Dish no. 24: Cold foie gras at Betony (41 West 57th Street, 212-465-2400)
If you’re the type who leaps from new restaurant to new restaurant and, therefore, you haven’t been to Betony since it first debuted last year, it’s worth making a reservation to return. Chef Bryce Shuman, an Eleven Madison Park vet, you might recall, has settled into his kitchen, and he’s begun to really play, injecting joy into a menu that falls somewhere close to fine dining in its ambition without the fuss of a hours-long tasting menu. Some dishes strike a more traditional note (lamb paired with eggplant, for example), and are notable for their exacting execution, but others are surprising in their composition, often stemming from Shuman’s current interest (“I wanted to put together a plate of things that were fermented many different ways,” he told us of his nduja, a soft sausage). For a fine example of his inventive work, check out the cold foie gras — Shuman shaves bits of liver from a whole lobe and then rolls them so that they look like slices of ham on an ’80s picnic tray. They’re plated with pickled cucumber and a swipe of sweet, verdant gelee, which give nice, delicate contrast to each bite. Eamon Rockey’s front-of-house team has gained something of a following for its clarified milk punch, a crystal clear tipple made from breaking milk with lemon and straining out the solids. He has a version that pairs nicely with this dish; it’s silky, smokey, and sweet.
In advance of our 2014 Best of NYC issue, we’re traipsing through the boroughs and divulging our favorite dishes of the year. They’re presented here as a countdown, but we’re listing them in no particular order. Consider this a guide to what’s good to eat in this town right this very second.
More:100 Favorite Dishes