- Julia Thiel
- Squab with mountain ash berries and carrot puree
In Key Ingredient Kevin Hickey of Seasons Restaurant works with foraged mountain ash berries, pairing the wild fruit with wild game—squab, to be exact. He made a sauce with the berries—simmered in Sauternes to tame their bitterness—and also pureed them with carrots, whose sweetness helps counter their astringency, then served them with breast of squab pan-cooked in fat rendered from foie gras. “You taste the game, and you taste those berries, and you’re automatically like, I’m in the forest eating meat,” he said of the dish.
Mike Sula reviews Lao Hunan, the latest Chinatown restaurant from Tony Hu (Lao Sze Chuan, Lao Beijing, Lao Shanghai, Lao You Ju), decorated with a supersize image of Chairman Mao and inspired by the chile-rich cuisine of his southern home province. Hunanese dishes are characterized by a “dry” style of heat balanced by sour, vinegary flavors or warm spices such as star anise. Among the standouts Sula finds are tilapia fillet with dry chile and a red-braised pork belly said to be Mao’s favorite. The enterprising Hu intends another trip to Hunan to continue his research, with a stop in Taiwan along the way in support of his next regional venture.