Every month in New York, there’s a bewildering number of new dishes to eat, drinks to imbibe, and food-themed events to attend. Often, the hardest part is just figuring out what’s really worth your limited time. So Grub kicks off each month with a curated collection of dishes, drinks, and events that should absolutely be on your agenda. Make your plans now.
1. Head to the beach for fried clam rolls.
It’s time to go to the beach to eat, and the Rockaways have become something of a dining destination in recent years. Each season brings at least a few new vendors to check out, so this year there’s Super Burrito and its Mission-style burritos, as well as Riis Park Beach Bazaar, where rookie Rockaway Clam Bar has established a beachhead. A spinoff of the popular Red Hook Lobster Pound, it specializes in — you guessed it — all things clams: fried clam rolls, clam sliders (with lobster salad!), New England clam chowder. There will also be fried lobster rolls and sides like tater tots with Old Bay and Parmesan, if you must.
2. Or head to Coney Island for your annual hot-dog fix.
While we’re on the subject of beach eats, summer isn’t summer without a trip to Coney Island. The revival of Feltman’s, which invented the hot dog some 150 years ago, is a great reason to head down there this month.
3. Check out a festival featuring some of New York’s best Jewish food.
For the fourth year in a row, the Taste of Jewish Culture will pave the midtown streets with kugel. Organizers the Workmen’s Circle gave curator Noah Arenstein the theme of “diversity of delicious,” and he responded with the festival’s most robust lineup yet. Court Street Grocers, La Newyorkina, Mile End, Taïm, and Breads Bakery all return, joined by a host of new vendors. Many are non-Jewish food businesses, who’ve been tasked with re-creating Jewish dishes, like Mysttik Masaala, Astoria’s Souvlaki Lady, and Destination Dumplings. The festivities go down June 18 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
4. Grab a drink in the great outdoors.
Unsurprisingly, given the owners’ résumés, Brooklyn’s Diamond Reef has proven to be one of the — if not the — year’s most popular new cocktail bars. Even better, it has a solid backyard with good chairs and grilled food! It will be a good place to try some of their new summer drinks (all $12), like the frozen Banana Hammock (rum, banana, lime, almond, and a floater of rum) and the Night Rider (gin, ginger, German bitters), before inevitably ordering a few Penichillins. For Brooklynites looking to do a tour de outdoor drinking, some notable new openings to add to your booze course include Miss Ada, Madre Mezcaleria, and the Drift.
5. Or have one at the top of a Williamsburg hotel.
Rosé, like brunch, inspires some weirdly opinionated bad takes. But who cares, because people like to drink it during summer for a reason: It’s good and refreshing, and you get a little drunk. But everything tastes better with a view, which is a good enough reason for the Wythe Hotel’s rooftop bar, the Ides, a pop-up bar dedicated to the pink stuff — with five varieties by the glass, eight by the bottle, three by the magnum, and one by the double magnum, if you’re looking to have a lot of fun.
6. Hit up a backyard barbecue at the Meat Hook on Wednesday, then eat outside at Win Son’s new sidewalk café.
The meat dudes at the Meat Hook will host backyard cookouts in their Williamsburg storefront backyard every Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. You can expect those parties (cash only) to be like the backyard barbecues your family hosted — except you’ll get to drink more, and the burgers will definitely be better. Over in East Williamsburg, modern Taiwanese restaurant Win Son debuted a sidewalk café (18 seats) that’s open from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends, and 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. It’s good timing, too, as they’re rolling out the first summer dishes — including a take on jia dan tsung yuo bing (the BK Egg Bomb, $19), a fried egg fused to a thin scallion pancake enhanced with beef tartare.
7. Head to Black Seed Bagels for an Italian combo on their new sandwich rolls.
The Montreal bagel specialists at Black Seed Bagels are expanding their bread game. Using their bagel dough, they’re now making sandwich rolls baked in wood-fired ovens. Those rolls are used for six classic sandwiches that range from $8 to $12. There’s the Miami Vice, a Mile End smoked-turkey-melt version of the Cuban; a bánh mì with Mile End bacon bits; and a classic Italian combo with ham, salami, provolone cheese, tomato, onions, pepperoncini peppers, sliced olives, and Italian vinaigrette.
