Once considered an overlooked garnish, the pickle has never before been more front and center on plates — and in glasses. And while there is a slew of New York producers who have been hard at work canning cucumbers, the city’s penchant for pickling doesn’t stop there. In honor of National Pickle Day, here are just a few ways that restaurants across town are exploring the many possibilities of the pickle.
Pickled Mackerel and The Poppy Gibson, Bergen Hill, 387 Court Street, Brooklyn
Brining makes its way behind the bar at the two-month-old Bergen Hill, where a pickled onion is a sweet and sour kicker to the poppy gibson — an herbaceous and refreshing stir of aquavit and cucumber syrup. In the kitchen, chef Andrew D’Ambrosi creates a pickling trifecta — mackerel and sour gherkins in garlic and dill brine plus beets steeped in a red vinegar variant — for the mackerel dish ($12), a primary color-hued coming together of bold flavors.
Nantucket Bay Scallop Crudo with Pine Nut Hozon and Pickled Pumpkin, Toro, 85 Tenth Avenue
Pickling gets seasonal at Toro, where chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette top Nantucket Bay scallops with thinly sliced pumpkin that is pickled with salt, sugar, hot water, fennel seeds, and black peppercorns ($15). The briny bites are then topped with yuzu vinaigrette — a zesty layer of pumpkin seed oil, yuzu juice, and pine nut hozon — a gift to the guys from friend David Chang.
Berkshire Pork Shoulder and Brooklyn Farm Salad, Nightingale 9, 345 Smith Street, Brooklyn
The team behind Seersucker and Smith Canteen are calling upon fermented fruits to balance Vietnamese street food favorites at its latest Smith Street venture. In the Berkshire pork shoulder ($16), pickled green papaya offers zippy relief from rich, wok-seared pulled pork and chili lemongrass shrimp paste-coated rice noodle sheets. Meanwhile, brined bitter melon is tossed with a creamy benne seed dressing for the Brooklyn farm salad ($9).
Fried Brussels Sprouts with Pickled Cranberries, Edi & The Wolf, 102 Avenue C
Cranberries take on a whole new tartness at East Village Austrian eatery Edi & The Wolf, where Michelin-starred chefs Eduard Frauneder and Wolfgang Ban pickle the cool month shrub in apple cider vinegar, sugar, and peppercorns before tossing it with fried and sautéed brussels sprouts and tangy shallot and mustard vinaigrette ($8). Apple cider vinegar, the restaurant’s brining agent of choice, also ferments plums for the wild sockeye salmon with brioche croutons and pepquino ($10).
The Pickle Plate, The Library at The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street
Salty and sour flavors get specific at The Library, where chef Zach Faulisi assembles an appetizer of up to seven different kinds of pickles — each with their own individual brine. Caraway seed imparts an anise overtone to baby carrots, turmeric-brined romanesco cauliflower florets get a peppery makeover, cucumbers are bright in a dill marinade, and horseradish leaves cool weather rutabaga and baby turnips tasting hotter than ever.