New York City is an adventurous diner's mecca. No matter which borough you decide to traverse, there will be some delicacy tucked away that you'd be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. Here are some of the most outrageous, artistic, and unusual dishes to seek out in NYC.
Milkshakes at Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer
The CrazyShake® milkshakes at Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer break the internet on a regular basis. The picture-perfect shakes loaded with toppings are artistic and tasty wonders. If you've ever looked at milkshakes on Instagram, odds are the Black Tap shakes were one of the top hits. The original SoHo location (as well as other locations around the world) frequently collaborates with companies like Hershey's and Netflix to create limited-edition shakes that will blow your mind (and your taste buds). Some shakes come with an entire slice of cake on top while others have a whole cookie "glued" to the side of the glass. The fantastical cotton candy shake looks like something out of a fairytale.
Churro Choco Taco Shake (Courtesy Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer)
Cheeto Macaron at Macaron Parlour
For a while, cupcakes were the "in" dessert, and then artisanal doughnuts took over. Bucking the cakey dessert trend, light and airy macarons became the newest "it" food. Dainty boxes and glass cases of brightly colored pastry sandwiches started popping up all over the city. Today, Macaron Parlour has 24 flavors available for its mix and match macaron box, but one particular macaron is truly special. The Cheeto macaron is as bright orange as its namesake, but this one won't leave all the cheesy residue (Cheesidue?) on your fingers. Valrhona's white chocolate ganache is infused with Cheetos and the crisp exterior is dusted with cheese powder to make this unique pastry.
Chapulines at The Black Ant
The Black Ant specializes in modern Mexican cuisine. It takes well-loved Mexican classics like Baja fish tacos and gives them a bit of a facelift. There are two menu items whose make over might help diners get up the nerve to order them. Even though insects are one of the most sustainable proteins you can eat, some folks may have reservations about ordering grasshoppers. The chapulines (as they're called in Spanish) are served with shishito peppers, avocado, queso fresco, and fresh tortillas. If just munching on whole insects is too much, take a baby step and order the croquetas. These manchego grasshopper croquettes come with avocado, recado negro, and morito sauce.
Grasshopper Croquetas (Courtesy The Black Ant)
Fried Beef Brains at Cheburechnaya
New York is home to lots of Kosher restaurants, but few are sizzling up offal as well as Cheburechnaya in Rego Park. This joint serves beef brains alongside the usual suspects like rice pilaf, salads, and shish kebab. Each order includes five pieces of battered and fried beef brains served with fries and vegetables—adventurous palates can also try veal sweetbreads (thymus gland), veal liver, lamb heart, or even lamb testicle. These may not be menu staples in the U.S., but offal is a frequent protein source elsewhere in the world.
The Harvest at Spot Dessert Bar
Illusion cakes are all the rage on social media these days, but Spot Dessert Bar started serving its own "made you look" creation long before. What seems to be a potted plant just beginning to sprout is actually layers of berries and soft cheesecake hidden beneath crumbled Oreo "dirt." It's served with earl grey milk tea to "water" the plant and bright raspberry sorbet. This delicious illusion is very affordable and only leaves a $12 dent in your wallet.
Kat-A-Kat at Bundu Khan
Queens is considered the most diverse borough in New York City and the best place to go if you're craving international cuisine. Bundu Khan Kabab House on Union Turnpike doesn't have a website, but those in the neighborhood know this is the place to go for Pakistani fare. Its house kat-a-kat is a heady mix of goat and lamb innards that you're unlikely to find in many other places. Heart, brain, liver and kapooray (goat testicle) are griddled then tossed in the house spice blend with tomato, ginger, yogurt and green chili.