Brendan Spiegel

The Van Leeuwen ice cream truck

The Van Leeuwen ice cream truck parked in New York City

Much virtual ink has been spilled about New York’s food truck renaissance, but now there’s a new twist to the gourmet meals-on-wheels trend: no wheels. In the last month, two of the city’s most popular food trucks have opened real brick-and-mortar restaurants.

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Cheeseburger & fries at Buttermilk Channel restaurant in Brooklyn, NY

Cheeseburger & fries at Buttermilk Channel restaurant in Brooklyn, NY

Manhattan may still be the best bet for fancy five-star meals, but now a foodie trip to NYC can’t be complete without a trip across the river for what’s being called “new Brooklyn cuisine”—farm-to-table fare featuring adventurous ingredient combinations, and served in a laid-back, barnyard-chic setting. These three newbies do it best.

Buttermilk Channel (524 Court Street): Every bite is a surprise at this somewhat-out-of-the-way Carroll Gardens restaurant. Complimentary popovers are dotted with sea salt and honey; house-made pickles bring a tangy, spicy kick; and roasted almonds are doused in maple and bacon. Read More »

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Rib plate from Blue Smoke restaurant in New York City

"KC-style" pork spare ribs from Blue Smoke restaurant in New York City

[Flickr/minna883]

Texas, Carolina and Kansas City may more often come to mind when you think of genuine Barbecue, but New York chefs have been getting especially creative behind their smokers as of late, and the City is suddenly awash in BBQ joints that rival the best. Here are four must-stops for any NY-bound BBQ fan:

Daisy May’s: Classically trained chef Adam Lang turns to BBQ at this Hell’s Kitchen spot, right near brand new hotel Ink 48. An over-the-top option for groups is calling ahead to request a whole hog. 623 Eleventh Avenue

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The extensive beer menu at d.b.a. New York in the East Village

The extensive beer menu at d.b.a. in New York City

[Flickr/brewguy5262]

All the new cocktail bars may get more attention, but New York also has a smorgasbord of stops for those other alcohol snobs – the beer geeks. Here are four stops for drinkers who are serious about their hops:

d.b.a. – From rare Belgian draughts to Danish porters and cask-conditioned British ales, this East Village pub has arguably the country’s greatest collection of beers. New brews are put on tap weekly, while bottled selections are updated daily. But the best feature is the happy hour, which they have the gall to start at 1 p.m. — right after you roll out of bed at the nearby Cooper Square Hotel. 41 1st Ave.

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Gimme! Coffee

A gourmet cup o' Joe at Gimme! Coffee in lower Manhattan

[Flickr/Premshree Pillai]

We’ve already told you about the best places to lounge over coffee in New York, so what about drinkers who could care less about the lounging but are super-serious about the Joe? New York has actually been a little late to the artisan coffee craze that has swept West Coast cities like Seattle, Portland and San Francisco over the past decade, but the city is now home to several notable specialty coffee shops.

Cafe Grumpy: When this local mini-chain, which operates its own roasting facility in Brooklyn, opened a Chelsea outpost in 2006, they brought in two Clovers, the $11,000 machines that give baristas a wide degree of control over each single-brewed cup.  When Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz wandered into the shop to try a cup, he liked it so much that he ended up buying the company that makes those machines. Cafe Grumpy’s sole Manhattan shop is just a few blocks from the GEM Hotel, with two more locations in Brooklyn. 224 West 20th Street

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Classic poutine: french fries topped with gravy and cheese curds

Classic poutine: French fries topped with gravy and cheese curds

[Photo: Flickr/JoelZimmer]

It remains unclear whether it’s the hearty ingredients, the kitsch factor, the maple syrup or something else, but New York’s latest ethnic food boomlet comes from our nearest neighbors. Here are three new spots to sample Manhattan’s new take on Canadian cuisine.

T Poutine: Forget hot dogs and pizza. The Lower East Side party set has a new late-night, soak-up-the-alcohol snack. Poutine is a French Canadian specialty that consists of French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy, served here with gut-busting extras like ground beef and bacon. Someone call the cardiologist. This BYOB joint is open ’til 5am on weekends, and a quick walk from the Thompson LES on Allen Street. 168 Ludlow St.

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Bar Pleiades at the Surrey Hotel

Bar Pleiades at the Surrey Hotel

As you may have noticed, once overlooked hotel bars are slowly but surely becoming some of the best spots around for quality cocktails. These three new drinks are some of the most creative concoctions we’ve spied around Manhattan.

Aviation Cocktail: This gin-based drink served at the Grand Bar and Lounge at the Soho Grand Hotel has been popping up on an increasing number of classic cocktail menus in recent years. However, it’s still hard to find made, as it is here, with the originally intended ingredients. The secret is Creme de violette, a rare French flower-based liquor that just recently became available in this country. 31o West Broadway

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Caviar & lobster pie at Nino's Bellissima Pizza

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The Golden Opulence Sundae at Serendipity 3

[photos: NYDailyNews.com]

If you win the lottery and find yourself suddenly looking for ways to quickly blow a few grand, there’s no easier place to do it than at New York City restaurants. Recession or not, there are even a few places where you can still spend four figures on just one dish.

The $1,000 Dish: Pizza
Where: Nino’s Bellissima Pizza, 890 2nd Ave.
Why: Topped with caviar and Maine lobster.
$1 alternative: A slice from 99 Cent Fresh Pizza. 151 E. 43rd St.

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Cheddar scones, clotted cream, jam cookies and scones at the Podunk Tearoom

Cheddar scones, clotted cream and jam cookies at the Podunk Tearoom

[Flickr/World to Table]

The mention of cafes in New York’s East Village likely brings to mind images of very serious thinkers downing very serious cups of java, but downtown’s coffee shops have lately been supplemented by a newer breed of over-caffeinated hotspots. The East Village, home to hip hotels like The Cooper Square and Thompson LES, is ground zero for New York’s trendy tea movement, and these are three of the most popular stops.

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A cook stretches hand pulled noodles behind a window in NYC's Chinatown

A cook stretches hand pulled noodles behind a window in NYC's Chinatown

[Flickr/A Culinary (Photo) Journal]

Despite being home to some sleek new hotels like Hotel 91 and the forthcoming Mondrian Hotel, Chinatown is still Manhattan’s best bet for a great, cheap meal. Here are four go-to stops for filling your belly and stretching your dollar.

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