Whether it’s from all the new restaurant openings, pop-ups, or neighborhood standbys, we could team up with famous unnamed rock artist from New Jersey to start a podcast about all the great dishes we’ve eaten lately. This past month, standouts included a gigantic katsu sandwich with poofy milk bread, a cheesy burger served by a new takeout spot in Williamsburg, and more. Here are the best 5 dishes we ate in February.
The Dish: Vegan Hot Buns
While this Prospect Heights spot isn’t technically a bakery or known for vegan food, it’s where you’ll find a range of the best vegan pastries anywhere in the city. Their vegan hot buns are about the size of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s fist, served fresh from the pan, and coated in icing that tastes dangerously similar to cream cheese frosting. But what really sets this bun apart is the liberal use of orange zest - it balances every sweet bite with just the right amount of citrus.
The Dish: Chicken Katsu Sandwich
This pop-up out of Pretty Ricky’s on Rivington and Ludlow serves katsu sandwiches on very fluffy white bread, with shredded red cabbage and carrots, and the perfect amount of nori Kewpie mayo. It reminds us of why we love sandwiches that have so many textures going on - first you get the poofiness of the milk bread that’s miles better than any white bread, then crispiness of the still-juicy chicken, the crunch of the vegetables, and finally the creamy mayo. The creation is quite big, but is one of those sandwiches you just can’t put down.
The Dish: Nasi Lemak With Beef Rendang
After eating this dish, we couldn’t help but imagine dried anchovies and stewed meat robbing a bank together. They’re a fantastic team. No dish will better convince you of this fact than Medan Pasar’s nasi lemak with beef rendang. The kick from the coconut-infused pulled meat and sambal is perfectly offset by some cold cucumber hunks, a crunchy pile of peanuts and dried anchovies, a fried egg, and some slightly sweet coconut rice. Put the leftovers in the microwave for a couple of minutes the next day, and it’ll taste just as good as it did fresh.
The Dish: The Meat Hook Burger
The Meat Hook is a Williamsburg butcher shop that’s run by meat whisperers who are serious about grass-fed beef. So naturally, the highlight of the menu at their new takeout restaurant is a very impressive burger. The top-quality patty is plump, juicy, and can only be ordered medium-rare. And while it’s covered in a cascading waterfall of American cheese, special sauce, and raw onions, the rich and salty beef itself remains the focal point of this cheeseburger. If you prefer your burgers sweet and smoky, you can add a thick slab of their housemade bacon to your burger for $4 extra.
The Dish: Gnocco Frito
These three hollow discs of dough are puffed up to order, and each is finished with a little beret of prosciutto, capicola, and mortadella - respectively. Regardless of the cured meat featured in any individual bite, every second with this trio feels like a socially-undistanced retreat where flaky pastry and salty-fatty meat exist in equilibrium. When you bite into each puff, its hollow insides begin to deflate, sending a waft of hot pastry steam directly into your mouth. Don’t try to choose which is your favorite. You don’t have to. You get to eat them all.