Alli and I spent four days in New York City last week and we tried our best to follow up on our epic food fest from last year. Like last year, we tried to cross as many restaurants off our wishlist as possible. On this particular trip we tried visiting restaurants that are currently really hip or new, as well as explore some of Brooklyn’s various neighborhoods. We put together our itinerary through websites like Eater and recommendations from shows on Cooking Channel and Vice.
Like last year, we’ll break up our write ups into a couple parts. Today we’ll talk about the places that we decided to revisit and the cool Brooklyn restaurants that we tried out for the first time.
Revisits. We didn’t plan on revisiting too many restaurants when we got to NYC, but we had a couple cravings that were too strong to ignore. On our first full day in the city, we had to hit up two of our favorite meals from last year. We started with a trip back to Ess-A-Bagel. Alli and I both ordered two bagels with lox, tomatoes and scallion cream cheese. With low carb diets becoming more of a fad, the art of baking bagels in NYC has been on a steady decline. While I’m sure there are plenty of quality bagel shops in New York City, we really liked the bagels at Ess-A-Bagel (for just lox, I’d go back to Russ and Daughters).
Having lunch at Ippudo was a must. Alli and I hit up the East Village Ramen shop for lunch on Thursday and luckily didn’t have to wait for a seat. We split another order of Pork Buns which were still delicious; the spicy sauce on the pork belly was fantastic and the sweet steamed buns were the best I’ve ever had. I know David Chang and Baohaus get a lot of buzz for their pork buns, but nothing I’ve tried have tasted better then Ippudo’s version. That day the restaurant was offering a special Spicy BBQ Ramen (pictured above) with tonkontsu pork broth. The creamy texture of the broth, fantastic chewy noodles and pulled pork somehow all worked together wonderfully. Both Alli and I tried our hardest to finish off our bowls but only got 2/3′s of the way through. During our meal we both realized that Ippudo will always been a must when we visit NYC.
We can’t visit NYC and not order Soup Dumplings, so of course we went back to Grand Sichuan on St Marks. We actually didn’t order anything else from the menu and the dumplings were an “appetizer” of sorts while waiting for a table at a busier restaurant (more on that in later posts). After a couple drinks on Saturday, we made the trip back to Pommes Frites so that Alli could relive her favorite moment of our last trip. We managed to wait through a very long line at 2am and eventually grabbed a table inside the small restaurant and devoured a large order of fries. They have perfected the double fried process and every single fry in the order was crispy and delicious. If you are a fry lover like Alli, this is your holy grail and a must-eat drunk food if you find yourself in the East Village on the weekends.
Roberta’s. We arrived to Brooklyn late Wednesday night and drove straight to Roberta’s in Bushwick. It was a last minute idea and I’m so glad we decided to go. There is no mistaking you are in Brooklyn as soon as you walk into the restaurant. Large wooden communal tables, thrift store lighting fixtures, and a large wood burning oven in the dining room filled with kids who looked way cooler then me. At 9pm on a Wednesday night we were told there was about a 2 hour wait, but luckily we could kill time in their (covered and heated) tiki bar outside. We enjoyed a combination of cheap Modelo’s, their take on a Michelada (beer, hot sauce, lime juice) and a cheese and charcuterie sampler. When we finally sat down at a table around 11pm, we were very excited to try their famous wood fire pizza. The Margherita (pictured above) was simply awesome. The crust was incredible and cooked just right, there was the perfect amount of mozzarella and the sauce was sweet and not too heavy. A leek salad special and their Millennium Falco pizza (spicy pork sausage, bread crumbs, etc) was another good call. It was a great start to our trip and the restaurant really embodied the hip Brooklyn restaurant scene. If you have $180 and some luck, maybe you can try their 12 seat ultra fine dining restaurant Blanca that’s behind the restaurant.
Bien Cuit. After watching an Unique Eats episode that focused on the dedication and time put into the french pastries at Bien Cuit, we knew that we’d be walking to the Boerum Hill shop at some point on our vacation. We went for breakfast and stocked up on a chocolate croissant (amazing, above), a banana and bourbon custard tart and their twice baked almond croissant that’s soaked in brandy. Everything was so damn good that we had to make a 2nd visit before we headed back to Buffalo.
Mile End Delicatessen. I’m a huge fan of the Vice Munchies video series but I wasn’t exactly sold on Mile End after watching their episode. However, I had a change of heart after talking to my friend Mike and our buddy DJ, they really sold me on the restaurant. So when Alli was at a makeup convention on Saturday we decided to give it a try. This Jewish deli has it’s roots in Montreal, which meant that I obviously needed to order their smoked meat poutine (pictured above). Not only were the fries cooked perfectly, but the smoked meat was heavenly. It might be one of the best things I ate on the entire trip. I ordered “The Beauty” to go a long with my poutine. The bialy was thin and toasted to a nice crisp and then topped with fresh lox, tomato, capers, etc. Our timing worked out on an early Saturday morning, we were able to sit down immediately when arriving but by the time we left around 11am the place was packed with a line out the door.
Bark Hot Dogs. On our last day in Brooklyn we went to Bark Hot Dogs. This was another restaurant that I had discovered via Unique Eats; it’s a pretty hip hot dog joint that was started by an experienced chef who wanted to make comfort food with really good ingredients (a majority of the ingredients used are local or within a 100 miles of the restaurant). Our hot dogs were great and I really liked the beef/pork meat combination and the ‘bark butter’ (smoked lard, butter) that’s spread on the dogs gave them a great flavor. Mike ordered a deep fried pork belly burger and it was almost over the top decadent. It’s a very cheap and if you find yourself in the area and want a quick, cheap, but still delicious lunch, you can’t go wrong.
Best Pizza. Our last stop in New York City was Best Pizza, a little by-the-slice pizza place in Williamsburg. From the outside it looks like just any other pizza shop, but inside they are cooking with a 100 year old wood fire oven and using quality ingredients to make really amazing New York style pizza. We found out about this place thanks to the chef/owner Frank Pinello’s apperance on Munchies. Alli and I only ordered a couple of slices since we were still full from Bark. Alli ordered herself a slice of Cheese and Pepperoni while I tried a Sicilian style slice of the veggie pizza. The crust had that wonderful almost-burnt crispiness that only a wood-fire oven can create. My slice of veggie pizza was pretty unique; the combination of ricotta, spinach and beets was delicious. If I had any extra room in my stomach, I would have ordered another slice.
Check back next week for Part 2 and 3 of our NYC Eats.