- Vinegar Hill House
72 Hudson Ave., nr. Water St., Vinegar Hill; 718-522-1018
What makes this the most magisterial chop in town? It isn’t the Red Wattle pedigree, necessarily, or even the wood-fire sizzle. It’s the grand presentation (sliced in fat pink strips, on a butcher board) that raises the lowly pork dinner up where it belongs, to the level of prime rib.
- A Voce Columbus
10 Columbus Cir., nr. Broadway; 212-823-2523
Missy Robbins’s elegant take on this most porky of pork delicacies is chewy without being tough, and melting rich without being fatty. But what makes it are the trimmings, which include a liberal splash of balsamic, a sprinkle of pistachios, and discs of freshly cut figs.
- Joseph Leonard
170 Waverly Pl., at Grove St.; 646-429-8383
The key to any good pork hock is in the braising. But if you really want something special, you’ll deep-fry your well-braised hock, like the hipsters at this antic Village hangout do, toss on some capers, and serve it with a heap of healthful arugula.
- Momofuku Noodle Bar
171 First Ave., nr. 11th St.; 212-777-7773
They might have eighty-sixed the Asian burrito, but the Momofu-crew have found Mex-Asian redemption in cured and roasted pork shoulder, bolstered with kimchee, swaddled in pork-fat-leavened masa and wrapped in a banana leaf.
- Hunan House
137-40 Northern Blvd., nr. Union St., Flushing; 718-353-1808
Fatty pork mingled with crunchy rice powder and steamed in a lotus leaf until it reaches the consistency of a delicious pork pudding.
- Yerba Buena Perry
1 Perry St., nr. Greenwich Ave.; 212-620-0808
Julian Medina glazes his pork belly with a touch of coffee, and tops it with a tangle of tangy, fresh slaw. But the best thing about this addictive little delicacy is the arepa, which combines the bounty of a much larger, messier sandwich with the utility of a slider.
1542 Second Ave., nr. 80th St.; 212-717-7800
Todd Mitgang isn’t Mexican—he’s from Long Island—but he makes terrific chorizo from house-ground pork belly and a carefully calibrated blend of spices. You can sample his handiwork in a taco, but this stuff’s so addictive, the restaurant also offers it as a side dish.
Pig is still big. Below, some new favorites.
From the 2010 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
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).