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Eat and Drink

NYC food scene: Rainbow doughnuts, Poke and more of what's hot

New York City is a foodie’s paradise, with a culinary scene that’s forever evolving at a rapid pace befitting this bustling metropolis.

If you want to be at the fore of what’s new in the world of dining, amNewYork offers this primer on the trends that are shaking up the milieu as the calendar turns to March.

Viral food

The Bagel Store has been making its psychedelic
Photo Credit: Black Tap

The Bagel Store has been making its psychedelic rainbow bagels for two decades, but it wasn't until people began Instagramming the colorful creations that the Williamsburg shop began attracting lines -- becoming so swamped it had to shut down for a few days last month to recuperate.

"Using social media and using it well will give you the upper hand," said Scot Rossillo, the bagel's creator. "If you connect with your audience you will have the edge."

The more photogenic, indulgent or just plain out-there the food the better, too. NYC eateries that can thank the social media tool, as well as the viral quality of the Internet, in part for their popularity include Black Tap, a burger restaurant that's more known for its extravagant milkshakes (example: the Cookie Milkshake that's topped with a chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich, fudge and more cookies); 10Below Ice Cream, which draws lines out the door of its Chinatown store, even in the dead of winter, for its rolled ice cream and opened a second location in the Queens Crossing Mall in Flushing last month; Vinnie's Pizzeria, of pizza-topped pizza fame; and Levain Bakery, whose gooey cookies are Instagram fodder.

The latest creation seeking viral fame comes courtesy of Moe's Doughs. This week, the Greenpoint doughnut shop introduced the world to the rainbow doughnut and promptly sold out.

Black Tap owner and executive chef Joe Isidori said there really is no trick for a dish to trend online, but added that it does help when you're gramming in the Big Apple.

"New York City is ... the center of the world," he said. "So when you go viral in New York, the whole world comes to you."


Jewish cuisine

Sure, matzoball soup and salmon and lox are
Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Russ & Daughters

Sure, matzoball soup and salmon and lox are nothing new. But Jewish cuisine is having a bit of a moment in NYC lately, from Major Food Group's packed Jewish appetizing spot Sadelle's to Jewish soul food mashup Kitty's-a-Go-Go. Even the 102-year-old Russ & Daughters is reinventing itself.

In 2014, the famed Lower East Side appetizing shop opened a restaurant, Russ & Daughters Cafe, a few blocks away on Orchard Street, on its 100th anniversary, and it was only getting started. Last week, Russ & Daughters opened a 60-seat, kosher restaurant on the lower level of the Jewish Museum on the Upper East Side, with an appetizing counter to follow soon.

Next stop for Russ & Daughters is Brooklyn, where it will run a small retail sandwich counter, as well as a production kitchen and bakery, in a new food hall opening in early 2017 in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

"The amount of people that want to enjoy Russ & Daughters' fare keeps growing, so we felt the need to give them more places to get our food," said fourth-generation co-owner Josh Tupper, who would be the first to add that what the company does isn't a passing fad. "Jewish food seems to have had a resurgence in the past few years, but Russ & Daughters is not part of the new trend because we've been doing this for 102 years."

Food halls

This trend is here to stay. New York
Photo Credit: Georgia Kral

This trend is here to stay.

New York City is already home to nearly a dozen food halls, where diners can sample from a variety of diverse vendors in a communal space. Recent additions include The Pennsy, which opened in January in the Penn Station area, and Urbanspace Vanderbilt, which debuted last fall near Grand Central Terminal.

More are on their way, too. Next up: Great Northern Food Hall, opening in Grand Central Terminal this spring. Noma co-founder Claus Meyer is behind the operation, which is slated to debut in May with five food pavilions, including an outpost of Meyer's bakery, Meyer's Bageri, and a bar. He will also open an adjacent, Nordic-inspired restaurant, Agern, likely next month with acclaimed Icelandic chef Gunnar Gislason in the kitchen.

Also on the horizon are TurnStyle, slated to open this spring in the Columbus Circle subway station with 20 food vendors and retail spots; Dekalb Market, which will bring upwards of 45 food vendors to the Downtown Brooklyn mixed-use development City Point this fall; and Anthony Bourdain's much-anticipated global food hall, Bourdain Market, opening next year at Pier 57 in the Meatpacking District.

Premium delivery services

Thanks to tech advances and the attachment of
Photo Credit: Seamless

Thanks to tech advances and the attachment of big-name chefs, on-demand food delivery services have more competition than ever as they vie to get the freshest, tastiest meals to more and more people in the quickest, easiest way.

The David Chang-backed Maple has continually expanded its Manhattan delivery zone since launching in April, adding midtown to the mix earlier this year. The taxi app Uber launched its food delivery arm, UberEats, in New York City in April as well, bringing meals from select restaurants in 10 minutes or less to locations in Manhattan between 14th and 59th streets.

Other names getting into the delivery space previously owned by Seamless and GrubHub include DoorDash, which launched in New York City last year, and the gourmet food delivery app Caviar, which started a more affordable version of its service, Caviar Fastbite, in Manhattan in June, with $15 or less meals delivered in 15 minutes or less.


Poke isn't just popping up on menus across
Photo Credit: iStock

Poke isn't just popping up on menus across town -- restaurants devoted to Hawaii's famed raw seafood dish are opening, too.

For the fast-casual route, there's Wisefish Poke, which opened in Chelsea in late January, and Pokeworks, which opened late last year in midtown. At both restaurants, customers can customize poke bowls.

It doesn't have the word poke in its name, but Sons of Thunder, a West Coast-inspired eatery that opened in October in Murray Hill, also specializes in the raw fish (as well as hot dogs).

For a more refined dining experience, there's Noreetuh, an East Village restaurant that opened last spring with, among other Hawaiian dishes, poke on the menu.

And just an FYI -- it's pronounced "po-kay."


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