Whenever Norma's has leftover bagels, they don't go to waste. This cozy café in Ridgewood, Queens—a Chowhound haunt for cookies and cupcakes—repurposes them in killer bread pudding with savory add-ons like mushrooms, cheese, bacon, and sausage. But call ahead—no day-old bagels, no bread pudding.
Chowhounds are elbow-deep in rich, spicy seafood at The Boil, which brought the Gulf Coast–by-way-of-California Cajun-Asian crab shack to Manhattan early this year. A hot mess of crawfish, shrimp, lobster, or other marine critters comes seasoned and boiled in plastic bags. Bibs and gloves are offered. You should use them.
The Simone might be just what the Upper East Side needed. This month-old restaurant showcases assured New American cooking in an upscale setting that transports Chowhound dzop to an earlier era of fine dining at the likes of An American Place. Spot-on scallops (pictured) show what Chef Chip Smith is up to: delivering depth from demi-glace and textural contrast from perfectly braised vegetables and toasted walnuts.
In the donut world, there's no standing still. Among Dough Loco's ever-changing offerings, Chowhounds go for light, fluffy yeast donuts in maple-miso and pineapple–brown butter flavors. At Italian small-plate specialist Sorella, 'hounds' go-to donuts are donut holes, made to order with a sweet and agreeably salty glaze.
What kind of grilled cheese sandwiches could you make if you owned a dairy farm? Pretty awesome ones, if three-month-old Meltkraft is any indication. Try the meat- and macaroni-fortified Valley Thunder (pictured) with cheddar from New Jersey's Valley Shepherd Creamery—plus coffee, charcuterie, craft-beer flights, and amazing brownies.
Spit-roasted chicken, Montreal-style, is the specialty at month-old Rôtisserie Georgette on the Upper East Side. One Chowhound-worthy splurge is a bird for two, stuffed with wild mushrooms and served with foie gras. Another, available for groups of six, is a whole baby pig with bacon-onion marmalade and red wine jus.