New York City is open for outdoor which means there are thousands of restaurants where you can eat today (including places with heat lamps so you can stay warm outside). But if you can’t decide where to start, or you’d rather order something great for takeout, we totally understand. That’s why we’re highlighting the best dishes we’ve had recently, all of which are available for takeout, delivery, and/or outdoor dining right now. From a pile of Jamiacan beef Ddukbokki to the best donut we’ve ever had, here’s a look into our personal food journals.
If you’ve had a great dish that you want to share with our team, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Now, on to the dishes.
Roast pork and pigs feet over rice and beans
If you’re looking to spend under $15 on a very filling, delicious meal near the Lower East Side, Sandy’s Coffee Shop needs to be on your radar. This Dominican spot under the Williamsburg bridge on Delancey serves all types of fried fish and chicken, empanadas, and different stewed meats. On a recent visit, I opted for two types of pork - hunks of the roasted variety and pig’s feet in tomato sauce - over rice, peas, and beans. The roast pork was citrusy and charred, the pig’s feet were pleasantly gelatinous and rich, while the rice, peas, and beans soaked up all the flavors. I even added on a pasteles en hoja and a couple of empanadas to my order and my total still clocked in under $15 - this is a lunch move I’ll be working into the regular rotation.
-Carlo Mantuano, Staff Editor
I went to Rezdôra in 28-degree weather with nothing but pasta on the brain. But I trotted home thinking about this appetizer. (And my toes, which had all but unionized, demanding better treatment and extended time off from their leader.) Three hollow discs of dough are puffed up to order, and each is finished with a little beret of prosciutto, capicola, and mortadella - respectively. Regardless of the cured meat featured in any individual bite, every second with this trio feels like a socially-undistanced retreat where flaky pastry and salty-fatty meat exist in equilibrium. When you bite into each puff, its hollow insides begin to deflate, sending a waft of hot pastry steam directly into your mouth. Don’t try to choose which is your favorite. You don’t have to. You get to eat them all.
- Hannah Albertine, Staff Writer
Freaky Friday Big Mac Style Fried Chicken Sandwich
“Let’s get one thing clear, McDonald’s did a good thing for humanity when it debuted the ‘Big Mac’ concept. As a kid, I used to recreate this double-decker sandwich with two McChickens and garnish the leftover bun with ketchup and french fries. So when I saw Comfortland’s new take on the classic burger made with fried chicken, I felt a level of mental clarity I haven’t experienced in years. And thankfully, this thing is in a whole different league than the fried chicken creation I grew up on. The crispy chicken is juicy and tender, and the seeded bun holds its own amongst several layers of melted cheese and creamy special sauce.”
-Nikko Duren, NYC Staff Writer
I have a deep love of rice pudding, so much so that I once tried to smuggle a tub of KozyShack onto a plane, only for it to be confiscated by TSA, because “liquid.” So imagine my excitement when I saw this dessert on the menu of one of our favorite restaurants of 2019, Zooba. Besides just having a great Restaurant Week deal, this fast-casual Egyptian spot serves a rice pudding with pulled halva and crushed pistachios that’s then sweetened up with some orange zest and blue agave. The result is what I will now hold all rice puddings to, as it’s got a bit of crunch from the pistachios, some zing from the zest, and isn’t overly sweet even though the cotton candy-like strings of halva sit atop the rice baked in milk. TSA can confiscate this one over my dead body.
“Look, this might sound like some fusion concept gone awry, but hear me out. Jamaican oxtail on pizza is excellent. At this Flatbush spot, the tender meat is deboned and the flavorful broth is spread generously over the full circumference of the Neapolitan pie. On a cold winter night, this Italian and Caribbean mashup dish gave me some much-needed comfort. And as a passionate crust-eater, I enjoyed dipping the leftover bread in the pool of oxtail jus covering the empty pizza box.”
Chicken katsu sandwich
Even though there aren’t appearances of katsu sandwiches on our best fried chicken sandwich guide, Evil Katsu has the potential to be the first included. This pop-up out of Pretty Ricky’s on Rivington and Ludlow serves their sandos on very fluffy white bread, with shredded red cabbage and carrots, and the perfect amount of nori Kewpie mayo. It reminds me of why I love sandwiches that have so many textures going on - first you get the poofiness of the milk bread that’s miles better than any white bread, then crispiness of the still-juicy chicken, the crunch of the vegetables, and finally the creamy mayo. The creation is quite big, but is one of those sandwiches you just can’t put down.
“Serving quesabirria with smoked brisket was a big risk for Emily in Clinton Hill. Making great pizza has virtually nothing to do with cooking beef birria tacos with melted cheese. I did some digging via the restaurant’s Instagram and discovered that Chef Sammy Pico, who has also been preparing the incredible “Emmy burger” with dry-aged beef since May, is responsible for the birria. While that didn’t necessarily ease my fears, I decided to go for it anyway. And I’m glad I did because that man knows his beef. The smoky meat tastes like it’s been slow-cooking in a pot for days, and while I wish the tortillas were pre-dipped, I did enjoy the thoughtful charring along their crunchy edges.”
Red Miso Chawanmushi with Mushrooms
“Typically, I’m not a mushroom girl. But I’ve always wanted to try the particular breed of fungi that Maison Yaki grows in the blue-lit case above its bar. During a recent dinner at Olmsted (their sister restaurant across the street), I finally got my chance. The chawanmushi egg custard on their new winter menu is topped with five mushrooms from Maison Yaki, which were roasted and sprinkled with smoked trout roe. Beyond ranking among the most beautiful things I’ve eaten this year, this combination of crunchy mushrooms, sweet and salty roe, and silky egg custard boosted my endorphins with every bite. Turns out these special mushrooms were well worth the wait.”
Massaman curry with shredded beef
Nine times out of ten when my girlfriend and I discuss where to get takeout, deep down I’m craving Thai food. I can’t always indulge this urge because of my job and, you know, relationship compromise. But recently on a frigid evening, I went and picked up a couple of things to try from 7 Elephants - a new takeout-only Thai spot on East Broadway. While their green curry is spicy and savory and the crispy curry rolls are an excellent appetizer, your order here needs to be the massaman curry with shredded beef. The peanutty, rich curry is a perfect combo with the stringy beef - you get a perfect blend of tender meat and hunks of fat, which combine for a hearty dinner on a cold night.