Tracy Obolsky recently took over the pastry position at New York's North End Grill, dazzling diners with her love for ice cream and her modern take on classic American desserts. We got the scoop (pun intended) on what makes this young chef tick, and how that translates into the restaurant's revised menu.
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Pastry Chef Alexandra Ray won Floyd Cardoz over with a fluffy lemon meringue pie, which she now serves among American classics pushed to the edge on her menu at North End Grill. We chatted with Ray about how sometimes ditching a law career, skipping culinary school and going straight into a kitchen can be the smartest and sweetest move.
You know a restaurant opening is an important one when, a few months later, you can't imagine New York without it. 2012, despite plenty of closures even before a catastrophic storm that crippled, closed, or delayed so many restaurants, was a fantastic year for eating in the city. Here are my favorites of the year: not just full-service restaurants, but the odd bakery, cocktail bar, and Mediterranean lunch joint thrown in for good measure.
Floyd Cardoz is living proof that celebrity chefdom and grounded, humane sincerity don't have to be at odds. We chatted with him about how someone with a Masters in biochemistry became New York City's premiere Indian chef, and how he cultivates a staff that really works like a team.
One of the biggest bummers for Bloody Mary fans is being served a weak, watered-down, pinkish drink. What you really want is a deeply red and tomato-y Mary that's amply boozy but not sad and diluted. She's the Mary you want to know. Here are five variations from the North End Grill, which all start with the same base of San Marzano tomatoes.
Here's a beefy take on the Bloody Mary. Rich beef stock goes into the tomato base with a roasted shishito pepper sitting on top.
This concept of adding clam juice to make a brinier Bloody Mary originated, and still remains popular, in Canada. It's typically made with Clamato juice but at North End Grill they shuck cherry stone clams and mix that fresh clam juice into the drink then skewer the clam right on top of the highball glass.
A basic tomato base for a Bloody Mary, seasoned with horseradish, citrus, and hot sauce.
North End Grill's pastry chef Alexandra Ray (formerly of Gramercy Tavern) has a way with ice cream sundaes, especially this one with peach ice cream and raspberry sorbet.
Those of us who love Danny Meyer's restaurants are accustomed to thinking of him as a man who creates welcoming spaces, with stories and personalities and an intimate sense of place. Restaurants very much tied to their neighborhoods, which you couldn't really pluck up and set down somewhere else. Restaurants you want to be at, not just eat at. That's not quite the case at Meyer's newest, North End Grill; but there are plenty of reasons to make a visit.