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Anyway, below the fold are eight of the restaurants I went to earlier in the summer.

Delicious bites

  • Fan-Fan Doughnuts, in Bed-Stuy, served an excellent guava-and-cheese doughnut.

  • The pancita (tripe soup) at Casa Mia, a hole in the wall, was hearty and filling. I wandered in because the kitchen was closed at Winona’s across the street. There wasn’t anywhere to sit, so I stood outside a nearby McDonald’s listening to the delivery drivers waiting to pick things up.

  • Dame, the much-heralded West Village seafood restaurant that began as a fish and chips pop-up, really is worth the hype. I liked their bottarga-sprinkled tuna tartare—at other restaurants, a boring crowd-pleasing dish, right next to the truffle fries—so much that we ordered a second plate for dessert. Just go.
  • Yin Ji Chang Fen has rice rolls I loved so much that, as I posted earlier, I ate there three times in two days. It’s an outpost of a Guangzhou-based chain. I liked the beef, shrimp, and chives rice noodle roll; the dough stick roll; and the pork congee with preserved egg. Full review here.

The Fanciest Sushi Counter You Can Reserve at the Last Minute

  • I’m writing this at 5 PM on a Saturday, and it’s still possible to reserve two seats at Kintsugi, in southern SoHo (SoSoHo? SoHoSo?). You can’t say that about Noz, Yoshino, Shion 69 Leonard, or even Nakazawa.

Of Note for the Vibe

Don’t worry, these places aren’t just vibes. All of them serve good food, too. But the ambience is a significant part of their dining experience.

  • Anyway Cafe is in an East Village basement. It serves Russian food, flavor-infused vodka, and live music. It opened in 1995 and feels like it hasn’t changed since. “This dish is new,” our server said, pointing at the portobello mushroom mousse on the menu, “three years old.” The chunky avocado salad? “Seven years.” Everything else was older.

    The butter, which had garlic, dill, and parsley mixed in, was the best thing I ate. The beef pelmeni seem like great drunk-person food to down at 2 AM. The basement is small, so once the music started up it was hard to carry on a conversation.

  • Everyone at Vinny’s, located in the historically Italian-American neighborhood of Carroll Gardens, seemed like they were straight out of Central Casting.

  • Sadelle’s serves a high-tea-style tower of smoked salmon, sable, whitefish salad, and more. If you want bagels and lox in a fancy, sit-down setting, Sadelle’s is it. Make sure to specifically ask for non-toasted bagels; they inexplicably toast them by default. Also, for the price of the tower, their smoked salmon portions felt stingy.