Question: what’s better with bacon? Answer: everything. As New York’s love affair with bacon continues apace, restaurants continue to find unique ways of making this food even better. The five dishes described below represent our current favorites. By Jessica Allen.
Mission Chinese’s thrice-cooked bacon combines rice cakes, garlic, red peppers, Sichuan peppercorns, tofu skin, garlic, bitter melon, and glorious hunks of bacon, which has been smoked, blanched, and wok-cooked. The result is sugary, crunchy, and chewy, and spicy, so very very very spicy. Chef/co-founder Danny Bowien has a deft hand when it comes to Americanizing Chinese food, but perhaps no dish better illustrates his abilities in the kitchen than this one.
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You can’t see it in the photo, but the eponymous 1/2-pound burger at Peter Luger Steakhouse comes with cheese and bacon, specifically delicious strips of prime-cut USDA-certified bacon. Established in 1887, this Brooklyn institution knows its way around a butcher’s block, a grill, and a stove. The burger is only available at lunch, until 3.45 pm. So, theoretically, you could have this for your midday meal, then head back and order a sirloin or prime rib for dinner. Sounds like an excellent plan.
Dates and Devils
Don’t be fooled by the cutesy name: dates and devils are awesome. At this upscale wine bar in Astoria, the “devils” are actually deviled eggs, hard-boiled eggs hollowed out and stuffed with a sweet-sour mustard mash. Pretty good, and pretty familiar. The “dates,” though, are mind-blowing. DiWine’s executive chef Dusan Celic stuffs dates with pecans, then wraps them in bacon, presenting an astounding punch of flavor in just three or four bites.
Unlike typical American barbecue, which uses smoke to drive the flavors, the food at Fatty ‘Cue mixes spices and tastes, offering curries with whiffs of the grill and mixing fish sauce and garlic with the rich tang of pork. To make the bacon dish served on the late-night menu in Brooklyn, pork belly gets cured for about a week. Then it’s served with a custard made from a turmeric curry paste, coconut milk, and eggs, which only enhances the meat’s salty pop.
Summer Peach with Hand-Cut Bacon Sandwich
Num Pang specializes in Cambodian sandwiches. People queue up year-round for its roasted cauliflower or pulled Duroc pork with spicy honey, but they count the days until the summer peach with hand-cut bacon debuts. This seasonal specialty includes charred peaches, bacon doused in a Guinness-maple glaze, jalapenos, and sliced green onions. With four locations around Manhattan, you’ll likely always be close to a Num Pang. Go get this before it’s gone.