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The Granddaddy at Cafe Booqoo
Photograph: Teddy WolffThe Granddaddy at Cafe Booqoo

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

Written by
Christina Izzo
,
Richard Morgan
,
Alyson Penn
&
Daniel S. Meyer
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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

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Lower East Side
  • price 1 of 4

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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Appetizers and tapas

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Noho
  • price 3 of 4

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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  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Upper West Side
  • price 4 of 4

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

Vegetarian and vegan

  • Restaurants
  • Vegetarian
  • Flatiron
  • price 3 of 4

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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  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Chinatown
  • price 2 of 4

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

Brunch

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Lower East Side
  • price 2 of 4

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

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Noho
  • price 2 of 4

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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Food truck finds

Jhol momo at Momo Delight
Photograph: Teddy Wolff

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
Photograph: Teddy Wolff

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
Photograph: Courtesy 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
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Danesh I.

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
Photograph: Courtesy 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

Snacks

  • Restaurants
  • Peruvian
  • Midtown West
  • price 3 of 4

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

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary European
  • Midtown East
  • price 4 of 4

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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  • Bars
  • Mezcalerias
  • Prospect Heights
  • price 2 of 4

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

Dessert

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Murray Hill
  • price 2 of 4

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

  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • East Village
  • price 2 of 4

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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  • Restaurants
  • CafĂ©s
  • Gramercy
  • price 1 of 4

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

  • Restaurants
  • Patisseries
  • Greenwich Village
  • price 1 of 4

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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  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Midtown East
  • price 3 of 4

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

Lunch

  • Restaurants
  • Cajun
  • Carroll Gardens
  • price 2 of 4

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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Dinner

  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4

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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  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Midtown East
  • price 4 of 4

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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Drinks

  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Soho
  • price 4 of 4

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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