Photo courtesy of Fat Radish
An exciting meal out reminds me that cooking is a creative outlet. I work in an information profession, and really enjoy coming home and getting my hands dirty in the kitchen. But most of the time, I make quick and unblogworthy fare, and it’s been a few weeks since I felt like posting.
The night out last week impressed me — dinner at Fat Radish, a farm-to-table place in the newly hip area south of Delancey, where the Lower East Side hits Chinatown. On one hand, Fat Radish is a scene, true to its roots as a catering business for fashion shoots. On the other, staff is friendly and the neighborhood has a great up and coming vibe. I know the area well, as Darcy lived a few blocks north when we started dating. South of Delancey is now in a sweet spot — tons of creative new bars and restaurants, with much less noise and crowding than the northern part of LES. I can’t wait to make home versions of a few plates.
The Fat Radish feels like a young, hip version of ABC Kitchen. Whereas ABC is in Union Square, Fat Radish is in a former sausage factory. Both are bright and airy spaces filled with neutral colors and rustic design elements. Fat Radish is full of reclaimed wood, old light fixtures and exposed brick. And both places showcase uber- seasonal ingredients with favorite farm to table buzzwords. You can’t walk out either without eating something local, heirloom or day boat. Onto the meal:
- Roasted heirloom radishes. Nice touch as a complementary small plate.
- Mussels with spring beans, fiddlehead ferns and garlic puree. I am a big fan of seafood dishes with beans. There are some nice Italian recipes for cod with white beans. This one was terrific The spring beans turned out to be black-eyed peas, and were a nice match to the mussels in size and texture. With each spoonful, you got chewy mussels and little bite from beans. The whole thing was swimming in a garlic pesto, and got a little crunch from fiddleheads. Really great.
- Broccoli a la plancha, ajo blanco, pecorino, truffle oil. Also wonderful. You see a lot of charred salads these days, using sturdy greens such as kale or romaine stalks. That was the idea here — charcoally broccoli topped with crisp sprouts, and a little richness from truffle oil.
photo courtesy of Fat Radish
- Arctic char crudo, fennel, minutina, young chamomile, grapefruit. I love arctic char — it tastes like fresh, gamey wild salmon. This dish was a large pile of gleaming pink fish lightly dressed with citrus, filled out with thick ribbons of fennel. It was delicious and oddly filling for a crudo.
- Pennsylvania trout, tat soi, red quinoa, chamomile butter, pinenuts. Fat Radish was nice enough to post this recipe. With seven ingredients, it shows how their take on farm to table is simple and unpretentious. Only butter and vegetable stock are not in the title. A nice floral flavored butter, topped with quick sauteed greens, trout with crisp skin and toasted pinenuts. It’s simple enough to make at home on a weeknight. Well done.
- Roasted heirloom carrots. Sweet carrots in many colors, roasted with butter. Hard not to like.
We pulled the plug here. We were full and the desserts looked kind of terrible — something called banoffee pudding and homemade doughnuts (okay, I bet the doughnuts were good). I did peek around and see the signature Fat Radish spring sweet pea pot pie on several tables. Next time. Or maybe make at home. We did have room for margaritas about the corner at Barrio Chino, where a friend works.
photo courtesy of Janelle Jones, Refinery 29