The Best Dishes Eater Editors Ate This Week, June 2023

The Best Dishes Eater Editors Ate This Week, June 2023

The amount of excellent food available in New York City is dizzying — even during a pandemic — yet mediocre meals somehow keep worming their way into our lives. With Eater editors dining out sometimes several times a day, we do come across lots of standout dishes, and we don’t want to keep any secrets. Check back weekly for the best things we ate this week — so you can, too.

June 27

Custard buns at House of Joy

This little piggy went into our mouths, but not before a 45-minute wait for a table. I had been warned not to show up at House of Joy after 11 a.m. The restaurant, open since 1989, originally under the name Delight 28, rebranded during the pandemic. It’s one of the last restaurants in Manhattan’s Chinatown that delivers its dim sum on steaming carts, an art form as much as a style of service that verges on extinction in Manhattan. On weekends, a crowd clusters outside of the restaurant on Pell Street, which is closed to traffic, and around its suited host, who wields a clipboard and occasionally yells out numbers in multiple languages. Around an hour passed before ours was called, but it was worth the wait for a table full of fried fish, pea shoots, cheung fun, and custard buns shaped like pigs (around $5 each). 28 Pell Street, near Mott Street, Chinatown — Luke Fortney, reporter

A bowl of noodles, dumplings, and big hunks of bony meat.

Pig feet, wonton, and noodle soup at Wonton Noodle.

Pig feet, wonton, and noodle soup at Wonton Noodle

Spawned by 60-year-old Chinatown bakery and coffee shop Mai Lai Wah, Wonton Noodle is a new Cantonese American restaurant that takes the cuisine to new heights, and not by innovating or making it expensive. The extended range of soups with slender firm wheat noodles and bulging pork-shrimp wontons demonstrates the approach. This splendid version ($11.50) also features surprisingly meaty pig feet with plenty of rubbery skin to savor, which leach collagen into the broth, enriching it immeasurably. This is one Chinatown soup you’ll never forget, a treasure for diners that love to grab a bone and gnaw. 23 Pell Street, near Doyers Street, Chinatown — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Korean barbecue at Wooga, with a grill in the center of the table.

The spread at Wooga in Fort Lee.
Melissa McCart/Eater NY

Korean barbecue at the Wooga

Robert asked me to join him for a late lunch last week to visit Fort Lee, which after four or five visits this year, has really impressed me as a food destination. With its blue froglike mascot, the Wooga offered a handful of surprises, down to the meats presented with rosemary and thyme. Pictured is the small beef set for two ($99), with sirloin, hanger, skirt, and short rib along with sides of kimchi stew and souffled egg. Of the banchan, I loved the daikon pickles that reminded me of snowflakes. 1296 Palisade Avenue, near Bellemeade Avenue, Fort Lee — Melissa McCart, editor

Pork roll with eggs at Frank’s Deli

If you’re in Asbury Park and it’s raining, the next best thing to do is, of course, eat. For breakfast, we stopped at the very unfussy luncheonette Frank’s Deli, which has been open since 1960. Since this was in Jersey after all, I had to go for a pork roll (under $10), served with an egg, and home fries — a very intense and salty way to start the day, but comforting nonetheless. 1406 Main Street, near Sixth Avenue, Asbury — Emma Orlow, reporter

June 20

A plate of green aguachile with a bowl of tostadas.

The aguachile with shrimp from Mi Compa Chava.
Emma Orlow/Eater NY

Aguachile at Aldama

I was kicking myself for not making a reservation to Mi Compa Chava, the often booked up mariscos spot, when I went to Mexico City last year. Lucky for me, the restaurant popped up in New York, at Aldama, this week, where I got to try their food, including this aguachile verde ($23) with an elegant perimeter of thinly sliced cucumbers and extremely succulent shrimp that were bathing in a green pool, already spiced, but made even better when I added in salsa macha. My only complaint is I wish it had been served in a bowl to slurp up the tart liquid base. 91 South Sixth Street, near Berry Street, Williamsburg — Emma Orlow, reporter

A flash photograph of a steak with char marks besides a pile of fries and a side of au poivre sauce.

The steak au poivre at Orsay.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Steak au poivre at Orsay

The only thing I love more than .5x zoom is steak au poivre. Done right, beef is encrusted in black peppercorns, still pink inside, and easy to dissect with a knife and fork. All that’s left is to douse or dunk the steak in a sauce made from heavy cream and meat juices. Orsay, a French restaurant on the Upper East Side, has perfected the form over the last 20 years. Last weekend, its steak was cooked well, by which I mean rare, with cross-hatched char marks that could have been painted on in the kitchen. Fries cut to the right size are served on the side ($57). 1057 Lexington Avenue, at East 75th Street, Upper East Side — Luke Fortney, reporter

A hot dog with pimento cheese, brown mustard, pickled red onions, jalapeno, and crushed Ritz Crackers.

