New York is chockablock with steakhouses, barbecues, and temples of porkly worship. But where can you go to have yourself an ovine extravaganza? Where is the best lamb and mutton to be had? I'm glad you asked.
Keens is so impossibly authentic that it's easy to overlook how beautifully art-directed it is -- a homage and, really, an improvement of the genre. Yes, it's been around a million years and yes, it sells a signature item that nobody has liked in forty years, but Keens benefits from hindsight. That, and a matchless collection of Scotch whiskies.
No one talks about it anymore, but Molyvos reigned for a long time as the city's best Greek restaurant. And maybe it still is. Certainly the place took Greek cooking and modernized it before anyone else has. The food is elevated by homey and the room always comfortable and the service tight. The price is right too; a great choice in midtown.
The name means "tastes good" in Hebrew, and this tiny upper floor luncheonette in the diamond district lives up to it. These are the usual Bukharan specialties: kebabs, home fries, Israeli salad, aka chopped up tomatoes and cucumbers. The menu isn't big but everything on it is good, and more importantly, cheap. You won't find better food for the buck in midtown, especially if you are a sucker for lamb, as I am.
Turkish food guru Orhan Yegan created this casual restaurant as a platform for his homey, understated cooked dishes, but it's the mezes that steal the show, brilliantly simple and dressed with just some lemon and olive oil.
Stark, cold, and with nothing for atmosphere beside a television showing Russian soap operas, this Burkharan outpost serves up some of the best-tasting pelmeni, kebabs, and lagman (beef noodle) soup in Queens. If you are into lamb, make sure to get the lamb rib kebabs and plenty of them. And bring your own liquor.
Greek-American wunderkind chef Michael Psilakis made Kefi his bid to introduce Greek food to the American mainstream. And that's just what he did. Kefi is inexpensive, authentic, and totally accessible. Oh, and it's also freaking awesome.
Northern China has a large muslim population, which is one reason you won't find any pork here; lamb is the name of the game, and it's served in some of the most vivid and original ways you will ever see here.
April Bloomfield broke out of The Spotted Pig's gastropub mold in this equally robust but more ambitious eatery.
Small, unorthodox and independent, this East Village restaurant is no one's idea of a New York steakhouse, but guess what? It's one of the best around -- lacking only the cliches that are all many of its rivals have left.
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.