It’s easy to forget you’re still in Manhattan when you’re up by the Cloisters. Walking around Fort Tyron Park, only faintly hearing cars in the distance, it’s a quiet escape. It’s also a well kept secret for sunbathers and park enthusiasts who are tired of the tourist-filled Central Park or the Shake Shack crazed Madison Square Park crowds.
Nestled in the wild foliage of Fort Tyron Park is New Leaf Restaurant, a Modern-American restaurant that looks like it belongs on the grounds of a castle. Stone steps lead up from the street and around the back to the entry way, where you can sit inside or outside under a beautiful white canopy with gold chandeliers. It’s both elegant and humble.
Dave and I have come to love the Cloisters for it’s distance from the city, and after walking around the park in the late summer sun, we stopped in for a refreshing and light lunch. The special of the day was Smoked White Fish Crostini with radish, capers and cucumber which we immediately ordered because Dave loves anything white-fish related. I had never had smoked white fish before because it quite honestly terrifies me, but I tried it today and it was very good. Fresh, creamy, and crunchy from the perfectly toasted crostini.
I ordered a less terrifying sea creature (at least for me); Grilled Octopus with Roasted Grapes and Fingerling Potatoes. I had never had such a tender grilled octopus. I did think that there were too many sweet grapes for such a savory dish, and not enough potatoes, but the dish as a whole was great. Lastly, having been walking around in the sun and not feeling like our ravenous selves, we ordered a Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad with shaved parmesan, everything crumble, pickled onion and caesar dressing.
It’s unique location, somewhere between city and country, is what inspires the menu at New Leaf, pulling inspiration from upstate farms and local markets. They use seasonal ingredients to create different menus, and currently they are already in their Autumn menu.
Simple, clean and local cooking is something we all can appreciate, and what better way to enjoy it than after appreciating some beautiful art and architecture at The Cloisters! Please subscribe to The Hungry New Yorker for more restaurant reviews as well as the continuation of my Road Trip Series. See ya soon!