I was weaned on Sunday mornings consisting of The New York Times and smoked fish, so when I have a hankering for the best in smoked salmon, Barney Greengrass is where I gravitate. After that, on a warm spring day, can there be nothing lovelier than to be surrounded by gardens and gardens of exquisite flora? At cocktail hour, I tend to nest at the bar of Gramercy Tavern: Can’t resist the elaborate wine list—or smoked pork broth. Yup, starting and ending my day with food that’s smokin’ makes me one happy camper.
At Barney Greengrass, there is bounty sometimes too great to choose from. To start off, there are the deliciously doughy bagels and bialys. Then, pick from delectables including sturgeon, smoked salmon and Nova. Of course, there is a lot more than terrific smoked fish at Barney. Hot egg sandwiches, a variety of herrings, cheese and caviar presentations, omelets, soups, desserts, salads and more. Smoked fish platters are served with potato salad or cole slaw, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, olives, pickles, lemon, plain cream cheese and bagels or bialys. Yum: My Jewish Ashkenazi soul never feels happier.
The New York Botanical Garden is one of the city’s lushest and most beautiful retreats. This month, it offers a variety of programs, from a Spring Wine Festival (May 3 & 4) to a Mother’s Day Weekend Garden Party (May 10 & 11). More events include Groundbreakers: Great American Gardens & The Women Who Designed Them (May 17-Sept. 7), the Rose Garden Festival (June 7 & 8) and Big Backyard BBQ (June 14 & 15). Or you can just go and smell the roses.
I discovered Gramercy Tavern back in 1994, and the restaurant still delivers: seamless service and impressive wine know-how from the bartenders, and a great tavern menu, including the aforementioned smoked pork broth with hearty dumplings and root vegetables. Other Tavern delectables incude roasted sweetbreads with pears and walnuts; Fishers Island oysters; butternut squash lasagna with Hen of the Woods mushrooms and kale.