For this week’s review, I headed down to Battery Park City to check out North End Grill, one of three eateries Danny Meyer has erected in the neighborhood in the past year. Floyd Cardoz, formerly the chef at Tabla, is running the kitchen, dishing up a menu of American classics, many of which have unexpected twists or exotic flavorings. Here are five unexpected dishes to try.
1. Cod Throats Meunière: This was my favorite dish on the menu — simple in concept, but it blew me away in flavor. Cod throats are rare enough, but the real winner here is the meunière sauce. Not just a bland butter-lemon treatment you find in French bistros, this version is decked out with lime (it even had finger lime pulp at one point) and jalapeño for a complex, savory finish.
2. Crab and Pumpkin Soup: Before dining here, I had never really thought of pairing crab with pumpkin, but this soup, heavily spiced with Indian flavors evocative of what Cardoz was doing at Tabla, illustrates their happy marriage.
3. Elysian Fields Lamb Loin With Minted Chickpeas: Again, you’ll find subtle spices in the vegetable garnish here, all of which become even brighter thanks to the addition of preserved lemon. The meat is expertly cooked and pairs lovingly with the veg.
4. Berkshire Pork Chop: This is some fine swine. A good pork chop is hard to come by, with so many overcooked and gnarly. But here, the meat is juicy and flavorful — that’s to say, a chop you’d actually want to order again and again.
5. Eccles Cake: It’s very rare to find Eccles cake, a British dessert of a flaky, sugary bun stuffed with currants, on a menu in New York City, so whenever I see it, I order it. It’s a good dessert for people who don’t have a sweet tooth, and this version came garnished with a hearty mountain of nutty shaved cheddar. Add in an after dinner drink, and you’ve got a swell finale to your meal.