Blue Ribbon Sushi's Omakase
While most sushi restaurants will simply bring out a chef's selection, at this underground nook, they'll serve you fish and deep-fry the bones for you to munch on afterwards. No, seriously – order the omakase, and once you've polished off rich bites of super fresh salmon, tuna and mackerel, they'll clean up your scraps and return with a crunchy treat that's only mildly more intimidating than a platter of unknown terrines. Freak out your tablemates! Entertain a date! But, most importantly, be careful, since this bugger can be sharp. A little bit o' culinary danger never hurt anyone, though. We say: totally worth it.
Blue Ribbon Sushi, 97 Sullivan Street (between Spring and Prince streets); 212-274-0404.
Rosemary's Minestra di Stagione
There are minestrone soups...and then there's this one. Unlike your watery, veggie-specked variety that comes out a can, this one comes straight out of the ground. Or, in other words, the roof. Rosemary's makes the most of its West Village building by growing a full garden on top of it, and that direct access to its own crops shines in their incomparably fresh dishes. Like a freshly plucked veggie patch in a bowl, this never-seen-anything-like-it entree is a game changer. And, with everyone at your table bound to opt for the pasta or pork instead, it’s also a total insidery pick.
Rosemary's, 18 Greenwich Avenue (at 10th Street); (212) 647-1818
Do or Dine’s Banana Split Pea Soup
Yup, you read that right. Chef and soon-to-be Food Network Star Justin Warner is a mad genius, and it shows just from a quick read of Do or Dine's hilarious, mind boggling menu. Nearly everything being whipped up in this kitchen is halfway bonkers (foie gras doughnuts, anyone?), but the item that truly blows our mind is this Banana Split Pea Soup. As punny as it sounds, this appetizer isn't a jumble of ice cream and peas: it's a sweet vegan pea soup, poured over tofu and soy “whipped cream” and coconut flakes, with two plantain crisps on each side. The sheer inventiveness and shocking realism of this one still has us laughing, but more so, celebrating its arrival: this one was just added to the menu permanently.
Do or Dine, 1108 Bedford Avenue (between Quincy Street and Lexington Avenue), Brooklyn; 718-684-2290.
Photo: Courtesy of Steve Hill