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The Best Spots For Delicious Dipping Sauces In NYC, According To A Local

Dipping sauces in NYC
Dipping sauces in NYC - Static Media / Shutterstock / Instagram

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: the sauce makes the meal. Hot and fresh dippable foods are the perfect vehicle for exploring the world of spicy, tangy, and savory sauces. From staples like ketchup and barbecue to inventive blends featuring unconventional ingredients and flavor combinations, the realm of saucy possibilities knows no bounds. While some fried foods and sandwiches are perfectly fine all on their own, sauces can elevate simple dishes from bone-dry and bland to funky and flavorful when an expertly prepared, house-made dressing is drizzled or dipped.

Whether you're dining on a juicy burger, crispy chicken tenders, or hot and fresh fries, choosing the perfect condiment sidekick makes all the difference. The allure of dipping sauce extends far and wide to the point that an establishment can make a name for itself in a food paradise like New York City by serving legendary sauces to accompany its otherwise standard menu offerings.

As a lifelong New Yorker and self-proclaimed sauce scholar, I've combed the city on the hunt for the tastiest meals, many of which feature condiments as the main attraction. Using experience from my culinary conquests, along with online reviews, I've compiled this list of sauce-centric eateries in New York City that are guaranteed to show you a whole new side of the city that never sleeps (but always dips).

Read more: Restaurant Foods That Always Taste Better Than What You Make At Home

New York Burger Co.

Burger waffle fries sauces
Burger waffle fries sauces - newyorkburgerco/Instagram

When it comes to burgers, a flawlessly grilled patty, a toasty bun, and fresh veggies can undoubtedly elevate a meal to legendary status -- and sauce can sometimes get the short end of the stick. But New York Burger Co. knows all about the magic that happens when sauce meets burger. Start off your meal with a burger to suit any taste, including a simple classic, the spicy pimento burger, or the Burgerrito — a glorious combination involving a patty decked out with traditional burrito ingredients. If beef burgers aren't your style, New York Burger Co. offers salmon burgers and multiple vegan burger options.

Once you've chosen your burger (otherwise known as a sauce canvas), it's time to go buck wild at the condiment bar. The classics are all present, from ketchup to mustard to barbeque. But if you're feeling frisky and want to get a little more creative with your meal, New York Burger Co. has you covered. Try maple Dijon, honey ranch, or thyme aioli for a little something different.

But for the cream of the saucy crop, you have to snag a hearty dose of the restaurant's famed New York Burger sauce. The recipe remains shrouded in secrecy — as is customary for exceptional sauces — but we guarantee that if you love burgers, you'll love this zesty and creamy accompaniment. New York Burger Co. is open daily for lunch and dinner.

newyorkburgerco.com

(212) 255-0400

470 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011

Sticky's

Chicken fries three sauces
Chicken fries three sauces - stickysfingerjoint/Instagram

Adored by both children and adults, chicken fingers act as the ideal canvas for sauce sampling. Even a boring and basic chicken finger transforms before your eyes into a remarkable meal when smothered in a delicious sauce. At Sticky's, chicken fingers are the name of the game, which means that the chain is stocked to the brim with delectable sauces to please all palettes. Those who love classic tastes, as well as those looking for an exotic burst of flavor, will swoon over the sauce selection at Sticky's.

Choose one of the restaurant's signature creations, like the Thai fiesta or Buffalo ranch, for a pre-sauced-up crispy chicken meal. If you prefer to do the dirty work yourself, start off with a chicken finger combo meal to sample all of Sticky's dips. You can't visit Sticky's without indulging in its signature creamy and tangy white barbecue sauce. For spice lovers, try a unique take on Buffalo sauce that includes the flavors of maple syrup and balsamic. If you're looking to take the heat to the next level, the Nashville Numb sauce is the way to go. The restaurant offers classic sauces as well as a selection inspired by global cuisines, including Asian and South American flavors, like Caribbean sweet heat and General T'Sticky. Sticky's is open daily for lunch and dinner.

