While steak and bacon will forever have a place on a restaurant menu, lately the tide is turning towards a greener, fresher inclination. In many of the top restaurants in NYC, vegetables are taking center stage, and slowly but surely edging out the normally predominant meat dishes. Even in the entrée section of menus, usually fully occupied by the four-legged variety save for one vegetarian option at the bottom, chefs skillfully finesse vegetables into dishes that would satisfy even the most devout carnivore.
The Glen Ellen Star – Sonoma, CA
A few weeks ago during a trip to Sonoma, California, I had dinner at the newly minted Glen Ellen Star. Chef and owner Ari Weiswasserworked at some of the top restaurants in NYC, including Daniel, Corton, and Picholine, as well as a long stint at Thomas Keller’s famed French Laundry, before opening his own restaurant in Sonoma. The Glen Ellen Star’s menu reads like a who’s who of spring vegetables, all grown locally and prepared with obvious thought and care.
We ordered up vegetable starters, all cooked in cast iron dishes in the Glen Ellen wood oven. The fava beans came topped with sheep’s milk feta cheese and a drizzle of lemon oil, the spring pea soup arrived with a dollop of crème fraiche and field mint, and the whole roasted cauliflower was served with house made salsa verde. Even the vehement meat lovers at the table devoured the flavorful and complex dishes, and all the cast irons returned to the kitchen empty. While our table still opted for a wood fire pizza topped with guanciale, and some flat iron steak and lamb meatballs for entries, the vegetable focused menu was a welcomed and refreshing change. It’s not about eating strictly vegetarian, but about eating more a more balanced, seasonal, and bright meal.
View the full post, including NYC restaurant recommendations, on Devil Gourmet.