The bowl has become an acclaimed meal category all over NYC.
Why not? More ingredients can pile into a bowl than onto a flat plate, and these ingredients are typically fresh and nutritious. We all know the burrito bowl from a certain chain restaurant is good, but plenty of local chefs and fast-food chains have been getting creative and making their own versions of "the bowl."
Lose the bread for a day and try one of the best bowls in the city; you'll quickly understand what all the fuss is about.
Create Your Own at Semsom
"Lebanese cuisine with a twist"-
Semsom has locations in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, and you guessed it, New York City. The menu is small, with the option of a bowl or wrap, and a manoosh (popular Levantine breakfast). You can build your own bowl ($7-$9.75) with the choice of a protein, like Wild-Thyme Cauliflower or Lebanese Meatballs, and toppings. All ingredients are natural, and the recipes are inspired by signature dishes from villages all over Lebanon. (Credit: Instagram/ @semsomeatery)
Chana Masala Bowl from Bombay Sandwich Co.
Husband and wife, Shiv and Shika, hopped on the bowl bandwagon in 2012 with original recipes and fresh, seasonal ingredients. Head to their brick-and-mortar
shop (48 W. 27th St.) for bowls served with brown rice, shepherd salad, kale-walnut pesto, apple-garlic pickle, and a side of hot sauce--all are vegan and gluten free. The Chana Masala bowl is topped with "mom's chickpea stew," made with garlic, ginger, tomato, Indian gooseberry, and fresh ground spices. They wanted to create a fresh and nutritious food option for New Yorkers on the go, and we think they are on to something. (Credit: Instagram/ @bombaysandwich)
Grilled Spicy Pork Noodle Bowl from Num Pang Sandwich Shop
Owned by college friends Ratha Chaupolu and Ben Daitz,
Num Pang is another sandwich shop that knows how to do bowls. Ever since their original success in Union Square in 2009, they have been popping up locations all over the city. Their menu has tons of rice and noodle bowls topped with different proteins and a vegetable option. The Grilled Spicy Pork Noodle Bowl is made with chilled rice vermicelli topped with romaine, soy sprouts, cabbage trio, egg, herbs, house dressing and finished off with crushed peanuts. (Credit: Instagram/ @numpangnyc)
Bowls and Sushi Bowls from Ootoya
Don't go to
Ootoya for "dragon rolls" or a plate of tempura. This Japanese restaurant specializes in traditional home cooking in a set-meal style, known as teishoku. The restaurant has been successful in countries throughout Asia, and they brought their nutritious values and expertly cooked (or not at all cooked) food to New York (Chelsea, Times Square, Greenwich Village). The menu is filled with bowls on bowls, all served on top of rice. You can go with the Oyako Ju bowl, which is made with grilled free-range chicken and onion, or one of their sushi bowls, which are topped with assorted fish. If you get the set menu for an extra two dollars, your bowl comes on a tray with miso soup, homemade pickles and steamed egg custard.
(Credit: Instagram/ @vanessaaxente)
Pad Kra Pow Kai Dow (Spicy Chicken Basil Bowl) from Bangkok Bar
Lucky for you, Bangkok Bar has locations all over the city in pop-ups and markets (check
here for all locations); and they deliver. They cook up traditional Thai cuisine with aiming to bring a taste of original family recipes from Bangkok to NYC. A bunch of rice bowls are available -- we love the Pad Kra Pow Kai Dow Spicy Chicken Basil bowl ($12) with a fried egg on top ($14), made with chili, garlic, Thai basil and jasmine rice. (Credit: Bangkok Bar)
Lox Bowl from Shalom Japan
When a Jewish and Japanese chef meet, they make a really good rice bowl. At
Shalom Japan (310 South Fourth St., Brooklyn), chefs Aaron Israel and Sawako Okochi have combined their individual backgrounds to create truly unique cuisine. Their Lox bowl is made with rice, cucumber, Japanese pickle, avocado, and ikura (fish row) and topped with flakes of seaweed-- lox bagel meets sushi in a bowl. (Credit: Instagram/ @shalomjapan)
Quinoa Crunch Bowl from Lyfe Kitchen
Lyfe Kitchen (248 W. 55th St.) was created on the grounds of making healthy, great tasting food. This quinoa crunch bowl is proof that they've succeeded. It's made with quinoa tabbouleh, fresh (crunchy) vegetables, avocado, arugula, creamy edamame humus, and drizzled with chipotle vinaigrette and their fireman's hot sauce. You can then choose between grilled chicken, garlic-lime tofu, grilled mahi, or grilled salmon as your protein add-on. (Credit: Instagram/ @lyfekitchen)
Oh Snaps! from Egg Shop
Egg Shop (151 Elizabeth St.) has really brought new meaning to the term eggs any style. It doesn't get much better than a bowl stacked high with healthy ingredients with warm yellow yolk dripping down it all. Their menu has bowls they call Cruisers for breakfast and lunch, and bigger bowls they call Nite Cruisers for dinner. Special to their dinner menu, Oh Snaps! ($16) is made with sugar snap peas, tempura asparagus, salty sea feta, za'atar preserved lemon, harissa, and topped with poached eggs. Break the yolk and you'll understand why it's the star ingredient in everything on the menu. (Credit: Instagram/ @eggshopnyc)