Alain Ducasse's J’aime New York: 150 Culinary Destinations for Food Lovers reveals the famed foodie’s favorite dining destinations in all five boroughs. The photo-driven coffee table book came out last November, and a smaller-format version will be published at the end of July. We asked the mega-chef, whose Benoit serves delectable French fare in Midtown, to single out his top picks for us across New York City.
Lloyd’s Carrot Cake
6087 Broadway, 718-548-9020, Fieldston
“The cake here is so moist, with a batter spiced to perfection and thick cream-cheese frosting. The most important decision you’ll make is [to order it] with or without raisins and walnuts!”
348 Flatbush Ave., 718-230-0221, Prospect Heights
“In late summer, you’ll find perfect heirloom tomatoes at this sustainable, Italian food and pizza spot, which commands respect for its producers. Their star clam pie is a constant. And the wine list specializes in Italian wines made with indigenous grape varietals.”
Russ & Daughters
179 E. Houston St., 212-475-4880, Lower East Side
“The shop’s focus is in ‘appetizing,’ with fish smoked in various ways. It’s a fourth-generation New York institution with a unique atmosphere that offers the flavors of Eastern Europe. Niki Russ is always there—I recommend you go and ask her to prepare a bagel for you!”
104-05 47th Ave., 718-699-2434, Corona
“Something special can happen in an unexpected place. Here, owners Fernando Ruiz and Shauna Page practice the lost art of nixtamalization, preparing real corn for use in tortillas and tamales. But it’s not just nixtamal—everything is house made, including salsas and horchatas with cinnamon.”
668 Bay St., 347-857-6619, Stapleton
“Staten Island has attracted many immigrants from Sri Lanka, including husband-and-wife restaurateurs Lakruwana and Jayantha Wijesinghe. The kitchen’s house special consists of a banana leaf filled with basmati rice, banana curry, toasted cashews and hard-cooked egg. It’s delicious, and I wish I could visit more often than I do.”
“During my last visit to New York, I ventured to the Oliver Peoples boutique in SoHo to pick up a new pair of glasses. I also went to Baby Cottons to pick out gifts for my kids, and I also went to the new Madison Avenue Aesop, a store for skin, hair and body products. Beyond that, though, I was interested in seeing the [store’s] interior design by Architecture Outfit.”
Softcover and e-book versions of J'aime New York will be released August 1. For more information, visit alain-ducasse.com.