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New York can be described as one of the cultural capitals of the world. Its long immigration history and numerous urban and ethnic clusters have greatly influenced its food and culture.
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- I'm Aida Mollenkamp. I'm a chef and writer with a passion for exploration. And I'm in search of the best food a city has to offer. Whether it's a locals-only favorite, or a chef's secret special, join me, as I go Off-Menu in New York City. New York might be the nation's ultimate dining destination. In the city that never sleeps, the five boroughs offer every kind of food imaginable. Manhattan is the most well-traveled, but Brooklyn is taking the lead when it comes to hip new hot spots. For those willing to go that extra subway stop across the river. All Brooklyn, all the time. - But it all started in Manhattan, so I feel like it's only appropriate, we start in Manhattan. - [Aida] I'm meeting up with Liza de Guia, the force behind Food Curated, a James Beard nominated, storytelling series about locals and their passion for food. - Today I wanted to take you to places that I think are serving up quintessential, New York iconic foods, but with a twist. That are a little more artisan and high-end, and I think I just kinda want to show you where classic dishes are going. - [Aida] Walking around New York with Liza is like having a golden ticket to all the best restaurants, starting with Dough. Fanny Gerson recently opened her Manhattan location after starting a small shop in Brooklyn. People line up around the block for her doughnuts, and it's not hard to see why. - My name is Fanny Gerson, and I'm the chef/found of Dough Doughnuts. And we're at our shop in the Flatiron District. I spent a lot of time working on the dough, itself, hence the name. The concept behind Dough is to make something that's so iconic and elevated. We wanted to do, like a doughnut that was a celebration of a doughnut. The doughnuts are made in small batches, fresh throughout the day, it's very artisanal. All of our glazes are made with really good ingredients, and all natural. Certain ones, for example, like the hibiscus was a nostalgic flavor that I was craving and I was like, maybe I can turn it into a glaze. - Tell us what are your favorite flavors right now. - It's hard, but, the hibiscus and the passion fruit are my favorites. - [Aida] Oh the hibiscus is so pretty. - [Fanny] So the hibiscus, and then on top it has candied hibiscus. - Just the glaze looks gorgeous, sexy. It's a sexy doughnut. - [Aida] I want, like a top in that color or something. - [Fanny] And this is apple jam, so we have a jam that we make in-house with granny smith apples. And then it has cinnamon sugar on top, a little bit of powdered sugar, and then an apple chip that we make as well. - OK, so this one, Chai Cream. - [Fanny] Chai pastry cream topped with dark chocolate and toasted almonds. - Both of those are right up my alley. You're a very good saleswoman. - [Fanny] Do you guys want any coffee? - [Aida] Definitely. - [Liza] Yes. - OK, she's got that, I'll wait for the coffee, and I'll give you that, OK? - [Fanny] Thank you. - [Aida] Thank you. What is it about Dough that you just love? - It feels like a gift every time I sit down with one. And just visually, they pop. - No, they're beautiful. - [Liza] I don't think you've ever seen a doughnut that looked anything like this before. Look at that. - [Aida] Oh my goodness. - Ready to get your hands all dirty? - I'm concentrating. Here we go, triple lutz, I don't even know what I'm saying. - That apple jam is so, it's sweet! - What I love about this, is that it's almost like she filled it with the smoothest apple sauce you've ever had. - [Liza] Right? - OK, OK, OK, OK. And, hibiscus, which I'm actually the most excited about. - Visually it's so beautiful that it reads to me as a pastry. - [Aida] It does. This one feels like a classic French pastry that you would go to a, I feel like it's a doughnutisserie, right? - Doughnutisserie. - Not just a patesserie, not a doughnut shop. - You gotta trademark that. - She's a doughnutisserie. - It doesn't jump out at you like the passion fruit, but it's subtle. - [Aida] It's very subtle. This one is like, you know I'm here. We can be