Off the Eaten Path

Off the Eaten Path With Jess: Where to Eat in NYC This March

Foodie events, bourbon saloons, and a Sichuan situation: just a few place Jess Bender will be eating out in New York this month.

Photo Courtesy of Northern Food Hall

Food expert Jess Bender marches to the beat of her own culinary drum. How else would she find the off-the-beaten-path eateries we’ve come to know and love? Lucky for you, she’s giving the lowdown on the best NYC spots you cannot miss this month—she insists!

Must-Try Eateries and Bars

1. Dichter Pharmacy

Gone are the days of soda jerks and meals consisting solely of milkshakes—but this retro-tinged soda shop didn’t get the memo. Slide up to the counter and watch the line cooks whip up diner staples like pancakes, fried eggs, and home fries right before your eyes. Don’t forget to request a pint to go; its custardy ice cream is some of the best in the neighborhood, and it is infinitely better than your normal Häagen-Daz from the bodega. 4953 Broadway (between 207th and Isham Streets), Inwood

Ice cream soda, anyone? / Dichter Pharmacy

2. Uptown Bourbon

One of the only indications that you’re outside of this jewel box–size saloon is the lively scene you’ll spy through the window. Once inside, make your way to the back, where there’s a little bit more breathing room and a prime view of the extensive vinyl collection, and get your hands on a masterful old-fashioned. Not in the mood for a dark spirit? The gin-based Aviation, with hints of violet, is among the bartender’s personal favorites to make. 3631 Broadway (between West 149th and 150th Streets), Hamilton Heights

3. Harlem Shambles

A hyper-local butchery may scream gentrification in most neighborhoods, but this Harlem shop makes sure to include its neighbors whenever it can. Aside from selling specialized slabs of meat from farms around the Hudson Valley and the Berkshires, it also offers grains from a local mill and bread from East Harlem’s Hot Bread Kitchen, and acts as a CSA pickup location. 2141 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, Harlem

4. Iona

Dive bars are a dime a dozen in Williamsburg, but this low-key Scottish joint also has viewing parties for the English Premier League, a vibing backyard garden, weekly fiddling shows, and old-school kung fu and experimental art-house cartoons regularly streaming. Oh, and it boasts a mean hot toddy, perfectly made to warm your cold soul (and body). 180 Grand Street, Williamsburg

5. Aji Ichiban

Think of this “munchies paradise” as Chinatown‘s version of Economy Candy—if Economy Candy focused on the kawaii sweets of Japan. Aside from enjoying exotic treats like green tea Kit Kats and licorice kumquats, you’re allowed to sample a few out-of-this-continent ones, which are as strange as they are addictive; care for some shredded cod laced with black sesame? 37 Mott Street (between Mosco and Bayard Streets), Chinatown

Satisfy your sweet tooth at Aji Ichiban.

6. Lung Moon

When you’re looking for a classic Chinese bakery, consider this shop your quintessential stop. Staples like the sweet bean–filled mooncake, two-bite egg custard tarts, pop-in-your-mouth-size sesame balls, and post–dim sum almond cookies are available. Chances are you can buy all the sweets you want with just a fiver. 83 Mulberry Street (between Bayard and Walker Streets), Chinatown


Must-Go Foodie Events

1. Sunday Supper at Chelsea Market

One of the James Beard Foundation’s most grandiose fundraisers of the year; consider this large-format family-style dinner inside the iconic Chelsea Market the Last Supper for epicureans. Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Avenue (between West 15th and 16th Streets); Sunday, March 11; 5 p.m.; $200–$240

2. FarePlate 2018

Just in time for Irish Christmas, this all-inclusive tasting takes your mouth on a tour of Ireland’s ever-evolving food scene. No green bagels will be provided; instead, expect strong whiskey, gently cooked corned beef, sustainable smoked salmon, and probably all the Kerrygold butter your heart could ever handle. Houston Hall, 222 West Houston Street, Greenwich Village; Sunday, March 11; 2–8 p.m.; $50–$120

3. Buffalo City Fair

Celebrate New York’s second-most populated “B” in NYC: Buffalo! Do as the Buffalonians would and throw down with some wings, garbage plates, $3 Labatts, and KanJam inside the rustically charming Bell House. You may not be inspired to move upstate like the rest of the Brooklyn millennials, but you’ll be treated royally for at least one day. The Bell House, 149 7th Street, Gowanus; Saturday, March 24; 1–8 p.m.; $10

4. Nordic Baking With Great Northern Food

Bake like a true-blue Nordic. In collaboration with Claus Meyer’s Great Northern Food Hall, Kings County’s own Brooklyn Kitchen is hosting a Scandinavian-inspired slate of cooking and baking classes throughout March. The endmost event? A knead-y walk-through full of twists and dough so you can learn to make your own cinnamon swirls at home. 667 Driggs Avenue, Williamsburg; Sunday, March 25; 3–5:30 p.m.; $110

Roll it out at this Scandinavian-inspired baking class.

5. Bugapalooza 2018

Try not to be skeeved out: Bugs are good for your diet. Even though 80 percent of the world’s population incorporate insects into their daily diets, Americans are a tad behind. The experiential New York Adventure Club and chef Joseph Yoon from Brooklyn Bugs are looking to change New Yorkers’ perspective, at least, with a six-critter-course menu at this inaugural tasting inside the hair-raising Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Times Square, 234 West 42nd Street (between Seventh and Eighth Avenues), Times Square; Saturday, March 31; 8–11 p.m.; $29–$69

Don’t bug out.

Where else will Jess be eating out in New York this month? Keep track of her whereabouts, or inquire about her favorites in real time!