A Seat at Our Table

A Seat at Our Table: November 2017

Which NYC restaurants will WSWD’s Secret Culinary Insider be dining at this month? A Bed-Stuy joint serving Nashville-style hot chicken, an Italian dim sum “bubble bar” in the West Village, and many more.

Shrimp and Sesame Soba Bowl; photo courtesy of Broken Coconut

Were not about the pre-Thanksgiving diet life, especially when New York City is packed with so many restaurants offering up tasty spreads and mouthwatering feasts. From pasta dumplings in the West Village to clam toast in Bed-Stuy and coconut-based treats in NoHo, our Secret Culinary Expert has tried them all. She clues us in on the most delectable dishes to try this month, and not one of them includes turkey.

1. Play With Your Food in the West Village

When’s the last time you were encouraged to have fun with your food? I can’t remember either. That’s why I’m heading over to Raviolo in the West Village for its version of Italian “dim-sum,” aka very playful pasta dumplings. I’m partial to the carbonara and cacio e pepe buns, and the eggplant parm ravioli served with a Pecorino fondue. The extensive gin and tonic and “bubbles” menu only adds to the party.

2. Verde Is Open for Dinner

It seemed like a shame for Flatiron favorite Verde to only be open for lunch. The room is so stylish and the hospitality—the chef de cuisine, Mariana Villegas, worked with award-winning chef Enrique Olvera at Cosme—is top-notch. And the food? Well, the impeccably sourced and composed seasonal salads could be served at any dinner party. Verde has finally expanded its hours to offer weekly evening dishes like new potatoes with house-made chorizo and crème fraîche, and roast chicken with peanut mole and plums.

3. Eat Your Hart Out in Bed-Stuy

What is it about the clam toast at Hart’s that keeps me (happily) trekking to Bed-Stuy? Is it that I’ve reached max avocado toast capacity? Perhaps. But it’s more likely that the chefs at Hart have mastered the seemingly simple yet tough-to-get-just-right dish. Here’s their secret: Start with She Wolf Bakery bread, get a nice fried olive oil crust on it, and top it with garlic-laced, pancetta-spiked steamed clams. It’s really a meal in itself, which is a good thing, because you’re not going to want to share this with the table. No wonder Hart’s was Bon Appétit’s New York choice for its Top 10 New Restaurants list.

4. A Spot That’s Too Cool for School in NoMad

Ferris is a new spot for the cool kids. The group of veterans behind this restaurant include former Le Turtle chef Greg Proechel—who served up chicken for two on a bed of flaming hay there—as well as a bar team that hails from Death & Co. and Maison Premiere. Proechel also earned his stripes at Eleven Madison Park and Blanca, so it will be fun to see his take on seasonal American food…with plenty of twists. Think: carrot agnolotti with lamb neck and pickled squash; beets with black sesame tahini and coconut; and côte de boeuf with all the fixings.

5. Nashville-Style Breaded Hot Chicken in Brooklyn

I recently spent a memorable Sunday night at Peaches HotHouse in Bed-Stuy and wondered why I don’t make it a weekly tradition. The breaded hot chicken is mind-bogglingly good. Hot and spicy, yes, but nothing a few swigs of beer can’t tame. (The extra-hot Nashville style is a different story…go there if you dare.) The sides shine, too—the grilled broccoli makes us justify the meal as healthy-ish, and the mac and cheese is what to order when throwing calories to the wind. Get there early, as the dining room is small and it doesn’t take reservations.

6. A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts in NoHo

We can all agree that the closing of Other Music was a bummer, but I’m very excited that Broken Coconut filled the space. What it lacks in vinyl it more than makes up for in coconuts. For breakfast, we’re partial to the Mr. Pink bowl (coconut yogurt, dragon fruit, coconut flakes, and chia) and the cashew–flax butter toast with maple, cinnamon, and banana. Its poke-ish bowls also hit the spot for lunch; try the chili pineapple tuna. Broken Coconut’s “beach to bowl” promise isn’t lost on the interior either. The palm tree wallpaper, rattan swings, and abundance of whole fruit just waiting to be spun into a smoothie over by the juice bar will leave you thinking you’re in Tulum. And in case you were wondering if the wellness trend was on the decline, consider this—the spot was opened by a team that has collectively spent time at 1 Oak, Butter, and Tao. I’ll drink (a coconut water–based beverage) to that.

Mr. Pink Bowl; Photo courtesy of Broken Coconut

7. Hummus With a View in Dumbo

The young team behind Boerum Hill favorites Grand Army Bar and Rucola recently opened the waterfront Celestine, with stunning floor-to-ceiling views of the Brooklyn Bridge (oh, and Manhattan, too). The menu leans eastern Mediterranean, which translates to gorgeous dishes like baked hummus with sumac and brown butter (excellent with a side of the house-made flatbread), wood-roasted chicken with saffron and herb-y Persian rice, and grilled Wagyu tri-tip with harissa and wild mushrooms. Dessert? Sesame crème brûlée or saffron apple crisp, please. With adventurous cocktails and a creative list of beers on tap, this is a great place for celebrations as well as key dates.

Grilled American Wagyu Tri Tip; Photo courtesy of Daniel Krieger

8. Go BYG or Go Home

Why would you jet down to a Clinton Street sandwich joint that has only five of them on the menu? Because BYGGYZ, a long-awaited project from Dewey Dufresne, father of chef Wylie (WD-50, Du’s Donuts), is open for business. It might have a truncated menu, but those offerings are as dialed-in as they come. Take the Byggybeef—a sesame hoagie layered with pomegranate-braised short ribs, “xo-llent” sauce, hot peppers, and American cheese that will melt in your mouth—and the Byggypyggy, a combination of pork pâté, Cheddar, NYC-made prosciutto, and sweet and sour pickles on a mustard-slathered hoagie. You won’t have room for a side (if you must, opt for the beans and greens), though you can’t skip the father-son collaboration that is the ice cream sandwich made with marmalade ice cream and an old-fashioned doughnut with chocolate sprinkles.

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KARROTTOM: Seeded semolina hero, roast carrots, peanut butter, Fontina cheese, baby arugula, spiced pepitas.

9. Have a Daylong Feast in Williamsburg

I’m a huge fan of Have & Meyer, and not only for its thoughtfully sourced natural Italian vinos (hello, orange wine from Emilia-Romagna). The space always offers excellent antipasti options, and now brunch and dinner are on the menu. This means, in theory, you can come for brunch (I vote for the omelet with truffled burrata and prosciutto paired with a fresh-squeezed mimosa) and eat through dinnertime (I suggest going for the paccheri all’Amatriciana).

Care for a spot at our table? Get in touch with our experience advisers for reservations at any of our picks for the month.