Three years ago, I released an article called “My Favorite Dishes in New Haven,” which were, in fact, basically just my opinion on what I like to eat. Which is great, obviously, and correct.
But it’s just like, my opinion, man.
So in order to track down the Actually Best Dishes in New Haven, I did what any sensible person with way too many Facebook friends would do:
I asked them.
Below is a crowdsourced, completely scientific list of the absolute best dishes you can order in New Haven. I did not include restaurants which are now closed because we don’t have all day. I mean, we do. But I’m not writing it.
Also, there’s no pizza from the Big 3/4. You know they’re great. You don’t need me to tell you that. Go eat them.
Honeypot — Nolo x Da Legna
People love DaLegna. Like, they really love it. I enjoy it, but I have never quite boarded the hype train. Maybe I’m in the wrong boarding section, I don’t know.
But the most popular suggestion, by far, was The Honeypot, includes San Marzano Tomato, Sliced Hot Pepper, Onion, Mozzarella, Soppressata (Dried Cured Meat), and Truffle Honey.
Love that they explain what Soppressata is. We’re not all fancy Italians or whatever.
Also, it’s pronounced “Duh-lane-yuh”. You sound ridiculous when you say “Duh-leg-nuh.” Respect yourself.
Honorable Mention: The Wimpy, with Sliced Tomato, Meatball, Bacon, Mozzarella, American Cheese.
Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad — Harvest Wine Bar
A brussel sprout salad?! Surely you jest, Josh!
Actually, while I am quite a joker, thank you for noticing, this is no joke!
Harvest calls itself a wine bar but is low-key one of the best restaurants in New Haven and the Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad is one of the hidden gems on their awesome menu.
The Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad, with its Parmesan Risotto Cake and Truffle Vinaigrette is one of those things that sounds interesting, but I assure you, if you order it, the only regret will be that you have to share it with someone else.
Smoked Duck Nachos — Zinc
One time when I was a good son I brought my parents to Zinc for their anniversary. Or maybe it was someone’s birthday?
Anyway, the Smoked Duck Nachos were so good they almost made up for parts of Junior Year in high school. Nobody makes good enough food to undo Senior Year.
While I try to avoid eating meat, the Smoked Duck Nachos remain one of my weaknesses and listen of course ducks are cute but they are also apparently delicious.
Sometimes a dish is good enough that it kind of makes you a bad person.
Buffalo Wings — Archie Moore’s
Sometimes the simplest thing is the best thing. Cold beer. The sunshine on your face. High-quality wings drenched in buffalo sauce.
Since 1982, Archie Moore’s has been slinging wings on Willow Street and nobody does it better. You can even buy their wing sauce yourself, but why not just leave it to the professionals.
If you eat enough wings and watch enough football in front of empty stadiums, you might almost feel normal again?
Jerk Tofu — Ninth Square Caribbean Style
I don’t know what kind of experimental science or dark magicks are involved in turning tofu into the Jerk Tofu over at the small vegan-restaurant-hole-in-the-wall Ninth Square Caribbean Style, but holy cow. Making tofu this good is a crime in most Southern states.
Plus, their food is comically cheap! You can order like 2-3 main dishes for under 10 bucks it’s insane. And they really need the business. So please order all the jerk tofu ok?
Gobi Pakora and Okra Fries — Sherkaan
When Thali Too closed due to the overexpansion of Oaxaca Kitchen and Thali, it was a huge bummer. Thali Too was an amazing Indian restaurant and seemed impossible to replace.
and while Sherkaan is hardly a like-for-like Indian food replacement, it is amazing in such a different way it’s hard to believe. Specializing in Indian “street food,” the menu is definitely non-traditional and includes some awesome, comically large options.
My friends recommended the Gobi Pakora and Okra Fries specifically, but you cannot go wrong with the menu.
Grilled Hangar Steak w/Truffle Mashed Potatos — South Bay
As I’ve said previously, I mostly try to avoid meat, unless it’s a special occasion, or I feel like it.
But my buddy Dan? Dan loves meat. Dan is a Meat Guy. He tooks steaks on the grill and they look just like the fancy steaks in the restaurants.
So when Dan says the best meal in New Haven is the Grilled Hangar Steak with Truffle Mashed Potatos, I trust Dan. He isn’t messing around.
Plus, South Bay is brought to you by the lovely folks at Harvest, and y’all know they aren’t messing around. So try it. Let me know if I’m wrong so I can make fun of Dan.
Sushi Salaaam — Miya’s Sushi
Okay, so one closing/closed restaurant. If only because Miya’s Sushi is legendary. Miya’s recently reported they will be closing at the end of 2020. So you have very little time to get this.
Miya’s is such a strange mixed bag. They have some of the best sushi I’ve ever had, and they also have sushi that costs like 30 dollars. But they also have the late night special. And the firecracker sake is like a million dollars also.
So many emotions!
But the Sushi Salaam, and my personal fave, the Ooh La La Mitzvah, are great rolls and you should try them before it’s too late and they’re gone FOREVER.
Everything — Soul de Cuba
Finally, Soul de Cuba. I got so many replies giving specific dishes, but no consistency! Some folks loved the Ropa Vieja, or the Platano Relleno, or the Oxtails.
But everyone agrees: Soul de Cuba rules.
There is really nothing bad on the menu, so go check it out. Or maybe, you know. Order take out cause that place is very small and we live in strange times.
But do it up. It’s quite good.
Did I miss anything? Great. Why don’t you write me a very hurtful comment on reddit so I know you read this.