Birria Tacos ($3)
Along Union Avenue, where several restaurants turn out authentic tacos, few are as good as this regional specialty from the Mexican state of Jalisco. The equation is simple: soft corn tortillas and braised beef in a complex, pepper-and-clove-spiced broth.
Expect a wait at this newish Middle Eastern spot, where everything is made-to-order (seriously, multiple signs read “worth the wait”), but for hummus this ethereally light, smooth, and lemony, it’s worth it every time.
The Joey Cannoli (far right) gets capped with Ferrero Rocher.
Photo by Heather Sommer
The Joey Cannoli ($5)
When is a cannolo more than just a cannolo? When the smooth, sweet ricotta filling studded with chocolate chips and piped into a crispy shell is capped on each end with a Ferrero Rocher.
“Betcha can’t eat just one” may belong to Lay’s Potato Chips legally, but it applies just as much to the hot, straight-from-the-fryer, sugar-coasted churros at this Mexican bakery, where pretty much everything is priced less than $15.
Pad Kee Mao ($11)
No matter how much heat you decide you want — dishes come in mild, medium, hot, and searing Thai spicy — this mix of stir-fried flat noodles, vegetables, protein, fragrant basil, and umami-packed kee mao sauce is sweet, tangy, and delicious.
Chicken Parm ($14)
In a sea of mediocre chicken parm, Pizzeria La Rosa does everything right. Organic, free-range, dark-meat chicken is brined for 24 hours, breaded, fried, cloaked in milky house-made mozzarella, and finished with faintly spicy tomato sauce that cuts through all that richness.
The arepa de pabellon at Arepa Mania Venezuelan Cuisine.
photo courtesy of arepa Mania Venezuelan cuisine
Arepa De Pabellon ($11)
Mexican isn’t the only Latin cuisine that’s thriving in NewRo. Venezuelan hits its apex with these golden arepas filled with a classic, hearty mix of saucy braised beef, black beans, fried sweet plantains, avocado, and a mountain of shredded cheese.
Al Pastor Taco ($3)
It’s a bit grimy, and there’s no A/C, even in the hottest summer swelter, but the spit-roasted al pastor may be the county’s best, with tender, rich meat and rendered, crispy edges.
Midwestern summers inspired owner Michael Dubbs to spend a year learning to make dense, rich, frozen custard. The creamy treat is blended with candies and other toppings to make concretes, which can be filled with a core of hot fudge or caramel.
Avocado Toast ($11)
Sorry, dannoli and egg sandwiches, if we’re coming to this espresso bar-meet-café, we’re getting the avocado toast every time for its mix of buttery avocado, tangy pickled onions and goat cheese, crunchy pepitas, and chili.
Fried Clams ($12)
Yes, there’s a fabulous $4 old-school cheeseburger that contributes to Leno’s heralded “Greasy Nick’s” nickname (a relative of comedian Jay Leno, according to suburban legend), but the classic, no-frills fried clams and $3 Pabst Blue Ribbon are a Westchester summer staple.
Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken and fries at Juicy Chicken.
Photo by Juicy Chicken
Pollo a la Brasa ($12)
Just a dozen bucks buys an entire meal — a half-chicken, salad, and french fries or rice — at this Peruvian spot on Division Street, where the tender, hormone-free, rotisserie birds are marinated for 24 hours and served with spicy green sauce.
Classic Burger ($7)
Owner Nick Triscari loves a crazy burger (sandwiched between doughnuts, loaded with mac ’n’ cheese), but his best is this not-too-thick patty topped with American cheese, translucent onions, and plenty of pickles.