You can keep your fried chicken and collard greens. (But leave me the pecan pie, I’ll always go for that!) In my opinion, one of the best Southern-style comfort foods is the corn fritter. Who else would have developed the corn fritter but Americans? Creamed or kernel corn is mixed into a batter of egg, flour, milk, and butter, and then deep fried to give it a thick, crunchy crust. It’s hard and crisp on the outside, and creamy and full of sweet corn goodness on the inside. Wikipedia even suggests that it can be eaten with maple syrup! If that isn’t a comfort food home run, I don’t know what is!
You won’t find a whole lot of restaurants that specialize in corn frittery (and for some reason no one wants to use the corn baller to make them). But you can find a pretty darn good corn fritter at the Bridge Cafe down in the Financial District. This restaurant is steeped in old-school American history, the building dating back tin 1794. It’s not easy to find a decent restaurant down near Wall Street in the middle of the price road: they’re either obscenely expensive for the hedge fund set or super cheap hole-in-the-wall establishments with dubious quality. But Bridge Cafe is the rare exception, a bar and comfort food restaurant that’s easy on the belly and on the wallet. Not to mention it’s a history lesson in and of itself! Former mayor Ed Koch (who I best remember for his short-lived stint on The People’s Court) used to call this his favorite restaurant when he held residence down at City Hall. He never mentioned their Corn and Red Onion Fritters by name, but how can Koch resist? Deep fried to perfection and served with a jalapeno cheddar sauce, these little babies have everything: the red onion puts a bit of bite into the sweet, sometimes bland corn fritter, and the cheddar sauce spices everything up just enough for you to want to order that draft beer along with it. It’s a new spin on an old classic that’ll have you heading–shock of all shockers!–downtown for a hearty, delicious, and inexpensive meal.
279 Water St (between Dover St & Peck Slip)
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“It’s feels more like a restaurant than bar but thats not a bad thing. Knowing it was once a brothel makes it feel just that much more cozy. The Corn and red onion fritter was good, not particularly flavorful, but so comforting (the red onion definitely adds a kick).”–Jonathan S.
“The food was spectacular. I started with the sweet corn fritters and couldn’t have been more delighted. They were crunchy and came with a delicious sauce that I would have been happy to lick from the plate.”–Keely P.
Make sure you check out the updated NYC Food Holidays Map to find this most recent holiday!