Dear Grub Street,
The Upper West Side is teeming with activity, as is every other area of Manhattan, but I very rarely see anything on the Upper East Side. What have you got against the several hundred thousand people who live there and their restaurants and chefs?
A reader with a valid gripe.
Every Thursday we’ll tell you what specials some of the city’s best restaurants have planned for that night. This week: Spring vegetables, the first fish of the warm seasons, and a few delicious holdovers from the cold winter months.
Anthos: Pan-fried soft-shell crabs, breaded in water chestnut flour, served over a smoked egg vinaigrette with lovage, white asparagus, spring green almonds, and pickled pearl red onions. 36 W. 52nd St., nr. Fifth Ave.; 212-582-6900.
Café Boulud: Lamb trio: braised lamb neck, roasted and confited lamb loin, and lamb kefta (spiced ground-lamb turnover), garnished with red lentils, carrots, and almond-stuffed prunes. 20 E. 76th St., nr. Madison Ave..; 212-772-2600.
Gramercy Tavern: Suckling-pig porchetta, stuffed with house-made fennel sausage and Swiss chard, and served on a bed of rutabaga purée with grilled Swiss-chard leaves and braised Swiss-chard stems. 42 E. 20th St., nr. Park Ave. S.; 212-477-0777.
JoJo: Grilled organic pork chop, marinated with Chinese cumin and honey, and served with wild ramps and fava beans. 160 E. 64th St., nr. Lexington Ave..; 212-223-5656.
Blue Smoke: Barbecued organic turkey with apple sausage stuffing and bacon-braised collard greens. 116 E. 27th St., nr. Park Ave.; 212-447-7733.
No chef in New York restaurant history has been more successful, or more influential, than Jean-Georges Vongerichten. As he begins his third decade of cooking and running restaurants in New York, we sat down to ask him some questions about the scene: how it’s changed and where it’s going.
The Restaurant Week participants we’re about to endorse aren’t obscure, strictly speaking. You just wouldn’t find their names in the same sentence as the word “buzz” – not, at least, since the Clinton years. But they’re all more than worth the $24.07 you’ll pay for lunch ($35 for dinner) starting on Monday, and you might even beat the crowds.