The Most Unusual Dishes in New York City

The melting pot that is New York has a wide variety of weird and wonderful dishes worth trying
The melting pot that is New York has a wide variety of weird and wonderful dishes worth trying | © Robert K. Chin - Storefronts / Alamy Stock Photo
Taylor Haacke

New York City is a foodie’s paradise. It’s the twists on timeless favorites that really sets this city apart. Here are some of the most unusual dishes in NYC.

Chorizo Caramel Swirl

Oddfellows Ice Cream Co. is your classic, old-school ice cream shop with a twist. The chorizo caramel swirl is just one of the flavors. The flavors range from classic and expected, like sprinkles or s’mores, to the crazy, like the chorizo caramel swirl and burnt honey rosemary. The flavors change every day, but the chorizo caramel swirl is a favorite. This spicy-pork sausage-flavored ice cream is perfectly sweet and savory, and it’s made with real chorizo. Like all the Oddfellows ice creams, it’s creamy and custardy with unexpectedly subtle flavors. If you’re unsure about committing to one flavor, they offer generous sample tastings, so you can cover all the bases.

Masala Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese plus Indian flavors is a match made in heaven. S’MAC is basically heaven because it’s a restaurant dedicated entirely to mac and cheese. It has tons of different variations, such as buffalo, cajun, and masala varieties. Each delicious type of mac and cheese comes in a few playful sizes — nosh, major much, mongo, and party. The Masala mac and cheese is by far the most exotic with a blend of warm Indian spices mixed with the comforting cheesy goodness. It’s all the best comfort foods wrapped into one delicious bundle.

Salted Caramel Chicken Fingers

Only in New York could you find a restaurant dedicated to chicken fingers, and Sticky’s Finger Joint is that place. Plus, they have salted caramel chicken fingers. These babies are brined in buttermilk, coated in crunchy and salty crushed pretzel bits, deep fried and smothered in salted caramel. If all that isn’t enough, they’re garnished with pretzel sticks and pretzel glitter. Yep. Pretzel glitter. They’re as good, or maybe even way, way better, than they sound. They’re the perfect blend of salty, sweet, and crunchy.

Golden Opulence Sundae

Have you ever wondered what a $1,000 ice cream sundae tastes like? Wonder no more. Serendipity 3 serves a Golden Opulence Sundae that must be ordered 48 hours in advance and comes with the ultimate VIP experience, complete with special seats, next to a cozy fireplace. The sundae is complete with pictures of the first bite and a gift bag. The sundae features Tahitian vanilla ice cream, a 23ct golden flower, gold-covered almonds, Parisian fruit candies, and Venezuelan cocoa all topped with dessert caviar. All this is served in a crystal goblet and eaten with a golden spoon of course. The best part is that in breaking apart the golden flower, you get golden fingers.

Chapulines Tacos

Chapulines tacos are a traditional Mexican dish made of tiny toasted grasshoppers. Even though these tacos, which are covered in onions, cilantro, jalapeño, and salsa verde, may look freaky, their crunchy, salty taste is perfectly wonderful. Toloache is a different but also classic Mexican food joint. They have three kinds of guacamole, a side of avocado fries, and a quesadilla with manchego cheese and a black truffle crema.

Lox Rice Bowl

Although it’s not a classic combination, Jewish-Japanese fusion should be more popular. Shalom Japan’s menu is full of interesting combinations such as teriyaki duck wings, matzoh ball ramen with foie gras dumplings, and the lox rice bowl. This rice bowl pairs the smoked salmon that usually tops a bagel with avocado, cucumber, spicy mayo and, of course, rice. It’s like a Jewish sushi roll in a bowl. The lox pairs well with the Japanese-like pickled cucumbers.

Chocolate Chunk Pizza

That’s right, chocolate chunk pizza, which is perfect for chocolate and pizza lovers alike. This pizza, which is made by Max Brenner, is a must-try. It has melted milk and white chocolate chunks with two choices of toppings — either hazelnut bits, bananas, peanut butter, or roasted marshmallows. You can’t go wrong with any topping choice, or any chocolatey item on the menu.

Zillion Dollar Lobster Frittata

Norma’s, at Le Parker Meridian Hotel, is a classic fancy Sunday brunch joint in Midtown West that’s packed on the weekends. Their Zillion Dollar Lobster Frittata is a decadent treat that is either $100 or $1000. This succulent egg dish has one ounce or 10 ounces of fancy Sevruga Caviar.

Need more culinary inspiration? See the foods you must eat when you’re in NYC.

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