unique nyc
unique nyc
Photo: LoboStudio Hamburg/Unsplash; Edited: Epicure & Culture

One of the highlights of going to New York City, without a doubt, is eating.

With hundreds of amazing restaurants and new eateries opening every day, tastings are a great way to savor the city.

This list highlights several of the Big Apple’s best and most atypical spaces that provide fun sampling experiences.

unique nyc
Faro Kitchen Counter. Photo courtesy of Michael Tulipan.

1) Artisanal Pasta At Faro

Faro is a comfortable Brooklyn restaurant focused on homemade pasta and sustainably raised and harvested ingredients. The team recently launched its Chef’s Tasting Menu. The eight courses change weekly with Chef and Co-owner Kevin Adey showcasing selections from over 100 shapes of pasta made from organic semolina wheat milled daily onsite.

Try the saffron-infused Corzetti with scallops, pine nuts and pimentos, or the squid ink strozzapreti with olive oil poached skate and pumpkin seed pangrattato. A pairing meat and pasta concludes the savory portion, and the meal ends with something sweet, like almond-polenta cake with blood orange.

Faro’s tasting menu is served on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm. Reservations are required and can be made by phone at 718-381-8201. Faro is located at 436 Jefferson St., Brooklyn. Price: $85 including five pastas, two starters and dessert.

Pro tip:

Come here for an elevated pasta party the night before hitting up some local NYC hiking trails. Also, if you’re looking to celebrate your birthday in New York, this is a top pick!

unique nyc
Piora Tasting Menu Box. Photo courtesy of Michael Tulipan.

2) Tasting Boxes At Piora

Piora — one of the most Instagrammable restaurants in NYC — is a Michelin-starred modern American restaurant in the West Village. Instead of a printed menu, each table receives a large wooden “Chef’s Box” with ingredients that will be transformed throughout the 10+ course experience by Executive Chef and Partner Christopher Cipollone.

Recent diners have enjoyed osetra caviar, an orchestrated arrangement of pickled, poached, roasted, dried and raw market vegetables flavored by a crumbled “soil” of powdered thousand island dressing and caramelized Jerusalem artichokes, crispy rice and Perigord truffles.

Pastry chef Ryan Butler bakes brioche served with creamy roasted garlic sunflower spread for an umami-packed vegetarian pate for the tasting menu. Each week, Butler visits Union Square Greenmarket for inspiration and fresh ingredients.

Piora (430 Hudson Street, NYC, 212-960-3801) serves the tasting menu daily for $145.

unique nyc
Cauliflower Textures at Fair Weather, Bushwick. Photo courtesy of Michael Tulipan.

3) Personalized Courses Paired With Music At Fair Weather Bushwick

Fair Weather Bushwick has been transformed into a new full-service restaurant with a new chef and dinner menu. Chef John Creger created a 10-course tasting menu featuring seasonal New American cooking. The intimate 22-seat dining room feels like a dinner party where the chef personally serves and introduces each course, including a description of the provenance of the ingredients.

The menu changes weekly, but the opening tasting included deconstructed Cold Spring River clam chowder, slow-roasted cauliflower florets over a Bengal curry puree, pork belly glazed with harissa and maple, and sous vide served with saffron poached carrots and black quinoa. Chef Creger curated the music playlist with tracks to complement each course. Diners can add an optional beer pairing for $30 featuring craft beers from Blackberry Farm, Evil Twin and Crooked Stave.

The Fair Weather Bushwick (274 Wyckoff Avenue, NYC, 347-305-3736) tasting menu ($65) is served on Tuesdays with one nightly seating at 8 PM.

4) Sensory Tastings With Beverage Pairings at Atera

For a 2.5 hour sensory tasting experience, try the 18-course tasting menu at Atera. Danish chef Ronny Emborg has given this restaurant new life with help from an international team. Sample dishes include roses and lobster, cheese waffle with fermented mushrooms and chamomile merengue with Meyer’s lemon.

You can opt for a wine pairing, or the tea pairing popularized by previous chef Matthew Lightner. Finally, a non-alcoholic option dubbed the “temperance pairing”, featuring fresh juices, has been recently added.

Atera is located at 77 Worth Street New York, NY (212-226-1444). The experience costs $235 (tips included) with beverage pairings costing extra.

unique nyc
Mustard tasting at the Maille Boutique in New York. Photo courtesy of Maille.

 5) Mustard Tasting at Maille Dijon Boutique

If mustard is something you mindlessly squirt on your hotdog, Maille wants to change that. The award-winning French brand that has set the Dijon mustard standard for almost 270 years has recently opened a mustard boutique, and visiting it is quickly becoming one of the top things to do on the Upper West Side.

Manned by the Maille Mustard Sommelier, this boutique offers 50+ mustard variations.

Year-round, you can find white wine dijon originale, chablis and whole grain chardonnay. Gourmet varieties include mustard with white wine, parmesan and basil, mustard with Dijon blackcurrant liqueur and mustard with fig and coriander.

The MustardBar anchors the chic and contemporary boutique and serves up complimentary samples daily to encourage experimentation and discovery. Sommelier Pierette Huttner helps customers connect with varieties that best suit their tastes, and suggests food pairings to complement the products.
The Maille Mustard Boutique in New York is located at 185 Columbus Avenue at 68th Street. Samples are free.

unique nyc
Dish at O Ya. Photo courtesy of Gentl and Hyers Photography.

6) Sushi-based Omakase at O Ya

You’ll definitely need to come hungry to O Ya, an adventurous Japanese-inspired restaurant in Manhattan’s Murray Hill neighborhood.  Chef Tim Cushman has created 18- and 24- course omakase (Japanese for “chef’s choice”) menus, designed to expose the diner to “a slew of flavor profiles, textures, temperatures and spice levels” in one sitting. The menu changes regularly but could include eel with Thai basil, hamachi with banana-pepper mousse, Pacific Coast oysters prepared different ways, and a “Legs & Eggs” pairing of lobster meat and caviar.

O Ya‘s 24-course meal can last up to four hours and costs $245 per person, not including tax, tips or drinks. The 18-course option costs $185 and takes at least two hours.

unique nyc
Getting weird and full on a Bushwick Instagram Walk with NYC Tours & Photo Safaris

7) Get Weird & Full In Bushwick

On a Bushwick Beer, Bites & Street Art #InstaWalk you’ll immerse yourself in German brewing history and vibrant street art while savoring a plethora of unique NYC tasting experiences like a meat and beer pairing (can be made vegan or alcohol-free upon request), a raw chocolate and dulce de leche dip tasting, and a make-your-own cappuccino lesson. You’ll leave with a satisfied palate, a ton of great photos and a true understanding of what makes Bushwick the weirdest place in NYC.

What’s your favorite unique NYC tasting experience?

Katie Foote

Katie Foote may be a physicist by trade but she spent several years travelling the world as much as possible. After four years of semi-nomadic life, she spent a couple years in Auckland, New Zealand and recently moved to Vancouver, Canada. Despite living more traditionally, she has insight on how to travel the world on a graduate student budget (cheap!), explore off-the-beaten-path destinations and authentically experiencing new places by connecting to locals. When she's not doing physics or globe-trotting, she likes kickboxing, yoga and exploring her extraordinary new backyard of British Columbia.

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