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24 Secret Dishes Worth Ordering in New York City

Sometimes the best dish isn’t even on the menu

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If you’re lucky, perusing a menu can feel like an adventure in itself—from appetizer to entrée to cocktails and dessert, a well-written menu gives you a whole world to explore. But what if what’s not on the menu is the most exciting experience of all? We’ve done the hard work for you by discovering chefs’ exciting secret dishes, making you an instant insider. All that’s left for you to do is order — and eat.

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The East-meets-West menu at this inventive Indian restaurant is already full of surprises, but Chef Gaurav Anand has an unusual off-the-menu dish up his sleeve: Chana Masala Hummus. Anand takes classic Chana Masala, turns it into a creamy Middle-Eastern dip, and serves it with a fluffy yeast naan instead of pita.

Seamore's

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Those in-the-know know that the best dish at this seafood-centric hot spot from restaurateur Michael Chernow isn’t printed anywhere: the Fish & Chips, a play on the traditional dish, are served with crispy fingerling potatoes and house-made tartar sauce.

Courtesy of Seamore’s

High Street on Hudson

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Executive Chef Sean McPaul began serving Lamb Bacon and Rye Flour Rigatoni Carbonara to those in-the-know in late December and it has become a house favorite at this all-day restaurant.

Gotham Bar and Grill

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At this iconic restaurant from acclaimed chef Alfred Portale diners can request several off-menu items, including a 60-day dry aged Cote de Boeuf with whole roasted garlic and black truffle mousseline. For dessert, the pro move is the unpublicized Apple Tarte Tatin for two.

Jungsik

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Did you know you can get Shabu Shabu at this two Michelin-starred Korean restaurant? Executive Chef Ho Young Kim will prepare this delicacy by request as a supplement to his multi-course menu. Featuring wagyu beef, foie gras, and vegetables, the hot pot is served with a hot dashi broth poured tableside.

Olmsted

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This winter, Chef Greg Baxtrom has been serving an off-the-menu Bouillabaisse Hot Pot at his critically-acclaimed restaurant known for its bountiful garden. Served with a crispy baguette and rouille (an aioli-like spread with piquillo peppers and cayenne), the hot pot features a mix of raw seafood in a bouillabaisse made with seafood stock, Pernod, anise, orange, and saffron. Diners can cook the seafood in their personal hot pot, adding shaved fennel, onions, fresh herbs, and an orange wedge for additional flavor.

This new American restaurant in the recently opened MADE hotel is serving Whole Sasso Chicken to those who ask for it. Executive Chef Greg Proechel roasts and smokes the bird and serves it with pickled Jimmy Nardello peppers and creamy polenta.

This Eastern Mediterranean spot from Vicki Freeman and Marc Meyer (who also run Cookshop, Vic’s, and Rosie’s), allows Chef Ayesha Nurdjaja to flex her muscles. Ask for Ayesha’s Falafel, a dynamite version of the pita sandwich filled with falafel, spicy carrots, red cabbage, turmeric pickled kohlrabi, pickled turnips, tahini, gem lettuce, herbs, and harissa.

Courtesy of Shuka

Westville Chelsea

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The original veggie-centric restaurant in the city boasts three different burger options. But the inconspicuous fourth burger is the only one that’s vegan: the Vegan Artichoke Quinoa Burger is served on a squishy Portuguese muffin with a side of mixed greens or fries.

St Tropez Wine Bar

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This new spot from a chef of a Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris is inspired by the south of France, with a focus on wines from around Saint Tropez. To complement said wines, try one of their decadent off-menu dishes: Jarret d’agneau (braised lamb shank with truffle mashed potatoes and mushroom sauce) or a drool-worthy French Burger.

At Chef Masa Takayama’s just-opened casual robotayaki, he’s secretly making burgers. The three-Michelin starred sushi master is grilling his first-ever burgers, available only Monday to Saturday, 5 to 6 p.m. Choose between a lamb burger topped with taleggio and a beef burger topped with sharp cheddar, both served on pretzel buns. The burgers are cooked in an enclosed cast-iron device, designed by Masa and had made in Japan solely for this purpose.

