It was a brutal winter in New York City, but spring is finally here, and two new restaurants are using the first ingredients of the season. Zagat editor James Mulcahy filed the following report for NY1.
Spring is the most exciting time for chefs, and after a snowy winter, the first shoots of green are starting to appear on plates throughout the city.
At his new restaurant Beautique, Craig Hopson is working with fiddlehead ferns, a sure sign that the cold is finally behind us.
"The fiddlehead fern is actually a fern plant," Hopson says. "When it first comes out of the ground when the weather starts warming up, it forms a little curl, which, if left in the ground long enough, will straighten out and become a fern tree."
At this posh eatery near Central Park, the earthy plants are prepared with fried salami and offer a fresh reminder of all the produce that is to come.
"They're actually grown in the wild, so it's one of the few things nowadays which is actually foraged, which also makes it very healthy, very good for you," Hopson says.
Mulcahy: It's really fresh, a little bit earthy. It is kind of like an asparagus, I agree, without kind of that bitterness that asparagus has.
In the West Village, newly opened restaurant The Clam is shaking off a rough winter with asparagus, which is appearing on the menu later than it normally world.
"There's some years that strawberries would almost already be available now, and they're not even close, so I think it really prolongs that kind of spring season," says Mike Price, chef at The Clam.
The restaurant's seafood-heavy menu also offers a taste of the warm months to come with its signature shellfish and an epic sandwich that is half fried clams, half lobster roll. Come for the asparagus, stay for this gut bomb.
"It's been a long, hard winter. It's been cold," Price says. "We're over here on the West Side, and the wind really whips through the streets. It's been a long one. I'm ready for the spring. I'm ready for the sprouts to start popping up. It's the most exciting time for a chef, for sure."
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