Culinary, Culture By Cabell Belk

New York City: Culinary Quest

You can't escape the smell of food in New York City. Coriander and cumin wafts from falafel stands on Fifth Avenue, while the scent of fresh-baked pizza dough races across the streets of Brooklyn. That's because, when it comes to outrageous flavors and modern takes on culinary classics, few cities can compete with the Big Apple. Like most visitors, your time (and meals) may be limited while venturing around the big city, so here's how to savor four of Manhattan's most appetizing neighborhoods right now.


Some of New York's-and the country's-most esteemed purveyors can be found at Gotham West Market, a hip destination food court on an unlikely stretch of 11th Avenue dominated by shipping depots and car dealerships. Mere blocks north, visit La Boite, where spice-master Lior Lev Sercarz crafts bespoke blends for the likes of Eric Ripert and Daniel Boulud, as well as artisanal Bloody Mary and cocoa mixes. In a neighborhood where memorable pre-theater meals haven't always been easy to come by, feast on garlic honey wings, spicy porkbelly sliders and kimchi bacon paella at Danji, the first Korean restaurant ever to receive a Michelin star.



Ring in your weekend with croque-madames and sparkling seasonal "bibonade" (fresh fruit and wine over ice) at Buvette, the neighborhood's petite, picture-perfect Francophile brunch darling. Brownstone-lined streets lead north toward Chelsea and Haven's Kitchen, a recreational cooking school in a renovated townhouse. Arrive a few minutes before class to peruse the cookbook collection in the luminous ground-floor cafe, then perfect your pie crust or tackle your fear of fish butchery. For dinner, travel to Italy via midcentury Manhattan at Village hot spot Carbone, a canny millennial ode to the city's iconic red-sauce joints of yesteryear. Expect tuxedoed servers, heaping portions of nostalgic pasta dishes and a deliciously retro dessert cart. Many of the SELECT Hotel & Resorts properties have some of NYC's hippest eateries, so you can even stay in to dine well.


Visit Breads Bakery first thing to pick up Uri Scheft's beautifully braided chocolate babka, widely hailed as the best loaf in the city. The Israel-born pastry chef's repertoire includes everything from traditional pain au raisin to pumpkin-poppy challah. His bite-sized marzipanlaced rugelach pairs perfectly with a cappuccino and a lap around the Union Square Greenmarket. A few blocks away at ABC Kitchen, where tabletops are clad in wildflowers and servers are dressed in mismatched flannel button-downs, lunch comes with six floors of design inspiration curated by ABC Carpet & Home. Eataly's NYC flagship, a veritable department store dedicated entirely to Italian foodstuffs, makes a worthy finale to any survey of Flatiron eats.



Greet the day with bagels, bialys, latkes and knishes at the cafe Russ & Daughters-the revered "appetizing shop" in business since 1914-and end it at Danny Bowien's technicolor taco spot Mission Cantina, serving serious playlists and cuisine from Mexico via San Francisco. Dessert awaits at Morgenstern's Finest Ice Cream, where you can explore the nuances of familiar flavors (there are four different types of vanilla alone) and sample whimsical originals like salt-and-pepper pine nut. The staff develops weekly pop-up flavors in partnership with favorite local chefs; it reads like a cheat sheet of the city's culinary trendsetters du jour.

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