As Adrianna over at A Cozy Kitchen said, “I always think it’s super snobby when someone names a recipe ‘the best’ of anything but sometimes it really is true.”
Since I’m not the chef of these dishes, I feel no qualms about calling them the best. Continue reading for my favorite classic meals in New York City (and the honorable mentions).
The Best Fried Chicken
Fried Chicken at Mono + Mono:
It’s pictured at the head of this post, but just for good measure I added another photo. Seriously, it’s double-photo good.
The biggest debate nowadays when it comes to fried chicken is Southern- or Korean-style. Coming from the South, I personally am over the Southern-style. Sure, it’s an American classic, but there’s something about the Korean kind – maybe the garlicky sauces, or the different spice combo – that really hits home.
Unfortunately, not even the highest of resolutions could capture the insane texture of these Korean Fried Chicken drumsticks. Crispy, not-too-thick skin gets its bite from a double dip in the deep fryer. Freshly served, the chicken flesh is juicy while the skin stays relatively grease-free. The spice mix, though, is the real deal breaker.
The Best Slice of Pizza
New York Style pizza at South Brooklyn
Again, in a food-obsessed city like New York, there’s too much variety to choose the absolute BEST slice of pizza that everyone can agree on. From the different styles (Neapolitan, Sicilian, Lazio) and the crusts (deep dish vs. thin crust will always be a huge debate topic), to toppings and sauce recipes, there are simply too many options.
I tend to like a thinner crust cooked in a wood-burning stove. I like not-so-sweet sauce, maybe a little too much cheese, and any toppings. Really, any of them. The more creative and delicious the combo, the better. (Check out the Cowboy pizza at Vinnie’s in Williamsburg…a heart attack waiting to happen but wonderful nonetheless).
But since I’m here to discuss the best slice, we’re gonna keep it to the basics. Quality crust, cooking method, and simple toppings. Not everyone is gonna go for anchovies and pineapple.
South Brooklyn Pizza’s New York style is simple, classic, and just plain yummy. San Marzano tomatoes, three cheeses: mozzarella, grana padano, and fontina, and fresh basil. As the pie comes out of the oven, a drizzle of quality olive oil helps to bring out the flavors without, somehow, making it a greasy mess.
Bonus: if you’re not afraid of bad breath, scoop up some of their spicy peppers or for the truly adventurous, the garlic paste.
Grass-fed Burger at Reynard
So I’m not really a burger person. I like other American classics more. At a summer barbecue, despite my carnivorous tendencies, I will typically skip over the hot dogs and burgers and head right for the “salads” – potato, fruit, macaroni, etc. I pretend it’s healthier because what could be healthier than drenching starches in mayonaise? But every once in awhile, a burger is just what I crave.
Reynard, located in the fashionable Wythe Hotel in North Williamsburg, is not exactly the place you’d think of in New York for a burger. Don’t let the glam appearances of the place scare you away, though. The grass-fed burger with caramelized onions comes with the option to add Gruyere and of course you should. Splurge. It’s worth it.
For $16 (that’s including the $2 Gruyere and a side of fries), you get an almost crusted burger patty with a nicely juicy well-mixed inside. Unlike other brasseries, their caramelized onions don’t gloop off the sides from all the extra juice, but instead nearly melt into the slightly toasted bun.
The Best Bagel
Classic bagel at Russ and Daughters
I shuddered as I wrote this down, letting the worldwide web know my favorite bagel. Not because the place is so packed I couldn’t stand the idea of waiting anymore in line, or that people might know just how many bagels I eat this close to bikini season. No, my paranoia stemmed from the amount of vitriol I may receive.
“No,” I will say to these imaginary people, puffing my chest in determination. “It’s Russ and Daughters.”
The Classic comes with your choice of bagel, cream cheese and one of the three fish options, Gaspe Nova Scotia, Scottish Smoked Salmon, or Irish Organic Smoked Salmon.
But as delicious as the fish they are known for is, the bagels are what really excite. So fresh they don’t need toasting, so perfectly chewy but not gummy. Definitely worth the visit – and the many more to come.