The best part about seasonal food is the influx of menus, tastings, dishes, and drinks dedicated to whatever plant is growing now. Enter, mushroom season and an array of ways to get down with fungi.
First up, Paprika in the East Village where chef and owner Egidio Donagrandi is offering a tasting menu from now, until October 28, that focuses on different types of mushrooms. “Wild mushrooms are in season and they are perfect for the fall as we transition to heartier winter foods,” said Donagrandi. “My favorite [mushroom dish], and one of the most traditional dishes in Valtellina, is trifolata, which is fresh porcini mushrooms sautéed in oil with garlic, parsley, and sometimes with a little beef or veal jus.”
Though the menu at this Northern Italian restaurant doesn’t feature the owner’s favorite plate, they do offer four courses for $52, including dumplings in mushroom broth, buckwheat and cornmeal polenta with wild mushrooms, maltagliati with roasted chanterelles, sage and veal jus, and finally, leg of lamb crowned with more chanterelles. If you are vegetarian, don’t worry, you can also order dishes a la carte, and, if you happen to go on a Monday, bottles of wine are half off.
The wine list at Paprika is Italian, so you might want to go with a Pinot grigio. If you happen to be pairing another bottle of wine with mushrooms, try its aromatic, smoky and rich French counterpart, Pinot gris—especially if you can get a bottle from Alsace.
This wine would go splendidly with David Bouley’s porcini flan with black truffles, which he serves at his Financial District restaurant Bouley. The French chef also adds the seasonal truffles to his scrambled eggs. If truffles are your thing, you can also get a taste of the fancy fungi at Tocqueville, where chef Marco Moreira adds white truffles and chanterelles to his potato gnocchi. At the Andrew Carmellini’s The Dutch, they add chanterelles to the herb roasted chicken, and have three types in their pilaf.
Finally, if you are more in the mood to cook your own fungi, hit up the New Amsterdam Market for some of the freshest mushrooms around. If you aren’t sure what you are looking at, New York Magazine recently wrote a handy little guide to all things fungi.