Are you scheduled to run in the Marathon this Sunday? Well, congratulations, because that gives you carte blanche to spend the week carb-loading on some of New York’s best pasta, rice and potato dishes! Of course, it would be a shame for anyone to miss out on the the velvety polenta at L’Apicio or seafood-studded Paella at Toro in Manhattan, the tofu-topped French Fries at King Noodle in Brooklyn, or the ricotta-slathered Toasts at Milkflower in Queens. That’s why we won’t tell if the only exercise you plan on getting afterwards is watching the race from the sidelines, or curled up in front of your T.V.!
From Mezzaluna with Cauliflower and Capers to Garganelli with Lamb Bolognese, you won’t go wrong with any of the pastas at Joe Campanale & Gabe Thompson’s modern Italian addition to the East Village. But the don’t-miss dish here is undoubtedly the roster of Polentas, which come paved with Roasted Mushrooms and Ricotta Salata, Shrimp with Bacon and Breadcrumbs, or Pork Meatballs with Tomato and Parmesan. Take your pick of this indelibly velvety lot.
Quality Italian's Corn Gnudi
Michael Stillman’s spin-off of Quality Meats (located just a block away), this hopping Midtown eatery offers Italian-American riffs on stick-to-your ribs steakhouse fare. Think Agnolotti stuffed with Porterhouse, Creamed Kale Carbonara, and even cheesy Chicken Parmigiana shaped and cut like a pizza pie. But our favorite dish will leave you light on your feet and ready to run… a feathery rendition of ricotta Gnudi, tossed with basil, pistachios, black pepper and buttery kernels of corn.
Ippudo Westside's Ramen
For a lighter take on noodles, visit the new, Westside outpost of the esteemed ramen temple, Ippudo. You’ll still find their signature Tonkotsu, a classic Pork Bone Broth boasting Pork Chashu, Sesame Kikurage, Mushrooms and Scallions. But there’s actually a gluten-free “Shojin” version as well, for anyone looking to up their energy without the wheat. Rice Noodles are deposited in a Dried Bean and Seaweed Dashi, and topped with Yuzu-Marinated Tomatoes, Sansai Mountain Vegetables and Chinese Wolfberry Seeds.
Chef Ken Oringer recently dished to us that Toro’s stellar Paella Valenciana is the one thing he could eat every day and it’s easy to see why. Served in its cooking vessel (a traditional wide and shallow pan), the crispy, saffron-kissed Calasparra Rice forms a delectable, starchy foundation for a variety of under-the-sea proteins, like Shrimp, Mussels and Clams, along with nubs of tender Chicken and spicy Spanish Chorizo.
Granted, Ma Po Tofu, the popular Sichuan dish of Bean Curd and Minced Pork in a spicy Chili and Black Bean Sauce, doesn’t sound like it belongs anywhere near a pile of salty Shoestring Fries. And it seems especially bizarre to blanket the whole thing with junky, melted American Cheese. But just think of these as an elevated, Asian version of Chili Cheese Fries. They’re surprisingly nuanced and absolutely (and oddly) addictive.Read More
Motorino's Porchetta Calzone
The Williamsburg branch of Motorino is back open for business, and better than ever. In addition to best-selling pizzas like the Pugliese with Straciatella, Broccolini and Sausage, Mathieu Palombino has added a seriously hefty Calzone to the menu. The burnished crust conceals juicy wads of Roasted Porchetta and Prosciutto, along with Provolone Picante and a dusting of freshly grated Pecorino.
This new, wood-burning pizza parlor in Astoria makes a mean pizza pie, but it would be a shame to skip out on their creative, seasonal toasts, which are just as worth your attention. Chef Yair Lenchner (formerly of Jean-Georges and The Mark) sources his toppings from the nearby rooftop farm, Brooklyn Grange. Look for a genius combination of sweet green Peas, mingled with Ricotta, Lavender Flower and Lemon Zest, Mushrooms with Butternut Squash and Shaved Grana Padana, and succulent sweet Corn, a spreadable pudding of sorts accented with Fennel, Jalapeno, Shallot and Tarragon.
Runner and Stone's Rye Brownie Sundae
This Brooklyn bakeshop and restaurant proves that man can live by bread alone. Co-owner Pete Endriss (the former head baker at Per Se) turns out exemplary Buckwheat Baguettes, dense Walnut Levain, and crusty loaves of Bolzano Miche. His prowess is on equal display during dessert as well with not-too-sweet but no less decadent treats, like the Rye Brownie Sundae, served with Rye Whiskey Ice Cream, Caramel Sauce, and Caraway Walnut Sablage. (Just don’t eat too much whiskey-spiked dessert the night before marathon.)