Exotic locations and foreign menus are no doubt exciting, but quite often, the most adventurous (and satisfying!) meals are right here in New York.
From K-town to Astoria you’ll find more than enough ethnic food to keep you occupied. This, you already know. What might not be so obvious are the restaurants that are taking what you do know and turning it upside down- leading you on your own culinary voyage.
Below are a few of my favorites that push the limit, and bring out the adventurer in all of us…
504 East 12th Street, Manhattan (no website)
Curiously enough, this East Village spot serves sushi, and not cockroach crepes as the name might suggest. The chef/owner, Sho Boo, wanted to open a place were people could gather: like bugs on a light. Some of the out-of-the-box menu items here include blow-torched pork belly served over (intentionally) cold mashed potatoes, a Japanese “paella,” and enough interesting twists on classic sushi to have you coming back for more. The trouble now is getting your friends to go with you to a restaurant called Bugs.
229 South 4th Street, Brooklyn
This restaurant, whose name means un-kosher in Yiddish, has just the menu to give your Jewish mother another reason to be mad at you. The ingredients used here are what you might expect- shellfish, pork, cheese and meats together, but it’s the avant-garde pairings that really surprise. The menu changes often, but some of my favorites have included a burratta, foie and fig plate, and strawberry-glazed baby back ribs. Feeling extra adventurous? Go for the frog’s legs!
224 East 10th Street, Manhattan
Unlike Bugs, this menu here is a bit more indicative of the name. This Iron Chef runner-up chef has created an artistic menu that is a splattering of Indian and Asian, a dash of Mediterranean, and an essence of American. Some of the dishes include pickled ginger scallops and hazelnut chocolate caviar.
50 Clinton Street, Manhattan
Is your credit card feeling adventurous as well? Welcome to the splurge section. The molecular gastronomy tasting menu here runs a cool $155. Make your way through cured duck breast, pig tail, Ritz cracker, and saffron ice cream (among others)… then wash it all down with a black garlic martini. Cheers!