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Santina Awarded Two Stars by Pete Wells

Santina Awarded Two Stars by Pete Wells

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This week, New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells reviewed Santina, the latest endeavor from the Major Food Group — the gentlemen behind CARBONE, Dirty French, Parm, and ZZ’s Clam Bar. Just as he did to Dirty French back in December, he gave its corporate sibling two stars.

Wells describes Santina as an oasis from the bitter cold of January, when he visited what must have been just days after it opened. He was pleased by the year-round summer vibe the eatery exudes through its décor (”Santina’s new glass-box building sits under the High Line like an unwisely located greenhouse, but oranges grew on the branches of a little tree, potted palms sat in the corners, heliconia and other tropical flowers gushed from glazed urns above the bar”), the servers’ dress code (“Servers wore jelly-bean-colored polo shirts and slim-waisted chinos, like Dean Martin reaching for his 9-iron at Pebble Beach”), and, of course, the food (“Almost all the food at Santina pulses with the bright, refreshing flavors we crave in hot weather and, it turns out, in other months, too”). He recommends the “Cecina; giardinia crudité; squash carpaccio; radish and salmon; house anchovies; minestrone; shrimp zingara; guajillo chicken; swordfish dogana; eggplant sesame; spicy potatoes; [and] grapefruit Italian ice.”

Why no third star? In this review, the critic was clear about where Santina misses the mark. Wells admits that the plates chefs Carbone and Haar create are “fairly complex stuff,” which is why they suffer when “occasionally a heavy hand gets the better of the kitchen and the summer sun turns oppressive. Blue crab meat with spaghetti became mired in an oily glop of tomato sauce, and excess pork fat dragged down a bowl of warm rice salad tossed with guanciale and heaps of black pepper. Sea bass Agrigento, though cooked just right and buoyed by herbs and orange sections, sank under suffocating amounts of red peppers.” The opposite is true with the desserts, which puzzles the critic, who muses that they “almost seem underthought… the pastry tubes are limp. So is the tart shell… All the desserts are gluten-free, a worthwhile goal, but the substitutions entail more sacrifice than they probably should. The meringue puff topped with lime custard is very good, but it could use company.”

As always, Wells leaves us bit perplexed by his secret methodology, as it seems to us that this is exactly the type of the overwrought dining experience — the kind that has become nearly ubiquitous in the Meatpacking District — the critic disdains. Tommy Bahama-esque uniformed staff? Drinks served in porcelain pineapples? This is so not what we thought his deal is (nor, can we say, is it ours). In fact, what left us most confused was his somewhat contradictory description of the venue. While toward the beginning, Wells tells us that “Even when the front doors opened, the building is so painstakingly designed by the architect Renzo Piano (with the firm Beyer Blinder Belle) that its vestibule kept the cold winds of the meatpacking district from invading the dining room,” toward the end of the review, he states that you’ll be happy once you’re through with your meal “if the noise ricocheting off the glass walls hasn’t gotten to you,” and dubs the sound level inside as “Oppressive at peak capacity.” Major Food Group is known to play their music at extreme volumes throughout their venues, and we have been regaled with stories of staff flat-out refusing to lower the pumping beats. The thought of this scenario combined with the high-ceilinged glass structure, gimmicky cocktails, and lackluster desserts does not conjure images of paradise — in fact, we think this closely describes the exact opposite. I guess we’ll just have to save up a ticket to the real thing.

Aska Fredrik Berselius

He celebrates the heritage and tradition of his native Sweden, his land in upstate New York, and a deep appreciation for the restaurant's home in Brooklyn.

Berselius shares his culinary journey of Scandinavian flavors and techniques through the courses of his exquisite seasonally-driven tasting menu, which features ingredients from an urban farm and local producers across the Northeast United States. With a stark and poetic Nordic aesthetic, Aska includes 85 recipes, evocative personal writing, and stunning photography.