stickys.com

Multiple locations

Pommes Frites

Fries six dipping sauces
Fries six dipping sauces - pommesfritesnyc/Instagram

In hip and happening Greenwich Village, you'll find Pommes Frites — a small establishment dedicated to the art of perfecting one of the most universally adored foods of all time: french fries. This European-American fusion eatery boasts some of the best fries in New York, and where you can find the best fries, you can always find some slammin' sauces. Pommes Frites offers over 30 different sauce options, most of which involve delicious flavor combinations that you can only find at this popping spot, where lines can stretch for blocks. Fries here are served in large portions, making them the perfect sharable, dippable snack as you roam the streets of the Big Apple.

We recommend skipping over the standard options, like garlic aioli and Dijon mustard, and opting for the more unconventional choices at Pommes Frites. Try the smoked eggplant or wild mushroom mayo for an earthy, mellow sauce. For a funkier flavor, go for the Bordeaux wine, figs, and sage mayo or the restaurant's famed War sauce — a blend of raw onions, creamy peanut satay, and traditional European frites sauce. For sweet and spicy Asian flavors, try the Vietnamese pineapple or the pomegranate teriyaki mayo. Pommes Frites is open every weekday until around midnight and on weekends until 2 a.m. for late-night snacking.

pommesfritesnyc.com

(212) 674-1234

128 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

The Kabob Shack

Chalkboard sauce list
Chalkboard sauce list - kabobshack/Instagram

Mediterranean fare is widely popular across New York City, from succulent souvlaki meat to fresh falafel balls. Like many cuisines throughout the globe, Mediterranean food is known for offering a selection of creamy, spicy, and zesty sauces to accompany dishes that hit every mark in taste and nutrition. The Kabob Shack in Brooklyn is famous among Brooklynites for its fresh and delicious unique sauces. The restaurant offers its sauce selection as a french fry accompaniment, but you can just as easily order an extra side of sauce to smother your falafel or dip your grilled lamb. We promise we won't tell.

For your first visit to The Kabob Shack, ask your server for a sample of each and every sauce to get the full spectrum of flavor. The sauce aptly named Kicker is a must-try for spice enthusiasts. With the perfect amount of heat and a versatile flavor that goes with nearly every dish on the menu, this sauce is worthy of being purchased by the pint. Try the jalapeño cheddar dip for a milder spice, perfect for dipping fries and grilled meat.

The house white sauce that comes on nearly every sandwich keeps customers coming back for more. Combine the roasted garlic sauce with the house sauce on a falafel pita sandwich and thank us later. The Kabob Shack is open daily for lunch and dinner.

kabobshackbrooklyn.com

(718) 387-7111

182 Havemeyer St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Umami Burger

Burger fries sauce spread
Burger fries sauce spread - umamiburger/Instagram

For a standout burger in a city chock full of enticing burger options, head to Umami Burger. The burgers at this New York spot are far from ordinary and are served with a selection of scrumptious house-made sauces to boot. The restaurant boasts the convenience of fast food but with artisanal restaurant quality. What's not to love? Savory flavors from every corner of the globe don these burgers, making them some of the most irresistible in the city. Truffle fans will delight in Umami Burger's ability to live up to its name by topping burgers and fries with this beloved delicacy. Other savory flavors include the black garlic burger for an aromatic and earthy taste or the bacon ranch burger for a classic American treat.

Once you've chosen a burger, it's time to get sauce happy. Smother a burger in any combination of nearly a dozen sauces, including balsamic, Buffalo, and barbeque. The restaurant offers sauces with iconic umami flavors, like miso ranch and truffle-infused ketchup. For the real umami treatment, opt for an extra helping of the restaurant's signature sauce. Like all famed sauces, the recipe is kept hidden, but it involves classic earthy flavors like seaweed and tamari that expose the deeply savory flavors in the burgers. Umami Burger is open on weekdays for lunch.

