On America’s Best Cook, Sunday at 9|8c, home cooks battle it out for the chance to win the title of America’s best cook, all while representing their specific region of the United States. The cooks are split into teams from the North, South, West and East. Each of these regions has its characteristic foods that make up an integral part of its identity. To celebrate the new competition show, each week during the season, FN Dish has the top 10 reader-recommended eats from one of the regions. This week it’s all about the East.
The East is well known for having popularized foods including pizza, burgers, cheese steaks and lobster rolls, all of which were famously invented and first served in the East. Now it’s hard to imagine American cuisine without these dishes. But the East also offers a wide array of international cuisines that have become ingrained in American culture, like Italian and Mexican dishes and so much more. Through the years, some city neighborhoods have come to specialize in certain cuisine, like Boston’s North End, whereas others have become a melting pot, like Queens in New York.
Take a look at the top 10 reader-recommended eats, in no particular order, from Food Network On the Road and vote in the Regional Foods Face-Off, the show’s bracket challenge, to make your favorite regional food known.
The Lobster Shack — Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Although The Lobster Shack is only open during the summers, the short time frame is enough to sell thousands of lobster rolls. The secret to its success is to let the natural lobster flavor take over.
Rino’s Place — Boston
Rino’s Place offers authentic Italian dishes just like in Italy — but with American-size portions. You’ll taste the passion for the food in dishes like Shrimp with Lemon Liquor, Rino’s Special and the Lobster Ravioli.
Aunt Carrie’s — Narragansett, R.I.
After a day out on the beach, stop in at this third-generation family-owned diner for some fresh seafood classics. Try the clam cakes and fresh steamers, a local favorite. For dessert there’s the homemade strawberry shortcake.
The Redhead — New York
East Village gastropub The Redhead is known for its seasonal, Southern-inflected food and carefully made cocktails. Chef Meg Grace’s Homemade Pretzels with Beer Cheese are a favorite with the crowd. For a comforting main course, try the Buttermilk Fried Chicken or Shrimp and Grits. And don’t leave without having the Bacon Peanut Brittles.
Tortilleria Nixtamal — Corona, Queens, N.Y.
Thousands of pounds of masa and up to 10,000 tortillas a day come from Tortilleria Nixtamal. Try the sweet and savory taco al pastor with pineapple, topped with white onion, cilantro and lime. The hearty pozole is comforting and soothing.
Paesano’s — Philadelphia
If you’re looking for a hearty sandwich that’s loaded with delicious filling, look no further than Paesano’s in Philadelphia. The Italian beef brisket and fried egg grinder is a popular favorite.
Honey’s Sit ‘n Eat — Philadelphia
This family restaurant serves Southern classics with Jewish flair. Try the brisket Frito platter made with twice-cooked brisket or the chicken chili Frito pie made with guajillo chicken. Locals enjoy the matzo ball soup.
Comet Ping Pong — Washington, D.C.
Comet Ping Pong in Washington, D.C., is an unusual eatery that offers pingpong and pizza made with sustainably farmed ingredients. Specialties include The Smoky Pizza, Yalie and Stanley pizzas and The Philly, a calzone.
Tune Inn Restaurant & Bar — Washington, D.C.
For more than 60 years, politicians and hungry tourists have ventured to Tune Inn for classic, greasy dive food. The Bon Ton sauce is used generously for such specials as Joe’s West Virginia sandwich, made with American cheese, and the beer-battered burger, dripping with flavor. Other favorites include Mike’s Fried Chicken.
The Village Cafe — Richmond
The Village Cafe’s atmosphere combines the best of a dive bar and neighborhood joint. Since 1956 they’ve been churning out customer favorites like ale-battered onion rings and Italian classics like stromboli, pizza and calzones.
Get The World-Famous Lobster Roll recipe pictured above.