Good Way to Start the Year

January 2, 2018

New York, on New Year’s Day, was strangely vacant.  The city sparkled – lights twinkling everywhere – but taxis scooted through empty streets, lights reflecting off the pavement. After the revels of the night before, most restaurants were closed.

Which made the welcome at Union Square Cafe that much more appealing. It felt like a warm, bright oasis.  And the food was – for me at least – simple and perfect.

I began with the scallop crudo – above – tiny pristine Nantuckets, the popcorn of the sea, embellished with nothing more than pickled pepper and crisped sunchokes. The most wonderful seasonal treat.

Afterward, a plate of pasta alla chitarra tossed with nothing more than anchovy, broccoli, preserved lemon and a hint of chile.  A bit of cheese.  A reminder that, in Italy, it’s not the sauce that counts, it’s the pasta that has to shine.

I’ve never seen butter served like this. But it was wonderful – as was the bread that came with it.

Sorry this picture is such a mess.  First Michael inhaled his hamburger, wearing the most beatific smile), then he attacked the mint chocolate chip ice cream with such speed I never got the  chance to shoot it. But I loved the combination of the mango/passion fruit sorbet with fior di latte ice cream.  If you have happy memories of Good Humor creamsicles, this is the platonic ideal.

And finally, the wine. Deux Montille Soueur et Frere, Rully Blanc, La Chaponniere, 2013. On this list it’s a  Burgundy bargain.

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1 Comment

  • Carolyn says:

    Thanks so much, Ruth, for sharing your New Years’ Day meal at Union Sq Cafe. It looks so delicious, you’ve convinced me to give it another try next time we’re in NYC. We had a mediocre lunch there about a year ago – definitely went on the wrong day. I know it can happen – we spent this New Years Eve at Sir & Star in Olema and have had several meals there before that were heavenly and perfect with not one false note. This time we had the meal from hell, accompanied by awful, loud, live French cabaret music. Enough of these experiences can make dining at home feel like the best option – so thanks again for your encouraging postings of fabulous meals. And Happy New Year!