22 Comforting New Dishes to Get You Through the Season’s First Cold Snap

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Upland's Estrella pasta, with chicken liver, sherry, rosemary, and sage.
Upland's Estrella pasta, with chicken liver, sherry, rosemary, and sage. Photo: Liz Clayman

It’s true: New York’s first cold spell of the season starts later today (possible snow tonight … really?), which means you’re likely remembering the horrible phrase “Polar Vortex.” Yet, while it’s supposed to get progressively chillier over the next few days, at least it means that you have a reason to eat some super-rich comfort foods. And so, to help you decide what, exactly, that will be, Grub rounded up more than 20 new dishes from restaurants around town that should do the trick.

“Car Driver” Bucatini
Where: Vic’s
Price: $12/$19
Chef Hillary Sterling’s pasta is named after the roadside spots where Italian drivers would “refuel” their vehicles — and their bellies. It includes housemade tomato paste, chile oil, orange zest, and marjoram.

Wood-Fired Semolina Pancake
Where: Marta
Price: $12
Sure, the potato pizza is great, but breakfast at Danny Meyer’s newest restaurant includes pancakes that are cooked and served in cast-iron skillets. They arrive sizzling hot, straight from the pizza oven, and topped with caramelized walnuts, blueberry compote, and maple syrup.

Pork Curry Noodles
Where: Khe-Yo
Price: $24
Down in Tribeca, you’ll find a rich, spicy pasta dish with pickled chile and banana flower at this Laotian-inspired restaurant.

Short-Rib Ossobuco
Where: Caffe Storico
Price: $34
Short ribs are sort of the perfect cold-weather food, and Stephen Starr’s restaurant inside the New York Historical Society serves their version with Tuscan kale, pickled peppers, and horseradish.

Bone Broth
Where: Brodo
Price: $4 to $12
Marco Canora’s brand-new concept is a takeout window at Hearth that sells nourishing bone broths in coffee cups, as well as to-go jars to take home. Flavors include organic chicken broth made with Pennsylvania Amish organic chicken; Hearth broth made with chicken, turkey, and beef; and grass-fed-beef broth.

Pumpkin Soup
Where: The Spotted Pig
Price: $16
New to April Bloomfield’s menu is a soup with pancetta and sage: Her kitchen cooks down roasted pumpkins with chicken stock, diced pancetta, and barley; mashes them (instead of pureeing); and seasons it with Parmesan, olive oil, sage, and parsley.

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Pumpkin Soup
Where: The Spotted Pig
Price: $16
New to April Bloomfield’s menu is a soup with pancetta and sage: Her kitchen cooks down roasted pumpkins with chicken stock, diced pancetta, and barley; mashes them (instead of pureeing); and seasons it with Parmesan, olive oil, sage, and parsley.

The Spotted Pig’s pumpkin soup.Photo: Courtesy of the Spotted Pig

Estrella Pasta
Where: Upland
Price: $16
It’s no surprise that chef Justin Smillie’s pastas are exceptional at his new California-themed restaurant: Try the Estrella, with chicken liver, sherry, rosemary, and sage; or the extra-rich pappardelle, with spicy sausage ragù, kale, and Parmesan.

Pozole Verde
Where: Empellon al Pastor
Price: $4
Tacos are the star, but the sides are actually the secret must-orders of Alex Stupak’s new bar and taqueria. Grub’s pick for the colder months: braised kale with green chorizo and pozole verde — a traditional hominy-based Mexican stew.

White Bean & Kale Soup
Where: The Little Beet Table
Price: $9
Fast-casual spot Little Beet now has an upscale, sit-down sister restaurant, where, similarly, all of the food is gluten-free. It’s far from boring health food — this soup comes with a heaping of Parmesan, and you can also order risotto (made with, uh, quinoa), and prosciutto flatbread.

Hot Buttered Rum
Where: The NoMad Bar
Price: $16
Tthe NoMad Bar launched brunch service this past weekend, and there’s a big list of hot cocktails (as well as coffee-based drinks, like the espresso martini). You can get a Scotch-based Hot Toddy, but try the Hot Buttered Rum — Venezuluan rum, compound butter, and fall spices.

