By Michael Anthony with a history by Danny Meyer (Clarkson Potter; 50)
Almost 20 years after it opened, Gramercy Tavern has a cookbook that not only features 125 seasonally inspired recipes but also includes profiles of many longtime staffers, from managing partner to glass polisher, as well as essays on what has made the restaurant a New York City institution. When it opened in 1994, Gramercy, a hybrid of haute and bistro, was part of a quiet revolution in the culture of New York eating establishments. Guests were welcomed by owner Danny Meyer as if they were coming to his own home, and founding chef Tom Colicchio overturned the stereotype of screaming, sadistic chef and created a kitchen that nurtured the cooks' creativity. Now, with Michael Anthony, former executive chef of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, established as the chef and culinary voice of Gramercy Tavern, comes the eponymous cookbook, which includes a frank introduction by Meyer on the making of the restaurant and all its ups and (less frequent) downs.
Though the dishes at Gramercy feel spontaneous and fresh, the book details just how much care goes into making them, and Anthony encourages readers to use his recipes as guides and inspiration rather than slavishly trying to reproduce what it takes a kitchen team to make at the restaurant. Try the Marinated Arctic Char and Cucumber Broth, which tastes like a farmers' market take on ceviche, or the Warm Salad of Fairy Tale Eggplant; even if you make just the tiny pickled eggplants and stop there, you'll be happy.