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Eat and Drink

Chefs from NYC's La Sirena, more, add highbrow spin to lowbrow eats

To call food lowbrow isn’t really an insult.

Everyone has their guilty pleasures — including chefs — which you’ll happily, gladly eat. There may be no better way to show your love for the bodega sausage, egg and cheeses or Dairy Queen Blizzards than putting an elevated spin on them.

Here are five highbrow versions of lowbrow eats you can find right now in NYC.

The Clocktower’s American Cereal Killer cocktail

The use of cereal milk has helped launch
Photo Credit: The Clocktower

The use of cereal milk has helped launch a bakery empire (hello, Milk Bar) and add a bit of nostalgic whimsy to a variety of foodstuffs -- including cocktails. At Stephen Starr's restaurant inside the EDITION hotel, it's used in the American Cereal Killer, a signature cocktail that's been a menu constant since the spot opened in spring 2015. It uses Michter's bourbon, Madagascan vanilla syrup, angostura bitters and, for the cereal in question, Cheerios milk. $16; 5 Madison Ave., 212-413-4300,

Pig Bleecker’s pigs in a blanket

The finger food so basic, it's served ironically
Photo Credit: Pig Bleecker

The finger food so basic, it's served ironically at weddings. At the month-old spot from the Pig Beach team, though, it takes special care with its pigs in a blanket. The "pigs" in question are made with cocktail franks from German butcher Karl Ehmer; the "blanket" is a house-made Parker House roll dough; each plate is topped with red cherry pepper relish; and instead of supermarket mustard, these are dipped in Pig Beach's own special mustard. Pair it with some tap wine or a boozy milkshake. $9; 155 Bleecker St., 646-756-5115,

Make Sandwich’s sausage + egg + cheese

The simple breakfast sandwich has been inspiring chefs
Photo Credit: Make Sandwich

The simple breakfast sandwich has been inspiring chefs as of late, with spots like High Street on Hudson, Daily Provisions and, of course, all-breakfast-sandwich restaurant BEC putting an elevated spin on the staple, that'll cost you twice as much as what you'd pay at your local bodega or street vendor. That includes Make Sandwich, the new spot from Melt Shop founder Spencer Rubin. His features organic eggs, maple-ginger breakfast sausage, pimento and cheddar cheeses and chili ketchup all on a brioche from Pain D'Avignon. "It's the best bakery in New York City," Rubin says. "The bread is just phenomenal." $7.95; 135 Fourth Ave., 212-398-2602,

La Sirena’s foie gras banana split

On the new Tapas Bar menu at Mario
Photo Credit: La Sirena

On the new Tapas Bar menu at Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich's Maritime Hotel restaurant, the sundae comes with a literal scoop of the luxe food, along with flambéed bananas, Nutella, tostada, Negroni syrup and Amarena cherries. We'll just let chef Anthony Sasso explain the savory dish, courtesy of La Sirena's online annotated menu: "Foie gras, or fattened duck liver, is always referred to as foie gras rather than the Spanish 'higado de pato.' ... So I chose one of my favorite preparations of foie -- cured and chilled torchon -- and decided to present it as a familiar American dish which has no Spanish translation: an ice cream sundae, with warm bananas, candied cherry and all. This is a gluttonous version of a totally unnecessary American icon." $18; 88 Ninth Ave., 212-977-6096,

Loring Place’s vanilla ice cream 'Blizzard'

When Dan Kluger opened his long-awaited solo debut
Photo Credit: Loring Place

When Dan Kluger opened his long-awaited solo debut late last year, the seasonal, serious fare was expected. But the chef did throw some playful curveballs on the dessert menu, in the form of an ode to Dairy Queen's Blizzard. The sundae -- which is served in a bowl and not a paper cup -- features vanilla ice cream, topped with pretzels, walnut toffee, chocolate cookie fudge and a candied Meyer lemon. For more artisanal takes on lowbrow eats, don't miss Loring Place's chocolate "hostess cupcake," with orange crème fraîche and tangerine sherbet. $12; 21 W. Eighth St., 212-388-1831,


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