Meatloaf must either be simply perfect or a thing so uncommonly different from the standard doorstop diner entrée that it makes a body re-think the whole proposal. For instance, why not use duck instead of beef? Why not wrap the loaf in bacon, or include wild mushrooms in the mix? These and other questions should be contemplated with the aid of the list below, where humble and comforting converge with inventive and exciting. By Anna Van Lenten
Aroma Kitchen & Winebar
Aroma’s motto—“Relaxed. Intense. Italian”—is a perfect tagline for its hearty Sicilian meatloaf. The recipe pairs it with red pepper pesto, creamy polenta, and sautéed onion. And in a perfectly Sicilian gesture, the meatloaf itself is pebbled with pistachio nuts. Each taste of its unique medley of flavors takes you further down the road to rapture.
524 Court Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
Two words: Duck Meatloaf. One word: Fabulous. After that, words aren’t necessary.
Now and again, I like to hook on my defibrillator and head out to Eatery for an extravagant, memorable meal: White Cheddar Meatloaf with Beer Battered Onion Rings, Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes and White Cheddar Fondue. To prepare and recover, I suggest fasting the day before and the day after.
With its special horseradish mayo, Fresh Salt makes a scrumptious yet classic meatloaf sandwich killer. The bread is freshly baked and the meatloaf itself has dimension and moist flavor. But that horseradish mayo…
The single most spellbinding amalgam of meat could very well be the meatloaf sandwich at Rye. It comes on a baguette and is made with duck, veal, pork, shortribs, and mushrooms. Crispy buttermilk onion rings gracefully sit atop. The dish could not have happened by accident—its design exceeds the imagination of most mortals. But divinity aside, it’s also freakishly good.
560 Myrtle Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205
Linking ordinary meatloaf to greatness might be an exaggeration, but when your hunger is honest and true, your meatloaf had better be great. Ruthie’s famous, generously portioned take on it is. Best consumed with her excellent collards and a glass of half and half (ice tea and lemonade).
44 & X Hell’s Kitchen
622 10th Avenue
New York, NY 10036
44 & X defines American fare with a modern, sensuous slant. Its turkey and wild mushroom meatloaf wrapped in bacon embraces two cuisine truths in one go: Wild mushrooms improve and deepen the taste of most things; and, ditto for bacon. In this case, it’s tantalizing and comforting all at once.