More of the best dishes and drinks in New York City 2012

Find fried chicken, brunch plates, St. Louis–style pizza, Mac and chicharrón and more of 2012’s best dishes and drinks.
 (Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz)
Photograph: Paul WagtouiczFried chicken at Bobwhite Lunch and Supper CounterThose who regularly trek to Charles’ Country Pan Fried Chicken in Harlem and Peaches HotHouse in Bed-Stuy would do well to add Avenue C to their poultry-inspired peregrinations. There, ex-Virginian Keedick Coulter is cooking up one helluva fried bird, brined in sweet tea to seal in the juices, then dragged through a top-secret dredge and given a ride in the pressure fryer. Each piece emerges a golden-brown, nook-and-cranny–riddled masterpiece, with a satisfying, savory crunch that gives way to the moist and faintly sweet flesh within. 94 Ave C between 6th and 7th Sts (212-228-2972, $11.50.—Chris Schonberger
 (Photograph: Melissa Sinclair)
Photograph: Melissa SinclairEggs Benedict with Paradise Locker ham at ABVSome archetypal dishes beg to be improved upon. Others, such as the timeless eggs Benedict, demand a ritualistic devotion to their classic forms. At ABV, the dutiful rendering of the brunch staple features a gently poached egg, oozing golden yolk at the prick of a fork, seated atop a toasted Thomas’ English muffin and a slab of juicy Paradise Locker cured maple ham. Blanketed in thick hollandaise sauce glimmering with bacon fat, the Benedict makes a delicious and unimpeachable argument for leaving well enough alone. 1504 Lexington Ave at 97th St (212-722-8959, $13.—Christopher Ross
 (Photograph: Virginia Rollison)
Photograph: Virginia RollisonCaviar knish at Torrisi Italian SpecialtiesThis impressionistic take on the knish—part of Torrisi’s 20-course tasting menu—more closely resembles a delicate sushi roll than it does a dense Eastern European potato pocket. Chefs Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi roll silky mashed potatoes—made tangy and ethereal by the addition of cream cheese and sour cream—into a buckwheat wrapper. The tubes are deep-fried until they’re flaky and crisp, topped with crème fraîche, American Hackleback caviar, wisps of shallot and a sprig of dill. 250 Mulberry St between Prince and Spring Sts (212-965-0955, Part of $160 tasting menu.—Jasmine Moy
 (Photograph: Dominic Perri)
Photograph: Dominic PerriWhiskey bread at Gwynnett St.Though baskets of carbs arrive free and unbidden on many a New York table, it’s not often that you encounter bread service worth paying for. This whiskey loaf is a boozier, more decadent cousin to Irish soda bread: warm and steaming, with a butter-laden batter that makes for a crumbly yet tender crust. The interior is dense, with a hint of aged-spirit sweetness; smear it with the salted and cultured Vermont butter that’s served alongside. 312 Graham Ave between Ainslie and Devoe Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (347-889-7002, $5.—Jasmine Moy
 (Photograph: Jolie Ruben)
Photograph: Jolie RubenCorn nuts at Marlow & DaughtersUnlike most products at Andrew Tarlow’s hyperlocal grocery and butcher shop, these corn nuts, sold in pint or half-pint containers, hail from Spain. The fried kernels, known in their homeland as quicos, are a highbrow take on the junky snack varietal commonly sold in flavors like ranch and nacho cheese. Here, the crunchy bites are simply flavored with salt—and are compulsively snackable. 95 Broadway between Bedford Ave and Berry St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-388-5700, $7/lb.—Marley Lynch
 (Photograph: Noah Devereaux)
Photograph: Noah DevereauxPan-fried mashed potatoes at St. AnselmThis Williamsburg eatery is known as a grilling temple, but we’d pay a visit for this side dish alone. Chef Yvon de Tassigny revolutionizes mashed potatoes by pan-frying smooth spuds in lard. Break through the crusty golden top to find the creamy potato inside, fragrant with white truffle oil and parsley. It’s a game-changing combination that pushes the classic steakhouse side into a new stratosphere of flavor. 355 Metropolitan Ave between Havemeyer and Roebling Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-384-5054). $5.—Marley Lynch
 (Photograph: Jolie Ruben)