"Mr. Berselius is the rare chef who thinks like an artist and gets away with it." —Pete Wells, New York Times


  • Format: Hardback
  • Size: 290 x 214 mm (11 3/8 x 8 3/8 in)
  • Pages: 240 pp
  • Illustrations: 120 illustrations
  • ISBN: 9780714875774

Originally from Sweden, Fredrik Berselius has spent most of his culinary career in New York. He opened Aska in its original location in 2012, where he was recognized for bridging the culinary heritage of his upbringing with the immediate environs of his Brooklyn address. Within less than a year, Berselius earned his first Michelin star and Aska was named one of the 10 Best New Restaurants in America by Bon Appétit. In 2016, Berselius reopened Aska in a new location where it was shortly thereafter awarded two Michelin stars. Find Fredrik on Instagram @fredrikberselius and @askanyc.

"From the famed Nordic chef in honor of his two-Michelin-star Brooklyn restaurant. His poetic musings. Come in a close second place to the stunning food photography."&mdashTasting Table

"This season's prettiest entry in the 'collectible, not cookable' category is from the excellent Brooklyn restaurant Aska."&mdashBon Appétit

"[A] looker. Filled with essays that give insight into Berselius's philosophy on food alongside photography of the warehouse turned restaurant, and the urban garden and upstate farm that service it."&mdashNew York Magazine Online

"The stories and inspiration behind the creative food. Make for a fascinating read. The book details the journey of establishing that acclaimed restaurant and the space it resides in. With a stark and poetic Nordic aesthetic, Aska includes 85 recipes, evocative personal writing and stunning photography."&mdashPrivate Edition Magazine (South Africa)

"The book is wonderfully made. A document that not only allows people to recreate, or draw inspiration from recipes, but also tells the story of nearly every aspect of his life in New York and [Berselius'] restaurant Aska. Different from a lot of other cookbooks, as it doesn't limit itself to life behind the stove, but encompasses life in general."&mdashMendo (Netherlands)

"Like Berselius's cooking, the book is beautiful in its severity and commitment."&mdashGrub Street

"Fredrik Berselius, chef and co-owner of two Michelin-starred Aska, shares his culinary journey from Scandinavia to Brooklyn in his debut cookbook. Discover how specific flavours from these areas are woven into dishes on the restaurant's tasting menu, showcasing key ingredients such as seaweed, langoustine, orpine, rutabaga, roe, venison, pig's blood, herring, and linden flowers."&mdashEpicure Asia

"Intricate, beautifully plated creations include the likes of langoustine with chamomile and nasturtium. This is minimalism with a poet streak. Stunning photography and evocative writing make this an all-round treat."&mdashThe Lady

"A stunning book. Aska has impact, beauty, charm and a great deal of imagination. A gift-quality volume and one over which to pore. Perfect bedtime reading for any prospective chef. Aska will likely have a passionate fan-base of culinary professionals or those considering a career in hospitality. It would also be appreciated by anyone who wants to take their home cooking to new gastronomic heights. A marvellous gift for any dedicated foodie."&

"Two-Michelin-starred, Swedish-born chef Fredrik Berselius' achingly beautiful creations appear to put nature on the plate in front of you. Some of the most impactful presentations are the most simple, yet belie the numerous processes that go into their creation. Berselius writes evocatively about his Swedish homeland, his foraging trips to upstate New York and being a restaurateur and chef in Brooklyn.Aska provides genuine insight into the mind of an exciting chef who appears to be pushing the boundaries of his own creativity I get the feeling that there is much more to come from him."&

"This gorgeous black bible from the restaurant Aska offers an insight into the Aska-philosophy, their food vision, their staff and the restaurant and includes recipes from around the world. It's a memoir, a recipe book, and a look inside Fredrik's mind and heart."&mdashVanilla (Australia)

"Leafing through the book, you get a real sense of duality about Berselius' cooking, which encompasses both the delicate and the beautiful and the raw and savage, often on the same plate. With two Michelin stars, two acclaimed restaurants and a successful cookbook under his belt, Berselius has already achieved a lot."&mdash Chef Magazine

Take that, France: US chefs won the Olympics of cooking for the first time ever

If you’ve ever watched the numerous cooking competitions hosted on the Food Network—Chopped, Beat Bobby Flay, Cons vs. Cooks—you probably believe you’re on top of the crème de la crème of cuisine face-offs. For those who really know food, however, there’s only one real contest and that’s the Bocuse d’Or. For the first time in its 30-year history, the Americans have won it.

