Danny Meyer's restaurants are among the most acclaimed and beloved in the nation: Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Maialino, Blue Smoke, The Modern, and more, winners of an unprecedented number of James Beard Awards for outstanding food and hospitality. Read more...
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Danny Meyer's restaurants are among the most acclaimed and beloved in the nation: Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Maialino, Blue Smoke, The Modern, and more, winners of an unprecedented number of James Beard Awards for outstanding food and hospitality. "Family Table" takes you behind the scenes of these restaurants to share the food that the chefs make for one another before they cook for you.
Each day, before the lunch and dinner services, the staff sits down to a "family meal." It is simple, often improvised, but special enough to please the chefs' discerning palates. Now, for the first time, the restaurants' culinary director, Michael Romano, coauthor of the award-winning "Union Square Cafe Cookbook," collects and refines his favorite in-house dishes for the home cook, served alongside Karen Stabiner's stories about the restaurants' often-unsung heroes, and about how this imaginative array of dishes came to be. Their collaboration celebrates food, the family itself, and the restaurants' rich backstage life.
Some of the recipes are global and regional specialties: Mama Romano's Lasagna, Dominican Chicken, Thai Beef, Layered Huevos Rancheros, and Southern Cola-Braised Short Ribs. Many highlight fresh produce, like Michael Anthony's Corn Soup, Barley & Spring Vegetables with Pesto, Grilled Halibut with Cherry Tomatoes, Sugar Snap Peas & Lemon, and Plum & Apricot Crisp with Almond Cream. There are homey dishes like Turkey & Vegetable Potpie with Biscuit Crust and Streusel-Swirl Coffee Cake, and inventive, contemporary takes, like Cornmeal-Crusted Fish Tacos with Black Bean & Peach Salsa and a delightfully tangy Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Rhubarb-Strawberry Compote. What all these recipes have in common is ease and perfection.
"Family Table" is an invitation from the restaurant family to you: Please join in.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-02-04
- Reviewer: Staff
If you cannot afford to eat at Gramercy Tavern, you can at least afford to cook like one of its sous chefs. That’s the premise of this solid and accessible collection of more than 150 recipes, derived from the family-style meals shared by staffs of 10 different New York City restaurants, all owned by Danny Meyer and his Union Square Hospitality Group. Too many cooks may spoil the broth, but the four dozen or so contributors here are striving for something more than a simple consommé. For instance, there is chilled carrot soup with frizzled ginger, as served up to the cafeteria staff at the Museum of Modern Art; and Romano’s secret-ingredient soup from behind the scenes at the Union Square Cafe (spoiler alert: the secret ingredient is polenta). Most of the family-style entrees have been scaled to serve 4 to 6 people and cover a broad international spectrum, from jerk shrimp to lasagna to lamb meatballs with yogurt sauce. Meyer’s Indian restaurant, Tabla, closed at the end of 2010, but is preserved here with a staff favorite, macaroni and cheese made with Grana Padano and thyme. Photos of the cooks at work are interspersed throughout the 11 chapters, and several of the contributors receive full-page profiles, including Chris Bradley, the executive chef at the Whitney Museum’s restaurant, Untitled. Bradley has been known to treat his staff to pulled pork and beans. Agent: David Black. (Apr.)
If you get the dinnertime blues, there’s good news, and it’s all spelled out in The Dinnertime Survival Cookbook, Debra Ponzek’s collection of accessible recipes and tips for taking the blahs, boredom, bother and quotidian quandaries out of getting a good dinner on the table every night. Chef, caterer, owner of three shops offering company-branded prepared foods and mother of three growing kids, Ponzek knows her way around dinner and knows that we all can get stuck making the same things over and over. To shake things up, and get you out of that rut and into adding new, easy dishes to your repertoire, she offers ideas for organizing your shopping, whipping up your own sauces, salsas and pestos to make the ordinary extraordinary and adding just a few minutes of do-ahead prepping to your routine. Then you’ll find more than 125 recipes for a bevy of burgers, a savory slew of slow-cooked mains, pastas, soups, salads, new twists on chicken standards and desserts guaranteed to produce smiles and happy campers.
COOK WHAT YOU CRAVE
Sometime in the not-too-distant past Lucinda Scala Quinn, adamant advocate of the family meal, star of the Hallmark Channel’s popular show “Mad Hungry” and executive food editor of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, had an epiphany. And that epiphany led her to a new take on takeout that’s all summed up in Mad Hungry Cravings: 173 Recipes for the Food You Want to Eat Right Now. With Lucinda at your side, you can cook what you crave at home; it will be tastier, healthier and much less expensive, and you’ll have the added joy of sitting and savoring at your own table with family and friends. Now, when that unyielding yen for a Philly Cheesesteak, Shrimp Summer Rolls, Beef Satay with Thai Peanut Sauce, Chicken Tikka Masala, Cheese Tamales with Roasted Salsa Verde or Tiramisu comes over you, just turn to your well-stocked larder (instructions included on setting up four basic pantries—American, Asian, Mediterranean and Latin), turn on the stove and get to it. You’ll be able to cook up anything you hanker for.
TOP PICK IN COOKBOOKS
A restaurant staff, like an army, marches on its stomach (pace Napoleon). Well-fed workers, from exalted chef to newbie busperson, are happier and more productive if they take a break to break bread with the whole staff at the “family meal” they’re served before they serve you. For Danny Meyer, CEO of the Union Square Hospitality Group, which includes many of New York City’s most admired restaurants, and Michael Romano, his partner and culinary director of the group, these meals are essential to their philosophy of “enlightened hospitality.” Now Romano and food writer Karen Stabiner have collected more than 150 easy, affordable recipes, peppered with behind-the-scenes stories in Family Table: Favorite Staff Meals from Our Restaurants to Your Home. They range from staffers’ personal family favorites (marinated, oven-roasted Dominican Chicken) and innovations inspired by available ingredients (Caramelized Corn with Smoked Paprika) to “reconsidered classics” with innovative tweaks (Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe, Sausage and Ricotta). With good header notes and more-than-thorough instructions, these dishes will bring pizzazz and new pleasures to your own family table.