Spring didn’t spring this year in quite the way produce-worshippers expected it to; an especially cold and dry winter delayed the appearance of ramps, while an unseasonably warm May and April stunted the growth of peas. But no need to resign yourself to transitioning directly from sweet potatoes to tomatoes. Prized spring veggies have slowly but surely begun to make their way onto restaurant menus, at places like Bar Bolinas (morels), Faro (artichokes), and Concord Hill (asparagus, radishes and woo hoo; peas)! So enjoy the taste of spring, even if it’s already starting to feel like summer.
Bar Bolinas: Nate Smith’s newest restaurant features a sizeable vegetable selection—pappardelle pasta gets tossed with fava beans, asparagus is crowned with a soft egg and marinated anchovies, artichokes are flavored with celery, olives and grana padano, and honeycombed morels cuddle up to creamy sunchokes and hand-torn lengths of subtly oniony ramps.
455 Myrtle Avenue, Clinton Hill
Roman’s: Who knows what will be on Roman’s ever-changing menu at the time of this posting, but current (and hopefully future) offerings include calamari with pork sausage and coiled fiddlehead ferns, tuna paired with potatoes and garlic scapes, and tender braised beef, brightened with asparagus and small-bulbed spring onions.
243 Dekalb Avenue, Fort Greene
Concord Hill: There’s so much to love at Concord Hill that it’s hard to narrow it down to just a few things. Think veggie boards piled with pickled asparagus, snap peas and green lentil hummus; pea tendrils and mint, tossed with fennel pollen-dusted almonds; and a spring greens salad, interspersed with hunks of smoked trout, cara cara orange wedges, and rounds of watermelon radish.
374 Graham Avenue, Williamsburg
Atrium: It may not technically be a waterfront restaurant, but you can almost feel the East River breezes wafting through the floor-to-ceiling windows at Atrium. It sets the stage perfectly for light-on-its feet fare like garganelli with lamb ragout and carrot, pork chops with farro and ramps, and skate paired with market vegetables and charred scallions in a mushroom broth.
15 Main Street, DUMBO
Petit Oven: Before Petit Oven came along, Bay Ridge residents were out of luck on the ramps and morels front; the majority of restaurants thought nothing of serving asparagus (sourced directly from California!) in the dead of winter. But thanks to the unfailingly charming French bistro, local diners can currently enjoy roasted radishes with spring asparagus, ramps and hollandaise, pasta rags with artichokes, and foie gras with haricot vert.
276 Bay Ridge Avenue, Bay Ridge
Faro: Now that he finally has his own restaurant, Northeast Kingdom’s Kevin Adey simply hasn’t had time to go foraging for ramps. But that doesn’t mean there’s a lack of spring-tastic options on the menu, from sweet pea porridge with morel mushrooms, to duck breast with honey and rhubarb, and green garlic lumache with duck eggs, asparagus and fava beans.
436 Jefferson Street, Bushwick
Grindhaus: Grindhaus’ menu has undergone a serious spring cleaning, featuring octopus with fava beans and meyer lemon, hanger steak strewn with ramps and guindilla peppers, and hamachi crudo sprinkled with green garlic and assertively acidic rhubarb vinegar, along with a delightful trio of rosès.
275 Van Brunt Street, Red Hook
Rose Water: It’s always a good bet to go for the special “Market Menu” at the Mediterranean-tinged Rose Water, which showcases the very best of the season. It’s also a total steal—for only $27, you’ll get your choice of a first course, including ramp and asparagus soup; a main dish, such as grilled yellowfin tuna, baked polenta or garlic-stuffed quail; and a dessert—go for the blueberry cobbler, paired with a tawny-colored glass of sweet muscat.
787 Union Street, Park Slope