Ask Americans about Thanksgiving and one of the first things they will mention is the food, it’s synonymous with hearty and plentiful home cooking in a way we can only really compare to Christmas. When we found out we were going to be in New York for Thanksgiving one of the first things I wanted to pin down was somewhere to get a Thanksgiving feast. I had no idea where to start and all I knew was that I wanted somewhere that was bookable, had an online menu to me to browse and was as traditional as possible without blowing our budget.
I didn’t think I was asking for much but it was surprisingly hard to found. Much online research later I had found a few places, my first choice had already sold out by the time I went to book it, so instead we went for our second choice which had more of a modern twist on the traditional.
For $65 dollars we had a three course set menu, here’s what we chose:
From the choice of 6 starters covering the usual soups, salads and more I went with the Burrata. Burrata is delicious soft cheese which was paired with roasted vegetables and toasted bread. The cheese was smooth, creamy and moreish and when spread on the toasted bread made a light, simplistic start to the meal. Harry opted for the ricotta gnocchi with truffle cream which he found to be creamy with a great textures without being too rich.
For our entree we stuck with tradition and opted for the roasted turkey breast. If this isn’t for you there are several other turkey dishes as well as fish and vegetarian dishes for those who aren’t turkey fans. The roasted turkey came on a pile of buttery smooth mashed potatoes, kale and gravy. The gravy might not be the same as your mother makes but it still added flavour and moisture to the dish in equal measures.
No matter which of the seven main options you choose they all come with the same five ‘fixin’s’ (side dishes) for the table. This is the thing which really swung it for us when hunting around for a place to eat. My boyfriend is a huge mac and cheese fan so this is what he was looking forward to the most. It had a nice crust and was fairly creamy but it wasn’t the best we’ve had and lacked some of the signature flavour we’ve had in other US establishments. The cranberry orange jam was a deliciously sweet accompaniment to the turkey and while Harry found it a touch too sweet I thought it complemented the savoury dishes well. Just like with Christmas dinner on our side of the pond Brussel sprouts are a must with Thanksgiving dinner here. I’m not normally a fan but these were served crispy instead of your usual boiled affair which added some real crunch and flavour. Being northern I’m a huge fan of stuffing but in the US it’s a bit different to what we would expect back home. This particular version contained apple brioche which had a great home made feel. The flavours really combined well and went great with the turkey. Finally, and the one thing I appear to have not taken a picture of, was the jalapeño corn bread. I adore corn bread and the addition of jalapeños really balanced out the sweetness of the bread and made a great, if filling accompaniment.
Finally it was onto desert! Here is the one place we steered away from tradition as neither of us fancied pumpkin pie (pumpkin is definitely a dish that hasn’t really made it across the pond). Harry went for the dark chocolate layer cake which came with salted caramel cream and popcorn. It was rich, sweet and rather dense, proving to be too much for Harry after a heavy meal. He enjoyed the flavours but couldn’t finish it. I went for the British traditional dish and my personal favourite of sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream. Despite the fact that I was also feeling the effects of the heavy meal there was no way I was leaving a scrap of this behind! The pudding was a little on the dryer side of what I would normally like but it was still delicious and sticky and pretty close to what I’d get from home. The vanilla ice cream lightened up the dish and made it really great.
While this wasn’t the full on traditional thanksgiving dinner I craved, this upmarket, modern twist on the famous dishes still made for a great experience. Not every dish was perfect and while I am still quietly hoping a nice American family invites me over for a real, traditional family thanksgiving one day you won’t go far wrong choosing The Smith.
Have you ever had Thanksgiving dinner in the US?