[WARNING: Do not read on an empty stomach!]
I love food, but I’ve always been a picky eater. Before I moved to New York, my palette was pretty much limited to Latin food, French fries, and cereal. I hated the word foodie and rolled my eyes at photos of plates on social media. But I admit it: The city has opened my eyes to a whole new world of eats (and, therefore, the necessity of the gym).
Restaurant Week was earlier this month, which meant some of the city’s hot spots offered special pre-fixe deals. One night, I attended a “strangers dinner” at Jean Georges Vongerichten’s Perry Street restaurant in the West Village. The idea is that the host invites two people, each brings someone the host doesn’t know, and so on. While the conversation and wine were delightful, the food stole the show: roasted squash soup with mushroom and sourdough, onion-and-chili crusted beef short ribs, and banana cake with salted caramel ice cream. Absolutely divine; so fantastic, in fact, it was even more delicious than Drake on Saturday Night Live.
That evening at Perry Street inspired me to reflect on some of my favorite New York dinners— perfect timing, because the next day an out-of-towner asked me for my top three NYC meal recommendations. Here’s what I told her—I hope you can try them out, too. Bon appétit!
Potato gnocchi with sweet corn and summer truffles at Park Avenue (960 Park Avenue, but currently relocating): This restaurant changes its name every season (Park Avenue Spring, Park Avenue Summer, etc.). When I visited two summers ago, I couldn’t even pronounce gnocchi (FYI, sounds like “nyo-key”) but these potato dumplings in a frothy sauce literally blew my mind.
Spinach, goat cheese and herb pizza at ABC Kitchen (35 E. 18th Street): In my prior life, you had to hold me down to get me to eat goat cheese. (I’m big on texture, ok?!) But this dish made me a convert: The cheese and herbs sit atop a perfectly simple, flaky crust that I could demolish just about every day.
White truffle risotto at Marea (240 Central Park South): At my day job, I tried various samples with truffle oil and truffle salt (truffle salt popcorn is my favorite!), but my first foray into freshly sliced white truffles was at Marea, where they were finely shaved onto a creamy, rich risotto. This was the most buttery, sumptuous dish I have ever had—no lie, I shed a tear at the end. Who knew good food could make a girl cry?