New Restaurant Opening: Little Park

8 Apr

We made a bucket list of things we wanted to do before the baby comes, and eating at Little Park was high on it.  I read a lot about it, but the article that put it on the Baby Bucket List came from New York Magazine.   We, too, had enjoyed Andrew Carmellini‘s other restaurants (The Dutch, Lafayette, Bar Primi, Locanda Verde, etc) and there was something about the NYMag review that got me excited.  This line really stuck out in my mind: “But as one polished little dish succeeds the next, the sense you get is that, with all these popular trends covered, this talented chef is taking the time, at long last, to cook for himself.”

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The restaurant itself is very blonde, with light colored wood throughout and an open, welcoming vibe.

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The menu is diverse, with many tempting dishes.

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The bread and butter set a nice start to the meal, with attention to detail and not just an afterthought.

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The part of the menu we started with was from “winter vegetables” and as we sampled our way through many of them.  And not one made me miss meat (which is rare).

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We started with the butternut squash with Vermont burrata and nasturtium (edible flower blossoms).  This was a novel take on familiar flavors and felt comforting yet fresh.

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We also tried the fried local cauliflower with pistachio and herbs.  This was so lightly fried so it was crisp but not at all greasy.  The pistachio and herbs made it bright and fresh.

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On the recommendation of our waiter, we tried the roasted sunchoke with hazelnut and black trumpet.  This was so earthy and tasted like something you would only get if your best friend were a master chef.

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And since we love our brussels sprouts, we had to try these crispy brussels sprouts with smoked parsnip and apples.  This was a great balance of sweet with hearty flavors and was a very satisfying, original version of brussels.

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From the pasta portion of the menu, we chose the black kale ravioli with squash and pine nuts.  I’m so-so on kale. I get that it’s healthy, and I love me some kale chips, but usually I find it a bit too bitter and something I really only order when I’m making an effort to be healthy (not spoil myself with a gourmet meal). But this was an excellent ravioli.  All the right flavors and textures and the pasta itself was fresh and fantastic.

 

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We split a main of the dry-aged duck and kebab with turnips and pomegranate. This was some of the best cooked duck I’ve ever had, and the parsnip puree was incredibly flavorful with a great texture.  but that kebab (hidden under the leaf in the back of this picture) was special.  An all around awesome dish.

 

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For dessert, we got the frozen lemon fluff with honey-lemon sorbet.

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This was such a bright and sunshiney dish.  It sparkled and the tart sour was excellently balanced with sweet.  A really great way to end the meal.

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But the dessert that really made this meal a home run was the cinnamon toast ice cream. It came with croutons and the ice cream tasted just like cinnamon toast crunch (if it were made by a well experienced pastry chef).  A nostalgic flavor in a refined dessert.  Excellent.

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We really loved our meal at Little Park. I was impressed all along the way and each dish felt a bit special, different, and fun.  I enjoyed every dish and can’t wait to go back.

Total Nom Points: 8 out of 10

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