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The 100 best new dishes and drinks in NYC 2017

Dig into the stellar new standouts we tried in 2017, from food-truck finds and killer cocktails to high-end steaks

Photograph: Teddy Wolff
The Granddaddy at Cafe Booqoo

You eat all the time. Your taste buds speak every flavor’s language—even umami—and your stomach is a general assembly meeting of the culinary United Nations. You eat things you can’t pronounce. You’re not even always sure what’s on your plate. But you’re up for it. We get you. So we’ve put together the 100 absolutely best new dishes and drinks we tasted this year—no, we haven’t eaten at Eleven Madison Park yet, either—with a wallet-friendly average price point of just $14. And we’ve divided them into 10 categories: everything from favorites at food trucks and crafty cocktails at the best bars to vegan delights and the latest in dreamy desserts. Gorge responsibly.

RECOMMENDED: See all of the best dishes and drinks in NYC

Breakfast

NYC (New York croissant) at Supermoon Bakehouse

Chef Ry Stephen is in a New York state of mind. The master behind San Francisco’s daring Mr. Holmes Bakehouse goes local with this morning mash-up of a bagel and a croissant, encrusting a flaky, buttery pastry with everything-bagel seasoning and stuffing it with chunks of smoked salmon and thick cream cheese. The heavy flavors—smoky fish, cooling cream, sharp seasoning—have breathing room inside the light pastry. This bright reinvention tastes like a wake-up call. $7

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Lower East Side
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Coconut rice porridge at Blake Lane

Venue says: “Blake Lane is a fun, casual restaurant serving an all-day menu of seasonal breakfast, lunch, and dinner using the best ingredients.”

The creamy porridge tastes like Christmas in a bowl, thanks to orange zest, warming spices and four thin slices of roasted pear laid diagonally across the top. $12

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Upper East Side
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Decaf La Voz at Filtered

This organic brew is both good, with notes of cherry, graham and toffee, and good for the world, with beans from a Guatemalan cooperative of the indigenous Tz’utujil. $3

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The Bronx
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Appetizers and tapas

Arctic char tostada at Atla

Chef Enrique Olvera (of Mexico City’s globally renowned Pujol) reinvents the classic lox bagel with a bold twist from his home. A crisp blue-corn tortilla becomes a gallery space for a Serra sculpture of raw char laid atop a pillow of creamy farmer’s cheese and kissed with capers, cilantro and serrano peppers. The playful combination does exactly what a small plate should: signals adventure ahead. $16

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East Village
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Trinidadian corn and coconut soup at Franklin820

The secret to the corn not overwhelming this soup is that its partnered with yellow split peas. The coconut, as well, is in chunks but also dissipates flavor throughout with coconut milk. By that point, the carrots, cilantro, garlic, parsley and thyme are just along for the wild ride. $6

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Crown Heights

Cuttlefish at Camperdown Elm

Ridiculously tender slices of charred-edged cuttlefish are an achievement. Bathe them in a creamy froth of dashi, smoked butter, and crème fraiche, and they become an addiction. $13

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Park Slope
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Foie gras terrine at Jean-Georges

This is a best-of-both-worlds bonus: the foie gras is seared, giving it a crisp caramelized flavor, but is also rolled to allow the richer, denser, lingering flavor from cold foie dishes. The accompanying garnishes match that dualism: the soft spongy brioche cake paired with crispy crumbled toast and the tart cranberries covered in white chocolate shavings have an internal contrast as well as with the foie itself. $34

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Upper West Side
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Vegetarian and vegan

Wild mushrooms at ABCV

This umami number is a forager’s wet dream: a seasonal mix of warm mushrooms (chanterelle, cremini, hen of the wood, matsutake) caressed with an airy blast of spicy pine-nut mustard and tarragon. The delight here is that it’s so good—much more mouthwatering than a simple mushroom dish has any right to be. Consider it a chance for gimme-gimme gluttony in the otherwise-refined environs. $18

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Flatiron
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Dinosaur kale at Jajaja

Half-art, half-Jenga, this is tower-of-babel veganism done right. The spice of the lime dressing, tang of the mango chunks, creamy avocado, pulpy quinoa, and textured tangle of sprouts and coconut is a taste-bud decathlon. $12

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Chinatown
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Brunch

Huevos Suffolk at Suffolk Arms

Sandy Nuñez, Suffolk Arms’ brunch captain (yes, that’s his actual title), has been known to eat two of these abuela-level plates in a single shift, describing the piquant, poignant Latin take on a casserole as “a tower of delights.” He isn’t wrong. The deceptively deep layers of crispy tortillas, salty black beans, spicy chipotle chicken and gooey cheese—topped with eggs (go for poached) and doused in salsa verde and salsa roja—create a fully loaded breakfast lasagna. $10

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Lower East Side

Eggplant shakshuka at Bessou

The miso-soaked tofu labneh at the heart of this Japanese take on a Moroccan staple is just the start of its smart appropriation. Ginger and Japanese curry powder combine with cumin, harissa, and garlic for umami that will have anyone saying shukran. $14

