206 Spring St., nr. Sullivan St.; 212-653-0100
As a rule, even the most rough-hewn big-city gastronomes aren’t familiar with the rusticated pleasures of a well-cooked goat. Leave it to Fabio Trabocchi, the flamboyant new chef at Stephen Hanson’s Soho flagship, Fiamma, to change all that. Trabocchi’s elegant barnyard creation has about as much of a resemblance to a haunch of grilled goat as a can of StarKist does to toro tartare. The chef procures his goat leg from an organically correct farm in Vermont; sears it; roasts it with a mixture of pancetta, diced vegetables, and lard; then plates the most tender portions on a bed of creamy parsnip purée. A light tomato sauce is added to the mix, flavored with more pancetta, plus chopped porcini and a scattering of romanesco. The delicately meaty dish, more tender than pork and more distinctive than lamb, is an elegantly citified version of an ancient peasant staple, which even a New Yorker can love.
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).