Sushi Yasuda, 204 E. 43rd St.
It would be silly to leave Sushi Yasuda after just one bite – but if I had to do it, I’d definitely opt for the delicately creamy uni (sea urchin) sushi (market price). Looking for something less adventurous? Try one of Yasuda-san’s hand rolls — impeccably fresh fish rolled into subtly sweet rice and toasty nori.
Crispy Chinese Watercress Salad ($9)
Sripraphai, 6413 39th Ave, Woodside
It’s hard to pick just one dish off the menu at this wonderful Thai restaurant that’s well worth a trip to Queens. This isn’t a dish for health nuts, as each stalk of watercress is battered and deep fried, but these crisp greens are deceptively light. They’re tossed with fresh cilantro, red onion, chiles, cashews, chicken, shrimp, squid and a brightly flavored lime and fish sauce dressing.
La Del Gato Arepa ($5.75)
Caracas Arepa Bar 91 and 93 1/2 E. 7th St.
I can’t think of too many foods I’d rather eat than this simple and delicious version of the classic Venezuelan snack. A thick block of white Guayanés cheese, sweet fried plantains and creamy, perfectly ripe slices of avocado are piled between two halves of a split arepa or cornmeal-based flatbread. It’s heaven in a sandwich.
Steamed Pork Belly Buns ($9)
Momofuku Ssäm Bar (207 Second Avenue)
They’re not billed as a main course, but you can definitely fill up on a pair of these phenomenal appetizers, which are also available at Momofuku Noodle Bar (163 First Avenue). The brined and roasted pork within
these soft and airy, hoisin-doused buns is like buttah, balanced by the crunch of scallions and cucumber. It’s totally worth taking a break from a semi-vegetarian diet for these babies.
Baked Alaska ($9)
Saul (140 Smith St, Brooklyn)
Saul is one of the few restaurants where I’m always careful to save room for dessert. Their version of Baked Alaska is made with a chocolate cookie crust and layers of coffee and vanilla ice cream underneath a shell of toasted meringue mounded into perfect points, like the back of a porcupine-shaped cloud. A drizzle of caramel sauce seals the deal.
Ms. Erway is the mastermind behind Not Eating Out in New York, a blog dedicated to the unlikely decision to avoid restaurants in the five boroughs. As such, we’ve decided to bend the rules and allow her to create her very own fantasy menu from local ingredients. Noteatingoutinny.com.
Toasted slices of Sullivan St. Bakery’s panne e olive rubbed with the innards of vine tomatoes from the
$1/lb overripe basket at the Greenmarket, olive oil, a sprinkle of fleur de sel and an assortment of heirloom
grape tomatoes roasted to boiling bullets of pulp balanced precariously on top, ready to burst at first bite.
Siberian Osetra caviar from Russ & Daughters — their most expensive one, just because — with Ronnybrook creme fraiche. Sprinkled with fresh dill and rolled in a warm crepe.
Cured Meat Trio
Knoblewurst from Katz’s Deli ($4.95/each), kielbasa from East Village Meat Market and soppressata
from Faicco’s Pork Store. On the side, a salad of foraged dandelion greens with foraged Prospect Park
black raspberry vinaigrette.
Dry aged organic New York strip steak from Gramercy Meat Market and chanterelle risotto. Topped with a seared sea scallop if there’s room for it, miso-rice wine reduction and a shower of deep-fried ramps.
Homemade bourbon ice cream and a glass of straight Red Hook Rye from LeNell’s. Or, make that Red Hook Rye-flavored homemade ice cream flecked with vanilla bean and swirled in bourbon butterscotch sauce, and a Red Hook Rye straight highball.