friends. I'll come out sooner or later. - I think if you take a really big bite, Aida, you will taste more of the hibiscus. - OK. - That was a dare and it worked. - But you're right, I actually do taste a lot more of the hibiscus. We've got one more to go. - [Liza] OK. - [Aida] Chocolate Chai. - [Both] Ooh. Aah. - Mm. That cream is light in there. - You know what there needs to be more of? Chai cream. - [Liza] Mm hmm, everywhere. - I think that we should have chai pudding, and chai cream, and chai fudge pops. I'm just... - [Liza] Yeah. - I see a bright future for chai cream. Oh my goodness, good stuff. - Yeah? Did it give you enough sugar rush for the rest of the day? - I think so. - We have a lot of food to eat today. - OK, I think I am powered up and ready to go. I'm turbo charged on doughnuts and coffee. New Yorkers will tell you their subway system is the best in the world. And who am I to argue? But on a day like today, there are more scenic options. One of which is my favorite way to get to Brooklyn, the East River Ferry. New York is famous for pizza and character. And Paulie Gee's in Brooklyn excels at both. If you make claims about the best pizza in New York, you're liable to start a riot. But any list would need to have Paulie's pies, made with only the best locally sourced cheeses, meats and veggies. - I'm Paulie Gee, and this is Paulie Gee's Greenpoint pizza joint. What I love about pizza is its simplicity. My pizza oven was built by an artisan in Naples and shipped over here. It's a wood fire brick pizza oven, similar to what was found 2000 years ago in Pompeii. - He is so good to hear about his tomato sauce, he used to rip the labels out so no one knew - Still do. - [Liza] What kind of tomatoes he uses, so... - [Paulie] We burn them too. - [Liza] Who does that? - [Aida] I mean, he needs kindle for the oven, it's only natural, understood. - I brought her because I have a very particular pizza that I love here that I tell everyone across the country to come have. - Well, I know you want the Hellboy. - You know, he knows. See, I come here all the time. - We get to watch you do your magic? - [Paulie] Yep. - [Aida] OK, let's see it! - First we stretch our dough to the size that the pie needs to be. We learned the move called the Egyptian where you hang the dough off the end of the table, from an Egyptian pizza maker who we were trying out one night. The Hellboy is a pie with Italian tomatoes, grated Parmigiano, delicious hot Sopressata from Salumeria Biellese. And we put it in the oven, the pie doesn't take longer than 90 seconds to cook. And it's finished with Mike's Hot Honey. - It's a spiced honey with special chilis from Brazil. - [Paulie] Well we have here... - The excitement is building. - That's the Hellboy. - [Aida] That is gorgeous. - Mm. - [Aida] Oh my. That is really good. - [Liza] Mm hmm. - [Aida] Man. - Paulie knows what he's doing. - Yeah he really does, it's like... - It's simple too, it's not very complicated. - Unh huh, but I like that acid in your sauce. That just works. - [Liza] Mm hmm. - I love balancing sweet and savory. The other pie you gotta have is the Monte Cristo. You're not gonna find this pie anywhere else. Mild Gouda, thinly sliced Canadian bacon, and when we bring the pie out of the oven, we finish it with pure maple syrup. - Paulie I would never have thought of the Gouda on the pizza. This is like breakfast, and dinner became my two favorite things in the world. - It does remind you of waffles. - Right? - [Liza] Yeah. It reminds me of breakfast. - This has been a carb fest that is totally worth it, by the way. We started the day with doughnuts, going to the next step with some pizza. I like your style, girl. -Now I know I fed you a lotta food already. - [Aida] Yes. - And a lot of heavy carbs, but, do you still have room, Aida, for one more meal? - I say yes to the challenge. - So for the icing on the cake I'm gonna take you to a part of Brooklyn where the food scene is completely blowing up right now. - [Aida] Another must-go, in the heart of Greenpoint, is the secret restaurant Luksus. This hidden gem in the back of a Scandinavian beer bar, is the brainchild of Daniel Burns. Having done time at Noma, and opened the test kitchen at Momofuku, his Michelin starred Lucksus is bound to impress. - My name is Daniel Burns. I'm