Why is it that "off the menu" always sounds so much sexier than anything actually in fine print? Sometimes, it feels like you’re dining in coach while in-the-know regulars are feasting in first class. I only just became hip to In-N-Out Burger’s so-called "secret menu", which apparently caused quite a stir about five years ago. After stumbling upon Le Cirque’s "secret" pasta primavera a few weeks ago, I was inspired to do some digging around for New York City’s best "off the menu" gems:
Nobu – Rumor has it there’s an "off the menu" ribeye, blessed with a bevvy of dipping sauces (wasabi pepper, balsamic teriyaki & a spicy anticucho) that blows the black miso cod out of the water.
105 Hudson Street, (212)219-0500
The Stanton Social – It’s technically classified, but The
Stanton Social snags A5 certified Kobe from Japan (enough with this
"Kobe-style" nonsense). Chef Chris Santos will give it up for anyone
in-the-know. So now you know.
99 Stanton Street, 212-995-0099
Telepan – Bill Telepan is known to have a way with eggs, but he keeps an open-faced ravioli topped with a poached egg, mushrooms and parmigiano in his back pocket for special customers and occasions. Even more alluringly elusive, are the foie gras donuts.
72 West 69th Street, (212)580-4300
Le Cirque – Veterans at this legendary spot opt for hush-hush fare: the chopped panache salad, classic smoked salmon, pasta primavera (Sirio’s personal recipe), tuna tartare with curry (four star chef Sottha Khunn’s original recipe), lobster risotto (Daniel Boulud’s recipes), flounder Le Cirque and dover sole meuniere, to name just a few.
151 East 58th Street, 212-644-0202
Mermaid Inn – This local seafood joint discreetly indulges a scarce but simple pleasure, serving up plump, peel & eat shrimp every Wednesday. Handy wipes and bibs included.
96 Second Avenue, (212)674-5870
Aureole – At Charlie Palmer’s UES townhouse, guests may request oyster shooters, fried oysters and tripe smothered in peppers, onions and chorizo. Choice clientele can demand omelettes at lunch and it could be an urban myth, but there’s even word of a curious-sounding banana butternut squash.
34 East 61 Street, 212-319-1660
Momofuku Ssam Bar – If you call ahead, diners can secure a succulent bo ssam – an entire pork shoulder – feast for twelve lucky guests. While it’s on the printed menu, only guests who’ve had the privilege to dine here before, are savvy of the ssam.
207 Second Avenue, 212-254-3500
Until we eat again,
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