Lunch is probably the most overlooked meal when it comes to dining out. Brunch has made breakfast a star and dinner is an all out event. Lunch is just what breaks up the drudgery of the work day, assuming you even leave work to eat it since so many don’t. But the new full service, farm-to-table New York Botanical Gardens Hudson Grill will make you look at lunch differently.
It goes without saying, the lush, green 250 acres is the perfect backdrop to dining on a sunny afternoon for anyone, from a couple on a first date to a family with kids in tow. Or even on a rainy one. This summer has been especially wet, so the weekend I went to visit the new Hudson Garden Grill was overcast and raining, which I had a clear view of through the huge arched windows.
This dreary day called for a comforting dish so I opted for the rotisserie chicken. The tender, roasted half chicken was paired with a small serving of crunchy kale and ricotta gnocchi resting in a brown sauce. Pine nuts and raisins also garnished the side dishes adding a nice contrast in texture and flavor—the sweet, nuttiness tempering the saltiness of the sauce. Just enough to fuel you up for a walk through gardens on a nicer day.
I also tried the lobster club because I take any opportunity to eat seafood in the summer, rain or shine. The thick slices of lobster were stacked with avocado, bacon, heirloom tomatoes and jalapeno mayo between pepper brioche buns. The jalapeno mayo gave the club a subtle spiciness that went well with the sweetness of the heirloom tomatoes and saltiness of the bacon, creating a playful combination of flavors. But this club is serious business so either knuckle up eating the whole thing or prepare to take the other half home. I recommend you finish off the side of crispy fries while they’re still hot though.
Then it was onto dessert, which turned out to be the highlight of the visit. The dessert menu is limited but the waiter was keen to offer options not listed, like this chocolate cake. It was so beautifully composed I almost didn’t want to eat it. Fortunately, that’s never stopped me.
The three layers of chocolate devils food cake were held together by thin layers of white chocolate mousse. The slice was also topped with a mound of white chocolate mousse stuck with large, architectural shavings of white and dark chocolate. On the first bite it was noticeably rich, fluffy and dark. But as good as it was, the decorative swirls of white and dark chocolate sauce for dipping on the plate made it even more savory.
The devils food cake is a special, made on more of a whim by the chef, so you’ll have to ask your server if it’s available.
This season, you can also enjoy Mexican food and drink inspired by artist Frida Kahlo’s own recipes at any of The NYBG’s eateries including The Hudson Garden Grill.