Cote Korean Steakhouse

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At Simon Kim’s Michelin-starred Korean steakhouse, guests can request the off-menu Butcher’s Tasting, which is sort of like a sushi omakase, but with beef as the star. It starts with an oyster topped with uni and steak tartare, and then a tasting of seven to eight different cuts of beef follows, ending with galbi, marinated short rib. The meal ends with a cleansing, savory Janchi Somyun, a noodle soup made with anchovy consommé, and soft serve for dessert.

Courtesy of Cote Korean Steakhouse

Don Angie

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This Italian-American spot from Chefs Scott Tacinelli and Angie Rito has tons of inventive pasta dishes on its menu, but here’s one that’s not: Tagliorini alla White Vodka with Caviar. The angel-hair like pasta is made in-house and bathed in a light, creamy “white vodka sauce” (onion, garlic, butter, white peppercorns, vodka, Parmigiano Reggiano, chicken stock, creme fraiche), and topped with Osetra caviar and crispy leeks.

The Meatball Shop

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This beloved local chain is now secretly serving Grilled Cheese Balls — balls of gooey bread and cheese served over a rich tomato soup — at all of its locations.

YO! Sushi

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This conveyer belt sushi joint also has a menu with hot items to order. But this item isn’t on it. You’ll have to make a special request for the Kimchi Salmon Bao, consisting of kimchi-marinated salmon in a hirata steamed bun with pickled red onion, greens, mayo and sesame seeds.

During winter you can request a fondue made from a mixture of Alpine cheeses that’s served with cubed bread at this Instagram-friendly Tribeca spot from Matt Abramcyk, Akiva Elstein, and Chef Daniel Berg.

Celestine

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On cold nights at this new riverfront Dumbo spot from all-star team Julian Brizzi (Rucola, Grand Army Bar), Noah Bernamoff (Mile End Deli, Grand Army Bar), Joe Campanale (Fausto), and Garett McMahan (Perilla, Bouley) diners can order Chef McMahan’s off-menu Moroccan bone marrow köfte with winter vegetables and chickory in beef consommé.

Seamstress

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Sometimes all you need is an Irish Coffee. From now through St. Patrick’s Day you can get head bartender Pam Wiznitzer’s off-menu version, made with Slane Irish Whiskey and a gorgeous cream float at this Upper East Side cocktail destination.

Even takeaway counters have off-menu specials and this Middle Eastern joint from Max and Eli Sussman has a great one. Offered exclusively on Wednesdays, Penny’s Pastrami Pita features pastrami smoked in-house with pickled cabbage, Mediterranean pickles, and red zhug mayo sauce, bundled in a homemade pumpernickel pita wrap.

Miss Lily's

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At this sunny Caribbean spot the secret Jerk Korean Short Ribs are marinated in a house-made Pickapeppa and their famous jerk blend of ground pimenta berries and Scotch bonnet chili pepper before they’re grilled on open flame.

Socarrat Paella Bar - Midtown East

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At this paella-loving institution diners can order the Fideua Negra (vermicelli noodle paella with squid ink, shrimp, scallops, white fish and piquillo peppers) even though it’s not on the menu.

BL Burger Bar

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At this new burger spot above Black Lodge from Chef Wayne Nish (Spitzer’s Corner) customers can request the off-menu Dutch Cacao Cocktail (Valrhona chocolate, fresh vanilla beans, sugarcane and Zacapa 23 year rum) for a special treat.

Jade Sixty Asian Steakhouse

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Phillipe Chow founder’s Stratis Morfogen newest project — a ritzy Asian steakhouse — has a secret menu item: Peking Duck Tacos, made with Peking duck, scallions, cucumber, and plum sauce in a wonton-crusted taco shell.

Old Monk

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A popular off-menu dinner special at this contemporary Indian restaurant from Chef/Co-owner Navjot Arora is the grilled paneer cheese sandwich, where the paneer cheese stands in for the bread, with fruit based relishes and scallions sandwiched in between.

