Co-owner of Aquavit and chef-owner of Red Rooster, opening in October.Harlem1.Charles’ Country Pan Fried Chicken
2841 Frederick Douglass Blvd., nr. 151st St. 212-281-1800
For really good fried chicken, I go here. I like the dark meat best ($12 buffet).
2. Sisters Caribbean Cuisine
47 E. 124th St., at Madison Ave. 212-410-3000
In Harlem there’s a lot of steam-table food; this hidden spot has some of the best. Their goat curry ($10.99) is fantastic.
3. El Aguila
137 E. 116th St., nr. Lexington Ave. 212-410-2450
This is a great taquería right by the 6 train. I love their pork tacos ($2.72), and they’re open 24 hours.
196 Lenox Ave., nr. 120th St. 917-492-4806
A real Italian place with great teas, coffee, and housemade biscotti ($4/plate). It’s nice for socializing.
5. Les Ambassades
2200 Frederick Douglass Blvd., nr. 118th St.; 212-666-0078
This Senegalese place has fantastic croissants ($1.75), the way they are in Paris, nice and buttery. They also make ginger juice ($3), great when you’re getting a cold.
2084 Frederick Douglass Blvd., at 113th St. 212-662-0620
I go to this Ethiopian restaurant for kitfo ($17)—a kind of beef tartare served on sourdough pancake bread.
7. Nectar Wine Bar
2235 Frederick Douglass Blvd., nr. 121st St. 212-961-9622
I trust whatever wine and bar snacks ($4 and up) they have at this little bar.
8. Kitchenette Uptown
1272 Amsterdam Ave., at 123rd St. 212-531-7600
They do wonderful brunch; I go for any of the pancakes ($10.50 for mixed berry).
Chef-owner at Porchetta and an East Village pasta restaurant opening in September; consulting chef at
2. Rosario’s Deli
22-55 31st St., nr. Ditmars Blvd. 718-728-2920
Amazing cheese, sandwiches, pizza, and bread. He has only one kind of slice (Neapolitan), and it’s really good ($2).
3. Mediterranean Foods
23-18 31st St., nr. 23rd Ave. 718-721-0221
This shop has all the great prepared foods like taramosalata, a classic Greek dip with salted cod roe ($3.85/lb.).
4. Naseem Meat Market & Grocery
25-65 Steinway St., nr. 28th Ave. 718-777-7032
They make the best merguez ($3.99/lb.). Also: really good Moroccan preserved lemons ($3.99/lb.).
30-07 34th St., nr. 30th Ave. 718-626-4440
I particularly like the fried-bok-choy appetizer ($3) at this Indian restaurant. Also, the apricot-lamb curry ($12).
6. Petey’s Burger
30-17 30th Ave., nr. 31st St. 718-267-6300
It’s kind of In-N-Out inspired. I do delivery and get the double cheese with sauce and extra-crispy fries ($9.01).
7. Cedars Meat House
41-08 30th Ave., nr. 41st St. 718-606-1244
Their shish tawook sandwich ($3.50) is the closest thing to the grilled-chicken sandwich in Beirut.
25-78 Steinway St., nr. 28th Ave. 718-777-7676
A pastry shop that makes classic Middle Eastern sweets: phyllo-and-nut pastries, baklava ($1.50, or $12/lb.).
Chef, the General GreeneGreenpoint1. Corner Frenzy
995 Manhattan Ave., nr. Huron St. 718-349-9663
They sell empanadas ($1.25) inside this laundromat. Super-junky and so good.
2. Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop
727 Manhattan Ave., nr. Norman Ave.; 718-389-3676
I like the glazed sour cream ($.95). By the time I’m at the end of the block, I’m finished.
3. Sikorski Meat Market
603 Manhattan Ave., nr. Nassau Ave.; 718-389-6181
Amazing smoked pork ribs ($4.99/lb.).
4. Bar Matchless
557 Manhattan Ave., at Driggs Ave. 718-383-5333.
I go for “2 for Tuesdays”—two-for-one drinks—and buffalo wings ($9) or a fried-chicken sandwich ($9). They’re open till 4 a.m.
883–885 Manhattan Ave., nr. Milton St. 718-389-7389
This just opened. I saw the sign and couldn’t wait for the Slurpees. I like the Coca-Cola, or goji-berry-cherry ($1.59) if I’m feeling festive.
6. Acme Smoked Fish
30 Gem St., nr. Meserole Ave. 718-383-8585
I buy Blue Hill Bay’s smoked-whitefish salad ($3.25/8 oz.), which you have to have with Ritz crackers.
7. Mrs. Kim’s
160 Franklin St., at Kent St. 718-389-8881
I order the kimchee plate ($6 for five flavors), and a fava-bean dish ($6)—favas grilled in their pods, served with mint and tart fish sauce.
136 Greenpoint Ave., nr. Manhattan Ave. 718-349-1744
My Polish spot, with waitresses in crazy peasant outfits. Two favorites: pickle soup ($2.50) and peasant-style lard ($3.50) with bacon, spices, and a big hunk of rye bread.
Chef-owner of Artichoke Pizza, This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef, Led Zeppole, and a new Artichoke location opening in August. Dongan Hills, Staten Island1. Duffy’s
650 Forest Ave., nr. Bement Ave., West Brighton 718-447-9276
This bar was making kick-ass burgers, on charbroiled Thomas’s English muffins, before burgers were cool.
2. Fortune Garden
1771 Hylan Blvd., nr. Liberty Ave. 718-979-6100
Best Chinese in the neighborhood. They make a big Dungeness crab ($24.25) with ginger and scallion that’s awesome.
1791 Hylan Blvd., nr. Buel Ave. 718-979-2630
I get the cold-cut sandwich: soppressata, provolone, and red peppers with brown mustard on semolina bread ($10.49/hero)
4. Colonnade Diner
2001 Hylan Blvd., nr. Jefferson Ave. 718-351-2900
They’ve been around since the sixties. If I had to pick a favorite: the spinach pie ($10.95).
5. LaRocca’s Italian Ices and Pizzeria
489 Midland Ave., nr. Kiswick St. 718-979-8833
My favorite Italian ice is cookies and cream ($3.75/large). It’s not low-fat, but it doesn’t weigh you down.
6. Joe’s Lobster House
1898 Hylan Blvd., nr. Seaver Ave. 718-667-0003
Lots of seafood, and everything’s fresh. The lobster bisque ($4.50) is awesome, with a piece of bread on the side.
7. Lee’s Tavern
60 Hancock St., nr. Garretson Ave. 718-667-9749
The best pizza in Staten Island. I get an anchovy pie ($12) and tell them to burn the anchovy until it disintegrates.