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Spring made an impact on our dining decisions this week, and we finally felt ready to cast off the heavy meats of summer for the produce and seafood we crave in the warmer months. The best things we ate this week include a platter of artichokes, a whole-roasted fish, and a cookie, for good measure.
Kinpira at 1 or 8, 66 South 2nd Street, Brooklyn, 718-384-2152
This sleek Williamsburg sushi joint does a well calibrated mix of traditional and modern raw fish offerings, but don’t skip the foresake the soup and appetizer part of the menu just to head straight to the nigiri and rolls. Then you’d miss the lovely scallop in bonito broth, the fluke carpaccio, and the kinpira, a deceptively simple blend of burdock root and carrots pooled in sweet soy sauce that’s both refreshing and indulgent — and an excellent start to a meal here.
Grilled baby artichokes at Bar Bolonat, 611 Hudson Street
There are flashier things on the menu at this new Israeli place from Einat Admony and Stefan Nafziger, and you’ll likely look first at the Jerusalem bagel, the Yemenite curry, and the green fatush. You should order all of them — plates here are meant for sharing, after all — and you should be sure to add the grilled baby artichokes, which matches the soft, slightly bitter vegetables to pistachio yogurt and a dusting of dukkah, a nut blend that here is pistachio-heavy. The dish tastes of sunshine, good living, and spring.
Whole rotisserie branzino at Narcissa, 21 Cooper Square
John Fraser may have a following for his vegetables, but it was a sea creature that really blew us away when we dined there last weekend. The chef uses his rotisserie for all kinds of produce, but luckily, he’s tossing branzino on it as well, and the result is crisp-skin encasing supple flesh, which pairs nicely to the sharp fennel, peppery arugula, and tart citrus vinaigrette that accompany it.
Kale salad with eggs at Northern Spy Food Co., 511 East 12th Street
Are you over the kale salad now? We are, too, except for here, where the salad is familiar yet unique, and manages to continue to coax us back into the antioxidant camp. It comes dressed with sharp cheddar and soft squash, and you can add a pair of baked eggs to make it a solid brunch. You could also add some bacon or sausage — we hear those pair nicely with health food.
Chocolate chip walnut cookie at Levain Bakery, multiple locations
We know — we know! It’s warm out, so now you’re detoxing, preparing for swimsuit season, and trying to avoid unnecessary carbs and fat. Reward yourself for your good behavior with this gooey cookie, one of our perennial favorites that we fall in love with anew every time we stop into this place. Pairs well with a cup of coffee — and hey! It has walnuts in it! Those are high in protein.