Anthem of the Seas

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After you’ve explored your city from top to bottom, it’s time to seek out adventure elsewhere. Why not try at sea? Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas packs options for thrill-seekers, (iFly skydiving simulations, anyone?) foodies, and globetrotters — and that’s just on the ship. So when you’ve maxed out all these local options, check out what awaits. Royal Caribbean is now sailing from Cape Liberty to the Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean
This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

aRoqa

The East-meets-West menu at this inventive Indian restaurant is already full of surprises, but Chef Gaurav Anand has an unusual off-the-menu dish up his sleeve: Chana Masala Hummus. Anand takes classic Chana Masala, turns it into a creamy Middle-Eastern dip, and serves it with a fluffy yeast naan instead of pita.

Seamore's

Courtesy of Seamore’s

Those in-the-know know that the best dish at this seafood-centric hot spot from restaurateur Michael Chernow isn’t printed anywhere: the Fish & Chips, a play on the traditional dish, are served with crispy fingerling potatoes and house-made tartar sauce.

Courtesy of Seamore’s

High Street on Hudson

Read Review |

Executive Chef Sean McPaul began serving Lamb Bacon and Rye Flour Rigatoni Carbonara to those in-the-know in late December and it has become a house favorite at this all-day restaurant.

Gotham Bar and Grill

At this iconic restaurant from acclaimed chef Alfred Portale diners can request several off-menu items, including a 60-day dry aged Cote de Boeuf with whole roasted garlic and black truffle mousseline. For dessert, the pro move is the unpublicized Apple Tarte Tatin for two.

Jungsik

Did you know you can get Shabu Shabu at this two Michelin-starred Korean restaurant? Executive Chef Ho Young Kim will prepare this delicacy by request as a supplement to his multi-course menu. Featuring wagyu beef, foie gras, and vegetables, the hot pot is served with a hot dashi broth poured tableside.

Olmsted

Read Review |

This winter, Chef Greg Baxtrom has been serving an off-the-menu Bouillabaisse Hot Pot at his critically-acclaimed restaurant known for its bountiful garden. Served with a crispy baguette and rouille (an aioli-like spread with piquillo peppers and cayenne), the hot pot features a mix of raw seafood in a bouillabaisse made with seafood stock, Pernod, anise, orange, and saffron. Diners can cook the seafood in their personal hot pot, adding shaved fennel, onions, fresh herbs, and an orange wedge for additional flavor.

Ferris

This new American restaurant in the recently opened MADE hotel is serving Whole Sasso Chicken to those who ask for it. Executive Chef Greg Proechel roasts and smokes the bird and serves it with pickled Jimmy Nardello peppers and creamy polenta.

Shuka

Courtesy of Shuka

This Eastern Mediterranean spot from Vicki Freeman and Marc Meyer (who also run Cookshop, Vic’s, and Rosie’s), allows Chef Ayesha Nurdjaja to flex her muscles. Ask for Ayesha’s Falafel, a dynamite version of the pita sandwich filled with falafel, spicy carrots, red cabbage, turmeric pickled kohlrabi, pickled turnips, tahini, gem lettuce, herbs, and harissa.

Courtesy of Shuka

Westville Chelsea

The original veggie-centric restaurant in the city boasts three different burger options. But the inconspicuous fourth burger is the only one that’s vegan: the Vegan Artichoke Quinoa Burger is served on a squishy Portuguese muffin with a side of mixed greens or fries.

St Tropez Wine Bar

This new spot from a chef of a Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris is inspired by the south of France, with a focus on wines from around Saint Tropez. To complement said wines, try one of their decadent off-menu dishes: Jarret d’agneau (braised lamb shank with truffle mashed potatoes and mushroom sauce) or a drool-worthy French Burger.

Tetsu

At Chef Masa Takayama’s just-opened casual robotayaki, he’s secretly making burgers. The three-Michelin starred sushi master is grilling his first-ever burgers, available only Monday to Saturday, 5 to 6 p.m. Choose between a lamb burger topped with taleggio and a beef burger topped with sharp cheddar, both served on pretzel buns. The burgers are cooked in an enclosed cast-iron device, designed by Masa and had made in Japan solely for this purpose.

Cote Korean Steakhouse

Courtesy of Cote Korean Steakhouse

At Simon Kim’s Michelin-starred Korean steakhouse, guests can request the off-menu Butcher’s Tasting, which is sort of like a sushi omakase, but with beef as the star. It starts with an oyster topped with uni and steak tartare, and then a tasting of seven to eight different cuts of beef follows, ending with galbi, marinated short rib. The meal ends with a cleansing, savory Janchi Somyun, a noodle soup made with anchovy consommé, and soft serve for dessert.

