Where Tom went:
An extension of ABC Carpet & Home, this picture in white from esteemed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten tilts natural and luscious at lunch with cold-pressed juices, lemony crab toast, whole-wheat pizza scattered with spinach and goat cheese, and whimsies including pretzel-dusted squid. Lunch also yields a deal: three courses for $33.
35 E. 18th St
A rare and wonderful taste of Nordic cuisine from chef Emma Bengtsson in an austere Midtown setting, Aquavit entices fans with an exquisite herring sampler; Swedish meatballs with lingonberries; and kroppkakor (dumplings), along with the option of washing back a meal with potent house-made aquavit in a dozen intriguing flavors.
65 E. 55th St.
Ask a discerning local to name the restaurant that sums up New York, and “Balthazar” is the likely response. “It’s inspired by French brasseries, but very American, and it looks like it’s been around forever,” says no less than Eric Ripert, the chef of Le Bernardin. Of course, it’s cramped, and of course, it’s loud.
80 Spring St.
Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks
A food fan could spend hours browsing in Slotnick’s homey shop in the East Village, which stocks a collection of more than 4,000 titles, a mix that includes old Sunbeam recipe pamphlets and menus from trains and ocean liners (along with vintage aprons and other culinary ephemera). Pets are welcome, as are children, who get a nook and a table of their own. Out back: a garden for reading.
28 E. Second St.
Bring an appetite, a fat wallet and a sense of humor to this over-the-top celebration of yesteryear’s red-sauce joints. Enough for two, the veal parm costs $64. But it’s the best marriage of meat, cheese and fried basil of your life, dropped off by a waiter who could have stepped out of a mob movie while Sinatra is singing “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing.”
181 Thompson St.
The Dead Rabbit
Dominique Ansel Bakery
The world knows Dominique Ansel as the creator of the cronut, the love child of a croissant and a doughnut that spawned countless imitators. Visitors to his slim bakery in SoHo can also testify to the pastry maven’s wonderful way with multi-flavored Mini-Me (miniature meringues), after-school cookie shots, “cotton-soft” cheesecake and kouign-amann.
189 Spring St.
Celebrity chef Mario Batali, a partner in the project, has described this 50,000-square-foot emporium near Madison Square Park as a grocery store with tasting rooms. Birreria, one of several places therein to eat and drink, pours cask ales and serves fried sweetbreads with tuna sauce, among other lures, on Eataly’s rooftop.
200 Fifth Ave.
Florence Prime Meat Market
Adam Rapoport, the editor of Bon Appétit, buys his meat here. So does Mimi Sheraton, the legendary food critic. Dressed with little more than family photos on the walls and sawdust on the floor, this slip of a butcher shop lives up to its name: The meat is prime, the steaks are dry-aged in-house and everything is cut to order. Florence’s claim to fame is its signature Newport, a triangle-shaped center cut of sirloin.
Five Jones St.
A Berkeley vibe courses through this neighborly Italian restaurant in Brooklyn, home to fine pastas and peerless Neapolitan pizzas baked in wood-fired ovens. Expect the cocktails to rock, the coffee to be fair-trade and the menus to be printed on recycled paper.
348 Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn
Ganesh Temple Canteen
Outftted with rows of folding chairs and metal tables, with religious cartoons playing on overhead TVs, this popular cafeteria in the basement of a temple in residential Flushing could pass for a church basement. But the aromas wafting from the kitchen whet an appetite for South Indian cooking. Crisp, kite-shaped crepes made from rice and lentils, and eaten with a choice of mild-to-wild vegetarian fillings, are a major draw.
45-57 Bowne St., Flushing
Count Ruth Reichl a fan of this round-the-clock hot dog joint with the juicy franks and lord-knows-what in the tropical drinks. “If you’re a New Yorker, it’s in your blood,” says the former editor of Gourmet. Songs have been written about the place, and more than a few TV and film characters have professed their affection.
Billy Durney, a security agent turned pit master, does right by brisket, smoky baked beans and collard greens in a barn of a barbecue joint in Red Hook. The sleeper of the lot: pulled lamb. Pluses include live music Thursdays through Saturdays and margaritas sweetened with peaches.
454 Van Brunt St., Brooklyn
Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong (Manhattan)
Don’t even think about waiter service. Part of the fun of a run to this icon on the Lower East Side is taking a ticket, getting in line, enjoying a gratis taste of the glorious pastrami/corned beef/brisket before it’s piled into a rye sandwich (say yes to the garlicky pickles) and finding a seat in the clattery dining room plastered with celebrity mug shots. Just remember to tip the counterman and wash back the feast with a fizzy egg cream.
