My favorite eating season is fall. It doesn’t get much better than autumnal fruits, like concord grapes, pumpkins, pears, plums, and apples. And there’s loads of fragrant truffles (for a price, of course), duck, wild game and brussel sprouts. This year, some of New York’s best and newest restaurants have come up with some delicious ways to celebrate the season. There’s an outstanding concord grape tart at ABC Kitchen, pumpkin ravioli and a brioche-like pastry studded with concord grapes at Babbo, and apple cider doughnuts at Hearth, to name a few. We’ve picked our favorite savory and sweet nods to fall from a few of New York’s finest restaurants, so you can start and finish in season.
Address: 110 Waverly Place,
nr. 6th Ave.
It’s hard to go wrong at Babbo, especially if you
linger in the pasta section of the menu. There’s chianti-stained
pappardelle with a wild boar ragu and a
heavenly pumpkin lune ravioli anointed with sage and crumbled amaretti
cookies. You can create your own pumpkin tasting of sorts by starting with the pumpkin lune and ending with
a luscious pumpkin flan. If you only get one dessert, try the
“Schiaccata d’Uva,” a crusty, buttery brioche studded with concord grapes (pictured right).
al di la
Address: 248 Fifth Ave, at Carroll St.
This Brooklyn gem is as hard to get into as it was when it first opened ten years ago. I’d bet it has a lot to do with the stellar roster of homemade pastas, which include a beet and ricotta ravioli, tagliatelle slathered in a meat ragu, or winter squash ravioli glossed in brown butter and sage sauce. For dessert, there’s a wonderful, warm pear cake with bitter chocolate chunks.
Address: 403 East 12th St., nr. 1st Ave.
Before opening Hearth and Terroir, Marco Canora cooked at Gramercy Tavern and Craft. With that background, it’s no surprise he was seasonally minded long before it was obligatory. Thankfully, this fall is no exception. You can seize autumn with Hearth’s roasted Lola duck (pictured right) accompanied by confit turnips, concord grape passata and red quinoa. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been a sucker for apple cider doughnuts and here you can have them warm and fresh from the fryer with apple compote and whipped cream.
Address: 35 East 18th St., nr Broadway
Jean-Georges’ latest venture is one of my favorite restaurant openings of the year. Everything from the stylish setting to the cocktails and French tarts are the perfect formula for a night out in the city. Though I’m still mourning the loss of their heirloom tomato toast, there’s new dishes inspired by fall, such as ricotta and roasted squash toast and magnificently moist veal meatballs with kasha and bowtie pasta. But that’s not the best part. The best part is the concord grape tart with a thick, buttery crust and ripe concord grapes.
Address: 103 West 77th
St., nr. Columbus Ave.
This Upper West Side spot has earned a
reputation for its imaginative American cooking with lots of refined French touches. Right now, chef Fraser has imagined pumpkin soup with rosemary marshmallows and chestnuts and squab a la plancha with
butternut squash, pomegranate as well as an unexpected addition of cream of
wheat. There’s loin of venison with butternut squash ravioli and currants (pictured right) and for dessert, a crispy fuji apple confit with pecans and rosemary butterscotch ice
Address: 247 South 1st., nr Havemeyer St.
Maybe it’s just me, but Rye seems like it was made for this time of year, when it starts to get chilly and I crave hearty comfort foods. Start with one of their old school cocktails, like the “Apples to Oranges,” a combination of brandy, campari, fresh squeezed orange juice and cinnamon bark. You can sample fall in a single with the braised lamb shank with root vegetable puree, baby carrots and brussel sprouts. Save room for the Vermont maple creme brulee with ginger molasses cookies.
Address: 54 Carmine St., nr Bedford St.
One of the many charms of Market Table is its corner location with floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto the West Village. Of course, the creative American cooking is a considerable part of its allure, too. Right now, chef Mikey Price is paying homage to this season with a squash and honeycrisp apple salad, scattered with red grapes, pumpkin seeds and pecorino and a side of brussel sprouts with pears, bacon and pecans. You might consider finishing with a slice of homemade apple pie accompanied by honey gelato drizzled with champagne syrup.