar
David Chang is well-known for putting pork on a pedestal. With his new fancy rotisserie, he's thrusting duck up there too, roasting boutique-farm birds to a gorgeous caramel sheen. A whole duck is the centerpiece of the blowout large-format dinner ($140), but the best part of the beast---its tender pink breast meat with a candy-crisp skin---is available daily at lunch, served with flaky scallion pancakes and fragrant white rice. 207 Second Ave at 13th St (212-254-3500, momofuku.com/restaurants/ssam-bar). $14.

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