The NYC100

The papaya salad from Uncle Boons.

Photo by Evan Sung

52. The Place That Is Absolutely Worth the Torturous Wait

Uncle Boons
Nolita, Manhattan
Two hours?! Okay, fine. You’ll be glad you waited once you have that first bite of crispy lamb wrapped in lettuce. Uncle Boons is the Thai restaurant that never lets us down—the one that makes everyone happy, out-of-town relatives and fussy coworkers included. Every bite is fire—whether that means it’s spicy or straight awesome. Always over-order.
Order: yum mamuang (green mango salad), laab neuh gah (crispy lamb salad), kao pat puu (crab fried rice), massaman neuh (short ribs), khalum pli (ingenious rotisserie cabbage), Thai sausage duo, toasted coconut sundae (no matter how full you are).

53. The Place Where an Old-School Steakhouse Night Never Gets Old

Keens Steakhouse
Midtown West, Manhattan
Never has a piece of meat received as much attention as the mutton chop from this historic steakhouse (est. 1885!). But there’s more to love about Keens than the fabled two-pound lamb saddle chop (ehem, not actually mutton). There’s the deep list of single-malt Scotches. Waiters dressed in black bow ties and pressed red vests. The expertly stirred martinis. And it’s got one of the largest collections of churchwarden tobacco pipes in the world—which you’ll see hanging from the ceiling, as you lean back and pat your belly.
Order: wedge salad, shrimp cocktail, mutton chop, porterhouse for two, creamed spinach, hash browns, and a dry martini or three.

54. The Place to Go to for Unflinching Indian Food, No Matter Where You Are in Relation to Long Island City

Long Island City, Queens
Come to Adda as a group of four. Any fewer and you won’t make a dent in the menu, any more and it might be awhile before one of the tables in the energetic room opens up. Load up on whatever you need (mango lassis? Limca sodas? Chardonnay from the Finger Lakes?) to power through the purposeful heat and powerful spices at the backbone of the menu, from the array of snacks you won’t be able to get enough of at the start of the meal to the slow-cooked goat biryani you’ll take home with you when you finally and unwillingly call it quits.
Order: tawa kaleji (chicken livers), dilliwala butter chicken, lucknow dum biryani (slow-cooked goat).

55. The Place to Eat a Burger, Drink a Beer, and Feel Like One of the Regulars

Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Oversized mahogany booths. Red-and-white checkered tablecloths. Dim lights. Stained-glass chandeliers. Crispy fries. Frosty mugs of lager. And a staff that knows exactly how to treat you. Bernie’s is the no-fuss, Americana-fueled neighborhood restaurant that’s as perfect for a quick, cold martini as it is for camping out all night with one of New York City’s best burgers. Our official recommendation is to start with the first option, and then stay for the latter.
Order: Martini, wedge salad, baked clams, mozzarella sticks, double patty burger, and a whole Vinegar Chicken for the table.

56. The Place to Go to Eat Pizza and Not Worry About Anything Else

Bushwick, Brooklyn
When decision fatigue is the diagnosis, this buzzy Brooklyn pizza place is the cure. The menus are the size of Hallmark cards, featuring a short list of house cocktails, a handful of snacks, exactly one (always perfect) farmers’ market salad that changes daily, and the main event: a selection of perfectly blistered, thoughtfully topped, naturally leavened pizzas. There isn’t even a wine list to worry about. Tell your server what you like, and they’ll bring you tastes from the ever-changing lineup of natural wines—$14 per glass, $50 per bottle, always.
Order: the salad (large), the Square (tomatoes, house mozzarella, olives, basil, oregano), Juno (broccoli rabe, potatoes, provola, ricotta salata), and Pops (tomatoes, house mozzarella, guanciale, onions, pecorino) pies.

57. The Place for the Ultimate Italian-American Pilgrimage

L&B Spumoni Gardens
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
This spectacular spaghetti palace, open since 1939, is worth the trek to Bensonhurst, especially for big group dinners with zero plans for later—lying flat on your back is the only thing you’ll want to do after eating here. Most pilgrims come for the Sicilian-style pizza (not a bad plan), but if you’re making the trip, go for the four-course family-style Chef’s Table menu. How else will you experience Dueling Shrimp, an oversize platter of shrimp, half fried, half boiled?
Order: L&B Sicilian pie, mozzarella in carrozza, rice balls, broccoli rabe and sausage pasta, chicken Parmesan.

58. The Place Where You Can Get Omakase-Quality Takeout Sushi for Under $20

Silver Rice
Crown Heights and Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, BrooklynThis raw fish-obsessed city will never be short on incredible $200 omakase tasting menus. But omakase-level takeout sushi for under $20? That only exists at Silver Rice, a bright, tiny sushi and sashimi spot with two locations in Brooklyn. The fresh rolls here are stuffed with pristine fish that’s worlds away from the mystery pink sludge some spots dub “spicy tuna.” But the real move here is the fisherman’s bowl, brimming with chunks of salty snow crab, bright-orange ribbons of salmon, sweet raw scallops, and more over a bed of perfectly seasoned sushi rice.
Order: fisherman’s bowl, shrimp dumpling miso soup (with extra dumplings if you know what’s up), salmon kombu roll, and kimpira salad.

59. The Place for a Truly Serious Enchilada

Casa Enrique
Long Island City, Queens
To say that Casa Enrique is a restaurant that serves amazing enchiladas is both telling the truth and selling it short. The saucy, stuffed tortillas are profoundly flavorful and comforting, but so is every other Mexican dish served at this LIC staple. Go for a lazy dinner and do not stop after your second margarita.
Order: guacamole, rajas con crema, lengua tacos, chicken and salsa verde enchiladas, chile relleno, and countless margaritas.

60. The Place for Singing Karaoke After Finishing Your Korean Barbecue

Gowanus, Brooklyn
Usually belting out the words to Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” inside a restaurant would get you kicked out. But at Insa, it’s quite the opposite. After you finish up an ambitious spread of banchan and a sizable quotient of sizzling pork belly, you and your crew can head to a separate section of the restaurant and start singing (slightly off-key) karaoke in a private room.
Order: haemul pajeon (seafood pancake), bulgogi, thick-cut pork belly and thinly sliced brisket (for grilling), and dubu kimchi.

61. The Place for When You Want New York’s Most Masterful Slice

Scarr’s Pizza
Lower East Side, Manhattan
The only thing stronger than the “old-school slice-joint vibe” at Scarr’s is the pizza itself. Flour is milled in-house, and pies are baked to perfection in two small ovens in the front of the shop. Sit in the faux wood–paneled back room—either at the bar with a glass of pét-nat, or at one of the four molded plywood booths with a pitcher of Presidente—and dig into a Sicilian slice with pepperoni or a classic slice with mushrooms. Then try convincing yourself that you’re as cool as the trendy Lower East Side ensembles surrounding you. Do it on a weeknight, though. Fridays and Saturdays are truly swamped.
Order: any slice or whole pie (especially if you’re at one of the booths in the back with a crew) and a vegan Caesar salad.

62. The Place to Be Seen Eating a Large Platter of Nam Prik

Lower East Side
We won’t pretend like it’s not going to be crowded. Everyone on the Lower East Side is going to Wayla for big-flavor homestyle Thai food, including us. Think fresh curries with brilliant aromas; whole fried fish seasoned with ginger, dried chiles, and shallots; and fish sauce aplenty. But the one menu item that should land on every table is the nam prik platter, a beautiful spread of vegetables—like Thai eggplant, steamed squash, lettuces, long beans, and okra—served with mushroom, shrimp, and pork dips. Order it for the table. And definitely make a reservation.
Order: Nam prik, sai oua (fermented pork sausage), moo sarong (meatballs wrapped in crispy noodles), crab-fried rice, whatever whole fish is on the menu, and some ice cold beer.

63. The Place for When You Want to Pick Your Own Fish and Tell the Chefs How to Cook It

Astoria Seafood
Long Island City, Queens
There won’t be a moment of serenity during your time at this Greek BYOB. Counter staff shout orders to cooks. Chefs shout at waiters. Guests shout to one another. It’s loud. And it’s fun. Especially because you get to walk alongside the beds of ice and choose whichever fish, bivalves, and shellfish look good, and then tell the staff how to cook them. You hold all the cards, especially since it’s a BYOB.
Order: Grilled octopus, fried shrimp, grilled fish with lemon and herbs, and a large Greek salad.

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