Bon Appétit Staff’s Favorite Restaurant Meals, February 2023

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If Taiwan Pork Chop House had a rewards program, I’d definitely be among the Chinatown restaurant’s most loyal members. When I moved to New York six years ago and was getting used to the city, I’d sit in the snug dining room at least once a week and settle in for the jolt of fermented mustard greens and crisp-salty meat that the namesake pork chop over rice delivered. During a rough week I’d subsist on the restaurant’s divine rice cakes. 

These days Taiwan Pork Chop House is as wonderful as ever, and on a recent visit I housed a pork chop, a plate of rice cakes with slivered pork, and for dessert, a textural delight of taro, shaved mango ice, and a drizzle of condensed milk. In February, BA staff’s favorite restaurant meals also included an all-chicken tasting menu (seriously!) and a feast of seafood in Savannah. Read on for all of this month’s greatest hits. —Elazar Sontag, restaurant editor

Brochu’s Family Tradition

2400 Bull St Suite 8, Savannah, GA 
I recently went to Savannah for the first time and spent the whole of my trip falling in love with the city. The icing on the cake was Brochu’s Family Tradition, a restaurant specializing in fried chicken and seafood. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten more than I did at Brochu’s that night: five different types of oysters (raw, with yuzu vinaigrette was my favorite), market fish crudo, dirty rice with egg yolk and shredded chicken bits and livers. Then there was the whole chicken dinner, which featured fried thighs, sous-vide then charred breast, and chicken salad, all served with biscuits. I certainly didn’t save room for dessert, but found the strength within me to indulge in coconut key lime pie with tapioca, and a honey pie with candied citrus. All of the food was amazing, but my favorite thing about the restaurant may have been the wallpaper in the bathroom, which featured fried chicken and biscuit characters with human legs and heels. It perfectly captures the vibe at Brochu’s. Fun, quirky, and forever memorable. —Kate Kassin, editorial operations associate

Bad Habit at Caleta

131 Avenue A, New York, NY
Once upon a time I worked in the kitchen of an artisanal ice cream shop. Each morning I’d sneak a spoon into whichever flavor we were churning (goat cheese–strawberry hibiscus, black forest brownie) and call it breakfast. I’ve had a few good scoops since moving to New York but none that compared to the freshly churned silk I used to dip into daily. That was, at least, until I visited Bad Habit, an ice cream counter nestled inside the newly opened East Village bar Caleta. The ice cream—which comes in flavors like Chocolate Honeycomb and Burnt Basque Cheesecake—is so fresh, holding the stretchy, pliable texture that deep-freezing destroys. I tried the limited-edition Balinese Coffee flavor, which was barely sweetened, allowing the subtle, fruity notes of the coffee to shine through. I intended to save some for later, but alas. Guess I’ll have to go back for more. —Zoe Denenberg, associate cooking & SEO editor


4130 N 7th Ave, Phoenix, AZ
Ever since we published a guide to Phoenix last month, I’ve been eager to try the bakery-slash-restaurant Valentine—where Southwestern flavors embed cafe classics like croissants and cookies. I didn’t have time to do a full meal at Valentine on a recent visit, but I’m still thinking about the scone I ate, made with Sonora wheat, bologna, mimolette cheese, and chipotle. Rarely do I consider a scone a star player, but this was one very assertive scone. Bright orange pockets of cheese filled each bite, and crusty, crunchy pieces poured out the sides like a lava waterfall. It had a meaty spice that lingered after I finished eating—more like a good pepperoni than eating Thai food. In between bites I took sips of a pomelo lassi, the dairy and citrus balancing out all the scone had to offer. —Serena Dai, editorial director

Potluck Club

133 Chrystie St, New York, NY
A few days before my 25th birthday, I polled the office on where I should have a celebratory dinner. I wanted a lively, bumpin’ atmosphere and some great Chinese food. Luckily, Kate Kassin, a true restaurant guru at BA, recommended that I go to Potluck Club, a recently opened Cantonese American restaurant. After trying a bit of pretty much everything, what surprised me the most was an endive salad. The endive leaves stood tall like a colorful crown, bejeweled with pistachios, cara cara orange segments, dragonfruit, and little bits of pecorino. The crunch from the pistachio, the sharpness of the cheese, and the bursting freshness from the fruit all reminded me of a summer dance party. For a few minutes I  forgot that we’re dead smack in the middle of wintry February. —Julia Duarte, art assistant

