8 Most Memorable NYC Dishes

Beer Cheese at Earl's Beer and Cheese
There are very few places quite like New York where there is such an abundance of delicious food. Manhattan (and its surrounding Burroughs) is a food lovers’ paradise, with a seemingly endless supply of new dishes to try. From the hole in the wall joints, to the neighborhood favorites, to the uber trendy spots that require reservations months in advance, it seems as though every corner you turn and every avenue you cross is just teeming with restaurants that you MUST add to your ever-growing list.

 

In my time there (from 2011-2013), I tried countless restaurants and hundreds of dishes. I was always on the lookout for a new spot and a new favorite. I kept lists and notes and blogs about each and every delicious meal I had there, and by the end of my time in what is known as one of the great food cities in the world, I was left with some delicious memories (and probably a few extra lbs. on my waist). While so many of the meals I tried while living in NYC were extremely special, there were just a handful that have stuck in my mind above all of the rest. Here are the 8 most memorable dishes that I tried in and around NYC (listed in no particular order):

 

  • Burnt Ends at John Brown Smokehouse (Long Island City): I see why JB’s is sold out of these almost every single night (if you want them, make sure you call in advance). They are juicy, flavorful, and to be honest, I didn’t even know what a burnt end was before John Brown’s, but I imagine that these are probably some of the best I’ll ever have.
  • Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings at Pok Pok NY (Cobble Hill, Brooklyn): I’m a huge chicken wing fan, and I’ve tried hundreds of different kinds. These were the best. I now live in Thailand and have tried similarly flavored wings, but these are still the best. They’re sweet, they’re spicy, they’re garlicy, they’re crispy. Honestly, I have dreams about these wings.
  • Butcher’s Steak at St. Anselm (Williamsburg, Brooklyn): Ah, St. Anselm… the steakhouse that doesn’t quite know it’s a steakhouse. I remember the first time I read about their $15 hangar steak. I couldn’t believe that a $15 steak existed and I couldn’t wait to try it. You obviously can’t beat the price, but I was shocked that a $15 steak was one of the best steaks I’ve ever had. If you’re a fan of a big manly steak, then this may not be for you, but they cook it perfectly (every time) and that garlic butter on top adds an amazing extra layer of flavor (not that it needs it).
  • Porterhouse for 2/3/4 at Peter Luger (Williamsburg, Brooklyn): Now don’t worry, I didn’t leave out those of you who do love that big manly steak. If this is what you like, then Peter Luger is the steakhouse and the porterhouse (to share) is the steak for you. Now this is a steakhouse that knows its a steakhouse and knows how to do it right. One of the biggest, juiciest, most flavorful steaks that I’ve ever had, and they even cut it into perfect bite-sized pieces for you.
  • Stuffed Chicken with Black Truffle and Fois Gras at The NoMad (Flatiron): Wow, wow, wow, wow. They certainly have called this the best dish in New York for a reason. It wasn’t stuffed in the way that you would typically imagine a piece of chicken to be stuffed. Instead, there was a thin layer of the black truffle and fois gras mixture right under the skin. I cannot even describe to you how amazing and delicious this was. My best advice would be to skip everything else on the menu and go just straight for this.
  • Beer Cheese at Earl’s Beer and Cheese (Upper East Side): If you like beer and you like cheese, then this is the place for you. Even if you don’t like beer or cheese, you should still try Earl’s Beer-Cheese because it’s the best. Even the toast that this dish comes with to spread the cheese on is the best. It also comes with raw garlic cloves to rub onto the bread before spreading on the cheese. Again, the best. And, it’s a perfect snack to go with one (or two or three) of Earl’s great beers.
  • Kung Pao Pastrami at Mission Chinese Food (Lower East Side): You know that this dish is going to be memorable just by the name of it. If you love kung pao and you love pastrami (both of which I do), then this dish is a no-brainer. The meat is tender, they get the spice just right (for someone who likes very spicy foods), and the peanuts add the perfect crunchy texture. This is a very interesting and creative take on a classic Chinese favorite.
  • Woody Allen sandwich at Carnegie Deli (Midtown West): There was no possible way that I could write a list about the most memorable dishes in New York without including a deli sandwich. The Woody Allen, delicious corned beef and pastrami towering between two pieces of rye, is my absolute favorite. Probably the only sandwich I feel ok about spending $30 on.