February 14, 2020
There isn't much that native New Yorker Ruth Reichl hasn't already done in the food world; she's a best-selling author, former editor in chief of Gourmet magazine, former restaurant critic for The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, and remains one of the leading voices in food. When she's not in her Upper West Side kitchen working on a new book—Reichl's highly-anticipated memoir, Save Me The Plums: My Gourmet Memoir, is due out in spring of 2019 from Random House—you can find her in the hills of Columbia County editing the upcoming Best American Food Writing or scratching out her next "Heirloom Varieties” feature in Town & Country.
We caught up with Reichl at the new Four Seasons restaurant, where she dished on her favorite places to dine in New York City right now.
Ruth loves the quenelle at Le Coucou, another one of her favorite places in New York City.
“This extraordinary restaurant is redefining Korean food for Americans; it’s the most exciting new place I’ve been to in a long time. Serene, quiet, tiny and luxurious, it’s run by Junghyun and Ellia Park, who are passionate about their native cuisine. Each dish comes with a beautiful card that tells you the history of the dish, the provenance of the food—even the name of the artists who make the lovely plates. I experienced ingredients I’ve never encountered before, and dishes that were totally new to me; every single one was delicious."
“I frequent Porter House because my husband Michael likes steak, and it’s the most wonderful place to sit starting out over Columbus Circle as you watch the light fade. I love chef Michael Lomonaco, he’s the nicest man in the business. I usually get the classic Porter House for two to share and creamed spinach without bacon. They also make great onion rings and really good martinis.”
“The menu is wonderful and the room is sexy. This place feels so familiar to me—I grew up in the Village—and there used to be lots of little places that looked like this. Angie Mar makes the most wonderful, hearty food. I love the savory plum tart for two to share to start and the whole roast duck flambéed with cherries."
“My favorite in Greenwich Village, I love it. They do very few dishes, but each one of them is perfect. They really know how to boil a lobster, the steamers are great, and the Pearl caesar salad is superb.”
“Shorty Tang is the guy that invented the cold sesame noodles every New Yorker loves. This is his son’s homage to him. For anyone with a group in tow, this is a great choice if you don’t want to spend a fortune. The place is large and elegant, the service is caring, and the food very fine. Great Beijing duck, steamed fish in bean sauce and tiny spare ribs.”
“A new branch of Eyal Shani’s Tel Aviv restaurant. He’s famous for his delicious whole roasted cauliflower, but everything here is great. Small, fast, inexpensive; you grab a pita, eat some hummus—it’s just like being in Tel Aviv."
“Six small, exquisite courses of always surprising and deliciously modern food. It’s a small restaurant on the lower east side, and at $78 for the prix fixe meal, a real bargain.”
Photography by: Photography courtesy Noah Fecks