Every month in New York, there are 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. Go to an alt-milk ice-cream social at new Brooklyn favorite MeMe’s.
One of Brooklyn’s hippest and most enjoyable new restaurants, MeMe’s Diner, will host an alt-ice-cream social. No, not for moody teenagers with dyed hair and Lil Peep shirts. It’s a pop-up, on June 10, inspired by classic soda foundations, but with all the treats made with alt-milks. They’re throwing the event in conjunction with Queens’ Elmhurst Milked, whose peanut milk will be made into soft serve for a sundae with sweetened coconut-milk sauce, candied chilies, and other toppings. Other items on the menu include the Phosphate, with cashew milk, cocoa-cardamom syrup, dark rum, and seltzer. The people behind MeMe’s know how to do comfort food, and an ice-cream social is right up their alley.
2. Eat food, buy art, and listen to panels at an event celebrating all things Asian-American cuisine and culture.
For one day only on July 14, the Happy Family Night Market (tickets are $16 for all day, or $7 for night only) will take over 99 Scott Avenue in Bushwick for a day of all things Asian-American cuisine and culture. Among other food vendors, Kreung will serve Cambodian food, Bunker will bring its Vietnamese cooking, and Index will give snackers its Indian nachos. There will be art and merchandise to buy from the likes of Banana mag and Alison Kuo, and panels like Perspectives on Indian Cuisine and Authentically What? Hybridized Chinese Food in History and Today. An after-party hosted by Queer Asian dance-party Bubble_T will go from 11 p.m. to late night.
3. Get a slice of Di Fara pizza — in Williamsburg.
Since it opened in 1959, there’s only been one place in New York to get Di Fara and only one making the pizza considered by, well, everyone to be some of New York’s best. That’ll change June 4, when the pizzeria opens a location in the new North 3rd Street Market in Williamsburg. Food halls have multiplied around New York in recent years, often drawing from a similar pool of vendors. But Di Fara isn’t the only reason North 3rd stands out: Its roster is largely unique and includes the inventive East Wind Snack Shop, the classic Corner Bistro, sub specialists Regina’s Grocery, and Maharlika and Jeepney spinoff Tita Baby’s Panciteria. (The market opened on May 29, though not all vendors will be serving until June 4.)
4. Eat pasta with lamb belly and fava beans and other summer dishes at one of New York’s most critically acclaimed new restaurants.
Ferris has been, arguably, one of the bigger hits of New York’s restaurant scene this year. The restaurant has steadily evolved since opening in February, and its chef, Greg Proechel (who first made his name at Le Turtle), has caught the attention of critics like New York’s Adam Platt, who praised his lobster toast and trophy crown of duck presented Ssäm style. Over the last month, he’s introduced a handful of new dishes that take advantage of spring produce, like the snap peas ($16) with clams, pickled green almonds, Sichuan fermented black bean, and sushi rice. Carb freaks will want to take note of the the alla gricia ($25) with lamb belly, buttermilk, and a condiment of fava beans, mint, pickled spring onion, lemon zest, and Calabrian chilies.
5. Try Moroccan pancakes at the new Smile to Go.
The last piece of the Freehand hotel’s culinary puzzle is a location of the Smile to Go. It borrows elements from its grown-up, sister-restaurant the Smile, and will serve all three square meals (plus brunch) and have a full liquor license. This newest location won’t be a culinary clone: The menu includes new dishes like Moroccan beghrir, yeasted semolina pancakes that are porous like Swiss cheese and served with pistachio honey, homemade ricotta, and rhubarb compote.
6. Eat lamb skewers and fish in pepper spice at a Jewish dinner, and go to an annual street festival celebrating Jewish food and culture.
If you (a) have no plans tomorrow and (b) are craving North African food, you’re in luck: the Jewish Food Society will put on its “Fire, Drink With Me” (tickets are $78.62) dinner at Andrew Tarlow’s new events space, the Castle. You’ll be in good hands: Einat Admony will start the night with a ceremony to celebrate the Shabbat, and Caroline Fidanza (formerly of Saltie, now of Tarlow’s restaurant group) and Tel Aviv chef Nir Feller will cook dishes like grilled lamb and chicken skewers and chraime, spicy fish in pepper sauce. She Wolf will contribute a special challah, they’ll pour Recanati Winery wines and cocktails from Galilee’s Jullius Craft Distillery. Later this month, the Taste of Jewish Culture returns for a fifth year on June 17 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., with a new spin: This year, they’ve asked vendors to create mash-ups, like La Newyorkina’s babka ice-cream sandwiches, and invited non-Jewish vendors, like Mysttik Masaala, to serve spins on Jewish dishes. Other participants include Ben’s Kosher, Breads Bakery, and Danny Macaroons.
7. Have a drink while watching movies like Get Out and Galaxy Quest at a great outdoor bar.
It’s summer, the time of year for day-drinking, beach-drinking, park-drinking, and outdoor bars. Parklife is one of Brooklyn’s most pleasant places to have a cocktail under the sun, and they’re making it even more so with summer events like Movie Monday. First up is Get Out on June 4, followed by (the underappreciated) Galaxy Quest on June 11, The Sting on June 18, and Clueless on June 25. What’s better than a movie, drink, and nachos on a Monday night?
