The lanced beef at this Le Bernardin offshoot is like your mom’s pot roast on hyperdrive: The tender short ribs instantly yield to your fork, softened in a decadent, almost syrupy au jus and red-wine reduction. Swirl that gorgeous gravy into the potato puree that pads the plate, as smooth and creamy as the butter those spuds are bathed in. $12.
The Tribeca public house, with a kitchen run by Momofuku Noodle Bar alum Shane Lyons, is not your garden-variety drinking hole, so it’s no surprise that their wings are leagues more refined than the Buffalo-sauced drumsticks you wolf down at the corner sports bar. The crazy-crunchy flappers are dredged, double-fried and flash frozen, their tooth-shaking crags the optimal vehicles to catch every drop of the Momofuku-worthy ginger-garlic-gochujang lacquer. $14 for small, $23 for large.
Pork purists got their own church of Carolina ‘cue with Tyson Ho’s suds-and-swine joint this year, and no dish encompasses Ho’s sermons more than his standout whole hog. The pitmaster smokes heritage hogs over oak-wood coals so the campfire haze can seep deep into the supremely moist, tender-as-all-hell meat, which is then picked off the bone and loaded into paper boats with a vinegar-pepper sauce and pork-rind cracklings for a nice crunch. $12 per half pound.
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Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant
It may be sacrilege to say it, but it seems that the legendary 96 -year-old Grand Central Oyster Bar, located in the epic and gorgeous hub that shares its name, is running on fumes. The surly countermen at the mile-long bar (the best seat in the house) are part of the charm, but the fishy lobster roll, overly breaded fried clams and ketchup-tasting pan roast are not. Play it safe—and classic—with a reliably awe-inspiring platter of iced, just-shucked oysters (there can be a whopping three-dozen varieties to choose from at any given time, from Baja to Plymouth Rock) and enjoy the vaulted-ceiling view. As long as the station is abuzz and the oysters good—they are—the other food is really beside the point.
Venue says: “For over 100 years we have been serving the freshest oysters & seafood in NYC! Our Oyster Happy Hour features Bluepoint Oysters, $1.25/each”