Chef Matt McCallister of FT33 restaurant in Dallas’s Design District recently made a quick trip to New York City. He found time to stop at his go-to haunts, as well as check out a few new spots.
“Every trip to New York includes lunch at Aquagrill in SoHo. It is my go-to lunch place. I always order the seafood platter. If you like seafood, then you have to eat here.” 210 Spring St., (212) 274-0505, aquagrill.com
Booker & Dax
“This is a really cool new experimental-type bar in the old Momofuku Milk Bar space next to Momufuku Ssäm Bar in the East Village. The inventive snacks and drinks owed to the genius of chef David Chang collaborating with Dave Arnold, the director of culinary technology at the French Culinary Institute. They do really cool stuff like bottle their own gin and tonics and use a centrifuge to make clarifications. Tons of innovation is happening here. And you can also order the awesome pork buns from Ssäm Bar from the menu.” 207 2nd Ave., (212) 254-3500, momofuku.com
“The food here is super vibrant. The restaurant is super loud, yet somehow still laidback and you can still hold a conversation. I’m not used to New York City’s tight seating style. I don’t mind it as a diner, but it would never fly in Dallas. At Mission Chinese, you are packed in, but it’s worth it for the food. I tried the salt cod fried rice with slow-cooked mackerel, Chinese sausage, and egg. That was a really solid dish. The Taiwanese clams with soy caramel, basil, and fried garlic was over the top. And you can’t miss the thrice-cooked bacon, which comes with Shanghainese rice cakes, tofu skin, and bitter melon. The thrice cooked bacon was pretty spicy, but not s spicy as the cold spicy noodles at Momofuku Noodle Bar. Now that is hardcore.” 154 Orchard St., (212) 529-8800, missionchinesefood.com
“Right before I left I went to Ippudo. This place rocks. My sous chef had been several times and I’ve always meant to check it out but find myself at Momofuku Noodle Bar instead. The black sesame ramen was delicious and I would say the pork buns are better than the famous pork buns at Momofuku Ssäm Bar. I nearly missed my flight because of the pork buns.” 65 4th Ave., (212) 388-0088, ippudony.com
“Whenever I’m in New York my go-to late night spot is Blue Ribbon for amazing shellfish, especially oysters. The vibe is always really relaxed, the service is great, and you know the food is always going to be good.” 97 Sullivan St., (212) 274-0404, blueribbonrestaurants.com