8. Head to Izakaya’s new lunch for a pork katsu sando, and try a few other summer sandwiches.
The East Village’s popular and unassuming Izakaya has gotten in on the lunch game, and dipped its toes into New York’s ramen fray. Its new noodles ($14 to $15) include a cheese curry mazemen with house shiso pork sausage and yuzu shio ramen, but the most eye-popping and trendy item is its premium pork katsu sando ($17, or $10 for half), the more wallet-friendly alternative to Tokyo’s wagyu katsu sando that has become a trend for the one percenters. Like at Ferris, it’s made with thinly breaded pork and katsu sauce pressed between toasted Japanese milk bread. It’s not the only exciting new sandwich around town: Bushwick grocer Foster Sundry has added smoked barbecue pork shoulder ($12) on a toasted brioche roll to its menu, and Marlow & Sons now has a lunchtime broccoli melt ($15) made with cheddar, sauerkraut, and pickled chile mayo on She Wolf sourdough.
9. Brunch on the chorizo sandwich choripán at Metta.
Grub knows that you’re flush with good brunch options right now. Will one more hurt? No. This weekend, Fort Greene’s Metta serves its first brunch, which it will offer every Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. One highlight of the menu is the Argentine sandwich choripán ($17), grilled chorizo stuffed into a roll with chimichurri, lettuce, and mayo. There’s also a potato salad ($13) with yellow beans, roast chicken ($21) with salsa verde, and a rhubarb-strawberry tart ($8) for sugar fiends.
10. Add a pop-up from Milan, summer spritzes, and a soon-opening bar’s frozen cocktail to your summer drinking agenda.
Downtown Italian bar Dante is kicking off the summer by welcoming Tommaso Cecca, head bartender of Milan’s Camparino aperitivo bar, for a pop-up on June 12 and 13. The 151-year-old bar has been alternately run since 1943 by Zucca and Campari. The latter has run it since 2012. Cecca’s menu, unsurprisingly then, is heavy on the bitter and sweet aperitif, and his drinks include a Camparinha (muddled kumquats, vanilla-sugar, crushed ice, and Campari) and a frothy Campari Shakerato. It’ll also bring its summer of spritz menu this time, which means the return of its Sgroppino Spritz ($14; lemon and basil sorbetto topped with Prosecco) alongside new cocktails like the Summer 2018 ($14; gin, Luxardo bitter bianco, fresh watermelon, orange citrate, and Moscato d’Asti). And for those who need an after-work refresher in midtown, the Up & Up team will cool you down with frozen Stay Cold (bourbon, IPA, ginger, and lime juice) when they open Stay Gold later this month.
11. Feast on luxury lobster at the NoMad.
The NoMad has brought back its lux lobster fest ($125, $55 beverage pairing optional), in case you don’t get enough of the crustacean when you escape to Maine. As with last year, it’s a four-course meal of snacks like tempura, ceviche, and miso-glazed tail; lobster chowder with cheddar biscuits (shout-out to Red Lobster); and grilled lobster with runner beans, tomato, and artichoke. It’s capped off, fittingly, with a rhubarb cobbler with ricotta ice cream.
12. Eat Taiwanese comfort food in Bed-Stuy.
It’s been a good year for Taiwanese food in New York, and now it has hit Bed-Stuy. There, a small, casual restaurant named Fan Fried Rice Bar quietly opened this spring. Fried rice there is in both traditional versions, like bone-in pork chop ($11), and not-so-traditional variations, as in the fusion-y numb numb pastrami ($11). There’s an abbreviated list of comfort-food starters to go with your rice, including popcorn chicken ($7) and golden kimchee ($4).
13. Check out one of June’s most exciting specialty dinners.
At Marlow & Daughters, they’ll have a yakitori pop-up on June 7 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Beers will be complementary and skewers will go for $4, get dressed with tare or sea salt, and come from all parts of the chicken: tenderloin, heart, gizzard, soft bone, and more. Then on June 12, pescatarian restaurant Gloria will host a five-course dinner ($98 for food and drink, reservations here) paired with wines from California’s Dirty & Rowdy. (Speaking of Gloria, they’ll serve special Pride-month cocktails honoring individuals like Marsha P. Johnson who’ve helped the LGBTQI community.) Dominique Crenn is one of the world’s most celebrated fine-dining chefs. So it’s a treat for gourmands that she’ll come to New York to cook with Benoit’s Laetitia Rouabah. The two have teamed up for a five-course dinner on June 22, the first in a series that Rouabah will put on with other female chefs. Reservations can be made by calling 646-943-7373, and start at 5:30 p.m.
14. Eat Hungarian food and go to an all-star pastry-chef event at the Met.
Have a hankering for Hungarian food? Head to Eddy on June 5, where they’re hosting a dinner in honor of the late George Lang of Café des Artistes. Chef Jeremy Salamon’s five-course dinner ($65, reservations here) is inspired by Lang’s ideal final meal, and includes dishes like Hungarian biscuits with sour cherry, a choice of fisherman soup with soft-shell crab or stuffed poussin with apricot and lardo, and a dessert of Hungarian crêpes or rose-sugared plum dumplings. Also on the radar: Yotam Ottolenghi and the Met will team up for another Feast event (tickets are $125) on June 19 and 20 at 7 p.m. (Plenty of tickets are still available for the second day.) The London chef will be joined by some of the world’s best pastry chefs, including Dominique Ansel, Ghaya F. Oliveira, and Janice Wong, who will create Versailles Court–inspired pastries. Expect Champagne, cakes, and a private viewing of “Visitors to Versailles (1682–1789)”