Chef John Fraser, of Dovetail on the Upper West Side, has taken his locavore cooking downtown to Narcissa, anchoring the Standard East Village hotel. While this isn’t a vegetarian restaurant by any means, the vegetable-driven dishes shine, radiating a brightness reflected in the open kitchen, blond wood furniture and airy interior. Take the carrot Wellington, a flaky crust wrapped around a hearty filling of carrots and sunchokes; or beets cooked rotisserie-style, their garnet hue set off by horseradish-spiked yogurt. To drink, Ashley Santoro continues the mission she began at Casa Mono to encourage more Sherry drinking, with an entire page of offerings (don’t miss the salt-baked oysters with a glass of Innocente Fino). There’s also a deep list of domestic selections focused on American tastemakers such as Arnot-Roberts, Hirsch, Clos Saron and Sandhi, with back vintages of icons like Corison and Qupé, and a wealth of well-priced grower Champagnes and classic Burgundies.
April 2016: Can a salad actually be exciting? It can here, and so can the vegetables, which chef John Fraser treats with a respect more frequently accorded to meat. (See Carrots Wellington, above.) It gets even better when you dig into Ashley Santoro’s wine list, rich in Sherry and even richer in micro-production Champagne.
April 2017: At this NoHo restaurant, chef John Fraser takes vegetables and positions them center stage. (Cue the rotisserie-crisped beets and carrots Wellington.) Wine director Ashley Santoro has cultivated a wine list as fresh as the food, shining a spotlight on Sherry and microproduction sparklers like Combe Pétillant-Naturel Trousseau and Agrapart Champagne Blanc de Blancs. —Deanna Gonnella