The American Non-American food – Betony, New York

New York is officially one of my most favourite cities in the world. It’s difficult to describe, but there’s just this vibe, which it makes it such a fantastic place to visit. The yellow cabs (which increasingly are being taken over by Uber), Manhattan Skyline.. and the Manhattan Skyline!

I’d asked my friend to book a table for lunch, something American I suggested. As I was staying near Central Park, he’d found a place nearby via Opentable. As we were walking towards the restaurant I had images of burgers, ribs and chips crossing my mind .. I wonder what are we going to have? Definitely something with a lot of ketchup, mayo and BBQ sauce.

And then we stepped in to Betony.

I have to say that I had a very pleasant surprise. ‘American’ was not what I had imagined at all. The restaurant looked stylish, with an amazing ceiling that looked like something from 100 years ago. We were seated at a cooled air conditioned room and I was provided with a little chair (!) for my handbag. Such a  wonderful idea I thought.

The whole concept of the restaurant was very different from what I’ve experienced before. To begin with, there was the menu, which consisted of five starters, five mains and five desserts. There was no thorough explanation of each dish, so it was left to the staff to explain the options to us. Before we had to make up our minds we were welcomed with a little amuse bouche of pea mousse, which could be scooped up with a green leaf. It tasted divine and gave us a little taster on what was coming up next.

As a started I chose the ‘Toasted Grains, Labne, Sprouts’. It contained everything that I consider healthy – mix of grains that included quinoa, toasted as well, which brings out the goodness of the grains and makes it easier to digest, labne and sprouts. It was accompanied with bread bun made with dill. I love dill so I had no shame after this meal of goodness to have another bun for my next course.

As a main I chose the seared scallops, stinging nettle and lemon. Again I wasn’t disappointed. The scallops were cooked to perfection and the accompanying sauce fitted beautifully. I believe it’s a good sign in a restaurant when people are actually discussing the food they’re eating and I went as far to take photos of the other main courses that I also had a taste of.

  Below the poached lobster with blood orange and fennel..

  .. and the poached skate wing with snap peas and steelhead roe. I hear that the skate was extremely well cooked and comes highly recommended.

  As both the starter and the main were so healthy, there was no discussion (read guilt) about having a dessert.

Obviously, they were equally as awesome. As I’m a lover of rhubarb, especially during the summer months, I went for the rhubarb, crème fraîche and marjoram. But if you don’t really have a sweet tooth, there’s also the option to have some cheese. Surprisingly was called Hudson Flower Strawberries and Lemon Thyme, so it was actually difficult to figure out on the menu, what it was, however the staff explained it would asking. The wild strawberries with this dish were wonderful. Just like from the forest in the countryside.
 I was very surprised to end up in a restaurant like this in New York, it surpassed all my expectation and if that’s what you call American food, then I love American food. Healthy, tasty and reasonably priced. The lunch menu for two courses is $38 and just an additional $10 to add a the dessert. It’s the kind of food and service you’d expect at a Michelin starred restaurant, so I would hope that Betony will or has been doing very well.

Betony
41 West 57th St.
New York, NY 10019

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