It’s never easy to say goodbye to the bounties of summer — lush heirloom tomatoes, buttery ears of corn, cherries, berries, peaches and sugar snap peas. But crisper weather has its own heartier (and hardier) pleasures — and these harvest-happy restaurants are ready to get their roots on.
Abigail Café and Wine Bar: The eponymous Abigail of Abigail Café and Wine Bar isn’t shedding too many tears over the loss of summer veggies. “Corn and tomatoes are actually still good up until October,” said Abigail Hitchcock. “And I absolutely love squash, dark leafy greens, starchy tubers and pumpkins.” The great gourd is duly represented in dishes like pumpkin crème brulee, risotto with roasted pumpkin, bacon and sage, and velvety three pumpkin soup with garlic croutons, and the seared arctic char with mushrooms and caramelized brussels sprouts makes good use of Abigail’s favorite tiny cabbage.
Abigail Café and Wine Bar [807 Classon Ave. at St. Johns Place in Crown Heights, (718) 399-3200].
Northeast Kingdom: This Vermont-by-way-of-Bushwick restaurant places special emphasis on seasonal foraging and organic gardening, and autumn offers an inspired playground for accomplished chef Kevin Adey. Crispy pork cheek with apple salad, venison chili, wild mushroom pasta, and fingerling potato skins with crème fraiche and smoked trout roe are all confirmed menu additions, as well as a (top secret!) makeover for the acclaimed house burger.
Northeast Kingdom [18 Wyckoff Ave. at Troutman Street in Bushwick, (718) 386-3864].
The Farm on Adderley: Be sure to try the Porchetta di Testa at the Farm on Adderley this autumn, cured and poached pigs head served with roasted kabocha squash and heirloom peppers. “I like to do this dish right as we’re transitioning out of summer and into fall,” said chef Tom Kearney. “I get to use Jimmy Nardello peppers, grown from seeds I bought at Seed Savers Exchange, and they’re unreal. Peppers are usually about as sexy as beige paint, but these take on an almost sundried quality after they’re cooked … the flavors are so concentrated.”
The Farm on Adderley [1108 Cortelyou Rd. at Stratford Road in Ditmas Park, (718) 287-3101].
Jamie Lynn’s Kitchen: Bath Beach residents love relaxing on Jamie Lynn’s back patio on balmy days, but the cool-weather goodies that come out of the kitchen more than make up for a loss of outdoor dining. Paprika chicken stew, green goddess zucchini scallion soup, and mini pumpkin bowls stuffed with shrimp and calamari are on this years fall menu, and winter sangria pays a winsome nod to a bygone summertime favorite.
Jamie-Lynn’s Kitchen [1504 86th St. between 15th Avenue and Bay 10th Street in Bath Beach, (718) 232-3327].
Lot 2: Chef Danny Rojo of Lot 2 spent his summer forging relationships with organizations like Project EATS (which practices urban farming in underserved communities), and Glebocki Farms upstate. He can’t wait to showcase his seasonal, fall veggies, like sweet potatoes, acorn squash, and black Tuscan kale, but he’s also been stockpiling warm-weather goodies for pickles and preserves. “They’ll lend our dishes a taste of summer all year long!” he said.
Lot 2 [687 Sixth Ave. between 19th and 20th streets in Greenwood Heights, (718) 499-5623].
Four and Twenty Blackbirds: No one can dispute the summery perfection of blueberries, strawberries, and ripe, juicy peaches, but autumnal fruits and flavors are what dreams — and pies — are made of. Four and Twenty Blackbirds really hit its groove when the weather cools, with Bourbon Sweet Potato, Honeyed Pumpkin, Maple Buttermilk Custard and Salted Caramel Apple pies that smell like Grandma’s house on Thanksgiving Day, but (don’t tell Grandma!) taste even better.
Four and Twenty Blackbirds [439 Third Ave. at Eighth Street in Gowanus, (718) 499-2917].
Romans: To Chef David Gould of Romans in Fort Greene, autumn means organic, halal turkeys, sweet, fleshy pumpkins, and juicy, perfumed quince. “It’s my favorite fall fruit,” he said. “We slow-roast them with sugar, white wine, clove and citrus peel, and serve them on crostini with housemade ricotta, or next to hearty roasted meats like pork chops or duck.” The turkey gets stuffed into fresh tortellini and simmered into a rich stock for tortellini in brodo, and pumpkin is translated into tortelli di zuzza, pasta filled with roasted pumpkin, parmigiano and grated amaretto cookies, and sauced with butter and sage. “When the pumpkins are perfect, there’s nothing better. It’s a perfect juxtaposition of sweet and savory.”
Romans [243 DeKalb Ave. between Vanderbilt and Clermont avenues in Fort Greene, (718) 622-5300].