Have you ever noticed how many foods seriously weaken your resolve to eat healthfully each summer? Ice cream. BBQ. And oh yeah, deep-fried everything. I mean, how can we be expected to rock sundresses, bikinis and itty-bitty short shorts when Belly Clams and Fried Chicken so perfectly complement the season? Resistance is especially futile when you consider divinely crunchy bites, like the Stuffed Zucchini Flowers at Charlie Bird and the Le Grand Aioli (a mixed plate of crispy goodness) at Marlow and Sons. So go ahead and enjoy that Plantain-stuffed Arepa at Caracas while sunbathing at Rockaway Beach. Because that’s what cover-ups are for, right? Here’s a few of our favorites this summer…
Just one of three, new Michael White restaurants expected to open this year, this stylish supper club concentrates on fun-to-eat small plates and creative cocktails from mixologist Eben Freeman. The menu is loaded with tasty, deep-fried bites, like Reuben Croquettes, Pecorino and Black Pepper-Dusted Pork Rinds, and an aromatic Asian Shrimp Toast, flavored with grated ginger, sesame, and sweet and sour duck sauce. What to drink with it? A Mai Tai, of course, made with Garam Masala Brugal Rum, Pierre Ferrand Curacao, and Lime. Sounds pretty dreamy.
Caracas Arepa Bar
One of the hardest hit areas during Hurricane Sandy, the Rockaways have regrouped just in time for summer. And one of the first orders of business was to reinstate a few of their very popular food vendors on the boardwalk. The beachside branch of Caracas Arepa Bar was one of the first to return with their signature, La Gato, a grilled Corn Cake stuffed with fried Sweet Plantains, Guayanes Cheese, and Avocado, accompanied by a side of house-fried Yucca Chips and Guacamole, or a paper boat of Tequenos, Fried White Cheese Sticks in wheat flour dough.
What’s better than a freshly picked summer zucchini? The bright yellow, entirely edible blossom that’s often found on top. Especially when it’s been stuffed and deep-fried. The new market-inspired Italian restaurant, Charlie Bird, fills the delicate flowers with a savory paste of Anchovy and Ricotta cheese, which pairs perfectly with a glass of Venica & Venica Sauvignon Blanc from the 100-bottle wine list.
Ed’s Lobster Bar
It just isn’t summer without a basket of deep-fried seafood. And Full-Belly Clams (just starting to take the place of desiccated strips on the city’s shellfish menus) are always at the top of our must-eat list. While Ed’s is better known for succulent Lobster Rolls, we’re crazy for their Fried Ipswich Clams, the shatteringly crisp cracker crust just barely concealing the briny, intensely sweet meat inside.
His first restaurant outside of Spain, Dani Garcia’s Manzanilla transports the flavors of Andalusia to Park Avenue South. And one of his signature dishes is undoubtedly the Croquetas, a deep-fried riff on a traditional Spanish seafood stew. Composed of tender morsels of Cuttlefish, rendered midnight black by Squid Ink, and accented with rich dollops of Coriander and Citrus Aioli, you’ll be battling your tablemates over the last crispy croqueta, cutely nestled in a ceramic egg carton.
Inspired by a similar special at San Francisco’s Chez Panisse, Brooklyn’s Marlow & Sons is offering a “Le Grand Aioli” on Monday nights… essentially a heap of seasonally-inspired fried tidbits hanging around a bowl of garlicky mayo. Past suspects have included Asparagus, Green Tomatoes, Whitefish, Pickled Onion Rings, Oysters and Bluefish, but look for String Beans, Okra, Heirloom Tomatoes, Baby Zucchini, Sardines and Whitebait in the weeks to come! Read More
There’s fancified Southern fare to be found at this brand new Brooklyn spot, including Pork Tenderloin with Hominy and Sweet Potato Mash, Arctic Char with Crawfish Stew and Mustard Greens, and Cider Beans with Poached Egg and Corn Bread. Although, the restaurant’s name quite rightly steers you directly towards the Chicken. Make that Brined, steeped in Buttermilk and Craggy-Crusted Fried Chicken, flanked by Classic, Bacon & Cheddar, or Rosemary & Mushroom Waffles. There’s even an option of seitan-based “Vegetarian Fried Chicken” if you’re so inclined. This is Williamsburg, after all.
If owner Dan Ross-Leutwyler had packed our lunchboxes growing up, we probably wouldn’t have suffered through dented apples, half-frozen juice boxes and squished peanut butter and jelly. You’ll definitely feel like the coolest kid in school feasting on Beer-Battered Summer Squash with a sweet & spicy dipping sauce (an elevated alternative to greasy zucchini sticks), Fried Chicken on a roll, or a Soft Shell Crab sandwich, served with honey mustard and pickled vegetables. And don’t forget to order a slab of Banana Cream Pie for dessert — Ross-Leutwyler’s wife is Carolyn Bane of Pies-n-Thighs fame. Read More