As seasons change, so do the menus at four of New York’s top restaurants
Everyone loves a good leftover, but not when you’re out for a night on the town. Rest assured that your food could only be fresher if it was still in the ground at these restaurants that devote a special focus to using seasonal ingredients.
Michelin-star awarded Jean-Georges Vongerichten is one of the world’s top chefs, and he has installed one of his best restaurants inside the luxury home-goods mecca, ABC Carpet & Home, appropriately named ABC Kitchen. If this seems like an odd locale, wait until you take a seat at one of the rustic wooden tables adorned with fresh flower arrangements, and you’ll feel too much at home to ever want to leave. The food here is free of many things – pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, antibiotics, hormones, GMOs – but never excitement. Local ingredients comprise global dishes, which somehow strike that perfect balance of fancy and unassuming. There’s pretzel dusted calamari, Nantucket bay scallops with vegetable mignonette, an Askaushi cheeseburger, homemade yogurt. Or, greet the day with seasonal glazed donuts as chic as they are scrumptious. (18th St. at Broadway)
Opened in 1994 by famed restaurateur Danny Meyer, Gramercy Tavern is as quintessentially New York as the Empire State Building. A Robert Kushner mural over a low-lamped, dark-wood bar is the centerpiece of the front tavern, where dishes can be ordered à la carte; the back dining room offers prix-fixe and tasting menus in a setting a bit more intimate. Nearly all ingredients are sourced locally, and don’t shy from asking your server about the more obscure additions (cobia, for example). The menu almost reads like poetry: fluke tartare with kumquat and radish, oats and bok choy, black bass with peanut curry, apple crisp with hickory for two. (20th St. nr. Park Ave.)
Uptown but dressed down, Landmarc sits three stories high in the Time Warner Building, overlooking Columbus Circle and Central Park. Its original location in TriBeca has long had a loyal following, but this location is three times bigger, more accommodating for walk-ins coming from the theater, museums or shopping in the building’s high-end mall. The French-inspired menu covers every base thrice-over, with extensive arrays of salads, steaks, seafood, and even a kid’s menu tasteful enough to make an adult palate water. The rotating daily pasta special allows chef Marc Murphy room for experimentation with seasonal ingredients, which also make appearances in the acclaimed Landmarc Classics section of the menu: boudin noir, crispy sweatbreads, and a New York state cheese plate that easily pairs with the 300-plus-bottle wine list for a romantic meal. (Columbus Circle at 60th St., 3rd Fl.)
World famous since the day it opened its doors in 1959, the The Four Seasons Restaurant has been described by New York magazine’s restaurant critic Adam Platt as “the single greatest room” in New York. He was, of course, referring to the grill room and – more specifically – at lunchtime. While the pool room is airy, romantic and candlelit, the gold-lit, French walnut-panel-walled grill room is where New York’s power elite has gathered to talk business over seasonal specialties such as octopus caviar and juniper-scented loin of venison for decades. But while wild turbot with root vegetable sauerkraut may be gone by July, some things here never change: the ambiance is timeless, the service is impeccable, and the filet of bison is continually hailed as one of the best dishes in the city. (52nd St. nr. Park Ave.)