Array Magazine Summer 2016

Page 40

Eats’N’Sleeps Nix 72 University Place (212) 498-9393

Indian Accent 123 West 56th Street (212) 842-8070

Le Coq Rico 30 East 20th Street (212) 267-7426

Café Altro Paradiso 234 Spring Street (646) 952-0828

Thanks to Chefs John Fraser and Nicolas Farias, vegetarians seeking a five-star meal finally get more than a side of produce. Though vegetables do, of course, abound on this menu, the chefs at Nix turn them into dishes you wouldn’t think could be so delicious. Take the “ribbons of jicama” plate, where a dose of fresno chili and blood orange transform the starchy Mexican root into a remarkably flavorful meal. The wok-roasted cucumbers with jerk spices, goat cheese, and kumquats are another creative feat of taste. On the heavier side, the Yukon potato fry bread (generously topped with cheese, sour cream, and veggies) is a must-try, as is the Shiitake “cacio e pepe” with heirloom polenta and salsify, an edible root that many believe tastes like an oyster once it’s cooked. Though you’ll likely want to try every main dish on the menu, don’t overlook the signature Tandoor bread as a side or starter dish, with dips like the smooth house hummus and zaatar or the rich but refreshing avocado, mint, and curry blend.

In Le Parker Meridien, Chef Manish Mehrotra is combining traditional recipes with new-school techniques. With locations in New Delhi and New York, Indian Accent provides an opportunity to indulge in authentic and innovative Indian flavors in a luxuriously appointed dining room. The menu is structured to provide three methods of dining—the three or four course route, or the chef’s tasting. Highlights include kolhapuri chicken with peanuts, cucumber, tomato, and avocado; sweet pickle ribs with sundried mango and onion seeds; silken tofu kofta spiced with bottle gourd curry and accompanied by a fluffy quinoa pilaf; and for dessert, makhan malai with saffron milk, rose petal jaggery brittle, and almonds. You’ll want to end (or begin) your meal at the bar. With ingredients like rose petal tincture, assam team, orange blossom water, and Kewra mist distilled from the pandanus plant and usually featured in biyrani, the cocktail menu certainly supports the restaurant’s appeal to innovation.

Chef Antoine Westermann’s original Le Coq Rico is a world away, on Montmartre's Rue Lepic in Paris. So how did this renowned French chef end up here? In 2006, Westermann requested Michelin revoke his stars in return for the freedom to embrace his culinary creativity. He left France to work as a food consultant in the US, later taking a year’s tour around the Northeast, meeting with farmers and studying their poultry philosophies. At the new Le Coq Rico, ingredients are sourced from local birds raised happy and healthy, and the poultry-centric menu is a colorful one. Eggs come deviled with marinated octopus and cumin cabbage salad; the seared duck foie gras is encrusted in poppy seeds and garnished with Gala apples, pink radish, and ginger; and the Catskill guinea fowl breast sits atop asparagus, green peas, and lime fricassee. For those looking for a great piece of meat, plain and simple, Westermann’s “Whole Bird” menu, featuring six different fowl, will not disappoint.

Café Altro Paradiso is the latest from Ignacio Mattos and Thomas Carter. With vaulted ceilings, golden hanging lights inspired by fixtures in an Italian post office, wrap-around wood booths, and a marble bar, the restaurant is a dream to linger in for brunch, lunch, or dinner. Though its menu carries a heavy Italian accent, Mattos and Carter go far beyond pasta and red sauce, pairing grilled swordfish with artichoke, raisins, and almonds; seared octopus with salsa verde and chickpeas; and ribeye with braised cardoons and rosemary. Also of note is the restaurant’s rotating selection of decadent specials—think grilled quail and “maiale arrosto,” or pig roast. (Hint, if you don’t recognize a word on the menu, ask for a translation.) You’ll likely need a glass of vino to wash it down, so take a gander at the wine list with its fine Italian vintners from Tuscany, Lombardy, and Piedmont.


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