Alison Roman’s New York Address Book

10th August 2017

Interview: Sophie Missing
Photographs: Sean Santiago

The food writer on her four favourite NYC pizzerias, the place to go for deep-fried tofu, and an amazing Middle Eastern grocery


Ootoya (pictured above)

41 East 11th Street, New York, NY 10003 [and two other Manhattan branches];
“A really good Japanese restaurant: they do nice homemade tofus and udon soup. You can have a little bite of something, like a light custard, and you feel pretty satisfied. And it’s under 20 bucks. It’s cheaper than it should be, for sure.” – Alison

Food Sermon

355 Rogers Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11225;
“It’s Caribbean food, they do jerk chicken and lamb but in these rice bowls which are amazing – they have coconut sauce and pickled vegetables and it’s good for you, it’s very healthy.”

Spicy Village

8b Forsyth Street, New York, NY 10002;
“It’s a very small hole-in-the-wall BYOB place but their food is excellent. They have really good hand-pulled noodles and this thing called big tray chicken which is too big to share even with two people sometimes. It’s basically cut up braised chicken in this awesome spicy sauce with lots of cilantro. Sometimes I’ll get noodles and that and put the sauce from the chicken on the noodles – probably not appropriate but that’s what I do.”

Han Dynasty

90 3rd Ave, New York, NY;
“I go here all the time – they have this crispy tofu dish that is the number one thing I crave. They take soft tofu and deep-fry it so it’s really crispy on the outside and almost custardy on the inside. I don’t know what they do – stir-fry it with fermented black bean paste and scallions and chillies? It’s not really saucy but it’s not dry… it’s amazing.”


353 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238
“A dive bar that I go to a lot. It’s classically unhip and I like that about it; it’s just a regular bar, very neighbourhood-y.”

Super Power

722 Nostrand Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11216;
“A Tiki bar on Nostrandt – you’ve gotta go.”

Diamond Reef

1057 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 11238;
“Really fun. If you want a place where you can go and have a catch up with somebody it’s great – it gets a little rowdy on the weekend.”

Pizza round-up

As she’s an avowed pizza aficionado, we ask Alison for her pick of the pies – and preferred toppings.

“It really depends on the mood I’m in – all the pizza is so different. There’s Prince Street Pizza [27 Prince St, NY 10012] which I think is underrated. I don’t go there enough but every time I do I’m like, wow, this is so good. It’s intense, thick pizza. For a classic New York slice, Joe’s [7 Carmine St, NY 10014] is really good. Williamsburg Pizza [277 Broome St, NY 10002] – not in Williamsburg, in the Lower East Side – is delicious. I eat there a lot. There’s a place called Emmy Squared [364 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY 11211], where the pizza is Detroit-style so it’s more like Prince Street, a little bit thicker. It comes in a cute little pan and it is so good. It’s not everyday pizza: it’s not a snack, it’s a full meal. I’m a complete minimalist when it comes to toppings: margherita, maybe pepperoni or greens and sausage. I like it simple. Weird toppings – I’m like, well how do I know if your pizza’s any good? I wanna know brass tacks, y’know, what are your building blocks, what are you working with, how’s your cheese, how’s your tomato sauce?” – AR



187 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11201;
“A Middle Eastern grocery. They have amazing spices – and a great bulk bin. I go there a lot for pantry items: you can get peanuts or shelled pistachios, things like that, without it breaking the bank, so to speak.”

Mermaid’s Garden

644 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238;

“This seafood market is small but their stuff is super high quality.”

Union Square Greenmarket

North and West sides of Union Square Park, Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 8am-6pm year round;
“I can go to my office and pick up whatever looks good on my way home. There’s fish, there’s meat, you can kind of have it all. I’ll buy my meat and some really beautiful radishes or whatever but I’m not buying everything at the farmers’ market, because it would just get too expensive.”

Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket

Prospect Park West & Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, Saturdays 8am-4pm year round;
The second largest Greenmarket after Union Square, located at the northwest entrance to Prospect Park.

Posted 10th August 2017

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Interview: Sophie Missing
Photographs: Sean Santiago

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