The Four Best Fall Food and Drink Tasting Menus
Foie gras at Manzo, Eataly
Forget pumpkin beer, we've got sherry, cider, and lots of wine to drink this fall, all paired with edible expressions of the season. Here are four of our favorite food and beverage menus served around town this month.
Box Kite (115 St. Marks Place, 212-574-820)
Cider! While not as popular as when our forefathers and foremothers swigged it, there's a strong revival of interest in the hard beverage made from apples, and curiosity is at its height in the fall when Cider Week hits NYC. To celebrate the drink's diversity, tiny operation Box Kite Coffee will host a five day pop-up cider pairing menu between October 28 and November 1.
Box Kite has collaborated on the ten-course meal with Rowan Imports, an importer and distributor focused solely on global hard ciders. Company rep Jeff Russell has selected both East Coast and European tipples to match each dish. Try butternut squash and cranberry with New York's Orchard Hill, or a mushroom consommé with pickled porcinis paired with a French cider uniquely characterized as having "bacon fat, brisket, and peat on the palate." The tasting menu, developed and executed by Dave Fisher and Serena Chow, is best described as new American with a blend of French and modern techniques, featuring fall ingredients.
The menu will be offered twice each night, at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., for $125 per person. If you're inclined to talk cider with Russell, he will do the pouring on the 30th. Reservations can be made at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Manzo at Eataly (200 Fifth Avenue, 212-229-2180)
Lovers of the sprawling Italian foodopolis Eataly may forget that the mega-market emphasizes fine dining as much as informal grazing and sipping. The formal dining space, Manzo, coordinates fall flavors with Italian (obviously) wines on a five-course, $75 menu (wine pairing is an additional $40) that will be offered through December.
Designed by Eataly's executive chef Fitz Tallon in conjunction wine director Emily Hand, menu highlights include foie gras prepared with autumnal flavors of apple, celery, and a cherry balsamic sauce, served with a dry sparkling wine from Aosta, a mountainous region near the Swiss border. Beef braised in Barolo gets a glass of the obvious -- Barolo. Concord grapes have arrived at farmers markets and adorn Manzo's dessert, too, providing a bright, grapey foil to creamy yogurt semifreddo, with a sweet, frothy red wine, Brachetto d'Acqui, for palate cleansing refreshment.
The Musket Room, (265 Elizabeth Street, 212-219-0764)
New Zealander Matt Lambert, co-owner and executive chef of Nolita restaurant The Musket Room, defied those skeptical of his first Michelin star (awarded after only four months of service last year) by earning the star from the esteemed guide again this year.
Originally from Auckland, Lambert's Antipodean-inspired cuisine receives the seasonal treatment every few weeks with an update to the six-course tasting menu. Running through the end of October, the current iteration is paired with predominantly Kiwi wines, selected by sommeliers Cameron Douglass and Dane Campbell.
Diners will sample cold smoked scallops with sweet and tangy black garlic and pear, combined with NZ's most exciting Chenin Blanc from producer Millton out of Gisborne. A Wairarapa Pinot Noir contributes red berry fruit and earth notes to sweetbreads and butternut squash, while a dense red blend from Man O'War winery on Waiheke Island mirrors the mineral, gamey flavors of New Zealand red deer.
The six-course menu costs $75 per person; the beverage pairing, an additional $60.
Donostia, (155 Avenue B, 646-256-9773)
Avenue B sherry mecca (45 by the glass!) and Basque tapas bar Donostia celebrates the legacy of sherry house Gonzalez Byass this fall with a menu that aligns small, regionally informed plates paired with a range of fortified wines from the brand, notably the Tio Pepe line.
The menu works to demonstrate the versatility of sherry in the glass drunk alongside a diverse range of flavors, as well as the wine's ability to enhance a dish when used in its preparation. The alchemy of a briny sea urchin pate with a nutty amontillado creates striking umami pop in the mouth, while an adult sundae of mascarpone gelato gets a flavor lift from a drizzle of sweet PX Nectar by Gonzalez Byass.
The $70 price tag includes nine sherries ranging from fino and amontillado to the sweet, viscous desert wine made from the Pedro Ximenex grape (PX for short). Patrons will have access to the rarely available Palmas series -- wines sourced from the Tio Pepe's finest barrels -- like the Tres Palmas, a 10-year-old fino-amontillado.
The menu will be available by request only, during lunch and dinner, Sunday through Wednesday, until December.
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