"Steaks and Chops": so boasts any number of New York's old time restaurants. But think for a second. You've had plenty of steaks. But where are the chops? If you're like me, a good pork chop is a lot harder to find than a steak -- and a lot better when you're in the mood.
Mario Batali's flagship hasn't lost its fastball; its vivid, ballsy take on Italian food continues to constantly change and impress.
The name says it all: this cheapo Chinatown joint specializes in pork chops, and they are as good as advertised.
Joey Campanaro's little gem of a restaurant is still one of the preeminent examples of a great New York neighborhood restaurant. The room is supremely cozy and romantic and the food simple but flawless. The burger, served only at lunch, is one of the city's very best.
A sequel to Soho's late, lamented Savoy, Back Forty represents chef Peter Hoffman's doubling down on the idea of local, sustainable cooking. Back Forty takes a southern take on the idea, with a wide smattering of tasty pork, offal, and garden vegetable treats, including some that even East Village diners aren't always ready for. (They serve pork jowl nuggets as a bar snack, for instance.) There's a garden and a great burger and plenty of bourbon for the non-adventurous.
The ultimate "cork dork" wine bar, Terroir goes so far down founder Paul Grieco's Riesling-slicked rabbit hole that it comes out the other end as the coolest place on Earth to learn about wine.
The hotel is a little over the top, and its bar and club scene even more so, but the restaurant at the Standard is surprisingly good, with legitimately seasonal, carefully sourced, simple food executed well. The front beer garden, with its elaborate sausage program, is fabulous as well.
Secluded, rustic, and romantic (it's in an area so secluded you can hear birds chirping outside), Vinegar Hill House doesn't seem likely to have great food. After all, why bother? But the food is, amazingly, the main reason to go. The wood oven is, for once, used as an engine for cast-iron cooking and simple food made with the best possible ingredients. This is one of the best restaurants in New York, period.
What started out a loving tribute to Italian-American food from two talented young line cooks has morphed under their genius into a true culinary destination, a French Laundry for the Sunday Gravy set. No reservations.
The city's most skilled and ardent supporter of Spanish food is surely chef Seamus Mullen, and this tribute to the fire-roasted pleasures of Astorios, in the country's northern part, his greatest accomplishment.