Maialino's Caprese, One of Our 100 Favorite Dishes
Dish no. 45: Caprese from Maialino (2 Lexington Avenue, 212-777-2410)
Yes, you should order the suckling pig at Maialino, and you should indulge in some pasta, too, like the bucatini alla Amatriciana, which is bathed in lightly peppery pork-infused tomato sauce and topped with crackling bits of pork skin. But if you get to this Gramercy Park restaurant before tomato season ends, you'll also want to be sure you don't miss the caprese salad, which could be the platonic ideal of a dish that's often lackluster. Here, it matches a few varieties of tangy, ripe heirloom tomatoes to sweet, creamy fresh mozzarella and a scattering of salt, which brightens the acid of the fruit and gives nice contrasting edge to the dairy. You've got plenty of food coming after this, but you'll be sad this dish isn't bigger. This is seasonal ingredient celebration at its finest.
In advance of our 2014 Best of NYC issue, we're traipsing through the boroughs and divulging our favorite dishes of the year. They're presented here as a countdown, but we're listing them in no particular order. Consider this a guide to what's good to eat in this town right this very second.