From The Farm To a Table In TriBeCa -Dinner At Little Park

Rian and I arrived for our eight PM dinner reservation at Little Park, dressed in elegant yet billowy attire in full preparation for the meal ahead. This Andrew Carmellini restaurant is known for being a seasonally inspired, farm-to-table, fine dining establishment. As we entered the building, I was immediately aware of the shift in mood from outside to indoors. The fact that this restaurant was able to create an entire aura through its careful design and decoration is an accomplishment that I rarely find. The atmosphere of the restaurant is stunningly beautiful. While the design is minimalist and modern, it is also warm, inviting and comforting. Usually, sparse décor creates a cold or harsh ambiance, but Little Park elicited a completely different vibe through its use of light wood, unique fall floral arrangements, and pale lantern lighting.  We were greeted and seated in a circular booth facing out towards the rest of the space. Rian and I looked at one another and came to the conclusion that the meal would be our indulgence of the year. In celebration of new arrivals and fresh beginnings for a new chapter of our lives, we were going to eat a fabulous dinner washed down with impeccable wine. Our twenty-three year old, line cook income wallets could deal with the repercussions later.

Rian and I arrived for our eight PM dinner reservation at Little Park, dressed in elegant yet billowy attire in full preparation for the meal ahead. This Andrew Carmellini restaurant is known for being a seasonally inspired, farm-to-table, fine dining establishment. As we entered the building, I was immediately aware of the shift in mood from outside to indoors. The fact that this restaurant was able to create an entire aura through its careful design and decoration is an accomplishment that I rarely find. The atmosphere of the restaurant is stunningly beautiful. While the design is minimalist and modern, it is also warm, inviting and comforting. Usually, sparse décor creates a cold or harsh ambiance, but Little Park elicited a completely different vibe through its use of light wood, unique fall floral arrangements, and pale lantern lighting.

We were greeted and seated in a circular booth facing out towards the rest of the space. Rian and I looked at one another and came to the conclusion that the meal would be our indulgence of the year. In celebration of new arrivals and fresh beginnings for a new chapter of our lives, we were going to eat a fabulous dinner washed down with impeccable wine. Our twenty-three year old, line cook income wallets could deal with the repercussions later.

The sommelier arrived and we proceeded to have an in-depth conversation about island varietals over the course of ten minutes. She was very well informed and we settled on a full-bodied bottle of red that would go nicely with each course of the meal.  As per our dining strategy, Rain and I were inclined to order one dish from each section of the menu. The list was divided into categories based on food group, such as cured and raw fish, vegetables, grains, fire-roasted meats, and so forth.

The sommelier arrived and we proceeded to have an in-depth conversation about island varietals over the course of ten minutes. She was very well informed and we settled on a full-bodied bottle of red that would go nicely with each course of the meal.

As per our dining strategy, Rain and I were inclined to order one dish from each section of the menu. The list was divided into categories based on food group, such as cured and raw fish, vegetables, grains, fire-roasted meats, and so forth.

We began with a light starter of triggerfish with tomatillo, avocado and coriander. The presentation was beautiful and the creamy avocado anchored the light fish.

We began with a light starter of triggerfish with tomatillo, avocado and coriander. The presentation was beautiful and the creamy avocado anchored the light fish.

We then opted for three vegetable dishes. The first to arrive was a burrata cheese with strawberries, arugula and fresh herbs. I had been very excited to try this dish because I felt that the combination of in-season strawberries and rich burrata would be delicious, I was correct.  Next, we savored a beetroot tartare with horseradish and smoked trout roe. This dish harkened back to my Scandinavian roots andI really appreciated the delicate flavors and textures of dill with smoked roe. Following the tartare was a slightly heavier dish of fried Avocado squash accompanied by a shmear of lemon verbena yogurt.

We then opted for three vegetable dishes. The first to arrive was a burrata cheese with strawberries, arugula and fresh herbs. I had been very excited to try this dish because I felt that the combination of in-season strawberries and rich burrata would be delicious, I was correct.

Next, we savored a beetroot tartare with horseradish and smoked trout roe. This dish harkened back to my Scandinavian roots andI really appreciated the delicate flavors and textures of dill with smoked roe. Following the tartare was a slightly heavier dish of fried Avocado squash accompanied by a shmear of lemon verbena yogurt.

For the grain, we were encouraged to try the signature dish, a fluorescent, bright pink beetroot risotto. This dish was my favorite of the evening. The creation was innovative with its infusion of the beet puree and colorful garnish, while still retaining the comfort desired in a creamy risotto.  From the seafood section, we chose scallops with potatoes and purslane, a seasonal green that has quickly become my favorite of the summer.

For the grain, we were encouraged to try the signature dish, a fluorescent, bright pink beetroot risotto. This dish was my favorite of the evening. The creation was innovative with its infusion of the beet puree and colorful garnish, while still retaining the comfort desired in a creamy risotto.

From the seafood section, we chose scallops with potatoes and purslane, a seasonal green that has quickly become my favorite of the summer.

We rounded out the meal with the meat course. I am lucky enough to have found a soulmate in dining preferences for Rian and I both live and die for duck. We are also both people who look up the menu of every restaurant before we go so we had already planned to order the Long Island duck with turnips, cherries and sausages. The breast was perfectly tender and the sausage was phenomenally flavorful.

We rounded out the meal with the meat course. I am lucky enough to have found a soulmate in dining preferences for Rian and I both live and die for duck. We are also both people who look up the menu of every restaurant before we go so we had already planned to order the Long Island duck with turnips, cherries and sausages. The breast was perfectly tender and the sausage was phenomenally flavorful.

Though we were full to bursting, we knew we had to order dessert to fully experience all that Little Park had to offer its patrons. First, we were presented with strawberry shortcake accompanied by milk jam ice cream. Delicious. Rian tapped out.  Next, and in my opinion in a “best for last” fashion, we received the cinnamon toast ice cream with brioche crumbs. Now every person has their own personal preference for the types of sweets they like. I tend to lean towards anything that is nut flavored, spiced, and creamy.This was by far the best ice cream I have ever eaten. The flavors reminded me of an elevated version of my childhood favorite cinnamon toast crunch cereal.

Though we were full to bursting, we knew we had to order dessert to fully experience all that Little Park had to offer its patrons. First, we were presented with strawberry shortcake accompanied by milk jam ice cream. Delicious. Rian tapped out.

Next, and in my opinion in a “best for last” fashion, we received the cinnamon toast ice cream with brioche crumbs. Now every person has their own personal preference for the types of sweets they like. I tend to lean towards anything that is nut flavored, spiced, and creamy.This was by far the best ice cream I have ever eaten. The flavors reminded me of an elevated version of my childhood favorite cinnamon toast crunch cereal.

As a gift, the sommelier ended our evening by serving two glasses of port wine. The entire meal was perfect, from the ambiance, to the service, to the fresh fare and beverages. However, if I have learned one singular thing in my twenty-three years of life thus far, it is that no experience is worthy of remembrance without the amazing company of those by your side. Here’s to a whole new phase of life and mystery. What I do know: We are young. We are full of life and enthusiasm. We are ambitious. And we are always hungry.

As a gift, the sommelier ended our evening by serving two glasses of port wine. The entire meal was perfect, from the ambiance, to the service, to the fresh fare and beverages. However, if I have learned one singular thing in my twenty-three years of life thus far, it is that no experience is worthy of remembrance without the amazing company of those by your side. Here’s to a whole new phase of life and mystery. What I do know: We are young. We are full of life and enthusiasm. We are ambitious. And we are always hungry.

Chef Life