The best secret menu items at New York restaurants

You’ll have to look off the menu to find some of the best dishes at New York restaurants like Momofuku Milk Bar, Pig and Khao, and Sauce.


The best dishes at New York restaurants aren’t always in plain sight. Five of Time Out New York’s favorite New York restaurants offer stellar secret menu items, including a mint milkshake at Momofuku Milk Bar and fried oysters at Pig and Khao.


RECOMMENDED: Full list of secret places in NYC


  • Photograph: Krista Schlueter

    The best secret menu items at New York restaurants

    Mezzanelli amatriciana trachiolelle at Sauce

    Signature dishes from two of Italy’s most famous cities collide in chef Frank Prisinzano’s clandestine entrée: amatriciana from Rome and trachiolelle from Naples. Imported mezzanelli (a thicker, longer version of bucatini) gets cloaked in a zesty, guanciale-and-onion-laden tomato sauce enhanced by nutty pecorino romano and slivers of fresh mint. Atop the hearty bowl, Prisinzano places a seared slice of thick-cut pork-belly chop—typically utilized in rich Neapolitan ragùs—from butcher shop Tiberio Custom Meats. 78 Rivington St between Allen and Orchard Sts (212-420-7700, saucerestaurant.com). For two people $37.95.

  • Photograph: Jessica Lin

    The best secret menu items at New York restaurants

    Sake and salumi pairings at Il Ristorante Rosi Parmacotto

    Curious to explore the intermingling of Eastern and Western cuisines, chef Cesare Casella decided to play with the complementary nuances of certain styles of cured meat and Japanese fermented-rice wine. He prepares a different duo on request, favoring crisp and herbaceous sakes in order to balance the meat’s savory qualities. One particular match beloved by the toque is salty prosciutto Toscano with Tentaka Shuzo’s Hawk in the Heavens, a grassy, melon-tinged junmai variety. 903 Madison Ave between 72nd and 73rd Sts (212-517-7700, salumeriarosi.com). $47.

  • Photograph: Krista Schlueter

    The best secret menu items at New York restaurants

    Fried oysters at Pig and Khao

    During a trip to Vietnam, chef Leah Cohen sampled a local specialty of squid in a pungent white-pepper sauce; she riffs on that dish to create this hidden item at her Lower East Side restaurant. Cohen’s rendition employs East Coast oysters dusted in rice flour, then fried tempura-style and sautéed in a blend of crushed white pepper, fresh ginger, garlic and Thai chili. 68 Clinton St between Rivington and Stanton Sts (212-920-4485, pigandkhao.com). $14.

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    The best secret menu items at New York restaurants

    Kimchi fries at Kimchi Grill

    Phillip Lee’s original food truck earned a cult following for its Korean-Mexican fusion tacos, and now in-the-know fans commonly request this off-menu side dish at the brand’s brick-and-mortar establishment. Golden-brown fingers of Idaho spuds are crowned with a pile of the joint’s namesake condiment, which Lee bases on his grandmother’s recipe. Daikon and a mixture of red and napa cabbages add an extra layer of crunch, while garlic, ginger and scallion lend  freshness; a combination of fish sauce and paste ties everything together. 766 Washington Ave between Park and Sterling Pls, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (718-360-1839, kimchigrill.com). $7.50.

  • Photograph: Jessica Lin

    The best secret menu items at New York restaurants

    Mint cookies-and-cream espresso shake at Momofuku Milk Bar

    Christina Tosi’s minichain has become synonymous with imaginative confections, including this hush-hush dessert. Dreamed up when a customer craved something both refreshing and caffeinated, the shake consists of silky, house-made mint cookies-and-cream soft-serve, two shots of potent Stumptown espresso and a splash of milk. A flourish of crunchy cookie crumbs provides textural contrast and a final sweet touch. 360 Smith St between 1st and 2nd Pls, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn (347-577-9504, milkbarstore.com). $7.

Photograph: Krista Schlueter

The best secret menu items at New York restaurants

Mezzanelli amatriciana trachiolelle at Sauce

Signature dishes from two of Italy’s most famous cities collide in chef Frank Prisinzano’s clandestine entrée: amatriciana from Rome and trachiolelle from Naples. Imported mezzanelli (a thicker, longer version of bucatini) gets cloaked in a zesty, guanciale-and-onion-laden tomato sauce enhanced by nutty pecorino romano and slivers of fresh mint. Atop the hearty bowl, Prisinzano places a seared slice of thick-cut pork-belly chop—typically utilized in rich Neapolitan ragùs—from butcher shop Tiberio Custom Meats. 78 Rivington St between Allen and Orchard Sts (212-420-7700, saucerestaurant.com). For two people $37.95.


Users say

0 comments