Holiday Dining For All New Yorkers

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza, or what have you, there is always a good reason to dive into a plate of roasted venison or sip a cup of mulled wine this time of year.

Start the celebrating early at the Basque restaurant Txikito in Chelsea. There, from December 19 through the 21 they are celebrating Saint Thomas, or Santo Tomas, with a special feast. In Basque country, usually they parade a pig around town that later gets raffled off. Since letting livestock loose is illegal in the city, Txikito will be offering three suckling pig feasts instead. You can also indulge in customary dishes including Talo Con Txistorra Casera, or tortillas with homemade paprika and sausage.

For a feast closer to Christmas, there is no better place to get in the holiday spirit than at the Rock Center Café. Not only can you ice skate and ogle the tree, but you can chase it with a $69 holiday feast including lobster bisque, braised short rib with pumpkin polenta, and New York-style cheesecake. Over at The John Dory Oyster Bar, chef de cuisine Josh Even has taken Christmas dinner and done it British style with his take on the feast of seven fishes. For $85 this includes a rich seafood stew and chorizo-stuffed squid, or, you can forgo the prix fixe and order a la carte.  

On Christmas Eve, chef Ben Pollinger at Oceana also is doing a feast of the seven fishes with plates of roast Maine lobster and caviar, Arctic Char with fennel and a razor clam vinaigrette, and gingerbread panna cotta, all for $95 or $145 with wine pairing. 

Now, if game meat is what you crave, you can get it at Tocqueville. There, chef Marco Moreira serves spice-crusted venison loin, house-made sausage, glazed chestnuts, and an array of hot cocktails to warm you for the holiday. The meal, sans drinks, runs $95 per person on Christmas Day.

Finally, to round out the full holiday dining experience, Takashi is open for their usual dinner hours, and offer a take on the traditional Jewish feast for Christmas—Asian cuisine. True, usually it’s Chinese food that makes the scene, but up the ante here, and celebrate at this West Villageyakiniku with a make-your-own cow blood pancake with apple cider butter or the seven-day miso-marinated grilled sweetbreads with saffron risotto.

No matter how you do it, these are all bloody great starts to 2013.

Strolling Around New York With Its Most Likable Brummie Chef, April Bloomfield

On a stormy Friday afternoon, a girl sat staring at her pig. More specifically, April Bloomfield, the Birmingham-born chef who first brought gastropubs to New York with The Spotted Pig, and later The Breslin and The John Dory Oyster Bar, eyed a pile of homemade malfatti pasta tangled up with tree frog-green arugula and glistening bits of rosy suckling pig at Maialino, one of the chef’s neighborhood haunts. It is an apt choice considering the chef there, Nick Anderer, handles Italian food much in the same way Bloomfield expresses English cuisine: balancing high and low, delicate and rustic, with lots of hog thrown in. Bloomfield is just settling back into her cooking routines after a grueling book tour for her first cookbook, A Girl and Her Pig: Recipes and Stories. So she was extra happy to visit her favorite New York hangouts.

april bloomfield maialino

2 Lexington Ave, New York, NY

(212) 777-2410
I live around the corner and come here at all times of the day. There’s this wonderful thing on the menu called a caramellato. It’s basically a brioche bun dipped in butterscotch vanilla sauce. They’re addictive. You can buy six to-go, but they’ll only do six. I’ve tried to convince them to give me more, but chef Nick wouldn’t do it.

april bloomfield kalustyan's

123 Lexington Ave, New York, NY

(212) 685-3451
Being from England, I love curry. It’s our national dish, and this is the most amazing spice shop you’ll ever come across to find it. You know how you can spend hours in hardware stores, whether you love home improvement or not? This is the equivalent for chefs. It’s not just a spice shop though. They have vinegars, oils, sugars, salts, nuts, and grains.

april bloomfield bonnie slotnick

Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks
163 W. 10th St., New York, NY

(212) 989-8962

When I first moved to New York, I found this tiny store. Bonnie has old books and modern books and everything in between. We’re picking up a book today that my friend Matt Dillon [of Sitka & Spruce] in Seattle recommended. It’s called Auberge of the Flowering Hearth. I’m excited to just go read it and touch the pages. Sometimes it’s nice to pick up an book that has that old smell. You don’t get that smell with iPads. They all just smell like Apple.

april bloomfield the smile

The Smile
26 Bond St., New York, NY

(646) 329-5836
When you’re at The Smile, you feel like you’ve stepped out of New York. I really like places that transport you. The Smile is rustic and perfect for a rainy day like this when you can curl up with a cup of tea—though the coffee here is great, too—and their delicious avocado salad.

april bloomfield korin

57 Warren St., New York, NY

(212) 587-7021

I heard about Korin from one of my chefs at The Breslin. The first time I ever went down, I was a little overwhelmed, but everyone is so helpful and friendly. They do a range of Japanese and Western-style knives. I got one that was sort of both—slightly firmer metal so they’re easy to clean and they don’t oxidize so much—instead of a totally traditional Japanese–style knife that is harder to maintain. They’re not a chain. It’s just a one–off. It’s not like Sur La Table. I like to support the smaller guy.

Photos by Eric Medsker.

New York Openings: The John Dory Oyster Bar, Mary Queen of Scots

Mary Queen of Scots (Lower East Side) – Something about Mary: former queen of France and Scotland gets a rustic brasserie-pub in her honor. ● The John Dory Oyster Bar (Garment District) – Grand Central Oyster Bar inspires seafood-centric spinoff of the Spotted Pig.