Unofficial summer is officially underway. I’m looking forward to eating outdoors as much as humanly possible before it gets unbearably hot. (I’m a summer agnostic.) That said, it’s reader question time and, as usual, my inbox was full of thoughtful and fun requests, including where to go for large-format dining, where to find carciofi alla giudia (Jewish-style artichokes) and where to have great nonalcoholic drinks.
As always, please email your questions to [email protected], and you may see them answered in a future newsletter.
Duck, Pig or Sea Bass?
One of our favorite things to do with friends is to go out to eat where fixed-menu, family-style dining is offered. We recently ate at Momofuku Ssam Bar for the pork shoulder dinner. Can you recommend some other restaurants that offer this type of experience? — Joy W.
Francie, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, has a whole roast duck for $135 that’s presented with various flora before it’s carved up. It’s definitely worth ordering if you can afford it, especially for the soppressata jam that, I agree with Pete Wells, is good enough to lick off “a stack of junk mail.” Peasant, in NoLIta, will serve you a family-style whole pig roast with antipasti, sides and dessert for $125 per person, given at least four days’ notice and provided there are six or more people in your party. And Monsieur Vo, in the East Village, has a few big-format dishes, including a whole sea bass that’s market-price, and the Monsieur Platter ($48), which includes four types of meat skewers with the option to add more, as well as sides like vermicelli and roasted peanuts that you then assemble into your own bites. We call that fun with food.
Finding Carciofi alla Giudia
Just spent a week in Rome where I fell in love with Roman artichokes, Jewish-style. Ate them several times that week. Where can I find them in N.Y.C.? — Lisa S.
I ate this exact type of deep-fried artichoke spritzed with lemon juice and dressed with mint and red chili flakes at Bottino, in Chelsea, a few weeks ago. The occasion? My sister’s wedding! Talk about kismet. They’re also on the menu at Macosa Trattoria, a small-but-mighty Italian restaurant in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, that I mentioned a few months ago.
Not-Boring Nonalcoholic Beverages
As I have recently had to stop drinking alcohol for health reasons, I was hoping you can send me to the restaurants with the most creative nonalcoholic beverage programs. I can drink only so much sparkling water! — Ira L.
I wasn’t quite sure if you were looking for nonalcoholic drinks that were mimicking cocktails, or just very creative nonalcoholic drinks. So, I have recommendations for both. I see the phony Negroni from the Brooklyn distiller St. Agrestis on a ton of menus and, as a Negroni obsessive, I endorse it as an alterative. El Quijote has a version of the restaurant’s famous sangria that’s cheekily called Santa Sangre, as well as a G + T without the G. And the eternally excellent Gramercy Tavern has nonalcoholic red wine and a nonalcoholic cocktail list that’s four options deep, including two seasonal spritzes (strawberry-rhubarb and green apple-fennel at the moment).
In the category of creative drinks, there’s abcV, Jean-Georges’s health-leaning restaurant in the Flatiron district. Between bites of your mushroom-walnut Bolognese, you can sip on any number of “juices, tonics and vibrations.” I’d choose Root Reboot because lemon and ginger are my life, though a pollen shake might be the best way to toast the dustiest spring ever. Or if you’d really prefer to have some pork al pastor, Atla, in NoHo, has six agua frescas that range from the traditional hibiscus to a more experimental yuzu avocado.
In Other News …
The dream of top-tier Peking duck is alive and well at Juqi, the Beijing-based chain with a new location in Flushing, Queens. In his review, Pete Wells writes that the restaurant pulls off “all the fine points of roasting, carving and serving — so consistently and satisfyingly.”
Openings: The Migrant Kitchen, known for its eclectic mix of cuisines, will start serving lamb torta and esquites hot dogs at Ballfields Café in Central Park; the Golden Swan has taken over the space that once housed the Spotted Pig, in the West Village; and Hand Hospitality is back at it again with Moono, a more casual project from the chef behind the Michelin-starred restaurant Jua.
Kim Severson delivered a deep dive on what restaurant hospitality looks like after the pandemic and labor shortages devastated the industry.
Should you find yourself in southern New Mexico any time soon, consider stopping by Chope’s Town Bar & Cafe, the family-run restaurant with a beloved (and closely guarded) recipe for chile con queso, Maggie Hennessy reports.
Here is how Zouheir Louhaichy, the head maître d’ at Balthazar, spends his Sundays.
Nicholas Gray, the founder of the popular hot-dog stand Gray’s Papaya, died May 19 at the age of 86.
The post Where to Find Family-Style Dining, and More Reader Questions appeared first on New York Times.