The 10 Best Blowout Meals to End 2013
In a little over a week, 2013 will be history, left for archivists to dust off their microscopes and ponder the ramifications of Cronut Fever. But for now, we're approaching something I like to call the holiday sweet spot -- that magical week between Christmas and New Year's where all bets are off, dietarily speaking. Provided you still have some hard-earned dough left over from gift shopping, this is the week to knock a few extraordinary NYC dining experiences off your bucket list. To be clear: a "blowout meal" for our purposes doesn't necessarily command an exorbitant price. The following feasts span brows high and low, their only common denominator being that they provide an overwhelming bang for your dearly departed bucks. Here are our picks.
10. Pocha 32, 15 West 32nd Street, 212-279-1876
Trek up the stairs to this nautical-themed K-Town party palace and order yourself a massive frothy soju punch served in a hollowed out watermelon. Dishes are also perfect for sharing, with cauldrons of the spam and hot dog noodle soup buddae jiggae and scallion pancakes that flop over their plate edges.
9. Casa Adela, 66 Avenue C, 212-473-1882
Casa Adela via Facebook
Adela Fargas offers a slice of San Juan with a decidedly Losaida feel at this no-nonsense paean to Puerto Rican cuisine in Alphabet City. Burnished, heavily-seasoned rotisserie chicken is the must-order, but Fargas' tender pernil is no slouch, either. With a whole bird costing under $10, there's no reason not to order a fresh fruit shake and some fried sweet or green plantains.
8. Sammy's Roumanian Steakhouse, 157 Chrystie Street, 212-673-0330
A taste of the schmaltzy good old days makes it nearly impossible to leave this raucous Lower East Side subterranean haunt without a smile on your face. The mood is infectious, with live music and plenty of flowing booze -- most notably bottles of Ketel One frozen into blocks of ice. Our perfect meal consists of chopped chicken liver mixed table-side with caramelized onions and plenty of schmaltz, garlicky skirt steak, and golden brown potato latkes.