10 Totally Insane-Looking Dishes and Drinks in NYC

From rainbow-colored bagels to a Shark-Eye cocktail
February 1, 2016
by Linnea Covington

In our increasingly social media–driven world, more and more restaurants are thinking about dishes through the lens of Instagram, all hoping to create the next viral sensation. From a rainbow-colored bagel to crystal meth–inspired donuts, these 10 items not only deliver in the flavor department, but are fun to look at as well.

Walter White's Crystal Methadonuts at Clinton Hall

Inspired by hit AMC show Breaking Bad, owner Telly Hatzigeorgiou jazzes up regular donuts by adding a dash of bright-blue sugar and dessert-filled syringes at this Brooklyn hot spot. Press the plunger and your donut is filled with either Nutella, salted caramel sauce or raspberry jelly. Delicious and fun enough to turn anyone into a donut addict.

90 Washington St., Brooklyn; 212-363-6000

Monkey Bread at Dirt Candy

Upon seating at Amanda Cohen's hip vegetarian restaurant in the Lower East Side, guests are greeted with a flower pot filled with the chef's colorful bread. Yes, that's bread, not a bowl of ice cream. The bright hues come from the addition of vegetable juices, namely corn, beet, spinach and carrot. Slather on some not-so-insane-looking looking garlic butter and get ready to taste the rainbow of wonderful carbs.

86 Allen St.; 212-228-7732

Arctic Bird's Nest at Aquavit

Chef Emma Bengtsson's Arctic Bird's Nest is one part nature scene and one part abstract art. But you won't actually find any fowl on this striking plate at this iconic Midtown eatery. Instead, the "eggs" are actually goat cheese, and the lacy tangle underneath is made with spun honey tuile. You'll also find sea buckthorn curd, blueberry sorbet and a sprinkling of fresh yogurt snow.

65 E. 55th St.; 212-307-7311

Foie Gras & Strawberry Tarts at Decoy

The pastry birds at this West Village hot spot remind each diner of the animal they're about to eat, in a cute and slightly unsettling way. Inside you will find velvety foie gras laced with bright, tart and sweet strawberry preserves, the perfect foil to cut the richness of the meat. 

529-1/2 Hudson St.; 212-691-9700

Photo by Whitney Tressel

Shark-Eye Cocktail at Mother of Pearl

This unique-looking tiki cocktail at Mother of Pearl in Alphabet City was highly Instagrammed when it hit the scene last summer. With one glance at the cartoonish, bloody shark's mouth, it's easy to see why. For starters, you get to drink straight out of Jaws' mouth (which has a "mermaid tail" stuck in it), which is splashed with red-hued bitters just before serving. And, as if that wasn't enough, the concoction of passion fruit, bourbon, curaçao, lemon, tiki bitters and maraschino cherries tastes like a delicious boozy iced tea.

95 Avenue A; 212-614-6818

Pizza Cupcakes at Bowlmor

Is it a cupcake, muffin or odd-shaped slice of pizza? Frankly, it's none of these things, but pizza is the closest food, formed into cupcake-size servings. At Bowlmor, choose from either spinach and ricotta or the meat lovers with pepperoni, meatballs and sausage. Each order comes with two cupcakes, the perfect snack to help fuel your cutthroat game of bowling.

Multiple locations

Pop Rocking Shrimp at Slate

Sure, we've seen popcorn shrimp before (flashback to your '90s family dinners at Red Lobster), but never has the dish actually jumped out of a bag of kernels. "The inspiration behind the dish was basically that I wanted to do a take on a traditional fried popcorn shrimp in a basket, but adding popcorn makes it a fun dish and more relatable for a major sports bar," says chef Darryl Harmon. To make his snack even crazier, the chef added his homemade Buffalo sauce and dusted the popcorn in blue-cheese powder. The classic popcorn bag is the final touch.

54 W. 21st St.; 212-989-0096

Gelo Special Cocktail at Jeepney

To get this bizarre drink at this East Village Filipino spot, you need a password (BJ Special) and the desire to have everyone in the restaurant stare at your order. It is, to say the least, nuts. To start with you have the whole coconut, which balances delicately over a miniature sandbox. In the drupe you find an equally nutty-sounding mixture of durian purée, absinthe, lime juice, pineapple, high-proof rum, dark rum and coconut cream. Yet, all these pieces fit well together and Jeepney co-owner Nicole Ponseca says the smoothielike drink tastes "sweet, slightly floral with the absinthe and a middle funk that then finishes with sweet pineapple." As for the infamous stinky durian smell—luckily, Ponseca says it's slight and "you won't mind it."

201 First Ave.; 212-533-4121

Raviolpizza at Giovanni Rana Pastificio & Cucina

Two of the greatest Italian foods every created are combined into one crazy-looking dish at this Chelsea pasta emporium. That's right, it's a pizza-sized piece of ravioli that comes stuffed with mozzarella, fresh tomato sauce, basil and Parmigiano. To give it more heft, the disk is lightly fried. Unlike a regular pizza, on top you will find minimal toppings, only tomatoes and basil, but it does come with a pizza-cutter so you can portion out the perfect slice.

75 Ninth Ave.; 212-370-0975

Rainbow Bagel at The Bagel Store

How did owner Scot Rossillo at The Bagel Store manage to capture the rainbow in this neat little dough ring? No, a unicorn wasn't involved. Instead, Rossillo takes numerous flavors of dough and winds them together to give each round a tie-dye swirl. Then, they get cooked like all the other bagels. As you may have expected, these brightly colored creations taste a bit like a fruity, sweet cereal. And, if you are looking to get even more wacky with your breakfast, opt to get yours slathered with the equally strange sprinkle-laden cream cheese and/or cotton candy.

349 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn; 718-218-7220

amanda cohen
crazy dishes
emma bengtsson