Whenever I tell my friends to meet me at Fatty Crab, they’re either really into it or twist up their noses (usually not my best friends). I know people who say they’ve had a mediocre meal here and frankly, I feel sorry for them. If you’re open and ready to be transported, settle in for the signature dish of whole Dungeness Crab in an amazing spicy sauce served with lots of thick white toast to sop it up. I think now they’re even serving the bread and sauce on the side for those who don’t feel like messing with the crab. I also love the salad of fried pork belly and chunks of fresh sweet watermelon and watermelon pickle and the braised pork shanks in coconut milk with an order of toasted coconut rice. The housemade sambal is salty and spicy and everything nice.
David Chang’s Momofuku: This is a pork lover’s heaven. I always order the seasonal pickle plate to start (with lovely jewels of fresh cranberries or melon) and then the steamed pork buns. After that, I try whatever the cooks are firing that day: roasted Brussels sprouts with bright red and spicy pureed kimchi, steamed razor clams, rice cakes with pork…I love it all. Try the Chang owned Ssäm Bar around the block. To paraphrase New York magazine: If there’s any justice in the world, Momofuku Ssäm Bars, would crop up all over the country like Starbucks or McDonald’s.
A recent August night, at Batali’s Babbo—I could eat here for my very last meal—a friend and I started with a glass of chilled Lambrusco and moved on to the most perfect vongole, and beef cheek ravioli with a rich sauce of crushed squab liver. This time, though, one of the highlights of the meal was the saffron panna cotta. Usually, I prefer to end with a bite of cheese, but this panna cotta had the most perfect jiggle (every pc should aspire to be so lovely) and, accompanied by fresh peach sorbet, was a very wholly satisfying way to end a meal.
Other Favorites: Esca, Balthazar, Gramercy Tavern, The Burger Joint, New Green Bo for soup dumplings, Sfoglia, Grom (there is also one in Florence), Prune (last bites: smoked salmon and sable plate, perfect spaghetti a la carbonara, Chicago-style Bloody Mary), The Spotted Pig, Blue Ribbon.