The Guy Fieri dog at Phil’s.
Nat Belkov/Eater NY

Guy Fieri dog at Phil’s

I got off the phone with my brother the other day chuckling at a comment he made about my unabashed, year-round hot dog consumption. It’s true — I enjoy a good dog regardless of the season, so when I sidled up to friendly neighborhood bar Phil’s and stumbled upon the Guy Fieri dog ($8), described as “a random, over-the-top creation of our choice”, there was no question I would be ordering it. A ripping hot Hebrew National dog was nestled in a toasty bun with homemade pimento cheese, an artful drizzle of spicy brown mustard, pickled red onions, jalapeño, and a shower of crushed Ritz Crackers, still retaining their fresh, buttery crunch. It’s not a dog to have every day, but it’s one you can eat year-round. 695 Knickerbocker Avenue, near Cornelia Street, Bushwick — Nat Belkov, design director

A black plastic container with stir fried big noodles and shrimp.

The pad si ew at Terra Thai.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Pad si ew at Terra Thai

This Thai classic features wide rice noodles stir-fried in a wok at high temperature with soy sauce, giving it a smoky flavor and dark appearance. It’s often sold by outdoor vendors in Thailand. One of my favorite versions found here is at Terra Thai in the East Village, which opened in 2020 after moving from Boulder, Colorado, just in time for the pandemic. Fifteen dollars gets you a version of pad si ew loaded with shrimp and greens. The dish is mellowed with egg, then spiced right back up with a sprinkle of powdered chile before serving. 518 E. Sixth Street, between avenues A and B, East Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

Clams nam yaa at Thai Diner

Mondays are the night I usually end up going to dinner with my partner who works in a restaurant and Thai Diner keeps it festive on what’s often the least fun night out of the week. The first reward for waiting in line for seats is an icy beer slushie you sip as fast as icy suds flow out of the bottle. I paired it with a Thai rendition of stuffed clams ($17), a savory bite laced with herbs and ginger. It may not be much to look at but that pairing makes it worth the wait. 186 Mott Street, near Kenmare Street, Nolita — Melissa McCart, editor

June 12

Pancakes and bacon at VIP Diner

My partner calls pancakes the sweatpants of breakfast, and maybe he’s not wrong. But every so often, there’s a time and place for them, which is why I’m inclined to get them at a diner. These are at VIP Diner in Jersey City ($9), located in Journal Square for over 45 years. With a sprawling parking lot that’s often full, a developer brought the property in 2019. But like any old diner, it’s seen its share of things, with the former owner having robbed Sophia Loren of $700,000 worth of jewelry at gunpoint and was charged with obstruction of justice in 1990 for helping out a convicted racketeer. 175 Sip Avenue, at John F. Kennedy Boulevard, Jersey City — Melissa McCart, editor

A stack of three blueberry pancakes besides a pile of turkey sausage.

Blueberry pancakes and turkey sausage at Court Square Diner.
Emma Orlow/Eater NY

Pancakes and turkey sausage at Court Square Diner

There are diners that serve good food and then there are good diners, which for me, is the kind of spot that I know I can rely on any time of day. Court Square Diner falls into the latter category: The food itself isn’t noteworthy, but it’s a rare 24-hour spot with relatively affordable food serving a neighborhood that’s experienced dramatic change, with new towers constantly adding to its shadow. It was funny being here this morning eating blueberry stacks with turkey sausages ($16), as I had almost only ever frequented it after a night out, desperate for chicken tenders or after-hours pancakes. 45-30 23rd Street, at Jackson Avenue, Long Island City — Emma Orlow, reporter

An omelet with pickled jalapenos, tomatoes, onions, avocado, and American cheese.

The Puebla omelet at Daisy’s Diner.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

The Puebla omelet at Daisy’s Diner

It has only been recently that diners have become good places to get a popularized version of Mexican food. At Daisy’s Diner in Park Slope, this takes the form of a Mexican section of the expansive menu that includes tacos, quesadillas, and burritos, but even the three-egg omelet section has a couple of choices, including this Puebla omelet ($16), named after the state that many of New York’s Mexican immigrants hail from. The omelet features pickled jalapenos, fresh tomatoes, onions, avocado, and American cheese. 452 Fifth Avenue, between 9th and 10th streets, Park Slope — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

A hand holds a hard shell taco overflowing with lettuce, tomato, cheese, and ground beef.

