Finally, it's spring! The ramps are coming out of the ground and pea shoots and morels can't be far behind. This calls for a special kind of chef and a special kind of restaurant. Everyone says they are devoted to seasonal food. But these are the places that deliver, the ones you want cooking you your first great meal of spring.
Still, to my mind, the defining New York restaurant, Gramercy Tavern is the crown jewel in Danny Meyer's restaurant group, partially as the result of chef Michael Anthony's amazing greenmarket cooking, and partially because of its incredible service, great cocktails, and Nancy Olson's superb dessert program. One caveat: the front room is all air and color and excitement, and the back room is a drab dungeon.
Tom Colicchio has become so famous from Top Chef that you could be forgiven for assuming that his flagship restaurant is just another phoned-in cash cow. But in fact the restaurant still strives as hard, and with the same religious devotion to the ingredients, as it did when it opened ten years ago. It's not the liveliest room in town, but
Get it straight: there isn't a better, more straight-forward chef in New York than Marco Canora, whose restaurant is utterly committed to simple, perfectly prepared season food of the very highest order. Also, don't miss out on pasta, which is the open secret of Hearth's greatness.
Everyone (but me) seems to love this mom-friendly Park Slope pizza, whose owners have come to personify the enlightened, all-natural cooking of the "New Brooklyn Cooking." The pizza is nothing special, but many of the other dishes are. I guess.
This rustic temple to seasonal cookery in the old Rockefeller estate has been called the culinary Storm King, but really, it's closer to a local food holy site. It's unspeakably beautiful and the food is well worth the long ride, but there's a certain seriousness of purpose here that sort of take away the fun for me.
Master chef Bill Telepan's eponymous restaurant is one of the city's best -- and most pleasureable -- of seasonal farm-to-table restaurants.
A sprawling, citadel-like space in the farthest reaches of Brooklyn, this bushwick pizzeria has grown into one of the most adventurous and exciting restaurants in New York City.
The most remote but also the nicest of Tom Colicchio's restaurants in New York, this obscure restaurant features a commanding view of the river and some very interesting, and very good, electic farm-to-table food in the Craft style.
It's rare that a sequel surpasses the original, but Alimentari is the Road Warrior of restaurants, an expanded and improved tribute to rustic italian food that is bigger, better, and more ambitious than its original. The salumi by itself is worth coming for, but stay for the porchetta and short ribs.
Wood grilling gets the haute cuisine treatment at this very fine West Village restaurant, a kind of American take on Etexbarri, the basque grilling mecca.