umamiburger.com

(212) 729-0492

398 10th Ave, New York, NY 10001

El Churro

11 churro sauce cups
11 churro sauce cups - el_churro_nyc/Instagram

Typically, we think of savory fried and finger foods when we think of pairings for dips and sauces. But an underrated style of dipping sauce comes in the sweetest form. Dessert dips are a fun way to satisfy your sweet tooth. And what better tool to sample these sauces than churros? With an easily dippable shape and relatively neutral sweet flavor, churros are a customizable dessert that's easy to snack on while on the go — perfect for the average hustling and bustling New Yorker. El Churro gives folks in the city the snackable dessert that they yearn for, complete with a selection of 10 funky dips.

Bring some friends to El Churro and sample each and every sauce option, all in the pursuit of choosing a favorite (we assure you, it won't be an easy task). Try the classic dulce de leche and hot chocolate sauces first, and then ease into the more creative flavors. Matcha white chocolate combines sugary and earthy tastes that will put your favorite Starbucks drink to shame. The honey lavender white chocolate sauce adds mellow flavors that complement the cinnamon-coated churros for the perfect post-dinner treat. El Churro also offers multiple vegan flavors, like vanilla cream and apple pie. El Churro is open daily from 8 a.m. to around 12 a.m., with extended late-night hours over the weekend.

instagram.com/el_churro_nyc

(212) 424-6006

175 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

The Halal Guys

Squeezing white sauce on platter
Squeezing white sauce on platter - The Halal Guys/Facebook

If you've ever visited New York City, you've undoubtedly spotted little yellow food carts dotting nearly every busy street. You've also likely noticed that these unassuming carts sometimes have lines that stretch for blocks come lunchtime. These carts from The Halal Guys are considered iconic New York staples, offering Middle Eastern and Mediterranean fare served hot, fresh, and fast. Those who live and work in the Big Apple often stop here for a quick lunch, and tourists frequent the carts to get a taste of some of the food that contributes to New York's food haven designation.

Sandwiches and platters of fresh falafel, succulent meat, crisp veggies, and steamy rice make these carts a household name in the city. But perhaps the most famous aspect of The Halal Guys' food is the sauces — most notably, the notorious white sauce. The restaurant also offers barbecue, hot sauce, and tahini, but these pale in comparison to the literal cream of the crop. Douse your sandwich or platter in this addicting condiment to add a burst of creamy freshness, complete with a salty and garlicky aftertaste.

The spices in the hot food are enough for a delicious lunch, but no New Yorker would be caught dead with a bone-dry falafel platter in hand. The Halal Guys' carts and restaurant (there's an East Side location on 14th St) typically open around 10 or 11 a.m. and close at about 4 a.m.

thehalalguys.com

Multiple locations

Sophie's Cuban Cuisine

Green sauce on empanada
Green sauce on empanada - sophiescubancuisine/Instagram

New York City is famously home to just about every cuisine across the globe, and Sophie's acts as a shining example of exceptional Cuban cuisine in the city. This chain is known for serving fast, authentic, high-quality Cuban meals, from empanadas to slow-roasted meats to spicy chicken dishes. Whether you're after a nutritious and filling lunch or fried snacks that satisfy while watching a game, Sophie's is your spot. But New Yorkers suspect that what put Sophie's on the map in a city where extraordinary food lurks around every corner is — you guessed it — the sauce.

In keeping with the tradition of proprietary sauces, Sophie's sauce recipe remains unrevealed, although the passion and dedication to this slurpable green sauce have seemingly led New Yorkers to uncover the secrets within. Sophie's sauce, used for dipping empanadas, dousing authentic Cuban sandwiches, or drizzling on meat and plantains (or drinking right out of the 8-ounce container — don't worry, we're guilty of it, too), contains just the right amount of heat thanks to roasted jalapeño peppers. Cilantro gives the sauce its iconic green color, and fresh garlic complements the peppery heat for a flavorful finish and mouth-watering aroma.

