Top Ten New York Restaurants: What I Ate This Summer, Part One

Categories: Travel Hog
Recette Pork Belly 1.jpg
Recette's Bershire pork belly topped with rock shrimp.
On occasion, I really do miss elementary school. Recess, art class, field trips...and of course, a time honored tradition of "What I Did This Summer," the all important back to school essay. I have been on a food sabbatical of sorts this summer, eating my way through Manhattan. Most often asked question upon my return to Miami? That would be, "what were your favorite restaurants in the city?"

Eating is such an extreme joy for me; I worked in the fashion industry for a long time, so while I lived in NYC for years, I spent a ton of time with people who don't really EAT with a capital "E." Kate Moss, the uber-waif that took the modeling world by storm with her special brand of heroin chic, once said that "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels." Everyone was up in arms over the comment at the time (9 out of 10 doctors agree that anorexia is bad, the 10th doctor worked backstage during Fashion Week). However, no one seemed to latch on to her follow up comment, "you try and remember, but it never works."

See? Even supermodels have a tough time saying "no" to food (makes me feel a bit better about the gross amounts I've consumed over the last three months; keep that in mind for your future eating endeavors as well). And I have to say, I was skinny once upon a time, and it did feel good, but exceptionally good food tastes...physically sublime, emotionally fulfilling, even other-worldly on occasion; like having your tongue sprinkled with culinary fairy dust.

So for the first time, I was presented with an opportunity to eat everything on my plate, over and over again, without fear of the bulge, which we actually encourage here at New Times. New York City is seriously like Disney World for gastronomes, with such a wide variety of flavors and interpretations of the same plate that you can explore every menu, each time, with a fresh eye (and stomach).

What I ate this summer...

Spotted Pig Burger 1.jpg
10. The Spotted Pig
Why I love it: April Bloomfield helped to create the British "gastropub" craze taking over cities all across America, and she really likes to smoke and cure things, which makes me love her. There are items that qualify as pub food (like deviled eggs, pickles) and dishes that go decidedly upscale (crispy pork belly in broth with vegetables and squash blossoms).
What to order: Begin with an order of chicken liver toast ($6) and the crispy pig's ear salad with lemon caper dressing ($15). The ricotta gnudi with basil pesto ($16) is famous, as is the burger covered in tangy Roquefort blue cheese; at lunch, try the Cubano sandwich ($18) or grilled cheese with onion marmalade and mustard ($16).
What to skip:
The grilled skirt steak with lime vinaigrette ($28), which slides under the creativity radar. The meat quality is top notch, but this dish is nowhere near as interesting as other menu selections.

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