Is Ridgewood the next Williamsburg? The arrival of Houdini Kitchen Laboratory will only encourage that kind of talk. Opened six weeks ago in a brewery-turned-art-space by the owner of the fondly remembered Miss Williamsburg diner, it's turning out first-rate thin-crust pizza that Chowhounds consider the neighborhood's best.
At week-old Fung Tu, a chef who cooked at Per Se transforms flavors from the Chinese kitchen in a style described as "creative Chinese-American." That phrase raises alarms among some purists, but Chowhound mitchleeny finds a lot to like—small plates like duck-stuffed dates; big ones like steamed local sea bream with fennel, tangerine, and black bean; and bitter/sweet chocolate–peanut butter sesame balls for dessert.
It may seem gimmicky, but Potatopia, the all-spuds restaurant in the Village, does right by the humble potato in numerous guises. Alpha Chowhound Jim Leff declares the Smashed Hit—whose crisp, chewy fried potato stands up to the accompanying cheeses, onions, pepper, and meat of your choice—"KILLERKILLERKILLERKILLERKILLER."
Having reimagined Sichuan cooking at Mission Chinese Food, Danny Bowien moves on to Mexican at week-old Mission Cantina. Look for his signature big flavors (but surprisingly subdued chile heat), unexpected combinations like scallops and beef heart in ceviche, and tacos on fantastic tortillas made from scratch.
Ivan Orkin, the Tokyo-tested ramen prodigy from Long Island, set up shop last week at Gotham West Market, a new high-end food hall. In a preview of Orkin's soon-to-open U.S. flagship on the Lower East Side, Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop serves satisfying bowls of nutty rye noodles in shio or shoyu broth, as well as creamy roasted-garlic mazemen and donburi rice bowls.
Beyond the Garment District's uninviting service entrances lurk cheap eateries for the workers, but there's no reason Chowhounds can't eat there too. And some do, lunching happily on made-to-order steak tacos (pictured) at Nick's Place. Go early for the best selection from a daily-changing menu ranging from Mexico to the Mediterranean.
Chowhounds discovered Bangladeshi deliciousness in the Bronx early on, but one growing Bangla enclave escaped their notice—until now. Sodesh in Norwood aces South Asian standards like shrimp biryani, and the engaging staff will also steer you toward fish curries and other fresh, homey Bangladeshi specialties.