The two chefs leading Team USA, Thomas Keller and Matthew Peters, both of the renowned New York City restaurant, Per Se, took a year off work to prepare for the competition. They led a team of 10 chefs. Norway snagged a silver medal and Iceland claimed the bronze.

The 24 competing teams were tasked with preparing a meat platter and a vegan dish in under six hours. The competition took place in a large hall in Lyon, France, in which spectators cheered their respective teams. An estimated 300 Americans showed up to support their national team—nearly all of them commercial sponsors, according to a report by The New York Times (paywall). Unlike many teams in the competition, the US team isn’t funded by the government.

“I don’t think our government knows who we are,” Keller told the Times.

The judges awarded points for each dish and for overall cuisine to determine a winner. The top five teams were the US, Norway, Iceland, Hungary, and France.

CountryVegan dishMeat dishCuisine juryToal points

The win was a particularly nice coup for Keller. It came after Per Se lost two of its four stars in a 2016 review by Pete Wells, The New York Times food critic. Keller issued an apology after the review was published, telling customers, “we are sorry we let you down.”

The deftness of his and Peters’ cooking styles and leadership during the competition manifested in a “Poulet de Bresse aux Écrevisses” dish that included chicken, mushroom sausage, and lobster sauce alongside fois gras and lobster tail. For the vegan dish, the American team prepared asparagus from California with cremini mushrooms, almonds, potatoes, and Meyer lemon confit, among other things. It was the first time in the competition’s history that a vegan dish was incorporated.

Unfortunately for anyone who has six hours to try and recreate these culinary masterpieces, the competition has not published the recipes.

The Beatrice Inn Gets a Cookbook

In “Butcher + Beast,” the chef Angie Mar tells the restaurant’s story through meaty recipes and flashy photography.

The Beatrice Inn in the West Village has been on New York’s dining map since the 1920s, when it started as a speakeasy. Angie Mar, its chef, butcher and now an owner, tells its story in a new cookbook, which features a seasonal roster of meaty recipes to tempt big appetites and cooks who might not be daunted by provocative photos of whole raw livers, swaths of honeycomb tripe and high-fashion footwear. After decades as a nightclub and celebrity haunt, the restaurant became Graydon Carter’s vision of a chophouse. Then Ms. Mar brought it back into the limelight. (Pete Wells awarded it two stars in 2016.) Chicken liver pâté, lovely quince tarte Tatin and buttermilk fried chicken are among the least challenging recipes in the book. At the opposite end, you have beef aged in whiskey that must occupy the far-reaches of your fridge for a good five months, smoked meats and complex meat pies.

“Butcher & Beast: Mastering the Art of Meat” by Angie Mar with Jamie Feldmar (Clarkson Potter, $40).

Pete Wells Awards Two Stars to Blanca in Bushwick

This week, Pete Wells files on Carlo Mirarchi's 12-seat fine dining surprise, Blanca. The critic notes that "Mr. Mirarchi and his staff are trying to find a new voice for fine dining," and that many of the dishes on the tasting menu succeed:

Caviar was the first of 27 courses that touched down on a porcelain runway. At the far end of the runway, under the glass eyes and gaping mouth of a mounted bluefin tuna head, were two red pieces of raw meat, a lamb loin and a steak. In a steakhouse, each one might have passed for a single serving. But here, inside a converted auto-body shop in Bushwick, those cuts of meat commanded attention. They had presence.

Carlo Mirarchi, Blanca's chef, excels at finding that kind of presence in his ingredients. One course, about midway through dinner, presented new potatoes and Japanese sweet potatoes with a dab of buttermilk and watercress juice. He had coaxed a sensuousness out of the potatoes that gave them equal standing with any animal protein that night.

