2 Lexington Ave., nr. 21st St.; 212-777-2410
Forget about pizza and barbecue and all those fancy overhyped burgers. For our money, roast chicken is the ultimate restaurant comfort dish in this farm-obsessed, postmillennial era, and our favorite variation of it is the crackly, spicy, impeccably rendered pollo alla diavola served at Danny Meyer’s new Gramercy Park trattoria, Maialino. The city’s best roast chicken is served at an Italian joint? Yup. To give his organic bird some extra kick (“devil chicken” is the Italian translation), chef Nick Anderer coats it in olive oil overnight, then sizzles it in the oven at 400-plus degrees. He deglazes the skillet with chicken stock and his own special “pickling liquid” and splashes the mixture over the crackly brown skin. It’s a classic take on a classic dish—perfect with a mound of Tuscan greens and potatoes—with just the right amount of sweetness and spice to make things exciting.