The Fat Radish

My 150th post is saved for this special occasion, where 20 of our dearest friends gathered together at The Fat Radish to celebrate Jay’s birthday, Tina’s short but timely visit to the New York, and as it turns out, our very belated engagement dinner.

First it has to be mentioned that The Fat Radish is by far the most accommodative venue and friendliest staff I’ve ever worked with in planning a get-together of this size.

We were looking for a family-style meal, and they not only delivered a unique, high-quality menu, but never haggled me about restrictions or rules about catering to a larger group.

We tweaked the group menu to our liking, but it’s safe to say you can’t go wrong with this quality-conscious, well-sourced and seasonal ingredient-driven eatery.

You’ll arrive to a simple plate of their namesake dish: lightly seasoned radishes. The vivid color is clue enough that it wasn’t too long ago that these veggies were just ripening on the farm. With roots still brimming with life, the chef really didn’t need to do much by way of seasoning, letting the crunchy texture and crisp spice speak for itself.

This was followed up by the hummus platter: a warm bowl of chickpea puree accompanied with beat chips and a fresh, unaltered assortment of vegetables.

Perhaps my favorite: the simple but ultra-juicy roasted Dutch Morgan chicken, paired cleanly with fresh broccoli and cranberry. But then they came out with bowls and bowls of winter squash risotto–a notably healthier but still oh-so-creamy blanket of rice.

Or now that I think about it, the monkfish vindaloo was the definite standout, popping with Indian-inspired spices, but not so much that it masks the buoyant texture of a fish just recently out of water. There’s also the adorable tin-filled loaves of beat-root crumble, bursting with as much flavor as it is color, and topped with oats and chopped hazelnut (photo from Fat Radish).

But I’m actually getting ahead of myself. There were the two one-of-a-kind salads that preceded all these dishes. Being a big fan of kale, I preferred the kale caesar salad sprinkled with bacon bites and egg, and for that pungent kick of salt–anchovies. But not to be overlooked, the grilled endive chicory salad was it’s own sort of amazing, seasoned with a unique sherry caramel dressing.

Rounding out the generously sized main courses, be sure to save room for the celery root pie seasoned with black garlic and Gruyere cheese. Each savory pie was built and baked with care, and it really shines through as soon as that aroma comes floating out of the paper-like dough that’s almost too heart-breaking to pierce through.

But pierce you must because that’s what gets you to the dessert portion of the meal! They won’t have this every night, so if the warm custard-filled donuts aren’t there, you must go back and try it. It’s a culinary contradiction, the way it can be fluffy yet bursting with substance, sweet yet not gratuitously heavy. Just don’t eat it in one bite like Derrick did, because it’s worth taking your time appreciating the pillowy, melt-in-your-mouth texture with every bite.

If there is a sliver of room left in your stomach, polish it off with the cookie platter and powerful chocolate mousse. I dare you to try the cornucopia of confections they serve up on this tray, from buttery cookies to toasted macaroons, but I doubt you’ll be able to get a taste of each and every one. You’ll want to, but you’ll be there for a long time trying.

It’ll be sad watching them clear the table when there’s still so much food left. But the good news is that you can try your hand at a lot of these dishes at home.

The owners were kind enough to post several of their signature recipes online. Brace yourself for plenty of In The Kitchen posts.


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