Steve Cuozzo gives two stars to Salumeria Rosi on the Upper East Side: "The menu breaks no new ground but works the known earth/territory well. Acqua pazza came alive with John Dory and light broth humming a ginger-and-thyme tune. Squid ink risotto tasted as sensuous as the plump specimen looked amid a sea of seppia-blackened Carnaroli rice. There are even a few bargains. A $17 antipasto, sgombro (mackerel), turned out to be nearly secondi-size, the fish in deep-green dandelion puree and chickpeas. " [NYP]

Robert Sietsema loves the Thai fare at Chao Thai Too in Elmhurst, Queens: "Perhaps the most unusual recipe on a bill of fare filled with them is homok ($9.50). This mousse—also eaten on the other side of the Mekong River in Laos—is an airy whip of fish, coconut milk, egg, and curry, achieving a lovely shade of dark orange. Two heaps per plate shaped like inverted teacups and cradled in banana leaves, they're irresistibly good." [VV]

Adam Platt awards two stars to the first NYC branch of Japanese chain Ootoya: "I agree with the picky Japanese-food experts about the soba and sashimi at Ootoya, and there might be better examples of classic pork katsu around town, too. But if you've spent time eating yourself silly in unpretentious restaurants around Japan, like I have, or if you're tired of blowing cash on increasingly pricey, non-carbon-friendly sushi dinners and want to experience the bustling intimacy of a populist Tokyo meal, then this is the place for you." [GS/NYM]

Stan Sagner wishes the food was better at Miss Lily's: "The Grilled Pork Ribs ($14) were meaty and tender, but their cloying glaze had little spark. For a moment, I wondered if I had accidentally wandered into Applebee's. Juicy Snapper Ceviche (billed as Fluke, at $14), served in vintage-style glass sundae cups, was bright and fresh, though its marinade resembled fruit punch and lacked any discernible acidity. Equally missed was the promised snap of Scotch bonnet." [NYDN]

Jay Cheshes approves of the Italian fare at Salumeria Rosi on the UES: "White bean, fresh tomato and old-bread panzanella is a straightforward classic. Orecchiette with broccoli rabe and crumbled pork sausage is pretty textbook as well. But the food is much more exciting when it goes out on a limb. The old prohibitions on mixing seafood and cheese have no standing at all with Italy's cutting-edge chefs. Casella weighs in with long, thin bavettine in an oceanic carbonara: a rich, creamy mix of egg yolk, flaked sea bass, lemon zest, bottarga and grana padano." [TONY]

THE ELSEWHERE: Ligaya Mishan is a big fan of the noodles at Pok Pok Phat Thai, Gael Greene is impressed by many of the dishes at kooky newcomer Ducks Eatery, Tejal Rao finds a mixed bag at Sel Et Gras in the West Village, and Andrea Scott of Tables for Two likes the food but not the atmosphere at Swine.

THE BLOGS: Serious Eats gives an A minus to M. Wells Dinette in Long Island City, Eat Big Apple finds that the food is still very good at Dumont, the Pink Pig samples some of the new dishes at Empellon Cocina, the Immaculate Infatuation boys dig Exchange Alley in the East Village, the Food Doc files on the new menu at Eleven Madison Park, and New York Journal loves the view and the Korean barbecue at Gaonnuri.
· All Coverage of Reviews [

As a restaurant manager of 20 years, I am practiced at systems and organization. At Empellon, I took that to a new level. Chef Alex explained that the best restaurants do the same things day in and day out, without compromise. I began with myself. Each day I would enter the restaurant at 9:05am, I said hello to the team of Chefs already busy with work in the prep kitchen. I hung my coat, opened my laptop, and checked the cover spread for lunch. I met the overnight cleaning team and walked the space, always finding at least three items for them to touch up before they departed. I walked to my desk, wrote the floor plan and my pre-shift meeting notes. On Fridays, at 10am, I also dusted the sculptures in the dining room. And so on, into meetings, service, afternoon walk outside, meetings, service, say goodnight to my team, Chef, and about 9:30pm, walk to my train.

For my team of managers and the service team, the similar routines were set:

Calibrate the espresso, practice cappuccino art, bring chef a cold brew to taste, straighten framed artwork on the west wall, check clock-ins of service team, check the locker rooms, check the bathrooms, check the bathrooms, check the bathrooms, polish wine glasses, polish silver, empty slop bucket, check tostada size and shape. And do it all again tomorrow, and again, and again. Then meet, and rehearse it, and then do it all again. Again.

