While various media outlets and the mayor himself are attempting to name NYC Summer 2021, we’re still thinking about all the meals that springtime brought us this year. Including tangy ceviche, plump xiao long bao, and some sourdough bagels that have given us a new appreciation for yeast. Find all the best dishes we ate in April on this guide.
If you consider sourdough the superior form of bread, you’ll worship the sourdough bagels from Leo in Williamsburg. This pizza place doubles as an all-day bakery, which means you can get their bagels between 8am and 4pm daily. Leo’s palm-sized bagels are light and airy, with a tangy flavor that pairs especially well with smoked salmon and cream cheese. And although they only serve two flavors right now - plain and everything (with fennel and poppy seeds) - these caramel-brown rings of pillowy-soft dough are good enough to eat week after week on rotation.
Leche de tigre
If you’re feeling sleepy or sluggish before your meal at Warique in Jackson Heights, the spanking acidity of this leche de tigre ceviche will successfully jolt your senses to a level typically reserved for the Energizer Bunny. Each spoonful is thick and sopping with fish stock, lime juice, cilantro, and mashed hunks of white fish. There’s so much lime juice in this cocktail glass that, if you blindfold yourself, you may come to the conclusion that you’ve transcended into some sort of citrus fruit community. When your mouth needs a break, return to the maiz chulpe and lomo saltado on the table.
La Cabaña Salvadoreña
Pupusa combo platter
Come for the pupusas, stay for the platos tipícos. The pupusa de pollo is their number one option, but you can score big time and get their combo platter that includes that and their Salvadoran-style carne asada (made with house rub and chimol, a spicy tomato salsa) and sweet corn or chicken and olive tamal - just to make sure you’re not missing out. It’s just south of the Cloisters, so you could snag a pupusa to go while you check out the sites. But you’ll probably be too distracted by the fluffy corn delight you have in your hands to notice much else.
Banh chung chien
This UWS Vietnamese spot has a small, spaced-out outdoor setup that’s perfect if you’ve only dined outside a couple times, but are ready to get out there more. Especially when “getting out there” involves their banh chung chien appetizer - a deep-fried rice cake brick made of ground mung bean that’s filled with pork and comes with a tangy soy dressing. It’s sticky, not too greasy, and a hefty appetizer that - with one of their entrees or bánh mì - makes for a filling meal for under $30.
Everything on the menu at this Turkish spot in Coney Island is delicious and worth trying, but if you’re a first-timer, we definitely suggest the adana kebab, mixed grill, and iskender kebab. All the kebabs here are well-seasoned and perfectly cooked. The iskender is especially good in the warmer seasons if you’re in the mood for something topped with a cooling yogurt sauce. And if you need to chill out even more, order one of their sweet and tart tamarind drinks with your meal.
Xiao long bao
If you want a quick lunch for under $10 in Sunset Park, go to Fei Long Food Court and order some xiao long bao from Shanghai Dumpling House. The food court is attached to Fei Long Supermarket (another place worthy of your time and attention), and it consists of about seven other vendors situated around a sea of tables. The xiao long bao at Shanghai Dumpling House have a moderately thick, slightly chewy skin. The broth inside of each one is usually piping hot, but we’re physically unable to let them cool down before ingesting all of the pleasantly porky flavor. Take them to go and find a bench in the park across the street to enjoy them outdoors.
Claudy’s Kitchen is a Peruvian family business that’s proud of its heritage and imperfectly shaped, handmade empanadas, which range from $3-3.50 apiece. Situated on a busy stretch of Broadway in The Bronx, varieties here include chopped rotisserie chicken, chicharron (fried pork belly and salsa criolla), and an empanada verde with spinach, mozzarella, and caramelized onions. Top your order off with their dessert option filled with fresh apples, cinnamon, and caramel.
Black sea bass ceviche
When this ceviche hits your table at Llama Inn, the server will pour a creamy liquid over your grilled fish and sweet potato. This bright yellow broth is peppery aji amarillo, mixed with lime juice, onion, and bunch of other ingredients you’ll want to drink from the bowl like the milk leftover from your Fruity Pebbles.