205 E. Houston St.
The restaurant that raised the bar for seafood establishments in the country when it opened almost 30 years ago continues to lead by example, thanks to chef Eric Ripert and a stellar crew of cooks, waiters and hosts. A recent repast netted charred calamari on a pool of Basque sauce, poached skate set against a golden kimchi broth, and a contemporary Pavlova with tropical fruit.
155 W. 51st St.
Possibly the most romantic bar in Brooklyn is the petite, U-shaped marble counter at which absinthe and oysters serve as the signatures. Imagine if the French Quarter were airlifted to Williamsburg. Better yet, order the French Roulette, a rival to the Sazerac, in the company of someone you care about.
298 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn
Marlow & Sons
One diner’s definition of perfection in Williamsburg: a table straddling inside and patio, weather permitting; a short menu of dishes, each intriguing in a different way (spicy yogurt with Sungold tomatoes and eggplant); and service that feels as if family is taking care of you. To order the brick-pressed chicken is to see why the classic has been on the list for more than a decade.
81 Broadway, Brooklyn
Momofuku Noodle Bar
Eleven years after it made its debut in the East Village and rocketed David Chang to world renown, the first of the Momofuko brands continues to thrill with its menu, slightly less for the signature bowls than for the buns (go for shrimp with spicy mayo).
171 First Ave.
Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream
One of the premiere cheese stores in the country, this fragrant fixture in Greenwich Village since 1940 entices fromage fans with wares from around the world, in-store classes and just about everything (charcuterie, spreads) you’d want to eat with the house specialties.
254 Bleecker St.
OddFellows Ice Cream Co.
A window behind the front counter lets visitors see the house draw, available in such fun flavors as miso-cherry and corn bread, being made in small batches. Popsicles for the over-21 set include strawberry daiquiri; the delicious waffle cones are made on site.
175 Kent Ave., Brooklyn
Arguably the most famous steakhouse in New York is in Brookyln. Here’s what you should know going in: The institution doesn’t take credit cards, the creamed spinach bests the German fried potatoes and the dry-aged porterhouse is the fan’s cut of choice. No need to commit that advice to memory; a no-nonsense waiter basically tells you what to order at the table of what could pass for a tavern.
178 Broadway, Brooklyn
Red Bowl Noodle Shop
Russ & Daughters Cafe
“Regular or seltzer?” asks the server at this sit-down extension of the appetizing century-old store on the Lower East Side. Introduced last year, the cafe sports a retro look, with an old-fashioned soda fountain and backlit signs in black-and-white announcing sardines and rugelach. All good: chopped liver, pickled herring on pumpernickel, matzoh ball soup and -- cocktails!
127 Orchard St.
Chefs and owners Aaron Israel and Sawako Okochi merge their roots in a cozy corner space in South Williamsburg with a delightful hybrid menu that runs from glossy challah whose ingredients include sake lees to succulent pork chop schnitzel with tonkatsu. Among the drinks is the mezcal-fueled (ha!) L’Chaim Loca.
310 S. Fourth St., Brooklyn
A spinoff of the popular Brooklyn Flea, Smorgasburg has been called “the Woodstock of Eating” by the New York Times. One hundred or so local vendors sell po' boys, pierogis, mofongo and one-bite cheesecakes against a stunning view of Manhattan on the Williamsburg waterfront. The long line in front of Goa Taco should tell you something: Coal-roasted pork belly and pickled red cabbage cradled in flaky paratha is amazing.
Kent Avenue and N. Seventh Street
New York’s premiere omakase ($120 and worth every penny) commences in a hushed environment with a server introducing you to the condiments you’ll be tasting throughout the night, then sails on to some of the most pristine raw fish you can imagine. At the helm: Daisuke Nakazawa, an apprentice to the star of “Jiro Dreams of Sushi."
23 Commerce St.
Among food critic Robert Sietsema’s favorite pit stops in Jackson Heights is this dining room painted in the colors of the Mexican flag. The draws include a taco placero (“market taco”), stuffed with a rich chili relleno, and a liquor license -- rare, he says, for a non-gringo taqueria. Sí, the tortillas are made here.
94-13 37th Ave., Queens
Whisks don’t begin to depict the scope here. The rambling housewares store also packs in Mason jars, cake stands, a nook devoted to cocktails, aprons, coffeemakers and Le Creuset pots in a rainbow of colors. Nice touch: a “Recipe of the Week,” available at the door.
231 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn