Magazine article The New Yorker

Tables for Two: Little Park

Magazine article The New Yorker

Tables for Two: Little Park

Article excerpt

TABLES FOR TWO

LITTLE PARK

Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Entrees $15-$34.

85 West Broadway (212-220-4110)

Andrew Carmellini's latest tribeca restaurant has a conundrum that could be filed under Good Problem to Have. The vegetable-focussed food is so good, so gorgeous and seasonal, that the setting, a curtained annex to the Smyth Hotel that has changed hands twice in the past two years, feels incongruously dispassionate. The blond-wood tables with straw-colored banquettes are nice enough, and the room is hushed and tasteful, but how lovely it would be to eat this exuberant food, like the luscious pea soup, in a garden! (A New Yorker can dream.) The soup is made from the freshest peas, pureed into a cool, thick Kelly-green cream, topped with a crunchy little salad of minted sugar-snap peas and a scoop of horseradish ice cream--this is the exquisite taste of summer.

How is it that the tomatillos, tossed with white cabbage and cilantro, sitting quietly at the side of a house-made-duck-sausage banh mi, taste like such sweet, healthy candy? At lunch recently, this was preceded by more tomatoes, multi-hued heirlooms, prettily mixed with green Castelvetrano olives and piled on top of a spelt crisp spread with garlicky white-bean puree. The tomatoes' strong competition for best appetizer was the utterly unsuspecting beetroot tartare. A disk of shredded cooked beets sounds the opposite of exciting, but there it was, with horseradish cream and a buttered rye crumble and topped with smoked trout roe, like some kind of perverse, delicious beet Brown Betty. …

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