European fruit and veg purveyor coming to NYC. Where should I eat?
I am a danish chef turned vegetable and fruit purveyor. I deal only with seasonal and locally grown produce. I also employ various foragers and deal alot with leading restaurants in Copenhagen. Soon, I will be arriving in NYC and will stay for 3 weeks. I will be staying in Williamsburg, Brooklyn but will be discovering and dining in the entire city. I would love recommendations, so I can plan ahead a bit. I am interested in restaurant that are fairly vegetable driven, allthough I enjoy good meat just as much. I try to eat as seasonally and "locally" as possible and would enjoy restaurants that emphasise this in their cooking. I plan to eat within at both ends of the budget spectrum. What would you suggest?
Hey there, I would post on the Manhattan Board as well, you'll get many more responses that might help you out.
I would first of all check out the farmers markets to see what NYC has to offer in terms of local produce. There are markets almost everyday but the largest is at Union Square. It goes on Monday, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Near the market, Craft Bar often does good things with local produce as does Gramercy Tavern. Neither one is cheap but I've had small plates at the bars there for not too much money.
I highly recommend Frannys in Brooklyn as well. They do very good pizza and source nearly all their produce from local sources. One of my favorite places anywhere in NYC.
If you're primarily interested in local foods, you might want to treat yourself to Blue Hill at Stone Barns. It's around a 45 minute train ride out of the city but well worth it. The restaurant sources almost entirely from its own farm and you can visit the greenhouses and fields before your meal. My wife and I had one of the best meals of our lives there which I wrote up here:
There is a Blue Hill in Manhattan as well which is good but not as special (or consistent) as the flagship restaurant at Stone Barns.
At the very high end, Daniel and Per Se do vegetarian tasting menus and my guess is Eleven Madison Park could as well. These are very expensive places though and depending on when you're coming, they may be booked up already. Most require reservations 30 days ahead and Blue Hill Stone Barns I believe requires 60 days but may have midweek availability. You can give them a call.
Sadly, it's hard to find lower end places in NYC that use local and seasonal produce primarily. There are lots of reasons that big agribusiness veggies are trucked in from across the country and cost less than the fresh produce grown nearby but this is probably not the place for that discussion. In any case, I can think of few truly cheap restaurants focusing on local produce. I like Cookshop and Hearth which do a nice job with sourcing but are not cheap by any reasonable standards. I'd love to hear others' thoughts.
Send me an email on my blog as I'd love to hear more about your work as a purveyor!
295 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217
Hi Jeremy. Your visit at Stone Barns sounds absolutely fantastic and I will definately dine there if I am lucky enough to secure a reservation. I am not looking for vegetarian menues as such, I am looking for restaurants where the fruit and veg has recieved the same care, thought and attention as the meat. I would prefer menues with meat, fish, shellfish and so on as well as seasonal, high quality fruit and veg. Preferably locally produced. It is equally difficult to find cheap-ish restaurants in Copenhagen that focus on high quality vegetables as they are quite expensive to buy. The debate in Denmark currently and for a few years now is whether or not we should reduce taxes on fruit and veg plus other healthy food items, so that it may become more easily accessible to low income families. Quite interesting. Anyway, I drifted off subject. Do you know about any local farms that could be worth a visit? Other that Stone Barns, that is. I will write you an email on your blog and tell you a little about my shop and what I do. Thanks for the suggestions.
I think the restaurants I listed treat vegetables and fruits with quite a bit of care. I suggested the vegetarian menu places because I know those chef's are very good at showcasing produce. They often do on their regular menus too but often the proteins are front and center even when the vegetables are treated with care.
If you're dining alone, you may be able to eat at Stone Barns at the bar. It's a beautiful room and friends of mine have had exquisite meals there. If you can book at an early hour, I believe the bar gets some natural light. Be sure to tell them your interest in produce. They always showcase their vegetables wonderfully there but can probably step it up a notch if you mention what you're interested in.
In addition to Franny's I remembered that Applewood in Brooklyn is perfect for you as well. I went to lecture recently that the chef gave about how he likes eating winter veggies not only because they are delicious but because it makes the moment when those first pea shoots appear in the spring that much more exciting.
Not so sure about farms to visit but there are some urban agriculture-ish places that might be interesting.
501 11th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215