Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Restaurant Review: Farm to Take Out

“Farm to Take Out”

Prepared NY
Chatham NY

In search of the perfect croissant, I traveled about six miles to Chatham where a chef is presiding over a take out place. The take out place is a couple of doors down from where the chef heads up a restaurant that is open six days a week. The chef doing double duty has a secret weapon. She is a baker he plucked out of semi-retirement with an offer she couldn’t refuse; later hours.

Which is why I went to Chatham a quarter of an hour before the lunch. NY Prepared opens at 11 a.m and I sat alone at the counter looking out on a leafy tree with sun pouring in. I’m in tears. 

"You got away, didn't you babe..."

It’s the second time today. The first time it was because of a note from a friend about Leonard Cohen’s passing....

"You just turned your back on the crowd..."

Then the perfect corner of this sunlit croissant turned tears for Leonard, gone, to tears of joy.

"we are ugly but we still have the food..." *

Mid bite, mid cry, Dominic Giuliano, the chef, came out to make an inquiry but I could not see him due to the flurry of flakes covering my napkin, my sweater, the floor, my lips.  

"How is it?" he said.

A thing of perfection! The butter content, the flakiness, the weight, the flavor, the butter that went along with it, my spot in the sun but I referenced the edges of the pastry referencing a college experience at Mrs. London's Bakery where the importance of a crispy edge was stressed. It was coming on noon and a man walked by us there in the restaurant and said, “I didn’t learn a thing in college.”

I asked Dominic how he could create such a Paris perfect piece of food to which he responded, "Wait a minute."

Dominic returned with a gamin of a creature wearing stripes and a short pixie haircut. She flashed her big brown eyes in my direction and then toward chef.

 “I am Madeleine,” she said putting out her hand, “like the story book for children.”

“She’s Mado,” said Dominic.

“If you wish,” she said with a Gallic shrug.

“We’re in this together,” said Dominic.

“The Turkey Pot Pie!” said Dominic, “Your puff pastry…”

“Your filling!” said Madeleine.

You get the picture. I came back another day because of a chalk board out front. Dominic walked me past the offerings of meats and sides. He pointed to each and recited names of farms responsible for the the food like so many flavors of gelato proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that NY Prepared serves seasonal cooking with local meat, vegetables, fruit and mushrooms.

All restaurants should put a chalk board on the wall listing farms. Although two chefs I most recently said, “no, no, no,” the chalk board includes us all; the patrons and the suppliers. Without the suppliers, where would we be?

NY Prepared is like Stone Barns if it were featured in a Jean Luc Goddard movie.  

20 Main St. 

Chatham NY 

*Chelsea Hotel No. 2, Leonard Cohen