ABC Cocina, Union Square
Despite the thousands of restaurants in Manhattan, it can sometimes be surprisingly difficult to find a fresh, seasonal meal. Not so with ABC Kitchen, and its recently-opened sister ABC Cocina, which offer farm-to-table fare in an eclectic, yet dreamy New York setting.
ABC Cocina retains all of the flare of ABC Kitchen - the seasonal, local, environmentally conscious and whole food approach - however presents its fare in a delightful fusion of global foods, with a particular focus on Latin flavours.
Under the expertise of executive chef Dan Kluger, the menu is as fresh as it is tasty. The spring pea guacamole is the perfect starter, and can be seen on almost every table scattered throughout the rustic space. Raw shaved fluke with green chili dressing, crunchy rice and herbs is delicate yet flavourful. Baby calamari stuffed with chorizo, celery root, chickpeas and basil is perfectly presented and offers a bold, salty taste.
The highlight for me was the grilled Skuna Bay salmon salad, with a generous serving of avocado, on top a bed of soft lettuce and radish. The fact that radishes are in season, and were likely bought that morning at the Union Square Farmers' Market made the peppery bites even more enjoyable. The flavour of the salmon was perfect - bold and salty, yet creamy and tender. An absolute delight, and light enough for lunch.
Despite having opened some time ago, crowds still pack this place out, so either ensure you have a reservation, or show up right on noon (for lunch), when both ABC Kitchen and ABC Cocina open for the day. Because of this, the noise levels can sometimes escalate, but this is all simply part of the dynamic and lively atmosphere of this bubbling New York favourite.
Best for: Lunch
Must try: Spring pea guacamole; Skuna Bay salmon salad
38 E 19th Street, New York, NY 10003