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Best Cheeks

  • Linn

    29-13 Broadway, nr. 30th St., Astoria 718-204-0060

    Ever since Mario Batali first stormed this city on the strength of Babbo’s beef-cheek ravioli, this tenderest of beefy cuts has enjoyed a cultish foodie vogue. Never mind that the virtues of guanciale, the jowly porcine equivalent, have been an open secret ever since that mythical Lazian nonna first tossed it into her Sunday gravy to create bucatini all’Amatriciana. Or that the Japanese, meanwhile, as any Iron Chef marathoner knows, have long had a justified fetish for fish cheeks. For the purest expression of the surfy version of the turf mainstay, try the broiled yellowtail cheek at Linn, a quiet oasis of Japanese home cooking in Astoria, a neighborhood not known for harboring destination Asian restaurants. It’s served almost like a steak, as a thick triangular slab, and yields a surprising amount of fatty flesh so succulent you’ll soon feel guilty for adulterating it with the accompanying ponzu sauce.

From the 2011 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine