Restaurant dishes

Best New York Restaurant Foods of 2019, According to Reviewer Ryan Sutton

Last week, I unveiled my list of the best new restaurants in town for 2019. Today, I’m bringing you my pick of the best dishes of the year. Some of these preparations are quite traditional and regional. Others are more experimental with avowed globalist tendencies. But most of them give the impression that whatever happens – if the economy goes down because of, well, everything, or if billionaires grab more than they already have – the bosses and New York operators will resist the urge to let the city run. in bastion of culinary monotony.


The first three

Haenyeo Rice Cake Fundido

When I’m depressed by all the fast-casual chains and rococo steakhouses, I take comfort in thinking of Haenyeo and his rice cakes. Chef Jenny Kwak overwhelms the business tteok in a pot of chili sauce, melt a layer of milky Oaxacan cheese on top and anoint the whole shebang with crumbly chorizo. The wonder of a Korean-Mexican dish, reminiscent of fundido as much as baked ziti, suggests that an authoritative neighborhood spot may still thrive in modern New York. 239 Fifth Ave. in Carroll St., Park Slope

Nigiri duck in Llama San
Louise Palmberg / Eater NY

San Llama Duck Nigiri

If traditional, ultra-expensive sushi parlors are a hallmark of the modern gastronomic era, Llama San’s duck nigiri is the opposite: something wildly creative and affordable. Chef Erik Ramirez places a slice of aged duck on a cilantro-flavored patch of rice, pairing the duo with a slice of sweet banana. The brilliant Japanese-Peruvian dish is reminiscent of Nobu’s fanciful early days. 359 Sixth Ave. near Washington Pl., Greenwich Village

Electric Lemon Curd at Electric Lemon

Pastry chef Kelly Nam builds the dessert of the same name as if it were a pastel-colored solar system, with airy orbs of light green lemon verbena sorbet sitting next to frozen moons of tangy lemon creme . Homemade Pop Rocks, hidden everywhere, strike the tongue with an audible hiss. Electric lemon, like most of the candy here – from a chocolate candy that looks like a meteor to a frozen yogurt that’s meant to be a cutting-edge study in green and white – proves that pure creativity can shine even in the most soulless neighborhoods. 33 Hudson Yards, off West Side Highway, 24th Floor

Restaurant uses chopsticks to stretch Oaxacan cheese over a bowl of fundido rice cake in Haenyeo

The rice cake fundido in Haenyeo
Alex Staniloff / Eater NY

Yellow spheres of electric lemon curd with lemon verbena sorbet green orbs

Electric lemon
Gary He / Eater NY

Dishes of the year: the long list

Yi Ji Shi Mo Rice Noodle Rolls: The year a global rice roll chain arrived in Manhattan – Yin Ji on Bayard – the astonishing cheung fun in this little window shone the brightest of all. The smell of freshly ground rice milk perfumes the Elizabeth Street space. Place an order and a few minutes later an efficient cook will produce a roll of freshly scraped rice. The product’s natural sweetness comes out best when paired with barbecued pork or dried shrimp, portioned sensibly enough not to distract from the main event: the sweet and tasty noodles. 88 Elizabeth St., near Grand St., Chinatown

Kawichili rice cake: Eunjo Park, in his early days as an executive chef, placed this modern Korean restaurant at the top of the best new restaurants of the year. This was largely due to the pinwheel tteokbokki. Park roasts a rice cake in a spicy chili jam and finishes it with Benton ham and olive oil; it envelops the soft density of the steak and the complex nutty of the good Iberian. 20 Hudson Yards, fifth floor

Tagliolini al ragu at Rezdora: Stefano Secchi, a former Osteria Francescana, opened the best of the year and the hardest to enter the Italian spot. The main course of the place is al ragu. The sauce – forged from ground mortadella, soffrito, pork, and salumi – features otherworldly meat, while the mild tagliolini soak up all the MSG-esque flavor. 20 East 20th St, near Broadway, Flatiron District

The tagliolini al ragu, held by a fork, in Rezdora

The tagliolini al ragu in Rezdora
Alex Staniloff / Eater NY

Win Son BakeryMochi Millet Fritter: The crowds at Win Son Bakery are a sign that pastry chef Danielle Spencer is a force to be reckoned with. A main draw is surely its Mochi Millet Fritter, with an exterior as fluffy as a gummy bear and a soft, springy interior. 164 Graham Ave. in Montrose Ave., East Williamsburg

Bar Wayō’s curry donut: Momofuku’s new Seaport Bar is an easy answer to the dilemma of where to get a drink with a stunning view of the water. And yet, chef Sam Kang’s kitchen alone is worth a visit. Throughout the fall, I found myself asking various coworkers, “Hey, have you tried Wayō’s donut?” Coconut flakes and curry powder line the outside of the savory paste, while a spicy tomato mushroom paste fills the softer interior. It’s a test of crunch, salt and heat. 89 South St, Pier 17, opposite escalators, Seaport