Photograph: Jolie RubenCora’s Broccoli Salad at Fette SauSteamed but firm broccoli stalks, marinated in an uncomplicated blend of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and red-pepper flakes, are a bracing, welcome counterpoint to the rich ’cue patrons consume by the pound at this Williamsburg meat temple. The chilled salad packs a deceptively simple punch; it’s a zesty surprise from a place that’s known for its barbecue and not much else. 354 Metropolitan Ave between Havemeyer and Roebling Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-963-3404, Small $3.75, large $7.50.—Marley Lynch
 (Photograph: Virginia Rollison)
Photograph: Virginia RollisonThe Saint Louie at Speedy RomeoSt. Louis–style pizza has its own diehard fans and haters, but Justin Bazdarich’s version could convert anyone. The star of the square slice is Provel, an improbably delicious processed cheese made of Swiss, cheddar and provolone. A ride in the 800-degree wood-burning oven brûlées the top; underneath, the cheese melts into a tangy béchamel-like layer, binding the spicy soppressata, fennelly house-made Italian sausage and San Marzano tomato sauce to the chewy crust. 376 Classon Ave at Greene Ave, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn (718-230-0061, $16.—Winnie Yang
 (Photograph: Jakob N. Layman)
Photograph: Jakob N. LaymanChicken giblets at Jack’s Wife FredaOwner Dean Jankelowitz pays homage to his South African childhood with this soul-warming snack. Chicken gizzards and sweetbreads are braised for three hours until soft; fried until the exteriors are crisp; and plunked in a thick roasted-tomato stew spiked with piri piri chilies. Sop up the lush pool—reminiscent of spicy-creamy vodka sauce—with crusty hunks of baguette. 224 Lafayette St between Kenmare and Spring Sts (212-510-8550, $11.—Mari Uyehara
 (Photograph: Jolie Ruben)
Photograph: Jolie RubenBreakfast taco with chorizo at WhirlybirdCredit bass player Jeffrey Bailey with adding this boss breakfast taco to the New York breakfast canon. After falling for the morning snack while touring in Austin, he opened an indie coffeeshop dedicated to the Tex-Mex brekkie. Tender corn tortillas can barely contain the rich contents: soft scrambled eggs, shredded Oaxacan cheese and three-chili salsa made with a bracing mix of peppers, stewed tomatoes and crumbles of chorizo. A sprinkling of fresh cilantro and crushed jalapeño potato chips punch up the whole messy package. 254 South 2nd St between Havemeyer and Roebling Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-384-1928, $4.50.—Mari Uyehara
 (Photograph: Virginia Rollison)
Photograph: Virginia RollisonMac and chicharrón at CoppeliaAt his round-the-clock Latin diner, chef Julian Medina’s high-low riff on comfort-food classic mac and cheese raises the bar for 24-hour eats. The toque blankets elbow macaroni with a velvety sauce made from American and cheddar cheeses, bound together by smooth béchamel. A double dose of pork—crispy skin and chewy belly—studs the creamy crock. 207 W 14th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves (212-858-5001, $9.95.—Mari Uyehara
 (Photograph: Alex Strada)
Photograph: Alex StradaJamaican Green juice at Miss Lily’s VarietyThe title “celebrity juicer” may seem like a character from some Hollywood farce, but Melvin Major Jr.—the fresh-squeezed whisperer headlining at Miss Lily’s—is no joke. This zippy blend deftly balances green kale and celery with bright lemon juice, bracing ginger and sweet apple. One slurp of the enlivening concoction would make even the most ardent carnivore a cold-pressed proselyte. 130 W Houston St at Sullivan St (646-588-5375, $9.—Mari Uyehara
 (Photograph: Dominic Perri)
Photograph: Dominic PerriThe No. 25 waffle at Waffle and WolfExecutive chef and co-owner Daniel Richardson turns what could be a simple breakfast staple into a made-to-order anytime treat. He crisps plain or buckwheat batter, studded with crushed raw walnuts, in the waffle iron before slathering it in fluffy whipped Quebecois goat cheese. Seasonal fruit—berries in the summer, apples or pears in the fall—plus house-infused lavender-clover honey add the final sweet flourishes. 413 Graham Ave at Withers St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (347-889-6240, $10.—Sarah Bruning
 (Photograph: Dominic Perri)
Photograph: Dominic PerriSpicy french fries with wasabi cream cheese at Mr. RobataIt would be easy to tack on an order of these gangly beauties as an afterthought—an extra something to share among friends. But you’ll quickly realize it’s best to order your own. Yukon Golds are sliced long and thin, then fried in soybean oil to achieve a craggy golden-brown exterior. The finished fries, dusted with salt and shichimi pepper, really shine when dipped into the accompanying sauce, a hot union of thick cream cheese, fresh wasabi and sushi-rice vinegar. 1674 Broadway at 52nd St (212-757-1030, $7.—Sarah Bruning
