The 3 Essential Restaurants in New York City

Poogan’s Porch chicken and waffles CharlestoN Set in a lovely 1888 Victorian home with loads of 19th-century charm and grandeur, Poogan’s Porch serves up a succulent rendition of the down-home classic: chicken and waffles. Poogan’s spin includes brining the bird in buttermilk—in their own hot sauce blend—and then dusting it with garlic and onion powder and their own secret seasoning, Poogan’s Essence. Service arrives…immediately douse the sweet potato waffle with house-made sorghum butter and maple syrup. Say “hi” to the angel Gabriel for me.

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When are you not craving a biscuit? For a real down-home treat, make tracks to Callie’s hot little Biscuit shop and be prepared to lose your mind. Add a little, or may I so gently suggest, a lot of Carolina honey to your handmade nugget of goodness and top it with black pepper bacon, country ham or blackberry jam and get ready to roll down the aisle, gladly. On any given Monday, leave downtown Charleston behind and pull up a chair at Martha lou’s kitchen for a plate of her lip-smacking, tender-to-the-fork, fried pork chops with a side of lima beans (cooked in neck bones, pig tails, onion and sugar). The unpretentious pink building by the side of the railway tracks makes you feel that you’ve gone down home, as my grandmother would say. Is that my uncle in the parking lot? You better believe it…a trip to Martha Lou’s Kitchen is a family affair.

New York City the Dutch Could the name ring flatter? No, but for the best biscuits in SoHo—on par with Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit Shop—take a trip to downtown NYC for chef Andrew Carmellini’s fluffy, crunchy-on-the-outside, miracle biscuits. Add a generous dab of honey-butter sauce to the mix and you’re all set for a single meal. Del Frisco’s Grille is certainly not the first place you’d think of for down-home Southern cooking. Don’t sleep; this steakhouse serves up truffled-chive vinaigrette deviled eggs, prime beef short-rib stroganoff and a coconut cream pie that can keep time with the best of them. While the short ribs are delicious, another great choice is the mesquite-smoked pork chop (sweetened with an apple glaze) and plated with hand-mashed potatoes and tobacco onions. In the mood for a predinner cocktail? Try the Tennessee Peach.

My favorite cocktail this year, it’s made with Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7, the pulp of fresh peaches, honey and a generous squeeze of lime. I didn’t know I liked Jack Daniel’s. Or how much! Did I write that? Porchlight The lights stay on late for New Yorkers hungering for some down-home country cooking. This west-side Chelsea bar and restaurant provides live music along with food offerings that include an adventurous and delicious Southern Spread, a meat and cheese board brimming with cured wild boar loin and duck rillettes, along with Goat Lady Dairy’s delectable Smoky Mountain Round smoked goat cheese from the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and Meadow Creek Dairy’s Grayson from the Virginia Highlands. Treat yourself to the venue’s hush puppies, which can go toe to toe with grandma’s Sunday brunch. The little doggies are fried perfectly until golden brown and served with a zingy spring onion purée. Cocktails are $15 each. Hush puppies are $9. Grain bowl is $17. Spread is $16.

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