Wood-fired beets at Bar West
The Northwest eatery that took over the old Wildwood space is already proving itself a neighborhood gem. Of particular note? Wood-fired beets cooked to smoky perfection in the space’s heirloom tandoor oven. They sit in a brown butter-curry-like spice slick that lends a gentle, complex heat to the tender roots.
Kashmiri kohlrabi & collards at Bhuna
Northwest 21st's quiet Kashmiri “soul food” spot has all the ambiance of a Chase Bank lobby, but don’t let that stop you from sampling its simple, spice-laden bowls. The vegan and gluten-free kohlrabi and collard bowl is a flavorful slap in the face for those unaccustomed to the funky intensity of spices like asafetida. It seasons the collards, along with whole pods of cardamom and Kashmiri dry chile. Big hunks of kohlrabi are best seasoned with the herbaceous fermented yogurt and a fiery red, crazy-salty achaar that can leave you permanently puckered in high doses.
Corned beef sandwich at Broder Soder
Broder’s outpost inside Southwest’s Nordic Heritage Center stacks one of the most imposing roast beef sandwiches in town. The “Varm Macka” layers incredibly tender, fatty half-inch-thick slices of salty beef layered with Swedish farmers' cheese, horseradish sauce, pickled union, and a tart fennel-apple slaw on marble rye. It easily feeds two hungry eaters; no room for aebleskivers here.
Dry-aged burger at Bullard
Sloppy, smoky, and melted through with cheddar and mustardy mayo, the dry-aged brisket burger at brand-new Bullard is the best we’ve had all year. (Admittedly, the year is very young.) It’s super beefy (the Nicky USA meat is aged for 30 days), smoky (it’s seared in rendered beef fat), and tangy, with bread-and-butter pickles sandwiched between a just sturdy-enough bun. At $17, we’re talking hotel restaurant prices, but crispy, fluffy thick-cut fries help temper the damage.