Taiwan Pork Chop House

3 Doyers St, New York, NY
For a restaurant to be named after a dish on its menu, that dish better be so, so good. The pork chop from Taiwan Pork Chop House delivers in every way. The rice is cooked to just the right texture, and there’s lots of it. Fermented mustard greens sit on top of that rice, along with a super savory and intensely salty minced pork sauce. Then there’s the signature thinly sliced chop, fried extremely hard and doused in warm spices. The contrasting textures of the hot rice, the snappy greens, the chewy pork—I couldn’t dream of a better combination. —Elazar Sontag, restaurant editor


368 E 100 S, Salt Lake City, UT
This lowkey neighborhood restaurant is where I take all my out-of-towners visiting Salt Lake City. And on my most recent visit with my boyfriend’s sister, a cabbage steak stole the show. A huge hunk was served on a cloud-like slick of turmeric ricotta, roasted until slightly translucent and soft enough to cut with a fork. A chaotic mess of textures crowned the purple cabbage: sharp and licorice-y fermented fennel, tiny pearls of pickled mustard seed that burst like Gushers in my mouth, and a crunchy caraway crumb that reminded me of a reuben sandwich. It’s the first cabbage I’ve ever craved, and I’ll be bummed to see it leave Oquirrh’s hyper-seasonal menu. —Ali Francis, staff writer

The Four Horsemen

295 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY
I can’t quite pinpoint when it happened, but all of a sudden, I can’t walk a block in New York without running face first into boudin blanc. The once pretty-hard-to-find sausage, consisting of chicken breast, cream, and warm spices is everywhere now. And you know what, I’m thrilled. The most delectable version of the dish I’ve had comes from Four Horsemen, a French-ish wine bar where the supple sausage is served in a pool of mashed potatoes the texture and thickness of reduced cream. The star of this particular show though is not the artfully prepared sausage or the impossibly smooth mashed potatoes. It’s the stewed prunes that top the dish, bringing a pop of brightness to each bite. —Elazar Sontag, restaurant editor


46 Bowery, New York, NY 
As soon as I stepped inside of Kono, the windowless 14-seat yakitori restaurant where chicken is the star, I could tell I was in for a treat. At the center of the space was a yakitori grill where chef ATS (a former DJ and breakdancer) creates magic. The meal started with amongst the richest chicken broths I’ve ever tasted. Then the skewers began. They featured pretty much every part of the bird: inner thigh meat, main artery, belly skin. Each skewer had so much depth that I almost forgot every bite was chicken. I was able to watch chef ATS prepare the skewers, turning them over and seasoning precisely. The meal ended with a bowl of soba noodles and an Okinawa black sugar crème brûlée. After eating more than 10 courses of masterfully prepared chicken—and a very refreshing yuzu highball—I didn’t want it to end. —Kate Kassin, editorial operations associate


1622 Ocean Park Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 
The earthy smell of wood-fired dough was the first thing I noticed as I sat on a blanket in the candlelit backyard at Ghisallo’s, a pizza-first restaurant in Santa Monica that sells whole pies and individual slices as well as pastas, salads, and more. I lifted my face-size slice of market veggie pizza by its pillowy crust, and it slumped in on itself like a hammock. Salty tomato sauce mingled with confit garlic, and the spinach, red onion, roasted bell pepper, and eggplant fused together in a jammy layer. Even after sitting in the deli case for a bit, the dough was chewy and the crust firm and blistered. Every couple of bites, the buttery green olives strewn across the pie delivered a welcomed punch of salt. Sitting outside in the winter, I wondered whether I should just move to California already. —Ali Francis, staff writer


76 Carmine St, New York, NY
I left my visit to Gab’s, which opened last month and serves “seasonal New York cuisine,” with a food memory that’s lodged itself deep in my mind. The restaurant’s Berkshire pork rib took two years to develop, our server told us. Those years of perfecting really paid off. The meaty ribs are marinated in gochujang, honey and mustard, slow-cooked for 24 hours, and then glazed with a blood orange and guajillo pepper sauce. The dish balanced smoky heat and buttery texture, and it kept me going back for just one more bite. I have to admit, I did not have the good judgment to order it, but luckily my wife did. The moment it landed on our table, it became a “family-style” meal. —José Ginarte, visuals director

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