Unexpected International Cuisine in New York
While New York City’s streets may be filled with hundreds of Italian, French, and Chinese restaurants, those same streets are dotted with eateries serving lesser-known cuisines. The immense diversity of New York’s population affords you the opportunity to taste dishes from every continent on the planet. Take a look a these restaurants in New York for a culinary trip around the globe.
Azul Argentinian Bistro, 125 Stanton Street, (azulnyc.com)
With authentic Argentinian cuisine and wines, Azul pleases even New York’s Argentine expats and is a favourite date spot for casual but romantic diners. Located on the lower east side of Manhattan, Azul is decorated with memorabilia from its homeland. For an appetizer, try the mollejas, sweetbreads sautéed with lemon, followed by a main course of costillitas de cordero, which is grilled baby lamb chops served with corn, onions, spinach mashed potatoes, and Malbec syrup. For dessert, sample the Argentine panqueques with dulce de leche.
Khyber Pass, 34 Saint Marks Place
This small Afghani restaurant on one of Manhattan’s most colourful lower east side streets has been a neighborhood resident for more than 20 years. Afghani textiles decorate the walls, and rugs covered with glass tops serve as tablecloths. Try the walnut pomegranate chicken or one of the eggplant or pumpkin dishes. There are numerous vegetarian choices or kabobs of beef, chicken, and lamb. The appetizers consist mostly of pastry shell samosas, which are filled with scallions, beef, or pumpkin and served with herbed yogurt sauce for dipping. In winter, the cardamom tea is warming and delicious.
Aquavit, 65 East 55th Street (aquavit.org)
An upscale restaurant serving Swedish cuisine, Aquavit also maintains locations in Stockholm and Toyko. The interior design is classic Scandinavian style, and the menu includes a sampling of herrings. There is a prix-fixe menu, a chef’s tasting menu, and even a vegetarian tasting menu. Some of Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s inspired creations include a lobster roll with pistachio and lemon yogurt or venison loin with cured ham, white asparagus, horseradish dumplings, and lingonberries.
Africa Kiné, 256 West 116th Street (africakine.com)
Located on the top floor of a building in the newly-trendy part of Harlem, this restaurant celebrates the cuisine of Senegal. With a casual ambience and West African music playing in the background, Africa Kiné has been a part of the neighborhood since 1995. The menu is extensive with beef, chicken, and lamb dishes often accompanied by couscous and plantains. You can sample the national dish of Senegal, thiebou dijou, which is fish stewed in a tomato sauce with eggplant, carrot cassava, and white cabbage, or dakhine, a lamb stew in peanut sauce with onions and beans.
Sigiri Sri Lanka Restaurant, 91 First Avenue (sigirinyc.com)
As a result of colonization, Sri Lankan cuisine is a unique blend of Indian, Portuguese, Dutch, and Malay flavors. At Sigiri, one of New York’s few Sri Lankan restaurants, you can taste traditional dishes like string hopper kotthu, a street specialty in Sri Lanka made from spaghetti-like strings of rice-flour dough served with vegetables and the meat of your choice. Another staple is lamprais, a Dutch-inspired dish of rice cooked in meat stock and baked in a banana leaf, served with plantains and meat.
Firebird Russian Restaurant, 365 West 46th Street (firebirdrestaurant.com)
Firebird contains several opulent rooms that are filled with antiques, making you feel as though you have stepped into a Russian aristocrat’s home in the early 1900’s. With prix fixe, tasting, and à la carte menus, you can try interesting dishes like tushenaya osetrina – poached sturgeon with champagne nage, chanterelle mushrooms, baby beets, green onions, grape tomatoes, and white truffle oil. Whether or not you usually drink vodka, taste one of the nearly 200 types on Firebird’s impressive vodka list which represents 30 countries.
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