When you think of where all the great restaurants are in Manhattan are, don’t assume they’re all centrally located or for that matter, easy to get to. We’ve been exploring off the beaten path neighborhoods this past year and have written about a few Westchester restaurants such as the unusual Cellar 49 in an old mansion, Riverdale and Bronx diners, great coffee picks, fabulous chocolate in Brooklyn and great local foodie picks to fabulous Austrian food in an artsy neighborhood in a Red Hook loft. We’ve even tackled Bushwick, great brunches and yes even great picks for brunch in Harlem. And how about our Malaysian Street Food write up in the Village?
On New Year’s Eve, we headed to the very upper upper west side to an area called Inwood which you can reach via the 1 train or the A (Dyckman or Innwood/207th Street). On 600 West 218th Street lies a cosy restaurant called Indian Road Café, where I went for brunch a year or so ago — we had to wait for over an hour to get seated. In other words, it has been growing in popularity since it opened, expanded in size and undergone a few chef changes.
Brunch from my recollection was more comfort food than chic, but under new chef Nicholas Wright, the dishes have been a little more creative. While New Year’s Eve doesn’t reflect their regular menu, Nicholas came up with the pre-fixe six course menu according to co-owner Jason Minter who opened the cafe with his old pal Jason Berger from the entertainment and film business where they both worked for nearly 20 years.
While half the dishes warranted a Sauvignon or Chenin Blanc or even something sweeter for the foie gras, we went for a Cabernet from Napa for most of the night. Bartender Rachel served both bottles at a “perfect temperature”, a rarity even at some top 5 star restaurants I’ve been to over the past couple of years. I’d recommend sitting at the bar if you want to meet some of the Inwood locals and it appeared to me that nearly everyone there was a regular.
Just to whet your appetite, a taste to start.
My favorite of the six was the unusually delicious Roasted Local Cauliflower Soup with black truffles, dried carrots and chili sorbet. Yum! Below, before the liquid soup was poured over it.
Then came the Paisley Farms Warm Brussel Sprouts Salad with gorgonzola mousse, fried parmesan and grapefruit caviar.
It was followed by the Grilled King Crab with miso butter, sea urchin, scallop chips and cabbage stalk.
You could also get a vegetarian option — the Beet and wild watercress risotto with local cave aged cheddar and orange. Yum!
Fois Gras Parfait with house made brioche and pickled fruits.
Duo of Moonview Farm’s Beef with tri-color baby carrots, parsnip puree and bacon jus. LOVED this!
For dessert, we had a dark chocolate and raspberry granache with burnt honey pana cotta, almond crispy spongecake.
Below, Chef Nicholas Wright came out to chat with us later in the evening, or was it after the midnight count down? The ambiance is a mixture of local community tavern, wine bar and cosy restaurant and because it was New Year’s, they had a jazz band playing throughout the night. The restaurant also does fun events of varying sorts which you can get from calling them or going to their website. In the back of the restaurant near the bathrooms, there’s a bulletin board where locals post ads (from piano lessons to selling furniture) and there are flyers about some of Indian Road Cafe’s events.
Two thumbs up! Next time you get to the Big Apple, venture north on the 1 or the A train or simply jump in a cab and head to Indian Road Cafe for a whole lotta cosy with delicious fare.
Indian Road Cafe
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.
She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.
Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.
Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.