Sophie's knows all about the intoxicating nature of its sauce, so the franchise sells it in large quantities to go. This sauce elevates nearly any dish, so add some to your next home-cooked meal to give it a little Cuban kick. Sophie's is open on weekdays for lunch and dinner.

sophiescuban.com

Multiple locations

Schnipper's

Chicken fingers sauce cups
Chicken fingers sauce cups - schnippers/Instagram

If you've ever been a tourist in NYC, then you've likely encountered Schnipper's in one way or another. One of the restaurant's massive locations sits on the ground floor of the famous New York Times building. Located just a couple blocks from Times Square, it acts as a spot for workers to grab lunch or for travelers to stop in for a quick and delicious bite. Schnipper's crafts ⅓-pound patties with a crispy char on the outside and perfectly juicy inside. The restaurant incorporates local ingredients into its burger toppings, meaning you're getting a real New York meal for only a little more cash than a generic, nationwide fast food chain.

Schnipper's didn't find itself on this list just for slinging delicious, low-cost, New York-style burgers. The eatery is known throughout the city for serving an array of artisanal sauces to dip, slather, smother, and coat your burgers and french fries. Its list of sauces includes chipotle ranch, maple sauce, spicy Buffalo, and creamy brown mustard relish.

Of Schnipper's list of sauces, the real crème de la crème is known only as Schnipper's sauce. This sauce takes inspiration from the Pacific Northwestern burger dressing known as goop sauce, which consists of mayo, sour cream, mustard, and sweet relish, among other ingredients. This sauce is a creamy dream come true if you've ever fantasized about an all-purpose dip for anything under the sun. Schnipper's is open daily for lunch and dinner.

schnippers.com

Multiple locations

Bareburger

Cups of Bareburger sauces
Cups of Bareburger sauces - Bareburger/Facebook

Bareburger is a big name in New York City for dishing out exceptional burgers with a commitment to sustainability. The restaurant prides itself on sourcing its ingredients responsibly, featuring local, grass-fed beef on its menu. Bareburger offers a selection of classic patties, unique concoctions, and vegan delights to please all tastes and preferences. Bison and elk burgers are among the restaurant's most popular choices. Although the meat alone will take your taste buds on an exotic adventure, the sauce is what takes these burgers from tasty to mind-blowing.

Bareburger provides a whopping 15 sauces for customers to choose from and, of course, to mix and match. The basics come in artisanal varieties like top-tier mayo and high-quality organic ketchup. But to build an unprecedented, colossal burger full of unconventional flavors, you'll have to get creative with the special sauces. Bareburger is a spice lover's paradise, with sauces that bring the heat, like spicy green goddess and Nashville hot sauce. Try Bareburger's smoke sauce combined with jalapeño barbecue sauce for a rich, spicy, and sweet experience.

One of the most popular sauce options at Bareburger is a combination of smoke sauce and Buffalo sauce, affectionately dubbed Wham Bam sauce. For a milder flavor, try buttermilk ranch on a bacon cheeseburger for a tangy sandwich loaded with smokey beef and creamy cheese. Bareburger locations are open daily for lunch and dinner.

bareburger.com

Multiple locations

Methodology

People eating fries New York
People eating fries New York - Ryanjlane/Getty Images

No scrumptious stone is left unturned in New York City, where food lovers venture from far and wide. I'm fortunate to have direct access to this epicurean utopia, which means I've scoured the streets and indulged to my heart's content. I delight in bringing knowledge of the New York food scene to readers, and, more specifically, I love discussing sauces. I'm not ashamed to say that I've ordered quadruple helpings of sauces at many of the establishments on this list. And those I haven't personally experienced were included thanks to online reviews, articles, and help from food-focused friends in the city.

This list showcases sauce as the star. So while these restaurants may not be the overall best in New York City, their sauces are what set them apart in a bustling landscape of burgers, french fries, and chicken fingers. When it comes to these irresistible finger foods, we all know that the sauce makes the meal. So the next time you explore the Big Apple, indulge in a saucy feast, and don't be ashamed to help yourself to more dip than dinner.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.