New York City's Best New Dishes Of 2022
photo credit: Emily Schindler
In 2022, some new restaurants challenged their energy into one-of-a-kind dishes, and others served comfort foods that really hit the spot as we endured another year of subpar Drake albums and exponential rent increases. The best things we ate fall into both categories. From a simple, perfect plate of Hainanese chicken rice to tempura-battered escargots with foie gras and pig trotters, here’s what floored us the most. In addition to savory stuff, you’ll notice a handful of sweet things on this list, and there’s a simple explanation for that: It was a good year for dessert.
Koloman is one of our favorite new restaurants of 2022, and the Brune Landaise is a big part of that. This bird comes from the Gascon region of France, and it’s raised to the ripe old age of 90 to 120 days. This longer process gives the chicken a more complex flavor, but this dish doesn’t stop with the chicken’s life story. It’s expertly roasted and served in a stunning copper pan with cocottes of braised red cabbage, extremely buttery spaetzle, and a sauce we’d happily lick from the plate.
Kaeng Pa Beef Tongue
The first time we ordered this curry, our server warned us four times that it’s very spicy. They were right, but this isn’t the kind of heat that punches you in the face and leaves you blacked out on the ground. There are layers to this dish. The spice builds, subsides, then leaves your lips buzzing, making you come back for more. Getting to the bottom of the bowl is a challenge, but it’s one you’ll want to undertake.
Fried Tangyuan With Ice Cream
This dessert is the best dish at Wenwen, a Taiwanese spot in Greenpoint that’s the sister restaurant to 886. It's also one of the most interesting things on the menu. Black sesame-stuffed tangyuan comes with vanilla ice cream and condensed milk, which all seems pretty normal. But the tangyuan is fried like tempura, and once you factor in the dehydrated peanut butter, garlic chives, and cilantro, you have a truly unique dessert. The creamy, crunchy, and herb-y components somehow make perfect sense together. This dessert deserves an Oscar, a Grammy, the NBA MVP trophy, and any other accolade you can think of.
The team behind Masalawala & Sons is known for serving food common inside homes in India but rarely seen in restaurants stateside. Sabudana vadas are one of many beloved fritters that fall into this category. At this Park Slope restaurant, tapioca pearls and peanuts are mixed with spiced potatoes then fried into a crispy disc that’s perfectly gooey on the inside. The very dunkable vada is usually eaten with a spicy green chili chutney, but Masalawala serves it with a thin cardamom-spiced yogurt chutney that adds a little sweetness. They've made this teatime staple feel completely new, and by this time next year we expect to see people standing outside every Indian snack shop in the city demanding those restaurants add sabudana vadas to their menus too.
Sticky Toffee Pudding
The Brits have been through a lot this year, and you should pay your respects by eating as much of this sticky toffee pudding as you can. Ever since we had the mound of dense date cake drenched in a caramel sauce and served with ice cream, we’ve been drooling over it like it's a boy band. But this dessert isn’t for teeny boppers—the sauce is just as salty as it is sweet, and the pudding has a deep, almost burnt flavor. Hawksmoor, a popular London steakhouse that now has a location in Gramercy, is one of the rare restaurants we’d go to just for dessert and a drink at the bar.
Classic Chicken Rice Set
When the creators of Midtown's Urban Hawker dreamt up the Singaporean-style food hall, they knew they had to have an excellent plate of Hainanese chicken rice. The team behind Hainan Jones took on the responsibility of providing that Southeast Asian staple. Their classic chicken plate is glorious, made with Olympian-level poaching skills that produce super juicy strips of meat. Skin falls off the bird like it's doing a strip tease, and you get clear-but-mighty ginger broth on the side. Don't treat the sauces like an afterthought. The spicy chili and sweet sesame soy sauce help the dish realize its full potential.
Escargot Et Pied De Cochon Croustillants
We didn’t think it was possible, but this dish makes classic escargots in pools of melted garlic butter seem boring. Head to Le Gratin, Daniel Boulud’s Lyonnais bistro in FiDi, and order these snails that are deep fried in tempura batter and served on a bed of garlic-and-spinach purée. Sautéed mushrooms and pig trotter croquettes made with foie gras are also tossed in. This dish backs up the saying that "everything tastes better fried," and if you’ve never tried escargots, it’s the ideal introduction.
Bison Au Poivre
Think of the best filet you’ve ever had. It'll get bumped to second place after you try the ridiculously tender bison at Le Rock, the French brasserie from the team behind Frenchette, located in Rockefeller Center. It comes smothered in a creamy peppercorn sauce, and you could easily cut through it with a spoon as if you’re eating a scoop of ice cream. The flavor is in the same ballpark as beef, but it’s milder and slightly sweet. Despite having almost no fat, this bison is one of the best cuts of meat in the city. You’ll also get a basket of golden crispy fries on the side that you should absolutely swirl in the au poivre sauce.
Devil's Food Cake
It might sound extreme to say that we’d go to Claud just to eat this chocolate cake, but facts are facts. At least six layers of unbelievably moist (sorry) devil’s food cake are smeared with a whipped chocolate frosting. The outside of the cake gets cocoa nibs and flaky salt, making this a decidedly grown-up cake—the kind that pairs well with wine, and maybe some dinner (but only if you feel like it).