'The Best Thing I Ever Ate': New York City Edition
"I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food."
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a foodie. So whenever I am traveling to a new (or old) city, I look for recommendations on the best places to eat from friends and family. And I also refer to my trusty list: the list I make when I sporadically have the opportunity to catch the show “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.”
Food Network seeks to help foodies when visiting various cities by offering insight into the favorite dishes nationwide of chefs, restaurateurs, and television personalities that we watch on Food Network and the Cooking Channel. The premise: if we like to watch them, then surely we will want to eat where they love to eat.
I decided to take them up on some of their recommendations when I visited New York City. In such a huge food city, ‘The Best Thing I Ever Ate” seemed like a good place to start. So, I found a listing of all of the picks by city, and decided to try three different restaurants and the dishes that the various chefs recommended for each location.
All in all, the list didn’t let me down. The food really was delicious and gave me a great culinary experience of New York. Here are the places and dishes I tried. Bon appetit!
Schiller’s Liquor Bar
Best Thing I Ever Ate Food Item: Garlic Shrimp
Recommending Chef: Rocco DiSpirito
We headed to Schiller’s Liquor Room to try the savory garlic shrimp. The casual restaurant has a diner feel and opens right to the street. The garlic shrimp was fantastic and had slices of garlic in the olive oil. The shrimp was tender and savory and the leftover sauce was used to dip bread in. Overall, I would give this dish an excellent report.
All of the food and drinks were good. The sangria was smooth and the seasonal drink right now is the Blood Orange Daiquiri. Although the food was good, the service was slow and a bit sporadic. We were a bit exasperated by the wait time for entrees and other assistance. Go here for a good meal, but not if you are in a serious rush.
Best Thing I Ever Ate Food Item: Croque Monsieur
Recommending Chef: Frank Bruni
This Broadway restaurant is part of the Boulud family of restaurants owned by Daniel Boulud. Not to be confused with Café Boulud, this restaurant has both a prix fixe and a la carte brunch. And the feature item: the Croque Monsieur. This dish is a sandwich that Bar Boulud crafts with house-made ham, gruyere cheese and sauce. And it is heavenly.
The sandwich is cheesy, rich and decadent. I love cheese, and it was right up my alley. The Croque Monsieur is part of both brunch menus, along with the lunch menu. Even though I enjoyed my sandwich immensely, the meal ended up being a little pricey. Be sure to sit outside on a nice day for a great chance to people watch.
Best Thing I Ever Ate Food Item: Fried Chicken
Recommending Chef: Michael Psilakis
This is the quirkiest restaurant I have eaten at in NYC. Located in Brooklyn, this restaurant is located in a bowling alley. Yes…a bowling alley. A dimly lit bowling alley.
And the food was amazing. The fried chicken was extremely well seasoned and tender with crispy skin. To avoid getting the whole platter, I went with the Jim Morrison, which included a buttermilk pancake and either white, dark or mixed chicken. The portion was massive! The white meal came with two wings and an entire chicken breast. It was huge I took about half of it to go. The pancake was served with real maple syrup. Real maple syrup at a bowling alley…shocking.
But in looking up The Best Thing I Ever Ate, one online critic stated that his favorite French Fries in New York were the Rock and Roll Fries at Brooklyn Bowl. So, of course, I had to try them. They definitely lived up to their name. The fries are smothered in gravy, Cajun spices, provolone and cheddar cheese, and are available as an appetizer or a side. Even though I couldn’t finish, they very well may be, the best fries I have ever had.
So even though I walked a bunch of calories off, and I tried to follow Giada de Laurentiis's mantra of eating a little bit of everything and not a lot of anything, I will be detoxing and reporting to the gym immediately after this gastronomical experience. New York, your food won me over.
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