The Best Bites Our Editors Ate in April

Some standouts include homemade hot fudge and an appetizer tower of our dreams.

Chocolate Bourbon Tiramisu from Adalina

Matthew Reeves

With the sun setting later and spring in full swing, our editors celebrated the warmer and brighter weather with lots of good eating. From brunch to dinner, appetizers to desserts, we tried it all and we're still thinking about all the delicious things we tasted this month. That’s why we’re sharing our editor's favorite meals from the month of April that include a dish that takes advantage of in-season leeks, an outstanding chocolate bourbon tiramisu, and an over-the-top bread service. 

Oyster Mushroom Kimchi from Tonchin Ramen (Los Angeles, CA)

“Tonchin, a sleek and modern ramen shop, recently opened a new outpost in Los Angeles (there are also locations in NYC and Japan). While I knew the noodles were going to be great (don’t skip the mazeman), the real sleeper hit of the menu is an unassuming item called “oyster mushroom kimchi.” The name is misleading in that the dish is actually perfectly tender strips of oyster mushroom lacquered in a sweet-but-spicy kimchi sauce and not an actual kimchi made from the mushrooms, but regardless, I found myself dreaming about the mushrooms days after my meal. They arrive stacked neatly in a little bowl and topped with a messy tangle of shredded scallions and disappear quickly. If I could, I would keep a jar of these mushrooms in my fridge at all times, to eat plain, as a snack, or over a bowl of hot white rice as a quick meal. As much as I love to share food, next time I go to Tonchin, I am getting my own order.” – Khushbu Shah, restaurant editor

Chocolate Bourbon Tiramisu from Adalina

Matthew Reeves

Chocolate Bourbon Tiramisu from Adalina (Chicago, IL)

“Oh, wow. I've eaten tiramisu a million times, and it's hard for any version of it to stand out. Then I had the latest iteration of Nicole Guini's oft-changing tiramisu at Adalina in Chicago. She layered dark chocolate mascarpone mousse with bourbon, chocolate ganache, espresso-soaked ladyfingers, and a smoked vanilla gelato. The sweet and smoky flavors took it over the top — I can't wait to get back for more.” Chandra Ram, associate editorial director, food

Bread Service from Principe (New York, NY)

“There were a lot of things to love about Principe, the new, buzzy seafood restaurant in New York’s Soho neighborhood. The interior design is the antithesis of most crowded NYC spots, with high ceilings, generously spaced tables, and loads of natural light. The raw bar is playful and unpretentious, with bites like red prawns that are meant to be dipped in a zippy coriander-jalapeno sauce. But the star of the show? The bread service. The complimentary (yes, free bread still exists) sourdough bread, made with fermented farro, is inspired by Italian piada flatbread. It comes piping hot, and falls somewhere in between an English muffin, with a crunchy griddled exterior, and an Israeli pita, thanks to its ultra-soft, slightly sour interior. Served with funky, house-cultured goat butter and chili oil, the bread is worth enduring the very long Principe waitlist.” – Amelia Schwartz, associate editor

Leeks Vinaigrette from Le Rock

Gentl + Hyers

Leeks Vinaigrette from Le Rock (New York, NY)

“There's not much that brings me more joy when a humble vegetable (like a parsnip or in this case, a leek) gets the reverence and care it deserves. At Le Rock leek whites are enveloped inside leek leaves, only to be doused in a garlicky vinaigrette at the table. I should mention that I'm also a sucker for table theatrics, and how often do you see leeks as the star of those? Incredibly tender and packed with umami flavor, these are the gold standard for leeks everywhere, and I recommend enjoying them at Le Rock's iconic art deco bar while sipping a L'Alaska martini and people watching.” - Oset Babür-Winter, senior drinks editor

Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce with Vanilla Ice Cream

“Hot fudge sauce is my new dinner party hack. When I'm cooking for others there's already so much to do, and planning a dessert ahead of time usually feels like too much. So instead, when I was hosting this past month, I made hot fudge! Here's how it works: ask a friend to bring a gallon of vanilla ice cream, then whip up the chocolate sauce after everyone has finished eating; it only takes about 10 minutes. Then you can serve gooey, warm fudge sauce over cold vanilla ice cream — it’s a dessert  pretty much everyone will love.” – Merlyn Miller, social media editor