Hard shell tacos for breakfast at Three Decker Diner.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Hard shell tacos at Three Decker Diner

I woke up craving Mexican food, and as Robert notes, the itch can now be scratched at diners across town. The hankering led me to Acapulco, a Mexican restaurant with the feel of a diner, given that pancakes are served and there are seats at a high-top counter, only to find out it was closed. Fifteen minutes later, I was sitting in a booth at Three Decker Diner, a decades-old restaurant recently purchased by an owner of Variety Coffee, where a full Tex-Mex menu is served starting at 7 a.m. I skipped the fajitas and ordered hard shell tacos ($12), better than any you grew up eating on taco night, I promise. Tomato, lettuce, and ground beef are wedged into a fried tortilla, then sprinkled with shredded cheese: a complete breakfast with fruit, vegetables, and protein. 695 Manhattan Avenue, at Norman Avenue, Greenpoint — Luke Fortney, reporter

June 5

Little black flecked pasta pillows in a dark bowl.

Chicken liver agnolotti at Claud.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Chicken liver agnolotti at Claud

Pursuers of impossible-to-get-into restaurants know that weekends in the Hamptons mean empty seats in restaurants around town. So it was that a friend and I slipped into Claud over Memorial Day weekend and scored a seat at the bar. The menu had expanded since I’d been there last September, with an increased emphasis on seasonal vegetables. I also wanted to try a veteran dish that I hadn’t before: the chicken liver agnolotti ($24). The plump pasta was penned in a tight herd, full of pureed poultry liver that was loamy-tasting in a subtle way, dressed with brown butter, and sweetened with a dash of balsamic. We shared the bowl and felt fully satisfied — or at least ready for our next course of pullet in foie gras drippings. 90 East 10th Street, between 3rd and 4th avenues, Greenwich Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

A table is crowded with fermented sausage, sticky rice, soups, and noodles.

A full spread at Chiangmai Diner and Bar
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Zha jein at Chiangmai Diner and Bar

Brooklyn has an impressive new Thai restaurant — and unlike Zaab Zaab or Ugly Baby, which specialize in setting customers’ tongues on fire with bird’s eye chiles, the menu is milder with a focus on the funky, fermented flavors of Chiang Mai. Chiangmai Diner and Bar opened last month on the corner of Flushing and Central avenues: You’ll have to wait on a liquor license for the second half of the name, but there’s lots to enjoy in the meantime. Our favorite on a full table was the zha jein, slices of steak in a sauce made from lemongrass, chiles, and herbs ($18). Like almost everything else, it comes with a side of lettuce leaves and sticky rice. The restaurant is huge, with seating at booths, high-tops, and a dining room at the back that’s decorated with hanging lanterns. 942 Flushing Avenue, at Central Avenue, Bushwick — Luke Fortney, reporter

Large pie with basil from Lucali

Rumor has it that Beyoncé loves Carroll Gardens’s Lucali, so my friend and I obviously had to check it out. We got in line at 3 p.m., put our names an hour later, and were seated when the pizzeria opened at 5 p.m. The move is to order one large pie ($32) with garlic, shallot, and mushroom, and a small calzone. The pie was nicely balanced — flavorful cheese was scattered all over a just-thin-enough crust and the sprigs of basil tossed on top added an herbaceous boost. Pro tip: Run to a wine shop down the street while you wait for your table since Lucali is BYOB. 575 Henry Street, near Carroll Street, Carroll Gardens — Kristen Kornbluth, social media manager

Corn in a glutenous rice pancake with cilantro.

The makai panki at Dhamaka.
Melissa McCart/Eater NY

Makai panki at Dhamaka

Just when I thought the crowds at Lower East Side’s Dhamaka might abate, the restaurant switched up its menu to include a slew of new regional dishes. There are many compelling options to choose from but one that’s particularly unusual, makai panki, sports the sweetness of glutenous rice flour studded with corn, dressed with a lively cilantro spread: It’s a dish you’ll reach for across the table ($15). 119 Delancey Street, near Essex Street, Lower East Side — Melissa McCart, editor

Citrus fennel chicken cutlet sandwich at La Cantine

La Cantine might be easy for some less familiar to cast off as an Instagrammable coffee shop, but the always-busy establishment makes someone of the city’s best chicken cutlet sandwiches around that need your attention. There are usually a few different cutlet options on the sandwich menu (with options for a cauliflower substitution), as well as daily specials. I went for the citrus fennel chicken cutlet sandwich special ($16) which is my platonic ideal of a sandwich: Mayo is cut by the acid from the citrus, with plenty of crunch. 60 St. Nicholas Avenue, at Willougby Avenue, Bushwick — Emma Orlow, reporter