By Sylvie Bigar
Summer in New York doesn’t really conjure images of culinary excursions but between Shakespeare in the Park and Midsummer Night Swing, why not take advantage of Restaurant Week? This year between July 16–20 and 23–27, 200 restaurants are offering $24 menus at lunch and $35 menus at dinner. Make your plans soon and call for reservations; some of the finest eateries are already sold out. Here is a sampling of our favorite stops.
For a taste of Scandinavia, head to Aquavit to taste herring or chilled avocado soup followed by luscious Swedish meatballs – not the Ikea kind. End with the Arctic Circle, a frozen goat cheese parfait with passion fruit curd and blueberry sorbet – the perfect antidote for a heat wave.
Cross Europe and visit Greece for classy simplicity at Anthos, the new starship of Chef Michael Psilakis. Start with grilled octopus and feta and savor perfectly seared branzino, flown fresh from the Mediterranean waters, or spanakoriso, the chef’s take on vegetarian risotto.
Keep the Mediterranean spirit at davidburke & donatella and try a lobster-lemongrass bisque or salt and pepper calamari. Follow with wild mushroom cavatelli served with mushroom chips and truffle mousse, or try the wild king salmon before digging into a butterscotch panna cotta or perhaps an intense chocolate mousse. And if you cannot make it at lunch, try the serious gourmet “Summer in the City” – a three course prix-fixe in the evening for $49 per person.
Wish you were in the country? Head to The Boathouse and you will forget you are in the middle of Manhattan. The beef carpaccio is served with mizuna leaves and the chilled pea soup comes with mint chutney. Do try the sautéed skate wing or a demure breast of chicken accompanied by cheesy polenta and grilled asparagus. Roasted apricots or a bittersweet chocolate tart completes a jaunt in the park.
For the best deal in the city, visit Telepan where you can choose any three dishes from the lovely seasonal lunch menu. The house-smoked brook trout is delicious, a light introduction before duck confit or wonderful pea carbonara. You will be licking your fingers with the soft shell crab po’boy, and at dessert time, order the famous banana tart with banana whipped cream and orange caramel sauce.
Feeling carnivorous? Drop by Kobe Club for American Kobe beef cheek raviolis in a truffle broth before you launch into the American Wagyu hanger steak or the Kobe chopped sirloin steak. Don’t worry, the menu also features tuna tartare and organic chicken in case your date needs lighter fare. Finish the meal with the classic crème brulée or the berries with vanilla cream to end on a sweet note.
For a journey to India, Dévi is a must. At lunch, appetizers include corn mung chaat, salmon and crab croquettes and Manchurian cauliflower. Then move on to Parsi halibut served with mint coconut chutney and tomato rice or yam ke kofte, yam dumplings served with radish rice. Laze in sweetness with ethereal mango panna cotta or the Emperor’s morsel, a crispy saffron bread pudding spiced with cardamom and candied almonds.
If you have not yet tasted Gordon Ramsay’s cuisine, hurry to Maze, the casual eatery within The London NYC Hotel. At lunch, you can start with a refreshing chilled tomato and red pepper gazpacho peppered with peekytoe crab morsels or a more intense chicken liver and foie gras parfait. Red wine braised short ribs or roasted sablefish follow, before a peanut butter and cherry jam sandwich or a vanilla rice pudding.
It is always time to revisit a classic and Gotham Bar & Grill is offering appetizers including a fresh arugula and haricots verts salad, a watermelon and jicama combination, or a chilled corn soup. It will be hard to decide between a seared organic salmon with pickled ramps, a grilled lamb sausage or spinach raviolis. Homemade sorbets are not to be missed.
For a complete list of participants and menus go to nycvisit.com