Ducks Eatery Mess hall featured

Fusion cuisine makes for some unlikely bedfellows. The Deep South and Far East might not see eye-to-eye in, let’s say politics perhaps, but in the kitchen it turns out they can be the best of buds. Like at Ducks Eatery, where old school, rootin’ tootin’ American BBQ is back-slapping, chest-bumping and high-fiving its way through south east Asia’s culinary terrain.

The back beef ribs, for example, are soaked in an anchovy marinade; the crispy pig ear lettuce tacos are juiced up with Malaysian hot sauce for just the right level of steaming-ear syndrome; and the monster shrimps have vinegar, star anise and house-made ssamjang injected all up in their carapace before being grilled. It’s a bit ‘smoke and mirrors’ pretension (fusion, injecting, brick all-over interior etc.) but when you get down to the nitty gritty of this place, it’s good old sloppy eating with badass levels of flavor at its foundation.

And to be honest, we can forgive the odd pretentious predilection when they make a brisket sandwich — which is only available on Tuesdays FYI — as mean as they do. The meat’s smoked for 18-hours and has a fat splodge of ricotta and pickled cabbage on top, and the bun is toasted in a mix of duck, bacon and pastrami fat. There’s a fair chance your heart will implode afterwards, but, no risk no fun right?

Mast Brothers Willy-amsburg Wonka & the chocolate factory

Workshop and primary sales point of the bearded chocolate-making bros Rick and Michael, Mast Brothers is the undisputed ground zero in the hearts and minds of many a New York cocoa-craver. Holing themselves up in a rough and ready Brooklyn space, the boys have created a rustic city retreat replete with cocoa bean burlap sacks, bare support beams and distressed wooden furniture—with twanging bluegrass tunes floating out of the speakers and adding to the countrified vibe. It’s the chocolate, though, that is firmly front and center here. Sourcing their beans from small farms in Ecuador, Madagascar and Venezuela, the siblings convert their fairly-traded raw materials with artisanal skill into bars with so much quality that the Brooklyn Wonka might even call them scrumdiddlyumptious, man.

Alder Pub grub, NY style

Putting an American twist on the pub renaissance that has been enjoyed across the UK in recent years, Alder is a dressed-to-kill yet down-to-earth food and drink haunt for all occasions. Whether it’s a sneaky after work beer, a Friday night blast through the cocktail list or a sit-down meal with the fam, this white-bricked chamaeleon of a bar-restaurant is more than willing to oblige. The kitchen, headed up by science-schmoozing chef Wylie Dufresne (real name), serves up suave and sophisticated versions of pub classics like the oxtail soup with fried plantains, whilst also staying true to its NY roots with a rye pasta and pastrami plate that could hold its own with the best of ‘em.

Eleven Madison Park Taking on the world and winning

With more accolades (including three Michelin stars and a James Beard foundation award) than most of the restaurants in the city put together, Eleven Madison Park has been continually reinventing itself under the guidance of Swiss virtuoso chef Daniel Humm. Its current guise reflects the fact that, having well and truly conquered New York’s culinary scene, they’re on the prowl to become one of the finest restaurants in the whole world too. And they’re not far off. With an inventive, terroir-based and fully narrated tasting menu in front of you, you’ll spend the four hours it takes to complete the meal constantly wondering how one course can top the last—and then being surprised when it does. And if all that isn’t enough, there’s cocktails mixed over liquid nitrogen (non-lethal) and an epic magic trick to introduce dessert as well. Ta da!

The Standard High Line Long legged

The Standard High Line is a monolithic building that looms over one of the coolest locations in New York, its namesake High Line. This enchanting park rose from the ashes of a disused railway line to create a much loved urban space and is literally straddled by the hotels ungainly “legs”.

The lobby of the Standard High line is an OTT being but the rooms themselves provide understated sophistication. The décor is pure 70’s alpine chalet and lends a sleek yet muted background for the ultimate show stopper, the view. Floor to ceiling windows offer unbelievable views of the Hudson river and, if you have good eyesight, the Statue of Liberty herself!

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