8. Start plotting your ice-cream itinerary.
Summer is grilling season, but it’s also (more importantly, depending on who you ask at Grub) ice-cream season. Some great new ice cream has already hit the streets, including whatever Brooks Headley is doing this week, and Dominique Ansel’s cold-brew soft serve ($7.25). Luckily, that’s not the only new soft serve in town. Bushwick café Supercrown has also debuted its own coffee soft serve ($5 for a cup or cone, $7.50 for a float or milkshake), made with the beans it roasts in-house, while West Village bakery Mah-Ze-Dahr now serves vanilla and dark-chocolate soft serves ($5 to $7) of its own. But for something you can’t get from a Mister Softee truck, head out to Flushing’s New World Mall, where vendor Erqal is serving extra-creamy, very milky Uyghur-style ice cream ($2).
9. Then go to an ice cream social for a cause that’s not your school’s PTA.
From noon to 4 p.m. on June 11 (the event was originally scheduled for June 4, but had to be pushed back a week), Nolita’s T Shop will host the latest edition of its ice cream social, Sundae Sunday ($25 in advance, $30 at the door). Owner Theresa Wong brews the tea, author and former Lucky Peach test kitchen director Ben Mims is in charge of pastries, and Saveur editor and The Dumpling Galaxy Cookbook co-author Max Falkowitz will serve ice cream. (Grub can personally vouch for the quality of the goods here.) Expect cookies, ice cream sandwiches, and affogatos, with the added bonus that all proceeds will go to the immigrant advocacy nonprofit Make the Road NYC.
10. Attend a discussion and dinner about the current state of the oceans.
On June 15, GrowNYC and Greenmarket will host a Q&A ($15) between New York Times best-selling author Paul Greenberg and Blue Moon Fish co-owner Stephanie Villani about the state of seafood and the fishing industry. The event, which will go from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., will also celebrate Villani’s new cookbook, The Fisherman’s Wife. There will be drinks and seafood appetizers before the conversation, and following it, there will be a full seafood dinner ($300) from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Chefs — including Oceana’s Bill Telepan, Grand Banks’ Kerry Heffernan, Del Posto’s Melissa Rodriguez, and others — will prepare a four-course dinner that will raise funds for GrowNYC’s Project Farmhouse.
11. Celebrate Portugal Day at Aldea’s collaborative dinner with Chicago’s Fat Rice.
Here’s a collaborative dinner worth getting excited about: On June 8, George Mendes’s Aldea will host Abraham Conlon of Chicago’s buzzy (and acclaimed!) Fat Rice for a one-night-only event (tickets are $140). The dinner, which starts at 7 p.m., isn’t a random pairing. Mendes is the country’s most well-known Portuguese chef, and Conlon’s restaurant mines the Portuguese-influenced cuisine of Macau, China. The duo is cooking together for Portugal Day, serving canapés and a four-course dinner of octopus terrine with soy and olive oil; grouper with passion fruit and black-olive purée; pork with smoked mussels and chouriço; and early season strawberries with ginger shortbread. In keeping with the theme, each course will be paired with a wine from the “50 Great Portuguese Wines” list.
12. Head to Vic’s, where they’ll serve special pies from four of New York’s favorite pizzerias this month.
All month long, downtown Italian restaurant Vic’s will supplement its menu with four of chef Hillary Sterling’s favorite pizzas ($18 to $22) from around the city. It’s pizza for a cause, as some of the proceeds will go to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry. The pies will pop up one at a time, starting off (and through June 6) with GG’s square vodka pie with prosciutto, peas, sun-dried tomatoes, and basil. From June 7 through June 12, you can eat Di Fara’s classic pie without the insane wait, and Paulie Gee’s will take over from June 13 to 19 with its Monte Cristo (mild Gouda, Canadian bacon, and maple syrup). Finishing off the festivities will be pizza-nerd-king Adam Kuban’s Margot, which will serve its ranchero pizza with pickled jalapeños and a buttermilk ranch dressing.
13. Get tips on how to stir-fry better from a Chinese-food authority.
One of the West’s foremost authorities on Chinese cooking, English writer Fuchsia Dunlop’s cookbooks — including Land of Plenty, Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook, and Land of Fish and Rice — have been universally acclaimed. Avid home cooks with a serious bent toward woks, then, will want to jot this down: The English author will return to New York on June 21, when she’ll give a talk on Chinese food culture, accompanied by a tasting, at the 92nd Street Y.