Top Chef veterans Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth dominate Alphabet City's fried chicken scene with Root & Bone. It's a Southern kitchen doing takeout-able, down-home (yet sneakily refined) eats, in a spot that could easily be the ground floor of some country B&B somewhere. Irresistible offerings include gooey corn spoonbread, BBQ brisket biscuits, and, of course, fried chicken.
Armed with Southern hospitality, Wilma Jean in Gowanus serves up stackable portions of double cheeseburgers, fried bologna sandwiches, fried pickles, and its signature fried chicken, the latter of which is served atop a potato bun, on a stick, and in half-portions. Run by a husband and wife duo, the counter-service spot is a solid option for brunch, happy hour (its daily beer and wine deals are an added bonus), or for a late dinner, with the kitchen open until 10pm seven days a week.
With a 3.5 seasons of the year garden and food like mac 'n saganaki, 8-hour octopus, and a feta burger, this spot probably didn’t even need it’s 1,500sqft brewery to entice you to come, but there it is, enticing the crap out of you.
Asian-influenced contemporary American fare from Thomas Chen, formerly of Eleven Madison Park and Commerce. The menu is concise, and broken down into categories like "cold small," "hot small," and "big;" it also features a pork "Pig Out" for two.
This beer hall and home of all things pig from chef Tyson Ho brings a boat load of traditional North Carolina BBQ to the city along with enough whiskey and beer to float said boat on. The space is pretty sparse with ten small tables and a large bar, but when it gets warmer there's a patio where you can chow down. One of their specialties is the Western North Carolina Outside Brown, or pork shoulder. But probably their most unique offering is their mac and cheese waffle, which is exactly what it sounds like.
Northeastern cuisine with an old farm feel fits this small Williamsburg restaurant well, where chef/owner Patti Jackson serves a prix-fixe, family-style menu nightly. Seasonal fare isn't a trope at Delaware and Hudson, and there are no gimmicks, just superbly prepared dishes that are rustic in character but artful in presentation, like braised short rib with squash puree and duck breast with corn polenta. Brunch is an à la carte and more casual affair that draws heavily on mid-Atlantic recipes for dishes like Pennsylvania Dutch scrapple and buckwheat pancakes with blueberry syrup. Pass the pretzel rolls.
If you live in Astoria and have been on the hunt for a neighborhood bar, look no further than Sek'end Sun (pronounced Second Son). The laidback cocktail bar serves riffs on classic drinks, like an amaro Old Fashioned, and seriously good bar bites like chili butter grilled cheese and grilled wings with cilantro, lime, and soy. A giant neon "Queens" sign completes the rustic and industrial decor, proving that the bar scene in the outer boroughs is alive and well.