Friday, November 15, 2013

Bits & Morsels

Branzino with bok choy and a tangy Thai Chili sauce at Enduro.
by Erin Frankel

This week's temperature drop and gentle snowflakes can only mean the frigid winter days are soon upon us. The colder months are a time for indoor pursuits, warming cocktails, and comfort food. What follows are two of the newer, more impressive, and cozier places I've stumbled upon, offering a good supply of heart-warming dishes, drinks, and ambience that make for the perfect insulation for the winter days ahead.

RedFarm is one of those true culinary delights, a destination worth the trek downtown and the 40-minute wait. Now, uptowners can find sanctuary above the park with the opening of RedFarm's Upper West Side location, currently open for lunch and slated to open for dinner in a week. Like its West Village counterpart, The Upper West Side addition is an authentic hotbed of culinary creativity. The cozy, small rustic space lends a little bit of country to the city just like the original space downtown. The farm-to-table décor is quite charming, replete with white brick walls, a plank floor, long wooden communal tables and red and white cushioned booths.
RedFarm Upper West Side
2170 Broadway, New York, NY
RedFarm West Village
529 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014
The menu still marries greenmarket, seasonal, sustainable sensibilities with traditional Chinese cuisine. There will be some new additions to the menu but do not fret, favorites will remain the same; like the Katz's pastrami spring roll, the crunchy vegetable and peanut dumplings, and the marinated prime Creekstone rib steak.

Be sure to have the immunity-boosting fresh house-made ginger ale or, if you desire a cocktail, the refreshing Shanghai Mule with vodka, lime juice and ginger syrup.

Keep your antennae raised since next month the West Village location will be debuting the highly anticipated Peking Duck-centric menu in the newly refurbished downstairs dining room that owner Ed Schoenfeld has coined, "Decoy". This space will offer a special Peking Duck menu and will be open late into the evening. Get here early to snag a snug corner at the bar or at the long communal table; Decoy is sure to get just as crowded as the original space upstairs.
The house-made Ginger Ale at RedFarm. The steamed lobster dumping at RedFarm.
An assortment of dishes at at RedFarm: the Grilled Marinated Creekstone Prime Rib Steak with Asparagus, the Dungeness & Rock Crabmeat Long Life Noodles, and the BBQ'd Duck & Ginger Fried Rice.
Crunchy vegetable and peanut dumplings at RedFarm. Katz's Pastrami Egg Roll at RedFarm.
Enduro. Famed Junior's Cheesecake heir, Alan Rosen, has taken a more sophisticated approach with the opening of his large, contemporary modern New American Midtown restaurant, Enduro. The large 180-seat space is accented with cozy, warm inflections; rich leather booths allow for intimacy along larger groups against warm wood furnishings, exposed brick walls, and dim lighting. This is arguably a place without pretense where you won't feel rushed through the meal.
919 Third Ave. at 56th St.
Pretzel bread with mustard dip.
The expansive open kitchen with its six-foot grill, French Rotisserie, and a bread oven turns out a diverse array of light and robust dishes. Appetizers range from their signature pretzel bread with mustard sauce, smoked whitefish spread with jalapeno, a flavorful kale salad with barley and king oyster mushrooms, to luscious scallops dressed in a lemon butter and asparagus spears dressing.

As for entrees, the tender yet plentiful whole fish of the day, the Branzino (in my case), with bok choy and a tangy Thai Chili sauce is a must! And, if you have a hankering for cheesecake, Enduro turns out a more refined version of the famous Junior's cheesecake with graham cracker soft serve dressed with molasses and brown sugar.
Enduro snacks (Deviled Eggs, House Made Ricotta, Eggplant Moussaka).
Mac and Cheese at Enduro.
Kale salad with barley and king oyster mushrooms at Enduro.
Diver Scallops in a lemon butter and asparagus spears at Enduro.
This past Tuesday evening, New York Magazine held its 15th annual Taste of New York event at The Waterfront in Chelsea. A favorite for the culinary world, this year attracted more than 1,000 attendees where the best and brightest mixologists and chefs in New York City all gather under one roof. And, who doesn't love eating for a cause? A portion of the proceeds went towards our favorite charity, City Harvest, to help stave off hunger in our beloved city.

There were some classics and some noteworthy newcomers, all of whom offered their signature winter cocktails and dishes. Here were some of my favorites ...
Let the tasting begin ...
The most popular dish of the night goes to High Road Craft Ice Cream's Cinnamon-Cheddar Grilled Brioche with Cortland Apple Butter and High Road Vanilla Fleur de Sel.
Lincoln chef Jonathan Benno's veal terrine with fall vegetables and bagna càuda dressing. Photo: Melissa Hom.
Balaboosta's shrimp katafi with tobiko sauce. Photo: Melissa Hom.
Sirio Ristorante's seared scallops with cauliflower purée and black-truffle sauce. Photo: Melissa Hom.
Costata's Razor Clams- Photo: Melissa Hom.
RedFarm's black-seabass-and-avocado tart.
Hill Country Barbecue Market's post-oak-smoked brisket with cucumber salad and PB&J cupcakes- Photo: Melissa Hom.
Porter House New York was actually Dinosaur BBQ's brisket Sandwiches.
Arlington Club's filet mignon steak tartare with white mushrooms and condiment on grilled country bread. Photo: Melissa Hom.
Betony's Beets with Horseradish and Goat's Milk. Photo: Melissa Hom.
Talde's plates of lemongrass-pork slippery noodle. Photo: Melissa Hom.
Clover Club's "Port of Call", with Ford's gin, Sandeman ruby port, lemon juice, cinnamon syrup, cranberry relish, and bitters. Photo: Melissa Hom.
Morimoto's Yu-burrata with truffle dashi and fresh wasabi. Photo: Melissa Hom.
Delicatessen's Spanish-mackerel crudo with roasted-tomato vinaigrette, avocado, and crispy quinoa. Photo: Melissa Hom.
Maison's Fluke ceviche with spicy red yuzu juice. Photo: Melissa Hom.
Porter House New York: prime New York strip steak with mushroom, beets, pickled-onion panzanella. Photo: Melissa Hom.
The Elm's Red Kuri Squash Velcute with Comte Creme.
Red Rooster Harlem's Shrimp & Grits: Creole Shrimp, Pimento Grits, and Chorizo Aioli.
Telepan's apple-pie crescents with apple-butter cream and caramel. Photo: Melissa Hom.
Tertulia's sopa de calabaza with smoked lamb bacon and labne. Photo: Melissa Hom.
Meatball Shop's Pizza Balls. Photo: Melissa Hom.
Shaun Hergatt of Juni's slow-poached Feather Ridge hen's egg with black truffle, truffle powder, and chervil. Photo: Melissa Hom.
Manzanilla's Montaditos de Rabo de Toro with steamed brioche, pulled oxtail, mushroom, and kale. Photo: Melissa Hom.
Cherry's Big Eye Tuna Tart. Photo: Melissa Hom.
Blue Hill's house-made gin and vermouth.
Hill Country's PB&J Cupcakes.
Favorite dessert: Dominique Ansel (creator of the famed "Cronut™) of Dominique Ansel Bakery's Chocolate Caviar served with Coffee Caramel Cream and Sablé cookie.