Eim Khao Mun Kai knows what it's about: Hainan chicken rice, the only dish it serves. The twist at this signless storefront, which opened just over a month ago in Elmhurst, Queens, is that its spin on this southern Chinese street bite is Thai—as Chowhounds have discerned from the spot-on fixings, including chiles and robust ginger-garlic soy sauce. READ MORE
The ramen scene in Upper Manhattan has never been stronger—an observation that wouldn't have meant much in the noodle-challenged recent past, but suddenly uptown has the real thing in West Harlem's Jin Ramen and, since summer, Yasha Ramen in Morningside Heights. Yasha (which means "demon") has won over Chowhounds with its signature ramen—chicken broth, pork chashu, scallions, bamboo shoots—as well as knockout spicy chicken wings. "We'd go here again and again," swears one fan, c oliver.
One of Hurricane Sandy's highest-profile casualties was The River Café, a waterfront landmark that most Chowhounds celebrate less for its food and more for its sweeping postcard views of the downtown skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge. Fifteen months after the storm, it's back in business, and recent 'hound intel suggests that the cooking, as well as the damaged structure, has received a needed makeover. READ MORE
The Smile, which started dispensing coffee and coolness four years ago in NoHo, colonized Tribeca last summer with a little café called The Smile Newsstand. Chowhounds go for its house-made financiers, muffins, and other baked treats, as well as coffee brewed with beans from the upstate roaster Plowshares. Attention, shoppers: The café's inside Shinola, a Detroit transplant that proudly sells bicycles, watches, and other examples of good old American craftsmanship.
Chowhounds know Chef Tomoko Kato's French training and Japanese sensibility from Cha-an, the East Village teahouse hideaway. Now she's showcasing her elegant sweets at Patisserie Tomoko in Williamsburg. Recent winners at the three-month-old bakery and dessert bar include chestnut-coffee pastries, pleasingly floral gin-glazed donuts, and an airy custard-filled brioche cube. "Get yours soon," wewwew urges.
It's easy to walk right by La Chapincita without noticing that this Guatemalan market also houses a little kitchen. But one Chowhound ventured inside, followed his nose past the groceries in front, and was rewarded with satisfying home-style cooking, notably a spicy turkey stew. The daily-changing steam-table spread might also include beef and vegetable soups, whole fried fish, and chicken pepián in pumpkin-seed sauce, all served with rice and small, thick house-made tortillas. READ MORE
Brooklyn has plenty of Chowhound-worthy Georgian restaurants, but few of their owners will patiently talk newcomers through the menu, the way one 'hound was at Café Caucasia in Bensonhurst. "Service like this was unexpected and very educational," jonkyo writes, and it paid off in a smartly ordered dinner—chicken satsivi in thick, delicious walnut sauce; well-spiced minced-beef lulya kebab; and excellent Georgian bread, baked fresh daily in house. Caucasia's relatively new, but it's already built a loyal following of locals since opening in September. The cooking's one attraction; the hospitality couldn't hurt, either.
A few bucks will buy you a passel of Spanish sandwiches and snacks at 100 Montaditos—especially on Wednesdays, when all the namesake montaditos (pictured) are just $1 apiece. Appetizers, including excellent brava potatoes, are also part of the weekly dollar deal at the first New York location of this chain from southern Spain.
The newish Midtown outpost of Butter serves one stellar Berkshire pork chop. It's nicely seared outside, slightly pink in the center, seasoned with mustard, and crowned with roasted shiitakes, Chowhound coasts reports—a smart order among a lineup of destination meat courses that include an aged tomahawk rib steak (pictured). On the side, try an irresistible Jerusalem artichoke gratin with Gruyère. TV chef Alex Guarnaschelli's Midtown menu is similar to the one at her original Butter downtown, which remains closed for renovations.