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How to Eat Like a Rising Star Chef in New York City

Beard Award Nominee Clare de Boer's Favorite Local Haunts

Elena North-Kelly

April 03, 2018


Photo: Laura Barisonzi

You know that cool friend who's always brimming with great restaurant recs and insider tips? We've got 'em beat: enter the 2018 James Beard Award nominees for Rising Star Chef of the Year, the best of the country's up-and-coming toques. These young innovators are changing the national dining landscape, and also happen to have a lot to say about the best places to chow down. Read on to hear from Clare de Boer, of New York City hot spot King, for her favorite local haunts for the best croissants, dumplings, negronis, and beyond.

Date Night

My favorite dates happen at Little Sheep, a Mongolian hot-pot spot on Bowery. The tables are huge (even if you’re only two) and the broths are excellent. I get the Half & Half (half spicy and half original) and order all the vegetables, bean curd knots, and vermicelli noodles. The broths get more intense as they boil down and take on the flavors of what you’re cooking. This is a great place to measure the appetite of your partner!

Cheap Eats

Steamed pork and chive dumplings at Lam Zhou Handmade Noodles & Dumplings or (anything and everything on the menu at) Xi’an Famous Foods—their Flushing Main Street branch is my favorite of all the locations. They’ve got the spicy, tingly range of skewers and everything tastes a little better there. Nearby is New World Mall, which has an incredible food court. Dry hot pot may not exactly be the cheapest eat but it’s unmissable. I always get extra enoki, wood ear mushrooms, and black beans.


I rarely go out for breakfast, but if I do it’s for a warm croissant at Lafayette (early) or steamed eggs at Buvette.


I love the wine list (and glasses) at Pasquale Jones—few things feel more indulgent than a pizza and some Champagne served in a Zalto. For cocktails Dante is the spot; it's a stone’s throw from King and with excellent negronis. And finally, Atla: get the salty Limonata!


Arcade Bakery has the most perfect ham and cheese baguette in New York. Everything there is pretty amazing: lemon sugar brioche; pear, vanilla, and buckwheat baguette; chocolate–hazelnut things; I could go on and on.

Other Favorites

Shuko is just so sexy, and feels very New York. The omakase is exquisite and each piece is perfectly timed. Awesome sake and whiskey lists. The Odeon is another longtime favorite. The sound and lighting just makes it feel like you are in the place.

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Elena North-Kelly is managing editor at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.