It was our dance, and the choreography was extremely intentional. Every move we made was with thought. Every decision I made was in support of this vision, this routine.

Sure, the owners and managers knew the vision, but for the service and Chef teams to understand the vision, we had to create it within the culture of who we were. How did we do this? Well, that’s not simple to answer, but I can tell you that:

· We hired carefully.

· We trained constantly.

· The service team meditated, together, before every lunch service and every dinner service.

· We helped each other.

· We challenged each other.

· We did not tolerate lateness.

· We committed to WOW-ing every guest.

· We became students of Chef Alex, of Mexico, of mezcal, of art.

· We took it personally when a fallen lime wedge stayed on the floor for more than 4 seconds.

· We scrubbed our bathroom floors tirelessly.

We were a team that knew we were part of something miraculous. We were honored to give warm and charming service. We were honored to cook and serve Chef Alex’s recipes. We were a three-star team and Pete Wells agreed! (still gives me goosebumps)

The Modern: Two Michelin Stars

Michelin, arguably the world&rsquos most recognized restaurant guide, unveiled its 2016 star ratings for New York restaurants today, and the big winner was Danny Meyer&rsquos The Modern, was elevated to two stars under chef Abram Bissell. Anonymous inspectors award worthy venues with either one star (&ldquoa very good restaurant in its category&rdquo), two stars (&ldquoexcellent cuisine, worth a detour&rdquo), or three stars (&ldquoexceptional cuisine, worth a special journey&rdquo). No new restaurants were admitted into the three star category this year.

Another big winner was the service-included Atera ($235), which retained its two stars after chef Matthew Lightner left earlier this year he was replaced by Danish chef Ronny Emborg. Semilla in Williamsburg, whose affordable vegetable tasting menu ($85) won over critics across town, earned a coveted star in its first year of business. Gabriel Kreuther, the longtime chef at The Modern, also earned a star for his eponymous effort on Bryant Park.

Michelin originally planned on announcing its results during a gala tonight in Lower Manhattan. Then something called &ldquoTwitter&rdquo happened. Excited chefs, who learned of their individual rankings after receiving phone calls from Michelin, started sharing their results all over social media yesterday and today. So the Red Guide went ahead and released its full list of starred restaurants a bit early.

Here are some initial thoughts on this year&rsquos guide, followed by the full list.

The Modern&rsquos elevation to two stars makes it the highest Danny Meyer-rated restaurant in the guide, and the first Union Square Hospitality Group restaurant to hold more than a single star since Meyer sold the three-starred Eleven Madison Park to chef Daniel Humm and General Manager Will Guidara. The Modern is Meyer&rsquos most expensive restaurant set menus in the formal dining room run $98-$138.

Expensive &ndash but not necessarily exorbitant &ndash Japanese restaurants made up a good deal of the new starred selections. Among those venues were Cagen, which charges $130 for kappo tastings, Hirohisa, whose omakase menus run $100-$150, Sushi Yasuda, where a service-included meal will run $100-$150 before sake, and Tempura Matsuri, which charges $200 for a tasting that culminates in a bunch of fried stuff. Okay maybe that last&rsquos one&rsquos exorbitant.

Japanese restaurants also made up some of the bigger snubs of the year. Nakazawa, which received a rare four-star New York Times review in 2013 (as well as a three star review from this critic), was left off the list for yet another year. Also omitted were Nick Kim and Jimmy Lau&rsquos enormously popular Shuko ($135-$175), and Nancy and Tim Cushman&rsquos Boston-import O Ya ($185-$245). And sushi spot 15 East lost its star after chef Masato Shimizu left the restaurant to move to Bangkok with his wife.

Cosme, the New York debut of Enrique Olvera, arguably the world&rsquos most acclaimed Mexican chef, did not earn a spot on starred list for 2016, its first year of eligibility. The omission puts Michelin at odds with local reviewers the New York Times, New York Magazine, and this critic all awarded three stars to the Flatiron District restaurant. Casa Enrique remains the city&rsquos only Michelin-starred Mexican spot.

