New York City has always been a melting pot of different cultures, but finding those among its eateries hasn’t always been easy. Lola Cristall, usually resident in Paris, does the hard yards and picks the Big Apple’s international flavours
Lola Cristall is Paris editor of Lucire.
New York is surrounded by restaurants and cafés, and gourmet cuisine is celebrated. The luxurious Perrine restaurant at the Pierre, a Taj Hotel, hosted the lavish James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour, with wines supplied by Columbia winery. A number of chefs presented their mouthwatering works of art: Joey Campanaro and Mike Price, both from Market Table in New York, presented their marinated bay scallops surrounded by a pungent Bloody Mary and Black Cow vodka. Matt Lambert, from the Musket Room, served smoked Hudson Valley foie gras with an array of fruity tastes, including apples and golden syrup decorated with herbs and accompanied by brioche. Renowned chef Ashfer Biju served delicious black sea bass in a delicate seafood broth with a dollop of tomato compote to add a powerful texture to the palate. All’Onda’s Chris Jæckle wowed guests with his slow-cooked short ribs that were profound in texture with simple ingredients including ginger and rosemary. To top off the meal, Perrine’s own pastry chef Michael Mignano served a succulent dessert comprising a bundt cake with a strawberry and rhubarb finish surrounded by sauce suzette.
Continuing with the concept of haute cuisine, French restaurant, Le Train Bleu, lures guests into a beautiful ambiance tucked away in the vast Bloomingdale’s department store. It came to life in 1979; decades later, the surrounding atmosphere and French flair sparkle in its nostalgic train-like décor. The theme is likely intentional: there is a restaurant with a similar atmosphere and identical name in Paris’s Gare de Lyon, the epicentre of the hustle and bustle of busy trains and fast-moving visitors in the city’s 12th district. Chef Jonathan Kava creates indulgent dishes; as a monthly feature, he compiles a menu based on a particular theme accompanied by good wine and music. The ingredients are fresh and savoury.
Lexington Avenue recently welcomed a plant-based, all-vegan, organic restaurant surrounded by a natural wine bar, Le Botaniste. Introduced by the founder of Le Pain Quotidien, Alain Coumont, it has a natural, healthy menu that shies away from gluten and stays true to the planet with an abundance of vegetables at an affordable price. The presentation is pleasing to the eye and satisfying for the soul, with a colourful mélange of tastes on one plate. A super-seed avocado topped with salt and masala curry, an enticing red beet caviar, a delicious seaweed tartare and a scrumptious coconut ceviche burst with taste. Hearty bowls are reminiscent of good home-cooked meals including brown rice topped with coconut peanut curry or potatoes perfectly accompanied by a delectable mushroom gravy.
For a taste of the south of France, Maman Tribeca in the heart of Soho is the place to go, with a cozy, family-inspired ambiance, and a hint of provincial flair. Benjamin Sormonte’s entrepreneurial know-how, Elisa Marshall’s design and baking expertise and Armand Arnal’s knowledge of haute cuisine (deriving from his position as head chef at Michelin sStar restaurant La Chassagnette in the south of France), come together. Open seven days a week, the welcoming atmosphere makes guests yearn for more as they choose from a range of quiches, sandwiches and generously portioned salads with seasonal ingredients. Baked goods and desserts are rich in taste, from their pain au chocolat, blueberry lavender white chocolate cake, fig and almond financier to their dulce de leche canelé and blood orange tart.
Alex Garcia is a much-celebrated and renowned American chef with Cuban roots as he shares his culinary expertise at one of his restaurants on the Upper West Side, A. G. Kitchen. The cozy restaurant has a spacious interior and wide patio, immersing guests in an elegant ambiance. Fresh guacamole is blended together on a small table stand to serve to guests with freshly baked chips. Mini tacos filled with wild mushrooms, crispy baja fish or roasted pork with a tomatillo and avocado salsa are delicious ways to start the meal. Crispy calamari, crab cake sliders and empanada are just as scrumptious. Whether a grilled mahi mahi fish or a vegetarian or meat burger, they each have their own intense flavours. With choices of milkshakes, after-dinner drinks, cocktails and desserts, there are choices to fulfil every craving. A. G. Kitchen serves brunch, lunch and dinner. •
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