 (Photograph: Jael Marschner)
Photograph: Jael MarschnerRicotta and bread at BattersbyModest little Battersby has been topping the hit lists of food-world cognoscenti since its October 2011 opening. But perhaps the most scene-stealing dish arrives before you’ve even placed your order: The bread service here is among the city’s best, featuring a hot-from-the-oven focaccia speckled with rosemary and sea salt, plus a crock of whipped house-made ricotta drizzled with a healthy pour of olive oil. Swipe bits of the bread through the smooth, tangy cheese to gear up for dinner. 255 Smith St between DeGraw and Douglass Sts, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn (718-852-8321,—Laren Spirer
 (Photograph: Virginia Rollison)
Photograph: Virginia RollisonArtichoke-and-smoked-pancetta pizza at BarboncinoThe spread of authentic Neapolitan pizza across New York has reached Crown Heights, where Barboncino serves up this intensely savory pie. Made with dough that slowly rises over the course of three days, it’s covered with milky, locally made fior di latte mozzarella and garnished with diced cubes of smoky Italian Leoncini pancetta and artichoks soaked in oil, vinegar and a secret blend of spices. Owner Ron Brown chars the crust in a wood-fired oven till it reaches the ideal consistency: crispy on the outside and spongy within. 781 Franklin Ave between Lincoln and St. John Pls, Crown Heights, Brooklyn (718-483-8834, $17.—Christopher Ross
 (Photograph: Dominic Perri)
Photograph: Dominic PerriBaguette at Maison KayserProductive New Yorkers may love the idea of whipping up jam or pickles at home, but they know that some things are best left to the pros—baguettes, for example. For his standard-bearing specimen, master baker Yann Ledoux, of imported Parisian bakery Maison Kayser on the UES, begins with a mineral-rich natural liquid leaven that rises slowly overnight. Shaped by hand and baked for exactly 20 minutes, the resulting loaf is sturdy, with a dark blond crust that conceals a chewy interior. 1294 Third Ave between 74th and 75th Sts (212-744-3100, $2.75.—Christopher Ross
 (Photograph: Virginia Rollison)
Photograph: Virginia RollisonGrilled king mushrooms at NetaHead chef Nick Kim showcases the umami-rich potential of gorgeous king mushrooms in this meatless dish. The fungi, grown upstate, are grilled and layered with sweet and white potatoes that Kim clips into slivers and fries in nutty white sesame oil. The whole extravagant package is showered with raw microplaned serrano peppers for a memorable shot of spark-plug heat. 61 W 8th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-505-2610, $9.—Christopher Ross
 (Photograph: Melissa Sinclair)
Photograph: Melissa SinclairZucchini-flower beignets at Bistro la PromenadeIt’s a little ironic that squash blossoms have become the most sought-after dish at Bistro la Promenade—chef Alain Allegretti says he can recall seeing them tossed to pigs as a child in Nice, France. The blooms have certainly come a long way since then, appearing on plenty of farm-to-table menus around NYC. But Allegretti’s simple, restrained preparation is our favorite. He coats the flowers in a light tempura batter (buoyed by a hit of bubbly soda), then fries them for less than a minute and serves them with a rich heirloom-tomato sauce. You’d be hard pressed to find an airier, crispier, more addictive bite in all of New York. 461 W 23rd St between Ninth and Tenth Aves (212-255-7400, $11.—Christopher Ross
 (Photograph: Jolie Ruben)
Photograph: Jolie RubenSpicy Carrot Horseradish at GefilteriaGefilte fish is a divisive Jewish foodstuff, but this sunset-colored condiment has broad appeal. The blend of barely boiled chopped carrots, raw horseradish, cane sugar and spices, cut with vinegar, lemon zest and juice, pays homage to the sliced carrot moons that traditionally top gefilte-fish balls. You can try the fiery, flavor-packed chutney as it was intended to be served—smeared on the pungent fish quenelles—but it tastes equally great dolloped on sandwiches, in scrambled eggs or stirred into a Bloody Mary. Available at (347-688-8561). $6.—Leah Koenig

RECOMMENDED: All 100 best dishes and drinks

To finish our anthology of the best dishes and drinks, we present a final convoy of fried chicken (from Bobwhite Lunch and Supper Counter), caviar knishes (from Torrisi Italian Specialties), vegetable juices (from Miss Lily’s Variety) and more.