All six of New York&rsquos three Michelin-starred restaurants kept that honor. Those venues, as one might expect, are all quite expensive. They are: Per Se ($310, service included), Brooklyn Fare ($306, service-included), Le Bernardin ($140-$205), Jean-Georges ($138-$218), Eleven Madison Park ($225), and Masa ($450, America&rsquos priciest restaurant).

On the Thai front, Zabb Elee in Queens was kicked off the list, but Issan-themed Somtum Der, known for its incendiary papaya salads, was added, as was Uncle Boons, whose lamb laab and rotisserie chicken earned it a glowing Eater review in April.

Major Food Group kept its stars for Carbone, a Rao&rsquos-style red sauce scene where high-rollers eat $63 veal chops, and for ZZ&rsquos Clam Bar, where a just few bites of Golden Eye snapper will set you back $50. But Michelin withheld stars from the group&rsquos two newer (and slightly more affordable) restaurants: Dirty French, a love letter to global gallic fare, and Santina, a hotspot underneath the High Line that hawks chickpea crepes with hot sauce.

Anissa, Anita Lo&rsquos very adult and very excellent fine dining spot in the Village, was left off the starred list for a second year in a row. New York Times critic Pete Wells upgraded the restaurant to three stars in 2014.
Perhaps the biggest surprise on the list was The Finch, a small American spot in Clinton Hill by Gabe McMackin (Stone Barns, Gramercy Tavern). Eater&rsquos Robert Sietsema enjoyed his meals there, praising the ambitious offerings in a two-star review. He wrote: &ldquoBest is a warm salad of shaved lamb tongue ($12) &mdash impossibly tender glottal organs wagging in a puddle of lemon puree. Who knew lamb tongues were so delicate and tasty?
Jonathan Benno, the longtime Per Se chef who went on to Italian-inspired acclaim at Lincoln (after a somewhat rocky start), did not earn a star for his efforts in the 2016 guide.

Pizza, barbecue, and ramen, three of New York&rsquos strongest and most vibrant cuisines, still remain unrepresented on the New York starred list. Instead, restaurants focusing on those wares, such as Roberta&rsquos, Mu Ramen, and Hometown Barbecue, are relegated to the Bib Gourmands, the Michelin guide&rsquos selection of cheap eats. Not impressive.

Rebelle, a gallic collaboration between chef Daniel Eddy (his raw fluke grenobloise with brown butter and capers is the real deal), and wine guru Patrick Cappiello (he only pours selections from the U.S. or France) earned a star. Contra, by contrast, the neo-bistrot that frequently hosts pop-ups by some of France&rsquos most important chefs, was left off the starred list again.

Estela by Ignacio Mattos, which President Barack Obama famously visited in 2014, was left off the list for another year. Michelin is well known for withholding stars, for no apparent reason, from wildly popular restaurants beloved by locals and critics alike Roberta&rsquos and Momofuku Ssam Bar are both longtime members of that group.

The 2016 New York Michelin List of Starred Restaurants:

Three Stars
Chef&rsquos Table at Brooklyn Fare
Eleven Madison Park
Le Bernardin
Per Se

Two Stars
Modern (The)
Momofuku Ko

One Star:
Ai Fiori
Blue Hill
Breslin (The)
Café Boulud
Café China
Cagen (new)
Casa Enríque
Casa Mono
Caviar Russe
Delaware and Hudson
Del Posto
The Finch (new)
Gabriel Kreuther (new)
Gotham Bar and Grill
Gramercy Tavern
Hirohisa (new)
Jewel Bako
Kyo Ya
La Vara
Luksus at Tørst
Minetta Tavern
Musket Room (The)
M. Wells Steakhouse
Peter Luger
Pok Pok Ny
Rebelle (new)
River Café (The)
Semilla (new)
Somtum Der (new)
Spotted Pig
Sushi Azabu
Sushi of Gari
Sushi Yasuda (new)
Take Root
Tempura Matsui
Tori Shin
Uncle Boons (new)
ZZ&rsquos Clam Bar

A Tangy, Crunchy Twist on a Mumbai Street Snack

What's in your refrigerator at any given time says a lot about you. In this series, GQ reached out to famous chefs with a deceptively simple, if revealing, question: What do you cook when you're by yourself and no one's watching?

