I spent a week in New York over the St Patrick's Day festival. Even though the primary reason was to do events and interviews to promote Ireland and my latest book, Darina Allen, Simply Delicious: The Classic Collection, (quite a mouthful!), so it was also a brilliant opportunity to check out the New York and Brooklyn food scene.
I am regularly asked to share my New York list so here are some of my favourite spots and new finds...
Brooklyn, just over the bridge from Manhattan has many tempting options, one could spend ones entire week checking out different exciting spots. I love Roman’s, Marlow & Sons, The Diner, Hometown Bar B Que and I also hear good things about Ugly Baby but we chose Chez Ma Tante (at 90, Calyer Street) this time, and had a super delicious Sunday brunch, in fact so good that I wished I’d been able to get back for dinner. We particularly loved the oysters with parsley oil and yuyu...
As well as a 3-inch high kale quiche with a bitter leaf salad, chips with aioli, stracciatella with toasted almonds, raisins, preserved lemons and marjoram with sourdough toast.
But the stand out dish was their craggy meltingly rich corn pancakes with maple butter. There are pancakes and there are pancakes but these were by far the best I ever tasted, sweet, salty, crisp and buttery on the outside, soft melting and irresistibly gritty inside. Definitely one of the highlights of the week with pure Vermont maple butter melting over the top.
A tiny, Japanese panelled restaurant called Hall is another little gem in the Flatiron. The juicy washu (not wagyu) beef burger served deliciously pink on a brioche bun was particularly delectable and only $5.99.
|Image: Superiority Burger Cookbook, Grub Street Press|
You also need to know about Superiority Burger, a tiny cult café on 430 East 9th Street, in the East Village. It’s a veggie burger spot and to quote the forthright chef owner Brooks Headley “occasionally vegan by accident”! In this kitchen the produce is superb, don’t miss the must-get Superiority burger. Different specialities every day including homemade gelato and sorbet. There’s very little seating and often a queue but worth it. Unquestionably one of the best restaurants in lower Manhattan and surprisingly cheap for the quality.
I Sodi and Via Carota in the West Village are two of my enduring favourites. I love the simple rustic but always edgy food that much loved chefs, Rita Sodi and Jody Williams offer. Their version of cacio e pepe, the creamy peppery Roman pasta dish, is the best in New York and here’s the spot to also enjoy a homey plate of braised tripe. No reservations at Via Carota, it’s open till midnight so is particularly worth remembering for late night dining.
King on King’s Street is wowing New Yorkers with their seasonal Italian menu - homestyle cooking with a daily changing menu. The light is particularly wonderful at lunch time in the chic but cosy dining room with the bonus of beautiful art on the walls.
La Mercerie Café at the Roman and Williams Guild at 53 Howard Street in Soho and a luxury design store, super chic, expensive but worth checking out.
I also returned to both Café Altro Paradiso and Cervo’s, another favourite with lots of small plates, great salads and cocktails. I particularly loved the tortilla with butter beans and chorizo.
Daily Provisions on East 19th is my all-time favourite breakfast or brunch spot, certainly the very best house-cured bacon and egg sandwich in New York. They serve it in a brioche bun, both the texture and flavour are totally delicious. Don’t miss the gougère filled with mushrooms or spinach scrambled eggs. The lively little Parisian style café, Buvette, on 42 Grove Street is also top of my
list. Super coffee, viennoiserie and little plates
And finally for now, there’s Maialino for many good things but if you haven’t already had their cacio et pepe scrambled eggs with sourdough toast put it on your bucket list.
This time I sat at the counter and had a few little snacks, loved the grilled organic chicken hearts on rosemary skewers and the white bean puree with sage pesto, espelette pepper and carta musica.
There’s lots more but all of the above are favourites of mine that I couldn't resist sharing with you…