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East Village
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Chicken noodle pho at Bunker in DeKalb Market Hall

This dish dominates with its elegantly simple one-bowl meal, based on a ginger-infused chicken stock that’s cooked overnight. Dump in those side sprouts, a lime squeeze and a healthy squirt of sriracha—those are doctor’s orders. $15

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Downtown Brooklyn
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Savory bread pudding at Denizen

The “savory” here is not kidding around: oxtail, for starters, is plied sharp chopped pickles, gooey cheese sauce, and a poached farm egg. What seemingly starts out as a hangover cure accidentally cures mediocrity as well. $16

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Williamsburg
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Food truck finds

Jhol momo at Momo Delight

Jhol momo at Momo Delight

Growing up in Nepal, chef Fulpa Jangbu, the Best Rookie Vendor at this year’s Vendy Awards, ate this sesame-sauce–slathered dumpling all the time: at a friend’s birthday, at weddings and even while taking tests at school. After immigrating to Queens, he couldn’t find it at any of Jackson Heights’ Nepali restaurants, so he decided to cook his own, adding chili, garlic, onions and tomato to the sauce. (Even he doesn’t know all the ingredients—it’s his dad’s secret recipe.) The result is delightfully tangy, deftly nailing the paradox of being both exotic and comfortingly familiar. $6

Canoa de Platano Maduro at the Empanada Sonata

Canoa de Platano Maduro at the Empanada Sonata

A banana split meets a sloppy joe as an 8- to-12-inch sweet plantain is sliced open and jammed with beef or pulled pork. $10

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Crispy oyster crepe at Harajuku Sushi and Crepe

Crispy oyster crepe at Harajuku Sushi and Crepe

This inventive mix of fresh ingredients includes avocado, spicy bamboo shoots, cucumber, black rice, spicy tuna and spring salad. $12

Beef sambusa at Makina Cafe

Beef sambusa at Makina Cafe

This Ethiopian-Eritrean fare is so authentic that customers have tried to pay in nakfas for its dirt-cheap puff-pastry triangles full of marinated beef. $1.50

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Meatoss sandwich at Meatoss Street Grill

Meatoss sandwich at Meatoss Street Grill

Chicken thighs with tangles of caramelized onions, spicy mayo and pickles are held together in a crispy baguette. $12

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Snacks

Salchipapas at Sen Sakana

The Japanese-Peruvian restaurant offers a best-of-both-worlds blend of greasy Latin goodness and zesty Asian flavor. The apex of that form is a happy pile of juice-swelled mini Kurobuta sausages and creamy baby potatoes slicked with aji amarillo butter that dares you not to lick your fingers after. At your disposal are two tiny squeeze bottles of bright salsa verde and punchy miso mustard. It’s playful get-in-my-belly grub that you won’t mind getting all over yourself. $14

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Midtown West

Beef fat caramels at Agern

When Agern flooded, its steaks in storage got aged for 180 days instead of the usual 90. The special steaks sold out quickly upon the restaurant’s return and, not wanting any of it to go to waste, head pastry chef Isabel Zamora rendered the fat, flavored it with smoky Icelandic Arctic thyme, and added sugar (subbing the fat for traditional butter or cream) to create the caramels, which are part of a larger dessert plate. Silver linings are one thing, but these treats are a golden stroke of genius. $12

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Midtown East
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Shanghai vegetable dumplings at East Wind Snack Shop

Handwrapped in housemade dough, these bean paste dumplings are pan seared with a splash of Shaoxing (Chinese wine), then steamed and dressed in a tangy puree of ginger and scallion with crunchy sesame seeds. It began as a special and then locked into the menu, for obvious reasons. $7

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Windsor Terrace

Quinoa hush puppies at the Lately

So they don’t taste any healthier, and you’re not really sure where the quinoa actually is, but the Southern snack is still dang good drunk munchin’, especially once dunked in the charred jalapeno-cheese sauce. $6

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Chelsea
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Pupusa at Madre Mezcaleria

Denisse Lina Chavez is famed in New York taco circles for the blue-corn tortillas she used to whip up at El Atoradero bodega in the Bronx. Nowadays, you can find those fresh-made wrap-ups—warm, nutty and nixtamalized in house daily—at this mescal bar, where Chavez stuffs them with cheese and traditional fillings like black beans, crispy chicharrón and loroco blooms. $3

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Prospect Heights
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Dessert

Chocolate Butterfinger cake at the Cake Pusher

This is the taste of pure, sweet hustle: Tim Washington, an IT guy at a major bank, bakes these cakes in The Bronx, a block from Yankee Stadium, using ingredients so exact that they’re cut on an electronic scale in the manner of drugs. Then he sells them from only a ninth-floor office in FiDi and a fifth-floor office on East 34th St. They sell out every batch. The crunch of the Butterfinger crumble in the velvety embrace of his cream cheese frosting would be a treat in itself, let alone the flawless — F-L-A-W-L-E-S-S — cake. $6.50/slice, $55/cake