There’s Indian food, then there’s Indian Accent, a restaurant that takes all the aromatic dishes and flavors of India that you love and presents them in a way unlike anything you’ve ever seen (or tasted) before. It’s the handiwork of Manish Mehrotra, a wildly creative chef considered to be one of India's best. He helped start Indian Accent in New Delhi back in 2009—the only restaurant in India to land a spot on Asia's 50 Best Restaurants list two years in a row—and has since set up the restaurant's first outpost in Midtown Manhattan. From the first few bites, you can tell you’re eating something really spectacular. In fact, The New York Times’s finicky, prose-loving food critic Pete Wells just gave Indian Accent two stars, citing the sweet pickle ribs, soft-shell crab koliwada, and soy keema.

Chef Mehrotra has traveled the world over, incorporating new flavors and techniques into traditional Indian dishes. When he finds the rare moment to cook something for himself (opening restaurants is a time-consuming affair, understandably), Chef Mehrotra opts for something quick and light, with a touch of nostalgia. Take his recipe for bhel puri, a popular snack made out of puffed rice, red onion, tamarind chutney, and chaat masala that originated from street food stands in Mumbai. But as you’ll see from the ingredients list alone, Chef Mehrotra rarely settles for what’s traditional. The results: incredibly tasty food with a hint of “what did I just eat?”

Chef Manish: “I find inspiration for my recipes from day-to-day life in India and from my travels. Everyone misses their childhood, so I take a lot of inspiration from my childhood. All of these things inspired me to create dishes that are very traditional but with a twist. It becomes not only Indian cuisine but global Indian cuisine. Bhel puri is a very, very basic thing to make, but with all the different ingredients here, every person in America can relate to it and even make it themselves. There's nothing difficult about it. There's so much mystery and fear around Indian food, that there are so many spices. People are intimidated, so I really want to make these Indian recipes in an easy, relatable way.

In different parts of India you get different versions of bhel puri. If you go to the eastern part of India they drizzle a little bit of raw mustard oil, which gives it a really big wasabi punch to it. This one is very refreshing, not too heavy, and easy to digest. And it's fun! Sometimes you don't really feel like having salad with lettuce. You force yourself to eat that. Because this is made with rice, it fills you up. It has a nice mix of texture, all these different flavors, colors. And it's completely vegan.

Everybody has avocado, cucumbers, onion. Fox nuts are a little harder to find, but that's optional. You should always add some kind of nut, whether it's almonds, pine nuts, peanuts. You can also add whatever seeds you like: sunflower, flax, pumpkin. You can add really anything. There's no hard and fast rule to this, other than the puffed rice. You can buy any kind of puffed rice you want. Making it at home is slightly difficult. If you're going to do it, take leftover rice and spread it on a baking sheet and put in the oven at a very low temperature overnight until it becomes dry. Then flash fry it.

The essential ingredients for Indian food are very simple: onion, tomatoes, ginger, and garlic, which everyone already has in their house. In terms of spices, I think everyone should keep chaat masala around, especially during the summer. It's great to sprinkle on watermelon or salad, anything you want really. It's perfect.”

Puffed Rice and Quinoa Bhel Puri

1 tbs Black rice puffs
1 tbs White rice puffs
1 tbs Quinoa puffs
1 tbs Roasted fox nuts (makhana)
1 tsp Roasted pine nuts
1 tsp Crushed roasted peanuts
2 tsp Diced avocado
2 tsp Chopped onion
2 tsp Chopped tomatoes
1 tbs Microgreens or Chopped lettuce
1 tsp Fresh coriander
2 tsp Lime juice
2 tsp Dried cranberries
1 tsp Tamarind chutney
Chaat Masala

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the puffs with nuts (you may use any other puffed grains or nuts of your choice). Add chopped tomato, onion, avocado, cranberries, and coriander. Drizzle tamarind chutney and Sriracha to taste. Sprinkle chaat masala, a squeeze of lime juice, and lightly toss until thoroughly mixed. Fold in microgreens or chopped lettuce. Adjust the seasoning and serve immediately.


