The best food-eating editors ate this week, June 2022

The amount of great food available in New York City is staggering — even during a pandemic — but mediocre meals somehow keep creeping into our lives. With Eater editors dining out several times a day, we are faced with many standout dishes, and we don’t want to keep any secrets. Check back weekly for the best things we ate this week – so you can too.

June 6th

Churros at the Mexican Mermaid.

Churros at the Mexican Mermaid

When was the last time dessert was the highlight of your meal? Don’t get me wrong, the tacos al pastor, fluke aguachile and even the guachile were top notch at this Greenwich Village newcomer – a spin-off of the seafood-oriented Mermaid Inn chain founded in 2003. Chef Victor Marin decided to explore his Mexican roots with a menu of old favorites, nothing too elaborate or too innovative, and the overall effect is refreshing. But after a memorable meal, the churros ($13) arrive, crunchier than most and covered in brown sugar, steaming on tissue paper. But what might stick with you the longest is the dark, almost sugar-free chocolate sauce with the espresso kick, launching you like a rocket into the summer night after your meal. 79 MacDougal Street, between Bleecker and Houston Streets, Greenwich Village – Robert Sietsema, Senior Critic

A slice of white asparagus sits on top of rice in a nori roll;  a small quenelle of golden osetra caviar decorates the vegetable

White asparagus and caviar roll at Mari.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

White asparagus in Mari

White asparagus is one of those spring veggies that never really excited me like ramps, fiddleheads, or fava beans. But during a recent trip to Mari, part of my review for Eater NY, chef Sungchul Shim helped me change my mind about the smooth-tasting stalk. As a $13 supplement to the prix fixe, the chef took a beautifully pale slice of the vegetable and placed it on top of a nori roll, before garnishing it with a small quenelle of golden osetra caviar. The asparagus boasted good crunchiness and, thanks to a drizzle of soy milk, a creamy sweetness – a welcome counterpoint to the saline caviar. It was all sort of a subtle, exciting, two-bit salad, a refreshing interlude to the longer, seafood-centric tasting. 679 Ninth Avenue, near 47th Street, Hell’s Kitchen – Ryan Sutton, chief critic

A bagel brimming with salmon roe, capers, cream cheese and tomato.

A smoked salmon bagel at Simply Nova.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Smoked Salmon Bagel at Simply Nova

A sweaty walk through Williamsburg last weekend took me to Simply Nova, a new bagel shop full of old-school charm. There were no customers when I walked in around 9am, but a ticket dispenser instructing people to “take a number” suggests I might have just beaten the rush. The staff working the counter here let you try a few types of fish before choosing a bagel, which helps when bagel sandwiches can cost upwards of $20 each, after tax and tip. After sampling a few, I opted for the excellent Oriental Nova Scotia version, a simple smoked fish that paired well with the cream cheese, tomato, onion, capers, and salmon roe that I couldn’t help but order (about $25). The bagel itself was… good, but the smoked fish selection is hard to beat in this stretch of Brooklyn. 754 Metropolitan Avenue, near Graham Avenue, Williamsburg – Luke Fortney, reporter

A wooden platter of grilled cuttlefish slices garnished with green herbs with a small plate of green chili sauce.

The cuttlefish grilled in Lum Lum.
Bao Ong/Eater NY

Grilled Cuttlefish in Lum Lum

I am constantly following in the footsteps of my colleague Robert Sietsema, but this is perhaps the first time I have been in the same place years apart. In 2005, I used to stop by Pam Real Thai Food – which closed for good during the pandemic – in search of an affordable dinner after my unpaid internship. Nearly 17 years later, I found myself at this Hell’s Kitchen location after Robert praised Lum Lum’s squid ink soup (it’s definitely a must-have). I would also add the grilled cuttlefish ($12) before diving into the rest of the menu. It’s hard to say whether it was the juicy, charred shellfish slices or the lemon chile sauce that made this dish a hit at our table. No one was shy about leaving the last bit out of politeness this time. I will definitely come back to this Thai seafood bar soon and order this just for myself. 404 West 49th Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues, Hell’s Kitchen — Bao Ong, editor

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