Tebirke at Bien Cuit
Don’t call it a Danish—though a Copenhagen café staple, this deceptively simple poppy-seed pastry is actually a product of the Viennese, not the Danes. Owner Zachary Golper gives the Austria-by-way-of-Denmark novelty a New York revamp at his Cobble Hill bakeshop. He jacks up richness by padding the viennoiserie with extra butter, making for a superbly moist, delicate dough. Subbing out traditional dense marzipan, the pâtissier fills the bundle with smooth almond cream laced with poppy seeds, echoing the savory nuttiness with a generous sprinkle of dried seeds on the crust. 120 Smith St between Dean and Pacific Sts, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn (718-852-0200, biencuit.com). $4.
Kanafeh at Balaboosta
This warm dessert at Einat Admony’s beloved New Israeli kitchen is the Middle Eastern answer to Italian cheesecake. Atop a butter-drizzled round of kataif (shredded phyllo dough) are layers of creamy ricotta—a swap-out for goat cheese—perfumed with lemon zest and orange blossom and another nest of phyllo. The golden-brown, crisp-edged pastry is then soaked with a not-so-simple syrup of rosewater, cardamom, orange peel and berries, the kataif threads held together with a baklava-like stickiness. Alongside the traditional pistachio-nut topping, the dish is capped with a scoop of rosewater ice cream and airy floss halva (Persian cotton candy). 214 Mulberry St between Prince and Spring Sts (212-966-7366, balaboostanyc.com). $10.
Borek at Bedford Baking Studio
From empanadas to samosas, it seems every culture has a signature turnover—in Turkey, it’s the borek, a phyllo-wrapped pastry stuffed with ground lamb, vegetables or brined cheese. At this South Williamsburg coffeeshop, Tolga Eyidemir puts a Brooklyn spin on the traditional snacks. In addition to classic combinations like hummus with roasted pepper, the Malatya, Turkey, native spirals flaky pastry dough (called yufka) with outré fillings: sweet-potato-pecan-rosemary, pumpkin-feta-walnut and—a standout—biting French blue cheese studded with chewy, honey-sweet dates, the piping-hot cheese oozing out from beneath the pastry when it’s pulled from the oven. 347 Bedford Ave between South 3rd and 4th Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (347-278-4548, bedfordbakingstudio.com). $4.50.
Merveilleux at Ô Merveilleux
Before Anne-Sophie Diotallevi opened her fetching Upper East Side bakery, the shop’s namesake sweet was virtually unheard-of in New York. Amid brioche buns and full-size cakes, you can find the star confections: Belgian meringues bathed in whipped cream and coated with chocolate shavings or crumbles of house-baked speculoos (spiced gingerbread cookies). Deviating from French meringue recipes, Diotallevi bakes hers at a relatively low temp for a soft, hollow interior and a whisper-light shell, acting as a crunchy foil to the fluffy cream and crumbly coating. 1509 Second Ave between 78th and 79th Sts (646-681-8688, omerveilleux.com). Small $2.20, large $5.90.
Work up a big appetite before stopping by Madangsui, a Korean barbecue hotspot in Midtown. The star here is the hands-on Korean barbecue experience. Choose your meat—marinated pork ($24.99), Korean-style short ribs ($37.99), thin-sliced brisket ($27.99) or a whole host of other options—then cook it tableside at your own personal grill. Each option comes with banchan, an assortment of small side dishes traditional in Korean cuisine. If all that food is too much for you, opt for one of the other traditional Korean dishes on the menu. Either the bulgogi bibimbap, a combination of rice, assorted vegetables and marinated beef served in a sizzling hot stone pot, or galbi tang, tender short ribs with radishes in savory beef broth (both $18.99) would make an authentic dinner. It wouldn’t be a true Korean barbecue experience without some soju ($14) or plum wine ($17) to quench your thirst.
Venue says: “All day specials- Mon: Seafood Combo, Tues: Bulgogi, Wed: Pork Belly, Thu: Spicy Pork. Family Sun:Meat Combo/Seafood Combo 10% off.”