Recipe NYC is one of the great under-sung heroes of the recent restaurant renaissance on the Upper West Side. A homey, narrow room on a stretch of Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan notorious for its mediocre kitchens, Recipe Restaurant NYC, open less than a year, takes fresh ingredients, some obvious talent, and a whole lot of love to turn out good-to-excellent dishes at neighborhood-spot prices. And for those of us burned too often over the years by bad meals in this part of town, thank goodness, it's working: with only minimal press and even less internet chatter, Recipe Restaurant on the Upper West Side is filled with eager eaters most nights of the week.
The menu is varied, focused and appealing, and, for the most part, it delivers on all of its promises. We've been to Recipe Restaurant in NY twice now, a few months apart, and both times left happy, satisfied and excited to return. So far it's been all hits, no misses. A starter of Seared Scallop and Gnocchi was outstanding, the plump, pillowy pasta sweetened with kabocha squash (which also adds a subtle hint of spicyness to the proceedings), the shellfish cooked just right, the chestnut sauce drizzled with a light hand. The Roasted Local Beet salad at Recipe Restaurant on the Upper West Side maybe doesn't reinvent the increasingly-present dish, but this was a perfectly balanced plate of food, the bright beets beautifully complemented by crisp lolla rosa greens, salty toasted pecans, creamy goat cheese, and finished with sweet, acidic banyuls vinaigrette. You won't find a better $8 salad anywhere in town.
The entrees at Recipe Restaurant in NYC that we tried were equally successful. The best was the Seared Duck Breast, cooked just the way we ordered (medium rare), gamey and dense with a sharp mustardy glaze, and paired with a generous pile of steamed and roasted vegetables over nutty wild rice. The Whole Grilled Branzino was less spectacular, but still pretty good, the fish meaty and juicy, the accompanying crock of kalamata olives, roasted tomatoes and eggplant, and –nice, unusual addition–charred lemon enlivening things up a bit. All of the ingredients at Recipe Restaurant on the Upper West Side are allowed to stand for themselves; this is hearty, unfussy food, prepared with care, at a price that will keep you coming back. Nicely done, Recipe.
Recipe Restaurant on the Upper West Side Details
Recipe Restaurant NYC is located on Amsterdam Avenue between 82nd and 81st Streets in Manhattan, and is open for lunch from 12:00 noon to 3:30 p.m. on weekdays (with a ridiculously great special price), for brunch on weekends from 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and for dinner every night from 5:00 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. For more information and a look at the menus, visit the Recipe Restaurant on the Upper West Side website.