Prune – New York

Let's cut to the chase, shall we? The best place I have eaten at so far in New York is Prune, a 24-seat, one-room, Modern American bistro in a fairly grotty part of the East Village. It reminded me of a few places in Paris, mostly Daniel Rose's Spring – intimate, informal, with an open kitchen to the rear and a largely market-driven menu featuring improbable combinations, plenty of offal, and the odd tasty broth.

We went for dinner and I asked to have a look at the lunch menu. That looked so good, we came back the next day for lunch (luckily the awful weather has pretty much emptied the city and laid waste to the usually long restaurant queues and reservation lists in the city – we even got tickets for Letterman).


(Said his name was Frosty, seemed a jolly happy soul).

Here's the menu itself. It's a little out of focus, but that's of course deliberate and nothing to do with my inability to hold a camera steady due to my excitement. The best things in life are worth working a little harder for, don't you think?


Chicken hearts? Sweetbreads? Fried oyster omelette? I wanted to eat virtually everything on it.

The chef sent out an amuse of a dish which seems to be the current (and slightly weird) food trend in the city these days – devilled eggs. Everyone is doing their version, and these were great, if you like that kind of thing, which I don't, terribly.


But they were merely the prelude for the sweetbread, which was exceptional, albeit in the singular (it was a starter, admittedly, but still):


They have a book coming out in March, which has now gone to the top of my wish list. I'll also be taking another look at monkfish liver, having been inspired by this starter the evening before.


Looks a bit of a mess, but the trick with monkfish – and cod – liver is to deglaze with something acidic, in this case balsamic, and not to serve too much of it. Both of which they employed at Prune to stunning effect.

My main that evening was pork in octopus broth with clams. Splendid.


So, Prune, yes, definitely. No prunes to be seen on the menu, though, which seemed a bit remiss.

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