Each week, I'll pick three places to check out. They're totally subjective and occasionally political, just like New York's dining scene.
If there is one thing most of us can agree on, it's that cheese is good. Completely versatile and somehow the perfect complement in both savory and sweet dishes, it occupies rarefied space in the food world. But even given all of its bona fides, we were still a bit surprised to hear about Salty Cheese Tea, the new Taiwanese trend now available in Flushing. At the Happy Lemon bubble tea stand inside Queens Crossing’s newly revamped food court, the drinks ($3.50) start with brewed black or green tea (or even a chocolate shake) and are topped with a creamy cheese foam made with whipped cream, milk and cream cheese, finished with a pinch of rock salt. Stir it all together before sipping for the optimal experience. 136-17 39th Ave., Flushing
Acclaimed Blue Hill chef Dan Barber is getting the city onboard with his no-food-left-behind wastED program one restaurant at a time. His latest converts are sisters Hannah and Marian of Mimi Cheng’s, whose special dumpling for February repurposes some produce they’d been throwing away. The filling is made by finely chopping bok choy and zucchini ends and kale stems, plus rice cooked in water that's used to rehydrate shiitake mushrooms, with a peanut ginger sauce. The dumplings are available at both Mimi Cheng’s locations through the end of the month for $8.75 for 6 or $10.75 for 8. 380 Broome St., Nolita, 179 Second Ave., East Village
Russ & Daughters at the Jewish Museum
For 104 long years, Saturday brunch was a wistful dream for Russ & Daughters fans because of the Sabbath. But thanks to technology, they’ve found a way at their uptown location, inside the Jewish Museum. Taking the work out of the holy day involves automated elevators, online reservations and prepayment, and best of all there's no waiting unlike their walk-in only policy on Sunday mornings downtown. The cost is $50 per person (with tip) for a set menu of deviled eggs topped with salmon roe, an appetizing platter of four fishes and all the necessary toppings, a selection of R&D breads with spreads, pickles and desserts, served with a glass of wine or grape juice plus tea or coffee. For $26, add two bloodies, mimosas, wine or beer. Get your reservation in by 3 p.m. on Friday for a 90-minute slot between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. 1109 Fifth Ave., Upper East Side