Riverpark Farm

I am on a farm roll this week.  Last year our friends came with me to a farm to table event at Sothebys to support the Sylvia Center.  Our friends bid and won a dinner for 10 at the Riverpark Farm.  They called in their chips for a dinner in late May and it was an absolutely amazing evening

Far over on east 29th street, on the river, is the restaurant Riverpark.  It happened to be a glorious night for our dinner.  We were seated in the farm, yes the farm.  The farmer, Zack Pickens, is overseeing one of the largest urban farms in NYC.  They grow everything in milk carts and the place is gorgeous.  During the height of the season, 80% of the vegetables on their menu come from the farm.  Tomatoes, herbs, lettuce, radishes, carrots, etc.  The picture above is of the lettuce.

I felt like we were somewhere so unique and special…and we were.  The chef, Sisha Ortuzar, who is also a partner in the restaurant is amazing, and so was the food.  We began drinking wines and champagne as we strolled around the farm.  We dined on incredible oysters from both the east and west coasts.

Scallop and tuna ceviche which is perfect for a warm summer night.

A variety of house made charcuterie including a few tiny radishes from the garden.  On this plate was also the slow cooked lamb ribs that fell off the bone.  I am a huge fan of lamb ribs.

We sat under a huge blue umbrella and ate family style.

Our first course was a mixture of four different items.  A large salad of farm greens, radishes, pickled beets and bronze fennel.  Light and delicious.

Sweet pea panzanella with white anchovies, fresno chiles tossed with a ramp vinaigrette.  This was such a winner.  Tiny peas that exploded in your mouth with small crispy flat croutons and thin slices of red chilis for a spot of heat and a zippy dressing.

Hamachi with farm flowers and lemon verbena.  The lemon verbena was probably picked 30 minutes before we ate it.  Simple delicious fish.

Grilled prawns with a salsa verde.  I could have eaten the entire plate of these.  Along side this course are a few wines.  Capture, "Les Pionniers," 2010, Sonoma and Fountain-Gagnard, "Les Vergers," 2007 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru, Burgundy.  The wines were particularly amazing.

Our main course included two entrees, two vegetables and a grain salad.  Grilled asparagus with fresh lemons and parmesan.  Yum.  Had to start using the flash at this point.

Charred spring onions with a hazelnut romesco.  This was probably my least favorite dish but I do love how beautiful the onions were.

Freeka (which is like farro) salad with fava beans, english peas and fine herbs.  I love this kind of salad for the summer.  Light with simple crisp summer veggies.

Smoked pork back with ribs.  This was killer.  It has been smoked all day.  Juicy and flavorful.  The pork came from Glenmalure Farm and I can tell you that the difference in flavor when you get meat from a farm is huge.  I would have liked to bring these leftovers home.

Whole sea bass from Long Island with a mixture of artichokes, black olives and lemons over the top.  Perfectly cooked.  Wines here were Scarecrowd, "Monsieur Etain," 2009, Rutherford, Napa Valley and Heitz Cellar, "Trailside Vineyard," 1994, Rutherford, Napa Valley.

Of course an option of cheese and pie or if you are so inclined, both.  Rhubarb pie with a really delicious crust and two ice creams, vanilla and orange.  I couldn't stop dipping my spoon back into the ice creams just for another little bite.

Cheese plate was delicious.  I am a sucker for thinly sliced toasted bread with nuts and cranberries.  One of my favorites.

An amazing night.  Great fun with really good friends, really good food and the perfect weather for an evening meal.  The flavors in every dish were powerful yet subtle at the same time.  It was like having dinner in Napa where there tends to be a bend towards more healthy light eating.  Wow.  Keep in mind you can book a table at the Farm.  I highly recommend it.  A really special thing to do.  Just loved it. 

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