Shrimp and Whipped Hominy from Luminaire

Jane Yun

Shrimp and Whipped Hominy from Luminaire (Austin, TX)

“Texas Chef Steve McHugh is known for his expert meat preparations, but the Shrimp and Whipped Hominy at his newest venture, Luminaire in Austin, Texas is a testament to his range. Luminaire, located in Downtown Austin, opened in February 2023 in a stunning new Hyatt hotel on buzzy Congress street. The multi-story restaurant anchors the hotel with large garage-style windows which allow dining to seamlessly extend outdoors. McHugh's menu is playful with an emphasis on peak ingredients cooked over fire (but also don't miss the charcuterie on the dinner board which McHugh cures in-house between Luminaire and his San Antonio-based restaurant Cured). 

The most memorable dish from our meal, though, was McHugh's play on Shrimp and Grits which featured gorgeous roasted shrimp over creamy whipped hominy studded with crispy bits of smoked Tasso ham. The whipped hominy is creamy and light and has a pure, corn-forward flavor. The dish has just enough salt, acid, and spice from a chipotle adobo to be perfectly balanced. This was truly an excellent dish from an all-around wonderful meal!” – Lucy Simon, assistant editor

Cantabrian Anchovies from Hearth (New York, NY)

“Within the course of maybe a couple weeks, I ate at Hearth three different times. I suspect I was making up for lost time; their Hearth at Home frozen meal kits sustained me during the early part of the pandemic, but I hadn't sat down at my longtime favorite Manhattan restaurant for unforgivably long. It felt like coming home. The warmth, ethos, and many menu items remained unchanged, but there was a new item that caught my eye: crostini with grass-fed butter, parsley, onion, and Cantabrian anchovies. Simple on paper, but absolutely knee-weakening in execution, because each ingredient was so carefully, specially sourced for maximum impact and pleasure. If it had just been the butter on crostini with a pinch of salt, it would have been perfect. If the anchovies and parsley had a little rendezvous, I'd be sated. The sum of all the parts, however: the limit to my joy does not exist. I ordered it on all three visits and will continue to do so until the sea is drained of small fish and the Earth's strategic crostini reserves have been fully depleted.” – Kat Kinsman, executive features editor

Eli's Baba Ganoush 2.0 from Mesiba

Liz Clayman

Eli's Baba Ganoush 2.0 from Mesiba (Brooklyn, NY)

“This April I ate tons of amazing bites but the one dish that stood out to me was the baba ganoush at Mesiba, a new Israeli restaurant in Williamsburg. Made up of an entire roasted eggplant drizzled with a velvety tahini sauce, a touch of olive oil, and a bit of mint for freshness, it was so good we finished the entire thing — at the expense of saving room for the many other delicious dishes coming our way. Even my fiancé who, much to my chagrin, doesn’t like eggplant was fighting me for the final bites. If you go you have to get it, but also make sure to order the charred octopus and head-on prawn risotto which are both scrape-the-bottom-of-the-bowl good.” – Sam Gutierrez, senior social media editor 

The Frozen Grasshopper from Common Mollies (Brooklyn, NY)

“As a perfect way to end any meal, this drink is creamy with a rich minty flavor and a generous swirl of whipped cream. It’s truly such a spectacular adult-version of a milkshake. 10/10, highly recommend.” – Elsa Saatela, senior digital producer 

KYU's Roasted Cauliflower

Courtesy of KYU

Roasted Cauliflower from KYU (New York, NY)

“The roasted cauliflower is a feast unto itself. Stuffed with creamy goat cheese and dressed with a delicious shishito-herb vinaigrette, this dish proves that vegetarian dishes can be decadent. Served whole, it's also incredibly Instagrammable and perfect for sharing at brunch or dinner!” – Alexis Camarena, photo editor

Pigs In a Blanket from Emmett’s on Grove

Patrick Dolande

Appetizer Tower from Emmett’s on Grove (New York, NY)

“If someone stopped to ask me what my dream appetizer tower would be, it would without a doubt include everything from the one at Emmett’s on Grove. Picture this: a combination of fried and cured olives, meatballs, chicken parm, and roast beef sliders, and, of course, pigs in a blanket. Sounds like a dream come true, right? What makes it even better is that you can spin it like a carousel for easy access to all of the delightful bites for the entire table. It's perfect for sharing with a group, or just devouring by yourself.” – Alexandra Domrongchai, editorial fellow

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