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Murray Hill

Chè sundae at Hanoi House

It’s a Vietnamese classic that looks like a tall glass of Jupiter. Dark purples (black sesame gelato) and bright oranges (jackfruit chunks) swirl together in cream (condensed milk and coconut milk). Plumb its depths for surprise lychee, and let its crushed peanuts pepper it like earthy pixie dust. Every bite is an act of discovery. When the eatery opened, it made only 12 a day—until a woman ate three in one sitting and the owners realized its popularity. Now the kitchen makes 18 a day. $9

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East Village
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Cruller at Daily Provisions

It’s like a canelé crossed with a Cronut. The hand-piped doughnut from pastry chef Daniel Alvarez, available sugared or glazed, is a pâte à choux rendered erotic, with a velvety, near-custard center enrobed in sugar-spackled crispiness. Glossy and glistening, its decadent combination of tongue-coating sweetness and deep-fryer fat will leave you lightheaded in the best possible way. $3.50

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Gramercy

Nuts for Nuts at DŌ

The savory-sweet, peanut-butter-flavored dough mixes with your childhood guilty pleasures of Reese’s Pieces and Peanut Butter Cups so sweetly, that after a few bites you'll be in a state of nutty nirvana. $4-$9

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Greenwich Village
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Avocado mousse at Empellón

It may look like a mere halved avocado but through silicone-mold wizardry, Alex Stupak—the former wd~50 pastry wunderkind turned New York taco titan—has constructed the ubiquitous green fruit out of creamy frozen avo parfait. A drizzle of fruity olive oil, a smear of eucalyptus yogurt and a tart lime granita cuts through the fatty sweetness and elevates this avocado from Instagram bait to dessert greatness. $16

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Midtown East
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Lunch

The Granddaddy at Cafe Booqoo

This legit albeit unorthodox shrimp po’ boy deploys onion jam as a sweet complement to BBQ smoke. The Granddaddy’s sharp pickled cabbage acts as a foil to the char-kissed shrimp within—and the sandwich illustrates just how far the spot, which used to solely sell sweet beignets, has blossomed. The whole thing is a heaping, bursting grenade of goodness. You don’t just devour it; you survive it. $14

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Carroll Gardens
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Barbacoa de Cabra at Claro

Duck-fat–crisped Oaxacan goat meat—served in heirloom corn tortillas—is steamed with avocado leaves, allowing the juices to morph into a consommé for this monster, which up to four people can share. $42

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Gowanus
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Fior di zucca at Martina

Chef Nick Anderer tricks out a light, crackly crust with delicate squash blossoms, and the zucchini sweetness offsets the salty tang of anchovies. $12

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East Village
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Dinner

86’d burger at Chumley’s

Chilean chef Victoria Blamey created a why-didn’t-we-think-of-that meat lover’s pairing when she topped two four-ounce patties with a heaping pile of fatty bone marrow. The savory compatibility resonates on an almost genetic level. On top of that intelligent design, Blamey included a hint of some fun, too: the simple pleasure of American cheese, the crisp whimsy of shallots, the come-hither curls of fried onions and a barbecue sauce with coffee, jalapeño and mango. The resulting melange of salty, tangy, spicy, savory sharpness leaves no taste bud untouched. $28

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West Village

Dry-aged rib eye at Cote

The slabs of meat in the basement drying room of this Korean barbecue joint are aged for up to six months and well worth the wait. Though the rib eye is only a few bites, it’s part of an ingenious prix-fixe beef sampler. $44

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Flatiron
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Smoked chicken sandwich at the Drift

It comes as no surprise that the team behind the Commodore and its mouthwatering fried chicken pulled off yet another poultry feat: sliced strips of tender, smoked meat smothered in tangy Alabama-style white BBQ sauce and coin-size pickles. $11

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Greenpoint

Prime rib at the Grill

Pink, achingly juicy and double-rubbed for a heady crust, the hulking slab is a reverential piece of bygone Americana, trotted out by table captains in Tom Ford tuxedos via a $10,000 silver trolley and carved tableside. Extra? Sure. Essential? Absolutely. $62

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Midtown East
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Grassfed lamb burger with anchovies at Hart’s

The genius surf-and-turf riff here builds flavor by adding caper-garlic-mustard aioli. The creamy sauce counters the salty sting of the broad white anchovies and is then brought to heel nicely with a kick from celery-fennel slaw. $18

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Bedford-Stuyvesant
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Drinks

Maria Mezcal at Pegu Club

In a year that saw a renaissance in high-end cocktail presentation—see the Instagrammable glassware at the Aviary NYC and ROKC—it’s refreshing to see this monument to simplicity. With pellet ice piled into a rocks glass, the drink has a dried-orange garnish that hides a spicy, soothing cauldron of ingredients in plain sight: reposado tequila, lime, lemon, Campari, grapefruit syrup, agave syrup and two types of mescal. Cuban-born bartender Alcibeidis Gonzalez’s drink is currently the best-selling new cocktail on the menu—and we ain’t complaining. $16

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Soho

Wake & Bake at the Aviary NYC

Beverage director Micah Melton pays homage to New York with this coffee-infused rye cocktail served in a gauchely branded plastic bag filled with the vapor of an everything bagel. $24

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Upper West Side
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