123 Lexington Avenue, at 28th Street, 212-685-3451; www.kalustyans.com
As much as we hate to be predictable, there’s a reason why Kalustyan’s has been name-checked by every food writer in New York. The owners never stop seeking out that obscure ingredient—green almonds? sumac powder?—that’s going to be supertrendy next year. And all that foodie traffic means that the spices turn over fast, ensuring that anything you buy still has its zing.
Best Super Markets
No one-stop shop, not even that fabulous newcomer FreshDirect can outdo a true specialist. So visit these perfectionists behind the counter before your next dinner party, and let your guests wonder why everything just tastes better at your table.
- Wild Edibles
Grand Central Market, 42nd St. at Lexington Ave., 212-687-4255
Grand Central Market, 42nd St. at Lexington Ave., 212-557-4466
For practical purposes, you needn’t separate the two fish markets that stand about 50 yards apart in Grand Central Market—Wild Edibles and Pescatore. Wild Edibles gets the nod for unusual items like head-on jumbo shrimp or fillets of sable; Pescatore is a bit less expensive and runs excellent daily specials. Check both before you make your dinner selection.
2135 Broadway, at 75th Street; or 1313 Third Avenue, at 75th Street; 212-874-0383 www.citarella.com
The Upper West Side Broadway mantra holds true: Fairway for produce, Zabar’s for specialties, and Citarella for the main course. First-rate beef, a gorgeous array of sausages, and dinner-party extravaganzas like crown roasts are everyday business.
- Murray's Cheese Shop
257 Bleecker Street; 212-243-3289
Grand Central Market; 212-922-1540
Dairy-lovers are salivating at the prospect of Terrence Brennan’s new online Artisanal Cheese Center (www.artisanalcheese.com , launching in early May). But until a side-by-side comparison is possible, we’re sticking with the exquisitely stinky Murray’s Cheese Shop. The downtown store has it all, reliably fresh and impeccably aged; the uptown outpost has a much more limited selection, but it’ll more than adequately serve to top every cracker at your next cocktail party.
Best Organic Vegetables
- Whole Foods Market
250 Seventh Avenue, at 24th Street, 212-924-5969
- Fairway Market
2127 Broadway, at 74th Street, 212-595-1888
Every supermarket seems to make a token effort these days, stocking organic carrots and celery, but if you really want to purge your pantry of pesticides, you simply have to do your shopping at Whole Foods Market. Honorable mention: the upstairs organic department at Fairway Market, which cannot be beaten on price.
From the 2003 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).