Say what you will about Michelin’s rather behind the times tradition of honoring gently-priced restaurants with “Bib Gourmands” instead of stars, but nevertheless, it shines a spotlight on a series of undeniably deserving eateries, that you don’t need to be a VIP with deep pockets in order to regularly enjoy. That’s why we’re showcasing some of the newest, most noteworthy additions to the 2016 Bib Gourmand list — from the modern Korean Oiji in the East Village to the smoked brisket-slinging Hometown in Red Hook!
Oiji: Two vets from Bouley and Gramercy Tavern have returned to their Korean routes with Oiji, while bringing modern techniques and seasonal sensibilities to the forefront. Standout dishes include Cold Buckwheat Noodles with preserved spring ramps and Chil-Jeol-Pan — similar to bibimbop, substituting the typical rice for deliciously lacy crepes — but they’ve both taken a backseat to the critically-acclaimed Honey Butter Chips; a $5 bowl of thinly sliced russets, wok-glazed with french butter, brown sugar and greenmarket honey.
Faro: Former Northeast Kingdom chef, Kevin Adey, has broken out on his own with Faro in Bushwick; an ode to locally-sourced grains and New York-grown wheat. They’re gorgeously emphasized in a creamy Porridge, currently topped with mushrooms, scallions and whey, as well as knobs of housemade Whole Wheat Bread spread with cultured butter, Rye Spaccatelli tossed with braised beef, and Pasta e Fagioli, dotted with pancetta and cranberry beans.
Untitled: You might not expect Danny Meyer & Michael Anthony’s new Meatpacking eatery, located within the spectacular revamped Whitney, to make any sort of reduced-price list. But with many dishes under $20 (like Sea Scallops with peach gazpacho and Lamb Meatballs with peanuts and guajillo) and none over $30, it’s practically more affordable than a visit to the museum itself.
Kiin Thai: The little sibling to regional Isaan favorite, Somtum Der, this sunny and rustic restaurant focuses on recipes from Central and Northern Thailand, such as herbaceous, rice-studded “Sai Oua” pork sausage, rich Kao Soy in a savory curry broth, and basil-scented Gaeng Kheo Wan with fish balls, stuffed with salted egg yolk.
Mu Ramen: After starting life as a pop-up in a Long Island City bagel shop, this ramen-ya from Per Se alum, Joshua Smookler, helped officially assert Queens as a dining destination, drawing massive wait times for foie gras-stuffed Chicken Wings, Okonomiyaki with smoked trout and tobiko, and decked out noodle bowls like the Tonkotsu 2.0, not to mention namesake Mu Ramen; an oxtail and bone marrow soup thick with brisket, cabbage, and spears of half sour pickle.
Hometown: Following an unprecedented spate of stellar openings over the last few years, New York has undeniably emerged as one of the great barbecue capitals of the world. But even with all of the incredible competition, Brooklyn’s Hometown still manages to stand out, turning out some of the juiciest ribs and most succulent smoked brisket in all of the five boroughs. It’s an unexpected, finger lickin’ kind of find on the Bib Gourmand’s List, but we’re not complaining!