A waiter cuts the curry donut at the Wayo bar next to the table

Bar Wayō’s curry donut
Gary he/Eater

Flychicken sandwich: This lively place, by the team behind Cervo’s and Hart’s, specializes in natural wines and roast birds. But to experience the Fly at its best, order the chicken sandwich. The cooks fold the minced skin into a pile of white and dark meat, add a little fortified juice, and place the succulent mixture on a soft bun covered with aioli. 549 Classon Ave, near Fulton St., Bedford-Stuyvesant

Halibut at Riddler: Few can afford to dine regularly at the four-star Le Bernardin. The Riddler, an import from Jen Pelka from Northern California, is certainly no substitute for seafood, but roast halibut is easily one of the fish dishes of the year. Chef Nikole Morsink lets the neutral fillet serve as a conduit for the green shiso, buttered chanterelles and a stew of sparkling mushroom broth. 51 Bank Street at West 4th St., West Village

Turmeric tom crab meat Taladwat: David Bunk, the chef behind Pure Thai Cookhouse, gave Hell’s Kitchen a vital new Thai place with Taladwat, charging just $ 22 to fill two-course meals. Among the offerings is one of the city’s finest new shellfish dishes: loose chunks of crab suspended in a lemongrass-flavored coconut milk bath. Hot red chili provides as much color as it does heat. 714 Ninth Ave, near 49th St., Hell’s Kitchen

A pile of golden fries sits next to a crimson lobster, brushed with garlic butter

Lobster and fries with Pastis
Alex Staniloff / Eater NY

Tomato slice Bread & Salt and F&F: Rick Easton, on his return to the Northeast with Bread & Salt, reaffirmed his status as one of the country’s great pizza makers. For example, its tomato slice is packed with tasty fruit and a crust that crumbles like a pastry. 435 Palisade Ave, near Griffith, Jersey City

Regular slice at F&F Pizzeria: Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo (helped by Chris Bianco and Chad Robertson of Tartine) released a surprisingly light variation on the “regular” New York cheese slice. The place’s soft rind, tangy from fermentation, acts as a stepping stone for a low-moisture mozz as rich in umami as Parmesan. 459 Court St., near Luquer St., Carroll Gardens

Chanterelles and green shiso garnish a halibut rack

Riddler’s Halibut
Louise Palmberg / Eater NY

Hometown Bar-B-Que City of industrythe pastrami sandwich from: Billy Durney, arguably the best pitmaster in town, is quickly becoming an expert in reimagining old-fashioned food. Most of the food media attention has gone to his (much improved) rendition of the Peter Luger burger at Red Hook Tavern, but his biggest and most overlooked triumph was his ode to Katz’s famous pastrami sandwich. The mustard business involves careful smoke processing that allows a remarkable sweetness to permeate the meat, thwarting the creeping salt. 87 35th street., City of industry

Chicken Satay Wayan: Fire code issues have kept Cedric Vongerichten from installing a charcoal barbecue in his Indonesian restaurant with French accents, but the good news is the chef knows how to get by with a griddle. He cooks chicken thighs with the chewy texture of tofu, topping them with a peanut sauce so rich and creamy it could make a nasty fettuccine Alfredo. 20 Spring St. near Elizabeth St., Nolita

Hawawshi at Zooba: In a city full of great laid-back and fast-paced Middle Eastern spots, the Egyptian hangout of Chris Khalifa and Moustafa El Refaey easily ranks among the best. Weekend diners know to get the restorative koshari, but every other day, hawawshi is the go-to snack. Staff members stuff beef patties into aish baladi bread – a type of whole wheat pita – and toast them hard, creating spicy and peppery meat pies that look like floppy frisbees. On a cold day, few things will warm you up so quickly. 100 Kenmare St. in Lafayette St., Nolita

A range of dishes, including tomato pizza, margherita pizza, meatballs and bottarga toast, can be found on a sheet of red butcher paper at Bread &;  Salt in Jersey City

Assorted pizzas at Bread & Salt
Ryan Sutton / Eater NY

The egg sandwich at Hunky-dory: Kirstyn Brewer, chef at Claire Sprouse’s Crown Heights café and bar, has created an egg sandwich like few others. She places a pork and lamb patty on a brioche bun, then lets a slippery pile of scrambled eggs overflow. Arugula adds a touch of pepper, while curried onions import flavor. Really, the whole thing is heavy and meaty enough to qualify as a gourmet burger. 747 Franklin Avenue near Sterling Pl., Crown Heights

Lobster-fries at pastis: Keith McNally’s gold-tinted brewery looks like an ode to a wild, pre-crash Meatpacking District. There’s really no better way to celebrate this excess than with a roasted whole lobster, dipped in garlic butter and accompanied by a stack of fries for dipping. 52 Gansevoort St., near Greenwich St., Meatpacking District.

Disclosure: David Chang produces shows for Hulu in partnership with Vox Media Studios, which is part of Eater’s parent company, Vox Media. No Eater staff are involved in the production of these shows, and this does not affect Eater’s coverage.

549 Classon Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11216


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