179 E. Houston Street

The SHOP is open every day from 8:30am- 4:30pm for pre-order pick-up, courier delivery and customers (3 people are allowed in at a time). Masks are required. For pre-order pick-up (every day from 8:30am- 4:30pm) please call us at least 2 hours in advance. For courier delivery (every day from 9am to 6pm) please call us at least 24 hours in advance. Call 212-475-4880 x1 for pre-order pick-up and courier delivery. THE SHOP WILL BE CLOSING AT 2PM ON MEMORIAL DAY, MONDAY 5/31.

Please order online for nationwide shipping.Read more » Mon-Fri 9 AM - 4 PM --> Mon-Wed 8 AM - 6 PM
Thurs 8 AM - 7 PM
Fri-Sun 8 AM - 6 PM -->

GenHERation® Trailblazer Series With Restaurateur Ellen Yin

The GenHERation ® Trailblazer Series highlights groundbreaking women who have created their own career paths. These sessions will provide participants with meaningful ways to learn from accomplished experts, develop new skills, and prepare for the future. Sessions will take place virtually every Wednesday from October 7-December 9 (except Wednesday, November 25) from 7-7:30 PM EST/4-4:30 PM PST. Participants will receive a link via email the morning of the scheduled event to join the discussion. Registration is open until 5 PM EST/2 PM PST the day of the session.

View the complete GenHERation® Trailblazer Series schedule here.

Date: Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Time: 7-7:30 PM EST/4-4:30 PM PST

Guest: Ellen Yin, Restaurateur and Founder of High Street Hospitality Group

About Ellen Yin

As the founder and co-owner of High Street Hospitality Group (HSHG), restaurateur Ellen Yin operates five of the country’s most noteworthy restaurants and bars: Fork, High Street on Market, High Street Provisions and in Philadelphia, High Street on Hudson in Manhattan.

Yin was nominated “Outstanding Restaurateur” by the James Beard Foundation in 2018 and 2019, and was the 2019 Honoree of the Philadelphia Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International.

“Yin’s winning combination of business acumen, willingness to take risks and passion for hospitality” has helped her restaurants thrive, wrote Billy Penn’s Danya Henninger. “Yin’s eye for the details of polished professionalism have remained a constant…Fork has matured into one of the most compellingly evolved special-occasion dining experiences in Philadelphia today,” wrote The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Craig LaBan. Food Republic called Yin “the woman who first transformed Philadelphia’s dining scene…one of Philadelphia’s most successful and insightful restaurateurs” and Eater called her “a trailblazer of the farm-to-table movement…Yin’s work ethic is legendary.”

Fork was named one of the “20 Best Restaurants in Philadelphia” by Conde Nast Traveler in 2019, and the publication also named High Street on Market on their list of the “11 Best Brunch Places in Philadelphia.” High Street on Market was awarded The Inquirer’s “Restaurant of the Year” in 2014, and Bon Appetit named it number two in the country in their annual “America’s Best New Restaurants” issue in 2014. Likewise, Travel + Leisure named High Street on Market one of the best new restaurants in the world in 2015. High Street on Hudson earned a coveted “Two Stars” review from The New York Times’ Pete Wells, and the New York Post called it the best new restaurant of the year. Food & Wine included it among their 10 best of the year as well.

Since she debuted Fork in 1997, Yin’s leadership has included overseeing a team of talented professionals in all areas of the restaurant, from the award-winning chefs to the gracious and hospitable managers and front-of-house staff. Yin fosters a creative and welcoming environment in her restaurants, and alums frequently credit her with mentoring them.

Yin is also the author of Forklore: Recipes and Tales from an American Bistro (Temple University Press, 2007), a thoughtful chronicle of her ongoing success at creating and maintaining a definitive American bistro in Philadelphia’s historic Old City and served as the keynote speaker for graduation ceremonies at the Culinary Institute of America. Over the years, she has partnered with a number of dynamic chefs to keep Fork’s menu and concept fresh since bringing Chef Eli Kulp to Philadelphia in late 2012 (Chef Kulp is now Yin’s business partner in High Street Hospitality Group), Yin has expanded her smartly built family of restaurants to include more top locations and exciting talent. She is a graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and currently serves on the board of the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, the Arden Theater Company and the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Hospital.