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Where To Dine Out This Thanksgiving

Fishtail Turkey-1.jpgWith Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s time to decide.   If you’re among the scores of people opting to dine out this Thanksgiving, choosing a restaurant can be almost as overwhelming as hosting your own Thanksgiving dinner.  We’ve done the work for you, scouting out a slew of noteworthy Thanksgiving menus this holiday, leaving you only one task – calling in your reservation.  Back Forty in the East Village is braising turkey legs, while in Harlem, Red Rooster is preparing for their first annual Thanksgiving feast.  If you prefer Brooklyn, there’s Fatty ‘Cue and iCi Restaurant. Did we mention the Latin flavors on deck at Palo Santo or the Austrian-inspired dishes at Wallse? And just because turkey steals the show this time of year doesn’t mean there aren’t a few vegan-friendly dishes to indulge in too.

Red Rooster Harlem
Address: 310 Lennox Avenue between 125th and 126th Street
Phone: (212) 792-9001

Harlem’s Red Rooster is gearing up for their very first Thanksgiving feast.  If you haven’t made it up to Marcus Samuelsson’s uptown eatery, Thanksgiving is the perfect excuse to check out his American comfort food cooking.  There’s two ways to go – a prix-fixe menu and a brunch buffet. From the set menu, there’s turkey, along with cornbread, and southern-inspired sides like blackened catfish, black-eyed peas and pumpkin soup with Stilton fondue. Downstairs, brunch-goers will find a buffet full of holiday favorites, like roast turkey with sausage and cornbread stuffing, mac and cheese, or roast beef with Rooster steak sauce. There are also brunch favorites to choose from, including French toast with cinnamon raisin and Nutella whip.  What’s more, both the prix fixe menu and the buffet are available at both lunch and dinner.

ici thanksgiving2-1.jpgPalo Santo
Address: 652 Union Street between 4th and 5th Avenues (Brooklyn)
Phone: (718) 636-6312

If you’re looking for a little Latin flavor this Thanksgiving, head to Park Slope for the eclectic mix of Latin cuisine on Palo Santo’s Thanksgiving menu. Start with a rutabaga and apple soup and sweet potato ceviche.  We could get used to a Latin-style feast of chicory salad, roasted cauliflower with chimichurri, as well as anticuchos de pavo, which are basically delicious little turkey kabobs. For mains, you’ve got your work cut out for you of wild boar shank, chestnut dumplings, roasted turkey, line-caught swordfish, or pavo en mole poblano.

Fatty ‘Cue
Address: 91 S. 6th Street between Berry St. and Bedford Ave. (Brooklyn)
Phone: (718) 599-3090

Leave it to the fatty crew at Fatty ‘Cue to take Thanksgiving dinner to a whole new level.  One look at their family-style Thanksgiving tasting menu reveals a familiar favorite — the ham, homemade jam, butter and just-baked bread.  Zak Pelaccio’s turning out poached chicken and smoked eggplant for the holiday meal as well as roast Heritage turkey and a guanciale and Parker Roll stuffing that sounds pretty dreamy.  For dessert, you get your choice of pumpkin and hibiscus or spiced chocolate.  If a spread of meats doesn’t interest you, there’s the vegetarian tasting menu to consider as well.

Back Forty
Address: 190 Avenue B at 12th Street
Phone: (212) 388-1990

We may have lost Savoy this year, but we can still sample Peter Hoffman’s greenmarket cooking at Back Forty in the East Village.  It couldn’t be a more appropriate holiday to celebrate local, American produce, including locally farmed turkeys and the many fruits of fall, the likes of roasted kabocha pumpkin and spaghetti squash latkes.  Their prix fixe dinner includes your choice of appetizer, entrée, three sides for the table to share, and dessert. There’s black pepper parpadelle with a saffron-cauliflower puree, hazelnuts and shaved parmesan and sides of mashed potatoes with giblet gravy and turkey cracklin’s.  For dessert, the clear choice is the Harvest Crisp – a medley of pumpkin, pears, and dried cranberries, capped off with a generous dollop of vanilla ice cream.

Peacefood Café
Address: 460 Amsterdam Avenue at 82nd Street
Phone: (212) 362-2266

It could easily be argued that vegans get the short end of the stick on Thanksgiving. After all, the holiday has been dubbed ‘Turkey Day’ and generally includes generous helpings of meat.  Not at Peacefood Café. There may not be a turkey to carve into, but there’s toasted tofurkey to pile on your plate.  It’s a veritable feast of stuffing, porcini mushroom gravy, mashed creamy Asian purple sweet potatoes and sautéed kale — a traditional Thanksgiving feast…vegan style.

Ici Restaurant
Address: 246 Dekalb Avenue at Vanderbilt Avenue (Brooklyn)
Phone: (718) 789-2778

Fresh, seasonal, and local are always on the menu at Ici.  Their Thanksgiving menu sounds so good we’d genuinely make a reservation to sample it any day of the year. For starters, there’s Anson Mills white polenta and pork ragu with drunken cranberries. And the main event is a roasted heritage turkey accompanied by granny smith apple stuffing, root vegetable mash.  But our favorite part of the meal is a pumpkin brownie with cinnamon whipped cream and chocolate sauce.

Address: 135 E. 62nd Street between Park and Lexington Avenues
Phone: (212) 754-1300

Sure there’s turkey, we’re actually more interested in the seafood offerings on Fishtail’s thanksgiving menu. Chef David Burke trumps turkey with Scottish salmon, parmesan-crusted halibut, and whole roasted branzino. Tack on a pretzel-crusted crab cake or saffron mussel chowder to start and finish with a pecan pie crème brulee. You just might start rethinking your definition of a Thanksgiving feast. For the turkey lover in the group, there’s also a seawater brine organic turkey on deck.

Address: 344 W. 11th Street and Washington Street
Phone: (212) 352-2300

Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner dishes out modern interpretations of Austrian cuisine year round.  Thanksgiving is no exception with an Austrian-inspired prix fixe menu available for $75, or  $115 with a wine pairing.  Just what does an Austrian-inspired Thanksgiving look like? To start, guests have their choice of either a chestnut soup Viennese mélange with Armagnac prunes, a foie gras terrine with pear gelee, or a smoked trout palatschinken with crème fraiche and caviar. For mains, you can choose between an organic Pennsylvania turkey, parsley-crusted venison loin, or cod strudel with Brussels sprouts and Riesling sauce. And since it’s Thanksgiving, you can’t skip dessert, or the semolina dumpling with plum ragout and homemade caramel ice cream.

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