Kurt's Flatiron Faves - Almond Restaurat and Bar

Last week, I took you through Mario Batali’s Eataly, exploring Italian cuisine through the market-style family of shops and mini-restaurants. It would hardly be fair for me to focus on a single country’s cuisine, and it just so happens that my next Flatiron Fave concentrates on classic French bistro fare.

Almond is located on East 22nd, just east of Broadway. This was a place that I could always stop by for an easy (and delicious) bite after work while we were opening Beecher’s. Its creators, Eric Lemonides and Jason Weiner, somehow managed to combine the warmth of an old-style drawing room with the bustle and conviviality of a Parisian bistro. Add to that a really friendly staff, and the second incarnation (the first is out in Bridgehampton) of Almond makes out to be a surprisingly cozy neighborhood haunt.

Their menu adds to this casual sense of the refined. It’s comforting without being comfort food. It’s like going to your friend’s house instead of your grandmother’s house for dinner. They both cook really great food (at least, I hope your friend cooks great food!), but when you’re at your grandma’s you might act a little more polite and refined. That’s not to say you’re a boorish brute at your friend’s house, but you can enjoy great food and company there and still lean back a little and laugh a little more freely.

Next week, we’ll head south on Park Avenue and head back up 20th half a block so I can show you Chef Sam Hazen’s Veritas, a stalwart of contemporary American cuisine. In the meantime, check back on Tuesday for my next recipe post – Cedar-grilled salmon with corn risotto and roasted lobster mushrooms!

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