Geoffrey Zakarian, at both Town and Country, remains one of city’s most eclectic haute-cuisine chefs, as evidenced by Town’s globalist roast duck breast. “I wanted to make a very slight nod to duck l’orange meeting Peking duck,” says the chef, “but with Middle Eastern flavor elements as well,” including a buckwheat pilaf close to the ethnically Armenian chef’s heart. As always, mouse over the different elements of the dish to see them described in the chef’s own words.
Chef Ed Brown’s new restaurant, Eighty One, hasn’t been open long, but, along with the recently opened Dovetail and South Gate, it’s helping to lead a mini-renaissance of ambitious fine-dining restaurants in New York. One of the most popular dishes on the opening menu, according to Brown, is a “homey and rustic dish, brought up to the restaurant level”: deboned osso buco for one. As always, mouse over the different parts of the dish to hear them described in the chef’s own words.
Adour, Alain Ducasse’s much-discussed “wine bar,” has opened, and as our profile last month suggested, it’s not so much a bar as a more casual version of Alain Ducasse at the Essex House, the chef’s buttoned-up former venture. Today, we break down one of Adour’s debut dishes, striped bass and shellfish in a vin jaune d’Arbois sauce a variation on a Ducasse classic created by his New York chef, Tony Esnault. As always, mouse over the different elements to hear them described in the chef’s own words.
Merkato 55, Marcus Samuelsson’s tribute to the pan-African cookery, has only been open a few weeks, but already one dish has begun to break out and oddly, it’s the most traditional thing on the menu. Doro wat, chef Andrea Berquist tells us, is essentially the national dish of Ethiopia, “so there was a lot of pressure to do it well. But I’m happy with it. It’s definitely our most popular dish. I did 50 orders just last night!”
Dovetail, John Fraser’s new Upper West Side restaurant, is enjoying a critical reception not seen in some time. Adam Platt’s three-star review highlighted the deconstructed muffuletta sandwich with fried lamb’s tongue. Fraser says the dish came to him in a dream but also has a more practical explanation: “Lamb’s tongue is not the easiest thing to sell, so you have to pair it with something really interesting.” As always, mouse over the different elements to hear them described in the chef’s own words.
Chop Suey’s Korean-inflected take on Asian food has been a surprise hit among the city’s foodies and critics, who were prepared to hate the place, thanks to its dopey name and consulting chef Zak Pelaccio’s multiple gigs. From the beginning, the grilled short ribs with bone marrow have been the restaurant’s most popular dish. Executive chef Anthony Paris, who prepares it every night and conceived it with Pelaccio, talked to us about the dish. As always, mouse over the different elements to hear them described in the chef’s own words.
Anita Lo’s work at Annisa has produced what Adam Platt calls “some of the most consistently interesting food in the city.” Her “skate with avocado and radishes, Korean flavors” exemplifies this: Three elements on the same plate are presented in both hot and cold combinations. As always, scroll over the different elements of the dish to hear it described in the chef’s own words.
Alfred Portale of Gotham Bar and Grill is one of the pioneers of what used to be called the New American cooking. His style, a combination of dramatic vertical presentations, French technique, and urban pizzazz, perfectly encapsulated the energy of the movement in the eighties and nineties. All these years later, Portale is still at Gotham, and still turning out some of the city’s best food, minus the towering drama of old. “As for all that verticality, once it became very trendy and talked about, that’s when I began to back away from it,” Portale says. “My style has changed and evolved.” At least one dish still reaches for the stars: Portale’s roasted lobster, a constant on Gotham’s menu. Scroll over the different parts of the dish to see it described in the chef’s own words.
“Cassoulet,” wrote Julia Child, “is everyday fare for a peasant but ambrosia for a gastronome, though its ideal consumer is a 300-pound blocking back who has been splitting firewood nonstop for the last twelve hours on a subzero day in Manitoba.” The serving of the classic French bean-and-meat casserole, a pillar of French cookery, is a yearly event at Savoy, Peter Hoffman’s Haute Barnyard restaurant in Soho. The cassoulet is served in individual cast-iron Dutch ovens that cook in the restaurant’s two fireplaces. They’re in demand, though, and if you want one, you would do well to mention it when you make your reservation. Mouse over the different elements of the dish to hear chef de cuisine Ryan Tate describe this mixture of beans, bacon, sausage, lamb, and bread crumbs.
Spanish fine dining has been a hard sell in New York, but insofar as anyone has been able to make a go of it, it’s Seamus Mullen. Suba, Mullen’s chicly dungeon-like space on the Lower East Side, produces some of the city’s most intense and inventive Spanish-inspired food, and the Silla de Cordero, or saddle of lamb, is a perfect example. Three separate parts constitute the saddle, and Mullen puts them all together on plate, a tribute to the Spanish love of lamb: “the whole dish is about lamb, soup to nuts” he says, “lamb tenderloin, lamb belly, lamb loin, sheep’s milk cheese, sheep’s milk yogurt, and a nice lamby vinaigrette. We love it.” As always, mouse over the different parts of the dish to hear them described in the chef’s own words.
Though the menu at Stanton Social is immense, there are always a few dominant dishes Lower East Side patrons order again and again. Recently it was the crab corn dogs, which Starchefs had chef Chris Santos prepare for the Rising Star Chef gala. Now it’s a postmodern “Chicken and Waffles” created by Santos and his soon-to-depart chef de cuisine Ryan Angulo. We spoke to Angulo about the dish. As always, mouse over the different elements to hear it described in the chef’s own words.
Gilt’s ultra-luxe opulence, known previously mostly to gastronomes and jet-setting bons vivants, entered the national consciousness via Gossip Girl ’s slimiest character, the monstrous Chuck Bass, who lives in his father’s hotel, the New York Palace. Though never named, Gilt is frequently shown as a hangout for the show's telegenic young plutocrats, and in the pilot episode Chuck ordered a truffled grilled cheese sandwich from Gilt chef Chris Lee. Of course, the sandwich was for the drunk and beautiful Serena van der Woodsen, who Chuck later tried to rape. The sandwich went from TV to reality, and it's now a popular menu item at Gilt, for the low price of $50 a shot. As always, mouse over the different parts of the dish to hear it described in the chef's own words.
Alex Ureña made his name as one of the city’s few modern Spanish cooks, but like most so-called “molecular gastronomists” he found little favor with the city’s tastemakers. His recently reconceived restaurant skews more populist, and a popular dish at Pamplona is this poached salmon with blood sausages. “With Spanish food,” Ureña says, “you sometimes have to think whether it’s going to work here or not.” This one does. As always, mouse over the different elements of the dish to hear them described in the chef’s own words.
Neil Ferguson of Allen & Delancey has been a big hit with downtown gourmands, applying the kind of precise classical cookery he did for Gordon Ramsay to more outré dishes, like this “beef, cabbage, and onion” special that has quickly become a signature dish for the restaurant. “I wanted to do something that felt like the Lower East Side,” he explains. “I thought of Katz’s brisket sandwich and Gus’s Pickles. I wanted an earthy-sounding dish that I could take to the next level.” As always, mouse over the different elements of the dish to hear them described in the chef’s own words.
Gray Kunz is one of the giants of New York gastronomy; his pioneering work in fusing global flavors made Lespinasse one of the world’s great restaurants. Today, Café Gray carries his flag in New York. His newest venture, Grayz, is a bar and lounge with a finger-food menu that emulates its Time Warner cousin in some dishes and goes its own way with others. Here are four dishes from the Grayz menu: As always, mouse over the anchor arrows to see the dish described in the chef’s own words.