Restaurant dishes

15 best restaurant dishes of 2018, according to Robert Sietsema

I can’t tell you what a joy it is to sort out the best things I ate last year in my imagination, proving that culinary memories can be just as poignant as the original experience. The collection is also a tribute to good democratic cooking: some of my favorite dishes come from fancy kitchens where you can drop $ 100 or more for dinner, while others are street snacks you can enjoy for less. $ 5. Most fall in between. And anyone who says restaurant food is on the decline just hasn’t eaten enough. So here are the 15 best dishes I ate this year.

Veal and Mackerel Tongue Frenchette: Dining-room audiences embraced Frenchette when she appeared at Tribeca earlier this year, finding that the warm, old-fashioned looking bistro ended up offering a more creative menu than the decor suggested. Among a multitude of succulent dishes, the veal tongue was the best, accompanied by a small fillet of wild mackerel whose aggressive flavor blended perfectly with the sweetness of the glottis organ. A savory tuna sauce from northern Italy tied the package like a Christmas ribbon.

Nigerian mixed meat and foufou egusi at Africana

Fufu With Mixed Meat Egusi in African: This restaurant near JFK Airport displays its lounge bar vibe while proving to be one of the best Nigerian dishes in town. Choose a starch – in this case crushed yam fufu – then order a meat and sauce combo to go with it. Egusi is splendid, a porridge of crushed melon seeds that convincingly mimics scrambled eggs. At the top is a ‘mixed meat soup’, which means you’ll find yourself dredging up delicious chunks of gooey cow’s foot, strong mutton, twisty chicken, and sometimes fish, though the selection varies from day to day.

Lagman at the Foteh tandoori

Lagman at Foteh Tandoori: While the quintessential Central Asian restaurant was an imposing kebab palace modeled on a Russian nightclub, smaller and less grandiose places have sprung up out of public view. Coney Island Avenue is home to an enclave, including Foteh’s Tandoori, a modest place offering breads, savory pastries and soups, including this charming lagman. It sparkles with flavor, reinforcing ragged pieces of lamb and slippery noodles topped with fresh herbs – the perfect winter soup.

Roasted octopus with pheasant

Roasted Octopus Pheasant: The pheasant has invaded Williamsburg this year as a rare bird with colorful plumage, seeking to redefine the classic bistro menu. Instead of a predictable grilled octopus drizzled with olive oil, this gave us this dish. The tentacles were roasted and dipped in a concentrated yogurt-based sauce called labneh, which had been flavored with the salami ‘nduja paste. The mashed potatoes added a comforting garnish and arugula, camouflage.

Raspberry croissant at Cannelle

Raspberry croissant Cinnamon: We’re all familiar with the usual range of French croissants, apparently available on every block in certain neighborhoods, including the plain croissant, the almond croissant, the chocolate croissant, and sometimes, a chocolate-almond hybrid. Obscurely located north of Northern Boulevard in Jackson Heights, Cinnamon does them all better by adding tangy, sweet raspberry jam to what is essentially a marzipan-filled almond croissant, dramatically increasing the delight. One bite and you can’t forget it.

Anchovies with vanilla butter in Saint Julivert

Anchovies in Vanilla Butter Saint julivert: Anchovies are fabulous, especially for their salty and fishy flavor that complements a pizza, salad or a simple piece of toast. They rarely impose themselves as the solitary hearth of a dish, but they do with newcomer Saint Julivert Fisherie. There, they are given a thick, sweet icing stiffening them enough to be picked up with the fingers, and covered with a sculpted fan of butter. Dip an anchovy in butter and discover that the rich spread is embellished with hints of vanilla. Who would have imagined that, against all odds, this app works wonderfully?

Pho Ga Dry Di An Di

Pho Ga at Di An Di: The city has been so obsessed with beef pho in recent years that other Vietnamese soups have been overlooked. One example is the pho ga cousin of pho bac, which is made with chicken, generating a softer broth with lighter flavor notes. Di An Di does a great job on the soup, offering it in two variations, one with the broth intact and the other with the broth separated from the chicken and noodles in the “dry” style currently popular in Houston, a Mecca of Vietnamese cuisine. to which the restaurant has historical and sentimental links.

