Welcome to Grub Street’s rundown of restaurant recommendations that aims to answer the endlessly recurring question: Where should we go? These are the spots that our food team thinks everyone should visit, for any reason (a new chef, the arrival of an exciting dish, or maybe there’s an opening that’s flown too far under the radar). This month: meat-free Chinese in Williamsburg, a more casual way to Blue Hill, and outstanding Indian street food on Second Avenue.
Bangkok Supper Club (West Village)
The coconut crab curry at Fish Cheeks is one of those dishes that’s imprinted itself on my mind. I couldn’t forget it, even if I tried. So when a friend asked if I’d be interested in going to owners Jenn Saesue and Chat Suansilphong’s new restaurant, Bangkok Supper Club, I set about rearranging my schedule. Good thing I did. This restaurant’s focus is on Bangkok street food, cooked by the chef Max Wittawat. Many dishes are grilled over charcoal, like an appetizer of beef tongue sliced into thin squares that’s dressed with punchy tamarind jaew and toasted rice powder. It’s mesmerizing. The lobster in our ba jang was tough, but the flavors were so precise and potent that we found ourselves in a forgiving mood. Alas, $20 cocktails are priced for the times, and reservations can be tough to land, but if you show up early, you can walk in, though there may be a wait. — Chris Crowley
Jazba (East Village)
Jazba is scrappier than its sister restaurant, Junoon: less expensive, more casual, louder, younger, and punishingly brighter, and dedicated to India’s hawker cuisine. Lest that sound like faint praise, it is absolutely delicious. You could eat well at Jazba (pronounced “Jezba”) by opting only for improved versions of your usual midweek Indian takeout, but venture further, as the menu ranges all over the Indian subcontinent. Golgappa are little spheroid puffs of semolina filled with potato, into whose open caps you pour a little urn of sauce and pop into your mouth like cherry bombs. Korma, with tender goat piled into thin rotis and dotted with pearls of pink pickled onion, is a star. I’d love to say I resisted the childish allure of gola for dessert, a little Popsicle of crushed ice that arrives with four mini squeeze bottles of flavored syrup to soak and illustrate it (rose, green cardamom, orange, and berry). But I didn’t. — Matthew Schneier
Family Meal at Blue Hill (Greenwich Village)
The Manhattan outpost of Dan Barber’s Blue Hill has gone through many evolutions in the 23 years since it first opened, and it’s long lived in the shadow of its bucolic sibling outside Tarrytown. These days, the tablecloths and menus are gone completely, replaced by a four-course prix fixe, with everything (mostly vegetables and grains) selected by the kitchen and served family style for $145 per person. Even if they’d dropped some of the frippery, they’ve maintained much of the finesse. A meal may include flatbread fashioned from wheat Barber helped co-breed, with slow-cooked eggplant or a pile of hen-of-the-woods mushrooms to stuff inside; a puck of fluke tartare atop a long-cooked mix of caramelized onions and honey-nut squash; or thin, silver dollars of pork, scattered with Jimmy Nardellos and tasting like the sweetest, most comforting version of sausage and peppers anyone has ever imagined. Bonus points are awarded here because this is one of the few restaurants open on Monday night. — Alan Sytsma
When I asked a friend to meet me at Púsù, it was because I was curious about the vegetarian menu of Chinese favorites; the swanky barroom was simply a plus. Pair a long mangosteen drink with a sidecar of dragon-fruit cubes to nibble alongside, and then order eggplant with the fried Chinese crackers known as baocui. The menu is perhaps overlong, but mapo tofu served inside a small, tender pumpkin, and chewy, handmade, tricolor sesame noodles are good places to start. — Tammie Teclemariam