INWOOD — Although Inwood is now going through a restaurant renaissance, its food scene has long been known for its traditional Dominican fare.
But savvy foodies know that digging deep into a menu can offer up new and interesting culinary delights.
DNAinfo tracked down the best surprising food gems Inwood has to offer.
586 West 207th Street, between Vermilyea Avenue and Broadway, 212.567.3175
Amy Hui, who got her start working at Empire Szechuan on the Upper West Side, is originally from Malaysia and decided to bring a new palette to the traditional Chinese restaurant menu.
Hui, who was born in Ipoh, Malaysia, and came to the United States in 1993, added the food to her menu when customers voiced surprise at her birthplace, assuming that she was from China.
“They wanted to learn about my food. First they tried a little bit and now they want to eat everything,” she said.
The Malaysian dishes offer an appetizing array of curries and a differently spiced change of pace to the eatery along the busy commercial stretch of West 207th Street. Favorites include the curry chicken, curry fried rice and curry eggplant.
“Amy’s has great standby Chinese food, but the really interesting stuff is hidden down on the menu,” said Jaime Lantigua, who also sang the praises of Amy's lychee smoothies.
The smoothies, which might be a good way to cool the palate from the spicy food, comes in six other flavors, including strawberry, passion fruit, peach, pineapple, honeydew and green apple, for $3.75 each.
Park Terrace Deli
510 West 218th Street, between Broadway and Park Terrace East, 212.569.5990
For many years eating falafel uptown meant an ill-fated attempt at frying up chickpeas in your own kitchen.
But for years now, crowds have been flocking to the last deli on the northern end of Manhattan for a Middle Eastern fix.
The falafel is served Egyptian-style with the chickpea fritters and other fixings rolled into flatbread instead of tucked into the pita. The fried tastiness comes adorned with lettuce, onion, tomato, tahini and a tangy sauce.
"I was dubious when I first saw they sold falafel, but it's delicious and the guys behind the counter are really nice and fast," Ann Saunders, who works at a nearby hospital, said. "Make sure to order extra hot sauce."
595 W 207th Street, between Broadway and Vermilyea Avenue, 212.942.5729
Owned by a Chinese family, Fresh Tortillas is a fast food Mexican restaurant that features an unexpected touch — handmade and freshly pressed flour tortillas with each order.
The restaurant offers an array of tacos and quesadillas, salads served in a tortilla shell and chicken, steak or shrimp fajitas by the pound from $13.95 to $16 each. The guacamole is also made fresh everyday.
Inwood resident Michael Venuzio swears by the fish tacos, which he orders extra spicy.
And for dessert? Venuzio suggests buying a Bubble Green Tea, making Fresh Tortillas a true food fusion dining experience.
G’s Coffee Shop
634 West 207th Street on the corner of Cooper Street, 212.942.0679
The names of the original owners, Tom and Gus, still adorn the awning of this this New York style candy and coffee shop, and the egg creams still flow, as do the classic bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches and quick grilled lunches.
But a new south of the border flavor is being served up in the rear of the store and those in the know say it’s the best-kept secret in the neighborhood.
Steven Angel, whose family bought the business five years ago, said the quesadillas made fresh by his father Candido Angel have been the shop’s best sellers since they added the Mexican food to the menu last year.
Other popular selections include tortas, flautas, burritos and tacos made with chicken, beef, spicy pork or chorizo.
“Everyone tells us this is what the neighborhood needed,” he said.
For other uptown gems, check out the special deals for DNAinfo.com's Uptown Restaurant Month, taking place throughout October.