Inspiration, 51

Photograph by James Pomerantz.

Photograph by James Pomerantz.

This post is for the team at 51, a new restaurant we are opening soon, located on the waterfront of Fort Cochin’s harbor in the history-intact, spice-trading Mattanchery neighborhood. That team is a group of men and women, chefs, support cooks, self-made cuisine historians, and other interested parties collaborating on a new concept.  It is a concept, but deftly avoiding pretension. More about fun historical convergences, good taste, and communities interacting over long stretches of time to create new food ways. Following is a restaurant review whose accompanying photo was the main draw, but so was the notion of foraging that has become so compelling to foodies of late:

It seems strange to say that the best thing at a place that specializes in juice cleanses is the porchetta, but Foragers Market and Table encapsulates the contradictory nature of the New York diet, serving quality food that feels “healthy,” and is often local and organic, but with none of that dull avocado-based asceticism. The Table, a sit-down restaurant, is an offshoot of the Market, a gourmet grocer, which opened first in Dumbo and in 2012 expanded to Chelsea. In addition to the three-day juice cleanse and the panoply of expensive condiments (sixteen-dollar peanut butter, fourteen-dollar Sriracha), Foragers sells vegetables, herbs, and eggs from a dedicated farm in Canaan, New York.

A list of other regional suppliers is on the back of the menu, but the Foragers farm salad will tell you everything you need to know: it doesn’t rely on a gimmicky or heavy dressing but, rather, on a barely discernable sherry vinaigrette, so the greens still crunch, and the sunflower sprouts remain springy. It makes a strong case for eating locally, supported by the devilled Foragers Farm eggs, the deliciousness of which depends not on paprika or truffle oil or bacon bits but on the eggs themselves, which give a clean bite and a grassy taste, like they were plucked from a particularly clever chicken this morning. (The farm delivers to the restaurant twice a week, so they might have been.)

Smart choices abound: a lamb Bolognese is prepared with trumpet pasta, and its nubbiness provides maximum nooks and crannies for the rich tomato sauce. The brown beech mushrooms in the same dish are almost exactly the same dimensions as the trumpets, so it’s a good pasta to eat if you’re on a date and don’t want to deal with the perilous fork twirls—or seasonal incongruity—of the spaghetti pomodoro…

Read the whole review here.

5 thoughts on “Inspiration, 51

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