Marc Forgione 1621 Harvest Menu

New York can be an incredibly lonely city. Walking amongst throngs of people, one can easily become overwhelmed with a sense of anonymity that sometimes overwhelms even the most independent of souls. Though I grew up here and my immediate family is just a subway ride away, I feel a tinge of sadness when I walk down a quiet street alone on a bitter cold night. Maybe I just have SAD, or I hate the cold weather, but I find these fleeting sentiments inescapable.

Take last Friday night, for example. I exited the subway station around 10PM and found myself on a practically deserted and snowy TriBeCa street. I had dinner plans with BT at Marc Forgione, and immediately questioned why a celebrity chef would have a restaurant in such a quiet neighborhood (digression: turns out, TriBeCa has more restaurants than I thought). My inquiring mind was quieted as soon as I stepped foot inside the restaurant, which was packed. Bad weather doesn’t stop New Yorkers from a fun Friday night out in any neighborhood on any night of the week.

The interior of the restaurant was like the New York that small-town folk with that city itch must dream of before they actually get here. There was a buzz of exuberant, youthful energy – and this isn’t to say that the crowd was young – but it felt young. The dress was casual yet classy, a fine balance created by a rustic interior yet high-class clientele.

Once seated, we barely glanced at the menu because we knew we wanted the 1621 Harvest tasting menu, the five-course Iron Chef-title-winning meal that Forgione prepared as a recreation of the first Thanksgiving feast that surprisingly didn’t involve turkey of any kind. All in all, there were gin and bourbon-based cocktails, an amuse bouche, a sweet potato soup topped with clams, mussels and cod, duck sausage atop cornbread and shaped like sushi, lobster tail, sunchockes, and some smokey cedar chips brought tableside for a quick minute by Mr. Forgione himself. After all of those courses and this neat little production (which I like to call Marc’s fireside chat), the venison arrived.

Stuffed venison loin, butternut squash, juniper jus, black trumpet mushrooms, sage

And later, the richest and most delightful fruit cobbler I’ve ever eaten. Truly. I am speechless:

Dried fruit cobbler, hickory nut crumble

There’s so much living going on in New York at every second of every day, and I sometimes forget this. Though it sounds silly, dining experiences such as these make me feel more alive than ever – like I’m a part of something (in this case, the upper-crust New York lifestyle, or Marc Forgione-food-celebrity-land) so much bigger than me and my teensy existence. And I’m okay with being small, because that’s what being a New Yorker is about: wanting to make some sort of splash so that we don’t go entirely unnoticed in our time here, but survive just under the radar with a few moments in the spotlight. Once noticed, even if just for our fifteen minutes of fame, the lonely New York becomes a warm and welcoming city to call our own.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Marc Forgione 1621 Harvest Menu

  1. It’s funny, I always associate NYC with love and fun because I pretty much only go to NYC for family visits and get-togethers- my dad grew up on the upper east side and his parents/the rest of his siblings still live in the city with their respective families. But I know that if I moved to NYC, got a real job, and started a life there, I’d probably experience the same loneliness that you speak of just because life wouldn’t be a family party 24/7. Cities can certainly be impersonal places, no matter how well you know them. I”m glad you found some warmth and fun inside a lovely restaurant!

  2. This post made me miss New York. And you. And meals like that. ZOMG.

  3. Well done, madame. I think you captured the feeling very well…makes me warm with the I-Love-New-York fuzzies.

  4. Love this post, I think you capture the spirit of New York so well! It’s so weird to feel lonely in a city so full of people, but those moments hit you like a ton of bricks sometimes. I heart venison – that looks amazing.

    I would also like to formally invite you to drink WINE with me sometime soon. :) :)

  5. Great post Ms. Sofia! Sometimes NYC can feel incredibly lonely, but then other times…it can be so invigorating and full of life. She’s a strange one…this city.

    Your fruit cobbler looks amaze! Definitely one of my favorite desserts to make and eat :)

  6. I like your description of New Yorker-dom – pretty accurate, in my experience. I have a lot of memories of walking in winter, alone at night, and marveling at how isolated and detached the city seemed – yet all I had to do was look in windows to see life and light and people cavorting.
    I think I miss the city most for a sense of anonymity – impossible in small towns, especially Southern small towns. I bought prenatals the other day, and so far I’ve had three people at my office ask if I’m pregnant. Ah, to disappear into a crowd…

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