The Perfect NYC Menu 

The Perfect NYC Menu

New York City has a meal for everyone — from the greasy pizza available on every block to the rarest delicacies of the four-star restaurants, even the most determined of gourmands has a hard time covering it all. But we asked our contributing foodies what kind of menu they’d come up with given no limitations on budget or time, choosing from their favorite New York restaurants. In a testament to the wonderful variety of this city’s comestibles there wasn’t a single repeated item on this seven-course menu. (Out of concern for our readers’ self-esteem, we’ve chosen not to include prices… this is a fantasy after all.)


Hot Artichoke Dip with Crisp Bread
Freeman’s, 8 Rivington St. (Laurel Pinson)

Pork Soup Dumplings
Scorching the roof of one’s mouth has never been so satisfying as at this unprepossessing culinary landmark in western-midtown Siberia. Grand Sichuan Midtown, 745 Ninth Ave. (Jeff Harris)

Sformato di Parmigiano
A friend told me that her first luscious bite of this balsamic-studded Parmagian cloud was akin to her first orgasm. Then, the Mario Batali dreams started. On second thought, maybe you should avoid this. Otto Enoteca, Fifth Ave. at 8th St. (Jeff Harris)

Locanda’s Marinated Mixed Olives
Steeped in olive oil, orange rind, and pink peppercorns — these have marked the start to some of my most memorable meals. Locanda Vini & Olii, 129 Gate Ave. in Fort Greene. (Kara Zuaro)


Seaweed Salad with Sesame Dressing
Simple, clean, delicious. Lovely Day Cafe, 196 Elizabeth St. (Stephanie Hanson)

Goat Cheese Spinach Salad
Baby spinach, warm goat cheese, roasted pine nuts and honey with vinaigrette.
Serafina, 393 Lafayette St. (Laurel Pinson)

The Burrata
An impossibly creamy and buttery southern Italian cheese, seeping from a ball of stretched fresh mozzarella. Prune, 54 E. 1st St. (Kara Zuaro)

Scallops in a Half Shell with Lemon and Sea Salt
A deliciously simple taste of the sea, but it’s not on the regular menu, so listen closely as the waitress rattles off the specials. Zipi Zape, 152 Metropolitan Ave. (Kara Zuaro)


White Truffle Special Pasta
Best ever, but seasonal. Da Silvano, 260 Sixth Ave. (Laurel Pinson)

“Potato and Goat Cheese Cotton Candy” would be a more fitting title for these toothsome nuggets so they’d never be compared to the balls of Elmer’s Glue commonly known as gnocchi. Craft, 43 E. 19th St. (Jeff Harris)

Homemade Trenette Pasta
Served with meltingly tender spot prawns and plump, juicy mussels, topped at the table with a zucchini stock and sea urchin froth. Alto, 520 Madison Ave. (Kara Zuaro)

Mint Love Letters with Spicy Lamb Sausage
I’ll fess up I’ve never had these but I want to, ever since a foodie friend’s rapturous description of the delicate pasta and tender lamb. Babbo, 110 Waverly Place. (Stephanie Hanson)


Fried Sweetbreads
The most decadent food ever—when it melts in your mouth who cares that it’s clogging your arteries? Prune, 51 E. First St. (Stephanie Hanson)

Blackberry Cabernet Sorbet
Cabernet isn’t a gimmick in this sorbet; it adds a savory roundness to sweet blackberry puree. Resetting my taste buds becomes an excuse to set them ablaze. Intermezzo, 202 Eighth Ave. (Jeff Harris)

Lobster Roll
If I were rich I’d eat this lobster roll every day. Well, ok, twice a week at least.
Pearl Oyster Bar, 18 Cornelia St. (Stephanie Hanson)

The Truffled Egg Toast with Bottarga
Can-bring-a-foodie-to-her-knees-thick Pullman toast is decked out with a poached egg, chopped asparagus, Parmigiano Reggiano, truffle oil, and dried tuna roe. ’Inoteca, 98 Rivington St. (Kara Zuaro)


Tandoori Grilled Shrimp
The chef at Devi is a master of haute Indian cuisine, and his grilled shrimp pack a quiet
(and complex) punch. Devi, 8 E 18th St. (Stephanie Hanson)

Grilled Maine Lobster
Trust the experts (or are they counselors?) at Mary’s Fish Camp to do what you’ve always dreamed: slap that precious lobster on the fire till it’s charred, concentrating, instead of washing away the flavor. Amazingly, it’s still tender. Mary’s Fish Camp, 246 W. 4th St. (Jeff Harris)

Sake Black Cod
How does Matsuri transform my least favorite fish into marinated sake heaven? Some things are best left as mysteries. Matsuri, 369 W. 16th St. (Stephanie Hanson)

Roasted Free Range Chicken Breast
Mushroom and shallot stuffing, camembert cheese polenta, natural jus.
Blue Water Grill, 31 Union Square W. (Laurel Pinson)


Porterhouse Steak for Two
Peter Luger Steakhouse, 178 Broadway, Brooklyn (Laurel Pinson)

Peas and Bacon
Roasted and lacquered pork belly + peas = instant classic. Who knew? Too bad it’s off the menu. 5 Ninth, 5 Ninth Ave. (Jeff Harris)

Ants Climb on Tree
Stir-fried beef with cellophane noodles in spicy garlic sauce. Shun Lee, 46 W. 56th St. (Laurel Pinson)

Phool Makhane Kee Sabzee
Popped lotus seeds and cashews are swirled into a rich, densely flavorful, and exotically yummy vegetarian curry. Devi, 8 E. 18th St. (Kara Zuaro)


Banana Cake
With toffee sauce and banana ice cream. Nick & Toni’s Café, 100 W. 67th St. (Laurel Pinson)

Warm Chocolate Torte with Macadamia Praline Ice Cream
This sublimely rich and satisfying plunge into Valrhona Valhalla, unsullied by any citrus distraction, makes a fittingly bacchic end to this feast. The Biltmore Room, 290 Eighth Ave. (Jeff Harris)

Almond Macaroons
They look deceptively dull, but these soft, round, and slightly chewy cookies, with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, are my favorite treat. Monteleone’s, 355 Court St. (Kara Zuaro)

Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding
Gooey hot fudge atop vanilla ice cream and warm hunks of dark chocolate-studded bread. Incredible. Blue Ribbon Bakery, 33 Downing St. (Stephanie Hanson)


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