Tapestry Is Intricately Stitched Together From Fresh Produce and Indian Spices
Harira posole, a mash-up of North African and Mexican stews
At Tapestry, which opened along Greenwich Avenue in May, Suvir Saran offers goose, duck, and chicken eggs from his farm in Hebron, New York, near the New Hampshire border. Boasting intensely lush yolks, they shine in a rotating lineup of specials: fried and laid over white and green asparagus; perched atop fiddlehead ferns and bacon, which the chef also cures; as part of a salad next to seared foie gras; and deviled with coriander-rich sambar powder. Each is a delicious rebuttal to "farm to table" naysayers, and their provenance is a reminder that although the New Delhi–born chef and cookbook author helped to popularize the upscaling of Indian home cooking, his latest project is something else entirely.
From this deep-set, multitiered West Village dining room, Saran marries global flavors and virtuous sourcing, occasionally relegating Indian spices to a background role. It's an approach he's explored in his last two cookbooks, and at Tapestry, collaborating with chefs de cuisine Joel Corona and Aarti Mehta, he builds on that foundation. If it's fusion, it feels organic: a genuine representation of Saran's trajectory after leaving New York City in 2012. Here, he channels his experiences embracing an agricultural life from the perspective of a chef. In tribute to the rabbits raised by a neighboring farm, he turns out a superlative, bacon-wrapped terrine (two generous slabs fetching $22). Studded with pistachios and flavored with Pernod anise liqueur, the charcuterie comes with stacked brioche toast points and what the menu lists as "rabbit grazings," which might include carrots, frisée, or edible flowers.
Some dishes on the wide-ranging menu — divided into sections for vegetables, meats, and "noshing" — lean more toward New American greenmarket cooking (the eggs). Others, like lentil and rice porridge with zippy mint-lime gremolata, have clearly defined Indian DNA. Saran cleverly gives brussels sprouts the chaat treatment, charring and substituting them for the fried dough this desi street snack usually comprises. It's served up with a lively mix of yogurt, mint, cilantro, and tamarind. Multicolored cauliflower, meanwhile, is seasoned in Indo-Chinese Hakka fashion but ultimately overwhelmed by sweet and sticky tomato jam.
Overwhelmingly, though, it's the kitchen's most culturally interwoven recipes that yield the greatest successes. I'd order the fritto misto again in a heartbeat. The battered and browned calamari, shrimp, and lemon slices are coated in rice flour and cornmeal and trimmed with earthy aromatics like flash-fried curry leaves and roasted black garlic. Mint and pickled onions punch up an artistic sea bass ceviche (layered inside a ring of cucumber); the cilantro- and lime-juice-cured seafood contrasts nicely with creamy avocado. And tender duck confit served on a cornmeal sope is a rich foil for yogurt crema and a fresh chopped salad.
Poultry stars in two entrées, both worthwhile. Fried chicken, one of Saran's early forays into this cooking style, is still delightful with crunchy breading. Laying it over lemony mashed potatoes, he reinforces his Silk Road picnic theme with a vibrant, peanut-studded slaw. "Harira posole," a chicken, chickpea, and hominy concoction, is a mash-up of North African and Mexican stews. It gets some raucous help from cumin and chiles accented with cilantro, onions, and radishes. Both of them best the restaurant's seafood and red-meat main courses (though a special of sweetly glazed pork ribs with greens and pickled melon will sate more carnivorous diners).
Cocktails from beverage manager Jessy Peters play with salt, spice, and fresh produce to vivid effect; snap peas and basil, for instance, flavor a gin-based drink appropriately dubbed the Green Snapper. Her wine selections are split among new- and old-world vineyards and are, for the neighborhood, budget-friendly. Pastry chef Crystal Hanks's handiwork, meanwhile, will suit a sweet tooth, although her puddings (banana, sticky toffee) verge on cloying. Better to try the passionfruit pavlova, its tart curd filling meringue and presented alongside macerated strawberries, whipped cream, and molecular passionfruit caviar.
For his reentry into NYC's dining orbit, Saran partnered with restaurateur Roni Mazumdar, a co-owner of casual modern Indian restaurant the Masalawala on the Lower East Side. Tapestry, while largely informal, aims a bit higher. At meal's end, servers place ceramic vessels filled with mignardises — chocolate truffles, candied orange peel, peppery marshmallows — on the table. The parting gift feels like a sly wink from the agrarian chef, an acknowledgment that he still knows how to cater to cosmopolitan crowds.
60 Greenwich Avenue, 212-373-8900
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