The Restaurant Recipes We Just Have to Have

Some dishes are so good that you simply must recreate them at home.

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By Nikita Richardson

We’ve all heard it before: Why go to a restaurant to eat something you can make at home? But sometimes you order something so incredible, so unforgettable, that you immediately want the recipe to make whenever you feel like it.

Here at The Times, we’ve been collecting restaurant recipes — which can be found on New York Times Cooking — for decades, from high-end French restaurants to neighborhood spots. Adapting these dishes presents challenges because chefs tend to, well, chef things up. Nevertheless, we persist.

So let’s take a look at some recipes we’ve already collected from restaurants, as well as some that I desperately want for my own kitchen. And I’d love to know which New York City restaurant recipes you’ve always wanted. Email me at [email protected].

A Brief History of Restaurant Recipes in The Times

Craig Claiborne, an early Food editor at The Times, devoted much time to improving home-cooking classics like the chicken salad sandwich and beef stroganoff. But he and the columnist and chef Pierre Franey also adapted restaurant recipes, like the Grand Marnier soufflé perfected at La Côte Basque in New York.

In the more recent past, our reporters and columnists have collected an array of recipes from restaurants in our own backyard, including Via Carota’s insalata verde, the Nashville-style hot fried chicken from Peaches HotHouse, the bulgogi sliders from Danji, Roberta’s pizza dough and a standout celery Victor salad served at Inga’s Bar.

Alexa Weibel, a recipe editor at New York Times Cooking who often adapts chefs’ recipes, told me that she works to highlight details that chefs internalize, like cooking times, temperatures and signs of doneness. “The end goal is truly to create recipes that capture the magic of the chef’s creation, but are as doable as they are delicious,” she said.

A Recipe Wish List

And what recipes do I want for my kitchen? Well, the first dish that comes to mind is the tardivo salad at Raf’s, the new restaurant and bakery in NoLIta from the team behind the Musket Room. I’m not a radicchio fan — I like only my cocktails bitter — but this salad made with curled fingers of the tardivo varietal has me reconsidering my position.

It isn’t doused in dressing, but rather topped with pistachios, Cara Cara and blood oranges, ricotta salata, lemon and olive oil. That all sits on a schmear of Sicilian pistachio purée that drew a collective raised eyebrow from everyone at my table. Given the chance, I’d serve that salad at every dinner party from here to eternity.

But when I think of a recipe I’d make for myself every day, it’s always the luscious confit tuna melt served on thick slices of Pullman bread at Agi’s Counter, in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. It’s the generous use of dill that keeps me coming back. Boy, do I love dill. And the sharp, nose-hair-burning mustard they serve on the side demands to be consumed to the last spoonful.

Ras Plant Based, a vegan Ethiopian restaurant in Crown Heights, serves incredible bolé bowls, a stew of chickpeas, steamed collard greens, cabbage, carrots, bell peppers and avocado salad run through with turmeric, cumin, basil, jalapeños and more. Whenever I’m craving a meal with as many ingredients as possible, this is the recipe I want. The disparate parts add up to a soul-warming amalgam of damn goodness that had me hooked when I tried it last fall at The New York Times Food Festival.

Stay tuned. Maybe I’ll be able to charm my way into the grand tradition of bringing restaurant recipes to home kitchens everywhere.

In Other News …

This week Pete Wells reviewed Naro, the Rockefeller Center restaurant from the team behind Atomix and Atoboy. He writes that the restaurant “aims for a blend of formality and friendliness” while serving inspired takes on Korean traditional foods as well as some that predate the 20th century.

Openings: Margot, a new French restaurant in Fort Greene, opens on Thursday, as does Bar Vinazo, a new Spanish wine bar from the team behind Fausto and LaLou. And London & Martin Co., will start slinging tavern-style food on Wednesday in the financial district.

Ahead of King Charles III’s coronation on Saturday, Kim Severson delivers a deep dive on the British monarch’s very particular tastes, including his penchant for sustainable dining and muesli.

This month, the diner-style restaurant Harlem Shake turns 10 and will soon add a third location in Long Island City, reports Kayla Stewart.

Elyse Inamine spotlighted the Korean pastry chefs creating a new and exciting genre of pastry, rooted in French pastry techniques and their South Korean backgrounds.

Hot off a pandemic-era interest in bread baking, diners are more than willing to shell out for inspired bread courses that cost double digits, writes Rachel Sugar.

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