The benefit and main thing we miss about living in the NYC area is the wide variety of cuisines you can experience all in one city. I recently looked at some of the more interesting Asian options in DC, but if you’re looking for something up in NYC, our top five are sure to please:
- Mission Chinese They take some reservations now so you may get lucky and not have to wait outside before it opens like we did—but if not, be prepared to. Half the reason to go to Mission Chinese is the vibe. It’s like being in a kitschy Chinese buffet, complete with interesting décor and pizza—yes, pizza, you remember seeing that in Chinese buffets, right? We got the thrice-cooked bacon, scallion pancakes, cumin lamb ribs, and–what we all voted as the favorite—the green tea noodles.
- Pok Pok We weigh all Thai food we eat against the Portland-based Brooklyn outpost of Pok Pok. A bit of a trek but well worth it, the food is mouth-wateringly delicious. The boar collar is the spiciest thing we’ve ever eaten—rather than eating the greens brought to calm the sting, we devoured the pile of ice sitting on top. On our last visit we got the famous fish sauce wings as well, along with a salt-baked fish.
- Maharlika This is one of our East Village standbys. Great for brunch and dinner, Maharlika is tiny so be sure to make a reservation. The rich, braised meat like oxtails or the slow-cooked pork adobo—all served with garlic rice—are our go-tos. We haven’t been brave enough to try the balut (fermented duck egg). yet They also have a more street-food-y sister restaurant called Jeepney, also in the East Village.
- Sake Bar Hagi There aren’t that many great restaurants in the touristy zone of Rockefeller Plaza, but hidden in a basement is Sake Bar Hagi–Japanese drinking establishment (no sushi). If you’re looking for somewhere to go pre-Rockettes and don’t mind arriving to the show slightly intoxicated, this is your place. The beer is super cheap, and most of the food is nice and fried to soak it all up.
- Royal Seafood We went here for dim sum with some friends who had seen it at the top of an Eater list—and realized we had actually been there for a wedding not long before! (If a Chinese restaurant looks set up for a wedding at all times, you know its legit). The dim sum was excellent, some of the best you will get in outside of Flushing.