Béchamel macaroni in Little Egypt

Macaroni Béchamel in Little Egypt: This charming little cafe and market is located on Ridgewood’s Fresh Pond Road, one of the city’s largest and most overlooked thoroughfares. This bechamel macaroni is an Egyptian dish that includes layers of pasta and minced meat, similar to an Italian lasagna or a Greek pastitsio. But it is a thing in itself, looser than the second and softer than the first. It would work equally well for breakfast, lunch or dinner, especially paired with a salad or a bowl of garlic beans. Little Egypt is one of the best Middle Eastern restaurants in town, and also the cheapest.

Miznon folded cheeseburger

Cheeseburger folded to Miznon: Paper-thin pitas have long been used to rock falafel or shawarma, being the weakest part of the Middle Eastern sandwich. But Israeli chain Miznon starts with a fresh, puffy pita that becomes the center of attention, then fills it with a diverse choice of ingredients. The folded cheeseburger was a revelation for lovers of jaded burgers, an excellent seared beef patty amplified with tangy garlic aioli, mild white cheddar and sliced ​​dill pickles that protrude from the top like green banners.

Homemade roast lamb at Yi Lan Halal

Homemade roast lamb in Yi Lan Halal: This splendid restaurant in Tianjin in northern China offers several unusual dishes that are not found in other Chinese restaurants here. One of the best is this lamb dish, in which roasted pieces of meat, onions and other aromatics are hidden under an omelet dome that rises from a pool of salty brown sauce like a building. rain soaked alien. It may be the best hangover cure in the world, but also one of the most delicious and comforting lamb dishes in town.

Vori Vori at I love Paraguay

Vori Vori at I love Paraguay: This South American folk dish is very difficult to find in New York City, as our offer of Paraguayan restaurants was reduced to one or two, while we had several more. It’s a shame, because Paraguayan cuisine has many surprises in store. This rich and delicious stew includes chicken, orange squash, and small yellow meatballs made with cornmeal and cheese. The name “vori vori” is in the Guarani language, in which the doubling of a word designates a plural.

Country duck in Bo Ky

Duck in the countryside at Bayard Bo Ky: All over Chinatown, you see Peking ducks hanging from tea room windows and pictured on posters on the facades of the finest restaurants. In this ubiquitous preparation, the goal is a crispy skin with potato chips, while the flesh shrinks until it becomes semi-hard. But that’s not the case in Bo Ky, where the duck is instead braised in a recipe attributed to the Teochew people in which the flesh becomes more flavorful and succulent. The accompanying marinated daikon and Vietnamese-style dip suggest Teochew’s historic diaspora across Southeast Asia.

Samosa at Merit Kabab

Samosa at Merit kabab: There is no better snack for walking around town than Indian samosa. The flaky crust conceals a potato filling modestly made with other vegetables and flavored with cumin, and a pair of chutneys come alongside to dip it in. At the Merit Kabab – a Jackson Heights institution just off the subway down from a chain of convenience stores – the samosas are plucked straight from the cooking oil, crisp and hot as possible. Even more miraculously, they only cost a dollar each.

Kare kare at Mama Fina

Kare Kare at Filipino Sisig’s Mama Fina home: Yes I found the sisig, in which pieces of pork arrive sizzling in a cast iron pan in many variations, quite well at Mama, but the kare kare I liked more. This oxtail stew contains a rich peanut sauce, which makes the dish taste like a meaty and more fluid peanut butter sandwich. But then the perfectly cooked green beans and bonus okra make great dips for the extra sauce. To top it off, bagoong, a fermented fish condiment.

Archie Bar Pizza

Pizza at Archie’s bar: New York City continues to be teeming with excellent pizzas, many of which are geographically identified, including pies from places as diverse as Rome, Detroit, San Francisco, Staten Island, and Naples itself. Sometimes we get distracted by this dripping fruitfulness of tomatoes, so much so that we ignore less flashy styles like the bar pies at Archie’s in Bushwick, where the crust is puffy and golden brown and the toppings piled up with a generous hand. My favorite pie this year featured the low-brow combo of ground beef, spinach, jalapenos and purple onions.

Did you like the 15 best? Discover the 10 worst.

Correction: This post has been updated to reflect the exact photo and description of Di An Di’s pho ga.

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