trying to do a new Nordic, seasonal tasting menu restaurant, that focus on the products found locally here on the East Coast. We wanted to do somewhat hidden restaurant that is in Greenpoint which is sort of different for the neighborhood, but I think the neighborhood is moving towards having more things like what we're trying to do here. I've narrowed it down to one snack, and then one of the main servings, and the dessert. - Excited. - [Aida] Looking forward to trying it. - [Daniel] So first, should we do the first snack? - [Liza] Yes please. - [Aida] Yes please, yeah. - So this one is actually oysters, Black Point Nova Scotia oysters that are marinated and then fried. - I like this live frying right in front of our eyes. - I know, I love the open kitchen. - [Daniel] So we have the braised cabbage that's cut up into rounds, roasted sweet potato puree with dill. And then we have the fried oyster on top. - [Aida] I love it. - [Liza] I love it. I just love the new take on the taco. Mm. - I never thought I would want sweet potatoes with oysters until I just tried this. And then the slight brininess, - [Liza] The dill really brings it together too. - So with the snacks we wanted to serve something refreshing and bright. - [Aida] Like a Sour Bikini. - [Daniel] Sour Bikini, yeah, Sour Bikini. So this one's from Evil Twin. - Cheers by the way. - [Aida] Cheers. - [Liza] Cheers, thank you chef. - You're welcome. - [Aida] Thank you. - [Daniel] It has almost a grapefruit note to it. - That's great. - [Aida] Oh. - It does have a grapefruit flavor. - Yeah, very sort of - [Liza] It's refreshing. - [Daniel] refreshing, yeah. - This almost feels like carbonated grapefruit juice. It has such a good grapefruit note to it. I really like that. - [Daniel] So the next one I'm gonna do the scallop dish. Nantucket Bay scallops that are raw, sliced. So this roasted maitake puree with sea urchin. There's also a dulse puree. So it's a red seaweed that's dried out. And a chip made out of roasted maitake mushrooms. Just quickly fry this. With the chips we usually do some kind of dusting, so it's dried scallop, dried black trumpet mushrooms, and vinegar powder. - [Aida] Yes. - [Liza] You should just sell that on supermarket shelves. - [Daniel] And then a silverberry vinaigrette. - [Liza] I love the color. It's like, pinky red. - [Aida] Thank you. I love that we started with the hibiscus doughnut which was that color, and now we're ending with this beautiful silverberry. - Our food is just so well color coordinated today, it's perfect. - [Liza] Excited. Do you know what my favorite thing is? Mushroom chips. - [Liza] Mm. - It's like a new play on surf and turf, almost, you know? - Now, dessert time? - [Aida] I think so. - Sounds great. - [Aida] Yeah. - So we do a lot of vegetables in dessert. So this one is just a chocolate crumble. This is blue hubbard squash that we roast, and then blend with some maple syrup, and then cranberries. There's also a small amount of heat from a pickled pepper liquid that's made into a gel. This is the green juniper ice cream. - This is like if good London gin became an ice cream. - [Daniel] Yeah, yeah. It does remind immediately of gin. So this one is the squash meringue with roasted chestnuts folded in. And then raw sliced chestnut. - [Liza] Another beautiful plating. - [Aida] OK, squash, cranberry, hello perfection. Oh my goodness. - [Liza] Mm. - This has so much flavor. If there was like a PSI measure for flavor per square inch, I think you'd maximize it on this meringue. - Catch the spiciness a little bit? - I'm catching the pepperiness. - [Daniel] Yeah, yeah. - [Aida] We've had this beautiful day wandering around, and I think you just gave us the dessert that's the perfect finish. So thank you for that. - [Liza] Thank you chef. - [Daniel] Thanks for coming by. - [Aida] Yeah, sure. We're just gonna nurse this a little bit. - [Liza] We will lick this plate clean. - Exactly. Liza, thank you so much. This day has shown me a little Manhattan, a little Brooklyn. I feel like I have a really good idea of what's happening right now in food, and it's all delicious. - [Liza] I'm so glad you enjoyed your trip, and why not end on a beautiful sunset with our newest, most beautiful tower. - [Aida] Yeah! - [Liza] You have a full belly, I fed you well, I am happy.