Roasted Pork & Cheddar “Lasagna”
Where: The Gander
Price: $15
At Jesse Schenker’s new-ish restaurant in the Flatiron District, he’s added an inventive pasta dish with crispy pig’s ear, roasted pork shoulder, barbecue béchamel sauce, and broccoli.

Bone Marrow Brûlée
Where: The Cannibal Hell’s Kitchen at Gotham West Market
Price: $15
Chef Francis Derby starts by caramelizing Demerara sugar on top of roasted bone marrow, and then tops it with soft-scrambled eggs and marinated lobster mushrooms.

Miso Butter Mazemen
Where: Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop at Gotham West Market
Price: $14
Starting November 19, there will be new noodles on Ivan Orkin’s menu: a vegetable broth combined with a mixture of white miso, sweet garlic puree, ginger, mirin, sake, soy, and, of course, butter. You can keep it vegetarian-friendly by adding beech mushrooms, or get serious with pork or chicken chashu.

Ajiaco
Where: Cómodo
Price: $18
This soup is a traditional comfort dish in Bogota, and at this Soho favorite, it’s prepared with three types of potatoes grown in New York (from Rick Bishop’s Mountain Sweet Berry Farm). It also comes with five garnishes that you can mix in: minced chicken, crema, capers, habanero sauce, and avocado.

Pork Cracklings
Where: King Bee
Price: $6
It seems like “Acadian” food translates to “super rich”: Beyond the cracklings — served with peanut, cane caramel, and malt-vinegar powder — you can order duck fricot, a traditional meat stew, with dumplings or vegan gumbo.

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Pork Cracklings
Where: King Bee
Price: $6
It seems like “Acadian” food translates to “super rich”: Beyond the cracklings — served with peanut, cane caramel, and malt-vinegar powder — you can order duck fricot, a traditional meat stew, with dumplings or vegan gumbo.

King Bee’s pork cracklings.Photo: Melissa Hom

Morcilla Shepherd’s Pie With Idazabal Potatoes
Where: Toro
Price: $16
New to Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette tapas menu is a dish that features their housemade blood sausage. They sauté apples in cider with shallots and thyme, layer them with the crumbled morcilla and a cheesy potato puree, then serve it all bubbly and golden.

Frog Leg Wonton Soup
Where: Alder
Price: $16
Wylie Dufresne created this dish specifically for the incoming cold weather: He fills wontons with tender frog legs meat and edamame, among other vegetables, and serves them in a clear broth made of carrot and ginger. He garnishes it with carrot tops and nasturtium leaves that resemble lily pads.

Riding Tigers
Where: Maison Premiere
Price: $13
This Williamsburg mainstay is certainly lovely in the warmer months, when you can eat outside, but the winter means warm cocktails. This one’s made with Hirsch Canadian Rye, Atxa Pacharan syrup, Bergamot, and Verjus, and served in teacups.

Kabocha Squash Soup
Where: Tuome
Price: $11
At this critically acclaimed restaurant in the East Village, chef Thomas Chen finishes his creamy soup with burnt scallion oil, chili foam, more cream, and a tempura-battered frog leg.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi
Where: Blenheim
Price: $24
People have complained about the service, but the general consensus is that Ryan Tate’s food here is superb. Try the fall-appropriate pasta, with smoked pumpkin seeds, lemon cream, and nasturtium.

Cranberry Crostata
Where: Maialino
Price: $9
Incoming pastry chef Jessica Weiss knows that all you want this time of year is a warm dessert: Her fresh cranberry filling includes orange zest, orange liqueur, and cinnamon, and it’s all complemented by housemade pumpkin-pie gelato.

Tomato Soup With Fried Wisconsin Cheese Curds
Where: Joseph Leonard
Price: $12
This is one of the coziest, warmest restaurants around town — and, in addition to the excellent tomato soup, you can order a vegetable cobbler with Cheddar biscuits, rosemary, and horseradish crème fraîche.

22 New Dishes to Keep You Warm