Dozens of the world's top chefs have restaurants in New York, the dining centre of the world. We asked the best of the best to dish on their favourite bites at their own restaurants – and at a friend's Big Apple hot spot. Here's what to eat in New York right now.
The Chef: Eric Ripert
The Restaurant: Le Bernardin (155 West 51st Street; le-bernardin.com)
Best Dish: "It's a difficult question to answer but if I had to pick one, it would be the pounded tuna dish as it is the dish that most represents our philosophy of how we treat fish." The dish is composed of layers of thinly pounded yellowfin tuna, foie gras, toasted baguette, shaved chives and extra-virgin olive oil. "It is luxurious yet simple while elevating the quality of the tuna. It's what we try to do with each dish at Le Bernardin."
Second Helping: "Everybody should try the sushi at Masa at least once. If you have the sushi there, you will never think of sushi in the same way again." He says the quality of the sushi is just fantastic. "The fish is pristine and the way the rice is prepared is truly exceptional."
The Chef: Christina Tosi
The Restaurant: Milk Bar (561 Columbus Ave, plus six other locations; milkbarstore.com)
Best Dish: "I look at the Milk Bar must-haves as a complete snacking experience. One must start with the Compost Cookie, studded with pretzels, potato chips, coffee grounds, chocolate chips, graham crumbs, oats and butterscotch chips. Salty. Sweet. Chewy. Crunchy. Fudgy. These are the properties of any good cookie." The second course is Crack Pie. "A seriously rich, gooey, decadent moment: toasted oat crust, gooey, butter filling. It's a very don't-take-yourself-so-seriously moment when the pie has disappeared and you're licking your fingers and you open your eyes wondering how long people have been staring!" Finally, dessert should be Cereal Milk Ice Cream. "It's dumb how simple it is. Cornflakes toasted and steeped in milk, seasoned with just a pinch of salt, light brown sugar and some corn powder, just to tease the senses into thinking it's everyone and anyone's favourite cereal." She strongly recommends it with the cornflake crunch topping – basically caramelized cornflakes.
Second Helping: " I love the "eggs Benedict" at wd~50 and force it upon everyone I know. It is the reason I see food the way I do." It's a mind-warping eggs Benny, composed of deep-fried cubes of hollandaise breaded with English muffin, Canadian bacon chips and sous-vide egg yolk. It's "sense of humour-meets-intellectual-meets-classic-meets-delicious. [Chef] Wylie [Dufresne] is such a figurehead in how we create dishes. It's a must!"
The Chef: Michael Anthony
The Restaurant: Gramercy Tavern (42 East 20th St.; gramercytavern.com)
Best Dish: "One of my all-time favourite dishes on the Gramercy Tavern menu is our smoked trout with cipollini purée and pickled onions." The dish, which is incredibly popular, is an expression of the restaurant's food philosophy, he says. "It tells a story about using beautiful, local ingredients that is central to what we do."
Second Helping: " I love the food at ABC Kitchen. Dan Kluger is an incredibly talented chef, and I can relate to his food philosophy of celebrating what is local and seasonal." He orders the roast carrot and avocado salad with crunchy seeds, sour cream and citrus. "It's a wonderful combination that strikes the perfect balance between simple and complex, and he lets the ingredients shine through."
The Chef: Noah Bernamoff
The Restaurant: Mile End (97A Hoyt St.; mileenddeli.com)
Best Dish: "I recommend that first-time customers try a simple, smoked-meat sandwich. The sandwich contains three elements: 12-day dry-cured all-natural black Angus brisket that is smoked, steamed and hand-sliced; lightly seeded rye bread made with a sourdough starter and baked in a seething hot deck oven; and of course a slick of mild yellow and brown seed mustard." The sandwich is juicy and fatty, he says – the meat barely holding itself together, with a hint of tang from the soft yet crusty double-baked rye. "All ingredients at Mile End are made in-house, from the pickles and meat to the bread and condiments."
Second Helping: "My go-to dish at my go-to neighbourhood spot, Frankies 457, is cavatelli with spicy sausage, fried sage and brown butter. The homemade cavatelli has an amazingly tender bite combined with little explosions of spicy pork sausage tied together with the aromatics of the sage and the richness of the brown butter." It's one of those amazing pasta dishes that calls for bread at the end so that every drop can be savoured, he says. "I really love the way Frankies has blended the old with the new, creating completely traditional Sicilian dishes with a modern sensibility, something that has inspired our approach to Jewish food at Mile End."
The Chef: April Bloomfield
The Restaurant: The Breslin Bar & Dining (16 West 29th St.; thebreslin.com)
Best Dish: "The Scotch egg." It's a soft-boiled egg covered in their house-made sausage that is then breaded and deep fried. "When you cut into it the egg yolk oozes out and you get this porky goodness from the sausage and a crunch from the crisp breadcrumb."
Second Helping: "The miso marinated sablefish with crispy silken tofu in bonito broth at Annisa. The broth is salty and complex, and the silken tofu is fun to eat. I love this dish because Anita adds tobiko [flying fish roe] and I love how it pops in your mouth."
The Chef: Daniel Boulud
The Restaurant: Daniel (60 East 65th St.; danielnyc.com)
Best Dish: "I do a little hunting when I find time to get up to the Hudson Valley in the fall. It gives me real respect for wild game. But we actually get our first hint of game in mid-August with grouse from the Scottish Highlands. The wild Scottish grouse we serve at Daniel are imported for us by my dear friend Markus Draxler, also a sportsman, our former maître d' and now a purveyor of international delicacies." They serve the grouse roasted whole with a foie-gras stuffing, confit sweet potato, Brussels sprouts, caramelized pearl onions and huckleberry coulis. "It's the first dish that begins to carry us from summer into fall."
Second Helping: "There's the occasional casual Sunday dinner when I want nothing more than the simple roast chicken Jonathan Waxman makes downtown at Barbuto." It's a friendly loft-like restaurant housed in a former garage. "There's a big open kitchen with a wood-burning oven, the sight of which gives you an idea of just how good the chicken is going to taste." If he's going for refined rather than rustic, his choice is Le Bernardin. "Eric Ripert has a way with delicate but deeply flavourful broths that make his already perfect seafood magical. You'll taste it in his caviar and shellfish dish with a yuzu-scented custard and smoked bonito broth, or the warm scallop carpaccio with snow peas, shiitake and lime-shiso broth. Both are exquisite."