When it’s cold, dark and all you want is a little taste of home, there’s nothing more belly-warming than the best comfort food dishes in NYC. They’re dishes like Mom used to make, but professionally done (sorry, Ma)—we’re talking about some of the city’s best chocolate chip cookies, best soup dumplings and the best fried chicken in NYC. Take a bite out of the tastiest comfort food dishes in New York City.
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Best comfort food dishes in NYC
Chef Sarah Simmons’ssmart, studied take on the Southern classic will stick in your mind as much as it does your ribs. A riff on bayou barbecue, the shell-on critters are rendered salty, sweet and savory in a sauté of garlic, hot sauce and rosemary, while the heritage Anson Mills grits get knocked up a notch with peppery tasso ham and nutty mushrooms—forget a side act, these grits are the star. $24
The cheeseburger at this kitschy Upper East Side haunt is a bite of a bygone era, simple griddled on a flattop and medium-rare juicy. The thick, eight-ounce burger arrives open-faced, peeking beneath a layer of melted American cheese on a pillow-soft, lightly toasted bun, with sliced tomato, crisp lettuce, red onion and dill-pickle chips on the side. Don’t bypass the bacon—the deep-fried tangle adds delicious textural contrast to the coarsely packed special-blend patty. $10.50
Theo Peck’s rich, restorative matzo-ball soup is as old-school as his deli roots (Peck is the great-grandson of the cofounder of famed kosher-dairy restaurant Ratner’s), swimming with slips of confit rotisserie chicken, carrot and celery batons, and one giant sinker, the dill-flecked midpoint between dense and tender. $7.50
Britain’s humble fish pie gets a high-minded overhaul at this uptown Anglo canteen. Chef Joseph Capozzi binds flaky pollock and generous hunks of lobster claw with a tarragon-flecked fennel puree, adding a jolt of brightness, all tucked beneath a thick, bubbly head of puff pastry that’s practically begging to be pierced with a spoon. $29
Combining the best of American baking and French technique, the chocolate-studded stunner at Armand Arnal’s Soho café could tempt even the most ardent Levain loyalist. The Michelin-starred chef (France’s La Chassagnette) uses imported chocolate for its melty core, sprinkled with sea salt and crammed with macadamias, almonds and walnuts, with oven-kissed edges so buttery, they rival toffee. $3.75
At their north-Brooklyn seafoodery, Vincent Milburn and Adam Geringer-Dunn dial down their New England–style chowder bowl with a buttery broth that’s far less of a belly bomber than most creamy takes. Loaded with fresh clams—a few of which are kept in their fish-stock–scooping shells—the soul-warming soup bobs with chunks of gold potatoes and a shower of parsley to freshen things up. $10
Top Chef alums Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth brine Pennsylvania Dutch country chicken in sweet tea spiked with paprika and cayenne for 24 hours, giving it a distinct sweetness amplified by the dusting of dehydrated lemon powder the bird gets when it’s pulled golden and crunchy from the pressure cooker. A drizzle of Tabasco honey happily keeps that salty-sweet tug-of-war going. $18 for a half chicken, $35 for whole
You can go classic with the toasty, Pullman-bookended sandwiches ($7) at this grilled-cheese–focused stand in the Hudson Eats food court, but why go plain-Jane cheese when you can get melty combos like Asiago and roasted butternut squash ($10), Gruyère with crispy pancetta ($10) or a Cuban, crammed with Swiss, slow-roasted pork and smoked chipotle mayo ($12)?
Xiaolongbao, Shanghai’s steaming, soup-filled dumplings, are a comfort-food hybrid, and the version at this East Village spot—with a delicate, nearly translucent wrapper that doesn’t burst under the weight of its porky filling—guarantees that both swine and steaming broth will make the journey from chopstick to mouth. $7.95
Kale might not seem much of a comfort food at first glance, but celebutoque Bobby Flay wisely pairs the sautéed leaves with something more delectable: socarrat, that Spanish phenomenon when rice gets crusty while toasting on the bottom of a paella pan. Those scraped, crunchy kernels of Calasparra grains get extra earthiness from fried artichokes and wild mushrooms, with the yolky porn of a soft-cooked egg holding it all together. $28