Courtesy of Cote Korean Steakhouse

Don Angie

Read Review |

This Italian-American spot from Chefs Scott Tacinelli and Angie Rito has tons of inventive pasta dishes on its menu, but here’s one that’s not: Tagliorini alla White Vodka with Caviar. The angel-hair like pasta is made in-house and bathed in a light, creamy “white vodka sauce” (onion, garlic, butter, white peppercorns, vodka, Parmigiano Reggiano, chicken stock, creme fraiche), and topped with Osetra caviar and crispy leeks.

The Meatball Shop

This beloved local chain is now secretly serving Grilled Cheese Balls — balls of gooey bread and cheese served over a rich tomato soup — at all of its locations.

YO! Sushi

This conveyer belt sushi joint also has a menu with hot items to order. But this item isn’t on it. You’ll have to make a special request for the Kimchi Salmon Bao, consisting of kimchi-marinated salmon in a hirata steamed bun with pickled red onion, greens, mayo and sesame seeds.

Related Maps

Yves

During winter you can request a fondue made from a mixture of Alpine cheeses that’s served with cubed bread at this Instagram-friendly Tribeca spot from Matt Abramcyk, Akiva Elstein, and Chef Daniel Berg.

Celestine

On cold nights at this new riverfront Dumbo spot from all-star team Julian Brizzi (Rucola, Grand Army Bar), Noah Bernamoff (Mile End Deli, Grand Army Bar), Joe Campanale (Fausto), and Garett McMahan (Perilla, Bouley) diners can order Chef McMahan’s off-menu Moroccan bone marrow köfte with winter vegetables and chickory in beef consommé.

Seamstress

Sometimes all you need is an Irish Coffee. From now through St. Patrick’s Day you can get head bartender Pam Wiznitzer’s off-menu version, made with Slane Irish Whiskey and a gorgeous cream float at this Upper East Side cocktail destination.

Samesa

Even takeaway counters have off-menu specials and this Middle Eastern joint from Max and Eli Sussman has a great one. Offered exclusively on Wednesdays, Penny’s Pastrami Pita features pastrami smoked in-house with pickled cabbage, Mediterranean pickles, and red zhug mayo sauce, bundled in a homemade pumpernickel pita wrap.

Miss Lily's

At this sunny Caribbean spot the secret Jerk Korean Short Ribs are marinated in a house-made Pickapeppa and their famous jerk blend of ground pimenta berries and Scotch bonnet chili pepper before they’re grilled on open flame.

Socarrat Paella Bar - Midtown East

At this paella-loving institution diners can order the Fideua Negra (vermicelli noodle paella with squid ink, shrimp, scallops, white fish and piquillo peppers) even though it’s not on the menu.

BL Burger Bar

At this new burger spot above Black Lodge from Chef Wayne Nish (Spitzer’s Corner) customers can request the off-menu Dutch Cacao Cocktail (Valrhona chocolate, fresh vanilla beans, sugarcane and Zacapa 23 year rum) for a special treat.

Jade Sixty Asian Steakhouse

Phillipe Chow founder’s Stratis Morfogen newest project — a ritzy Asian steakhouse — has a secret menu item: Peking Duck Tacos, made with Peking duck, scallions, cucumber, and plum sauce in a wonton-crusted taco shell.

Old Monk

A popular off-menu dinner special at this contemporary Indian restaurant from Chef/Co-owner Navjot Arora is the grilled paneer cheese sandwich, where the paneer cheese stands in for the bread, with fruit based relishes and scallions sandwiched in between.

Anthem of the Seas

Royal Caribbean

After you’ve explored your city from top to bottom, it’s time to seek out adventure elsewhere. Why not try at sea? Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas packs options for thrill-seekers, (iFly skydiving simulations, anyone?) foodies, and globetrotters — and that’s just on the ship. So when you’ve maxed out all these local options, check out what awaits. Royal Caribbean is now sailing from Cape Liberty to the Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean

Related Maps