Opened: October, 1994
Chef/Proprietor: Erik Blauberg
Cuisine: Modern American
Decor: The restaurant's two-story dining room has period moldings, gilded lonic columns and wall panels painted in cumulous layers of beige and green. A 14-foot waterfall cascades down from the mezzanine to the first floor. The Vodka Bar and Cafe are more casual, with green marble tables, mohair banquettes and buffed aluminum chairs.
|Hours:||Restaurant||Dinner Mon-Sat 5:30 to 11 pm|
|Vodka Bar & Cafe||Dinner Mon-Sat 5:30 to 12 am|
Specialties: Smoked shrimp napoleon, arugula, shaved fennel and roasted tomato dressing; butternut squash and wild mushroom risotto; potato crusted salmon with mushroom cous cous, beet horseradish infusion; braised short ribs on fresh pea purée with a port wine glaze; hot chocolate souffle with homemade ice creams; infused vodkas
Menus: A la Carte, $49 4-course tasting menu; $68 8-course
Private Dining: Receptions, luncheons, dinners and all manner of special events can be arranged.
Parking: Parking is available in the lot at the corner of Varick and Ericsson Streets.
Reservations: Required. Call (212) 343-0049.
After a successful stint as Executive Chef of the restaurant Colors, Erik Blauberg opened American Renaissance in the Fall of 1994. Months in the making and eagerly awaited, American Renaissance has fast become on of the most critically acclaimed restaurants in New York. "A shrine to chef Erik Blauberg's delicious excess" wrote Gael Greene in New York Magazine, "One of the most ambitious restaurants of the season," wrote Ruth Reichl in The New York Times. Blauberg's cooking is a revelation, and who he is and how it got that way is a story worth telling.
Blauberg started his cooking career the European, old-fashioned way—in the kitchen, scrubbing the pots. While still in his early teens Blauberg began an apprenticeship with a master chef, Jean-Claude Fadot. Fadot recognized not only talent but drive in the young man and launched him on a culinary training program that took him to France, Germany, Italy and Greece.
Blauberg's first job as a chef was in a Northern Italian restaurant in San Francisco, a job he got when he was just 17. The following few years found him in New Orleans, Houston and Florida, working in a variety of cuisines while honing his skills and developing his cooking personality. In 1983 he returned to his hometown, New York, to cook at the legendary Tavern on the Green. After a year he left to work at another restaurant behemoth, Windows on the World, before settling into positions at La Cote Basque and La Festival. In 1990 Blauberg was selected by David Bouley to join the team of chefs at his four-star restaurant, Bouley.
After two years Blauberg's career took an eventful turn. Appointed Executive Chef of the Plantation resort in the British West Indies, Blauberg began to experiment with the island's abundance of organic fruits and vegetables. Extracting the juices from the produce, he created sauces that were fresh and rich yet devoid of butter and cream. Blauberg puréed vegetables and fruits to thicken his sauces and he worked with the abundance of fresh herbs on the island to enliven the taste of his dishes.
Blauberg brought his bold cooking style back to the US and directly to Colors, a formerly undistinguished Italian restaurant in midtown. Word spread very quickly that something wonderful was happening, and the critics were soon outdoing themselves describing Blauberg's cuisine. "Simply outstanding" wrote Moira Hodgson in the New York Observer, and "Exceptional" said Bob Lape in the New York Law Journal. Ruth Reichl's first review in The New York Times noted that "the food offers constant pleasant surprises" and Gael Greene described her "squeals of discovery" when tasting Blauberg's dishes.
Now Blauberg has opened the restaurant of his dreams, with a setting as grand as the food. The service is warm and the ambiance comfortable, and the customer's pleasure is first priority. Blauberg has said that "he does not want to compete with anyone, only ourselves"—easily his toughest adversary.
A recipe by Erik Blauberg, Chef/Proprietor, American Renaissance
In a saucepan, simmer the wine and reduce by half. Stir in the sugar, dissolved cornstarch, and orange zest. Cook for 1 minute, stirring to thicken. Add the cherries and return to boil. Carefully transfer mixture to container and add the bundle of mint. Cover and set aside to infuse the flavors for 30 minutes.
Serve at a cool temperature (not ice cold) in pretty bowls. Accompany with a small scoop of coconut sorbet. Top with chiffonade of fresh mint.
A recipe by Erik Blauberg, Chef/Proprietor, American Renaissance
Crab Topping: Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Season to taste.
Avocado Base: Lightly toss all ingredients together. Season to taste.
Dressing: Mix all ingredients in food processor. Blend on a high speed for four minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Assemble: On four plates, artfully arrange the optional pea shoots as the bottom layer of a small mold. Cover with a layer of the avocado base, followed by a layer of the crabmeat topping. Drizzle the port mango dressing on the salad and the plate.
Mix the kosher salt, sugar, zest, ginger, dill, and gin. Coat shrimp with marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Remove shrimp from salt mixture, rinse under cool water, and dry with paper towel. Place shrimp in a single layer on a paper towel and refrigerate, uncovered, overnight.
Coat the cured shrimp in olive oil and sprinkle with black pepper. Place the shrimp on the top grill of a barbecue, throw some wet wood chips over the coals, and light the grill. Close the cover when the coals catch. (While the grill is getting hot, the shrimp are being smoked and cooked.) Make sure that the fire does not get too hot. Remove shrimp from grill when they turn pink, and peel or serve whole.
Toss the beans, arugula, and shrimp in vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chives.
Mix first 4 ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper and whisk well.
Provided by American Renaissance
This page originally published as a FoodDay article in 1997.
Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.
This page modified January 2007
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