While in NYC, Dan took me to ABC Kitchen for an organic and, of course, locally sustainable kind of lunch. ABC Kitchen is a whimsically-grand place that appears to have been dressed from head to toe in Anthropologie's latest and greatest. Every plate is different and more adorable than the next, and the silverware looks as if it were just retrieved from your grandmother's fine-china cabinet (no, really, it even looks worn and loved). The tables, chairs, bar, and walls manage to make the color white look brilliantly warm, and the crowd is effortlessly chic, which, in my opinion, is the most difficult kind of "chic" to achieve. The olive oil tastes as if it's come from olives pressed, just once, through a sieve in the back, and the salt is shaved from gigantic salt crystals just before being brought to your table. You are not dreaming; this is the reality of ABC Kitchen. It's a magical kind of restaurant with food that will never fail to cast its organically-derived spell over you.
Every element, from the food to the cleaning products, is chosen wisely to ensure that ABC Kitchen, in its entirety, is organic. Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten serves as artistic director of ABC's menu, while Chef Dan Kluger masterfully orchestrates the flavors, textures, and presentations that arrive at your table. The food is a hybrid of comfort and elegance that will leave you wondering why you weren't creative enough to add pickled serrano chiles to your caprese salad... or maybe that's just me. If you have the chance to swing by ABC Kitchen for lunch, be sure to try the Sugar Snap Pea Salad and the Roasted Summer Squash & Heirloom Tomato Sandwich. Both sound simple, maybe even standard, but they are far, far, far from either. They are incredibly flavorful creations that deserve to be eaten in their entirety. I loved the Sugar Snap Pea Salad so much, I sought out the recipe online and recreated it at home. The flavors are ridiculously fresh and the dressing... oh. em. gee. I had to taste it by the spoonful just to make sure it was, you know, safe to eat.
ABC Kitchen's Sugar Snap Pea Salad (Serves 4)
Recipe retrieved from nymag.com
For the Dressing:*
* 1 cup Parmesan, grated
* ½ cup plus 1 tsp. Champagne vinegar
* ¼ cup fresh lime juice
* 1 ½ tbs. Dijon mustard
* 1 tbs. kosher salt
* 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
* 1 cup sunflower oil
* ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the Salad:
* 3 cups sugar snap peas
* 12 spears Belgian endive
* 12 spears red endive or radicchio di Treviso
* ¼ cup Parmesan, grated
* 2 tbs. each parsley, chives, chervil, tarragon, finely chopped
* Freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the Dressing: Combine the Parmesan, vinegar, lime juice, mustard, salt, and pepper in a blender. Emulsify with the oils. Reserve. For the salad: (1) string the snap peas. Blanch for 30 seconds, and remove to an ice bath to cool. Dry the snap peas, and (2) slice into thin strips. To plate each serving: Place 1 Belgian- and 1 red-endive spear on a plate. (3) Top with a small mound of sliced snap peas, a drizzle of dressing, and sprinkle of cheese. Repeat twice using smaller endives each time. Sprinkle with herbs, and drizzle more dressing around the plate. Finish with black pepper. Serves 4. Save remaining dressing for another use. Adapted from Dan Kluger.
*This recipe makes a whole lot of dressing. You could reduce by half but, to keep the proportions accurate, it's best to make the full batch and reserve the remainders for another use.