Life in a city of more than eight million people means that at some point you will wait in a line. Some lines are (arguably) worth it, like seeing the “Girl With a Pearl Earring” on its last day at the Frick. Others are questionable, like waiting to get into Union Pool in the Year of Our Lord 2022.
Recently, I decided to chase down three of the city’s hottest reservation-less waits: tacos at Taqueria Ramírez in Greenpoint, Brooklyn; the Suprême croissants at Lafayette Grand Café and Bakery in NoHo; and fried chicken at Pecking House in Park Slope. Because no matter how anti-line of a New Yorker you may be, sometimes curiosity gets the best of you.
Line to dine time: 46 minutes
As long as this Greenpoint restaurant has been open, it’s had a line. When I arrived on a Saturday about 15 minutes before opening, a short line had already formed to try the Mexico City-style tacos, with more folks joining by the minute.
A few tips: The space is tiny, so if you want to take your tacos to go, you have to bring your own takeout container. And even once you order, there’s another 15- to 20-minute wait. That said, the tacos are deeply worth it. The rich al pastor is my absolute favorite, especially when chased with a cold sip of Topo Chico Lime. You should order at least four tacos per person, as they’re roughly the size of a coaster and you won’t want to get back in line.
Lafayette Grand Café and Bakery
Line to dine time: 0 minutes
Have you ever played yourself? I did when I woke up at 7 a.m. on a recent Tuesday to get to this restaurant from the chef Andrew Carmellini so I could secure one of its Suprême croissants — only to find no line. Apparently, the line and the two-per-person limit are a weekend-only affair.
The signature croissant is circular, just under an inch thick and about the size of a toddler’s face. Most important, the Suprême solves what I think is the fundamental issue with all croissants au chocolat: The chocolate inside is almost always hardened. Not so with this beautifully laminated creation filled with thick pastry cream. It’s a sugar bomb of a pastry that I would definitely split with a friend next time — on a weekday, of course.
Line to dine time: 64 minutes
In recent weeks, Brooklyn has been dominated by two lines: the one outside a new location of Slutty Vegan, a transplant restaurant that started in Atlanta, and the one outside Pecking House, the fried chicken pop-up from Queens that now lives on Flatbush Avenue. The two restaurants were equally hyped.
Slutty Vegan’s line might have been more energetic, shutting down a major intersection in Fort Greene. But Pecking House’s new location has the distinction of replacing what was once a two-month waiting list. Now the wait is closer to an hour (at least on a Saturday evening). The Sichuan-seasoned fried chicken that Pete Wells called “a life preserver that you could eat” in the darkest days of the pandemic shares a menu with vegetarian and vegan options: a ma po tofu skin sandwich; fried cauliflower; a butter bean salad; and charred cucumbers with ginger. The standout, though, remains the chile chicken. You may not immediately recognize it as chicken with its thick EverCrisp coating, but I can confirm it is, indeed, poultry.
In Other News …
In his latest review, Pete Wells took a look at Laser Wolf, a Philadelphia import from the chef Mike Solomonov, where, Pete wrote, the salatim impresses but the quality of the skewers and entrees was uneven.
Openings: Urban Hawker, a food market inspired by the hawker markets of Singapore, has now opened on West 50th Street; Masalawala & Sons, the latest project from the restaurant group Unapologetic Foods (Dhamaka, Semma, Adda), has arrived in Park Slope; and the chef Eric Ripert has gone casual with L’Ami Pierre, a new spot for sandwiches, soups and baked goods down the block from his flagship, Le Bernardin, in Midtown.
Julia Moskin and Kim Severson reported on a new documentary on Discovery+ that features an interview with Eva DeVirgilis, a former employee of Mario Batali who said she was sexually assaulted by him at a dinner at the Spotted Pig.
Priya Krishna dove into the world of rookie dinners, a divisive, decades-old tradition in the National Football League that requires first-year players treat veteran teammates to exorbitant meals costing thousands of dollars.