Hands are grabbing churros con chocolate.

The Violets’ Guide to
Dining Out in New York City

Whether you’re a lifelong New Yorker or just in town for a visit, check out some of the city’s best restaurants from your fellow graduates. The churros con chocolate (above) from Jonah Miller (STEINHARDT ’09)—executive chef and owner of Huertas in the East Village—are not to be missed.

Dirt Candy
86 Allen Street

The city’s first vegetable-focused eatery, Dirt Candy was named the Absolute Best Restaurant on the Lower East Side by New York magazine. Its tasting menus change with the seasons for the freshest produce possible, and veggies can even be found in cocktails like the celery Pimm’s cup or sundown negroni with artichoke-infused gin. And if you can’t score a reservation at the award-winning establishment, chef and owner Amanda Cohen (CAS ’95) has published a Dirt Candy cookbook to help bring the restaurant to your kitchen.

Bowl of vegetables in broth with grated cheese.

Otto’s Tacos
131 Seventh Avenue South

As an LA transplant living in the Big Apple, Otto Cedeno (TSOA ’07) grew nostalgic for the authentic Mexican flavors of his hometown. So Cedeno left his tech start-up job to open the southern Cali–inspired taqueria Otto’s Tacos, which now has locations in the East Village, West Village, Hell’s Kitchen, and Upper East Side. Otto’s offers a range of traditional street tacos, but the Gorgon—a giant deep-fried taco with double the fillings and guacamole—has become the fan favorite.

Two soft tacos with meat and lettuce.

Katz’s Deli
205 East Houston Street

A Lower East Side staple since 1888, Katz’s Deli feeds its famous hand-sliced pastrami and corned beef to thousands of visitors each week. Third-generation co-owner Jake Dell (STERN ’15) now oversees the deli’s traditional method of slow-curing meat without injecting chemicals or additives to speed the process, which takes up to 30 days for maximum flavor. And with nationwide shipping available online, you can get all the deli classics—from sliced pastrami and sour pickles to knishes and matzoh ball soup—delivered right to your door.

Overstuffed pastrami sandwich.

Mother Burger
329 West 49th Street

Alongside the standard burger joint fare, this Midtown eatery also serves up salad bowls and fish specials like salmon BLTs, Baja fish tacos, and California roll quesadillas (stuffed with avocado, cucumber, crab, and rice). Opened by brothers Don Sofer and Ken Sofer (WAG ’80) in 2009, Mother Burger still offers recession-friendly pricing with its $10 lunch deals and mini “lunch-sized” cocktails for just three bucks.

Overstuffed double cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, and red onion.

348 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn

While studying at NYU Florence during his college days, Joe Campanale (CAS ’06, STEINHARDT ’09) visited vineyards almost every week. The budding sommelier interned at Union Square Café during sophomore year and by age 23 opened his first restaurant (dell’anima in the West Village). Today he is owner and beverage director at the upscale Fausto, where he expertly pairs wine with the restaurant’s regional Italian dishes—all made from local, simple ingredients.

Italian seafood dish with vegetables.

225 5th Avenue

A lifelong love of cooking led Thomas Kelly (STERN ’13) to leave his marketing job and start a food truck, which became so popular that it spawned restaurants in Chelsea, Madison Square Park, and Times Square. Mixing traditional Mexican flavors with American southern barbecue, Mexicue serves up hybrid comfort food like Nashville hot chicken tacos or jamburritos—burritos stuffed with chicken and chorizo

Bowl of rice, barbecue meat, and sliced veggies and topped with cilantro and sauce.