Once a restaurant is firmly established on the New York scene and beloved by both locals and visitors, what’s the next step? Often, it’s a cookbook. Many New York City restaurants have gained recognition in the city and beyond by releasing helpful cookbooks that tell the story of their establishments while also, of course, divulging the secrets behind a few recipes. If you’re a New York food lover, here are eight great restaurant cookbooks you can’t live without.
The Restaurant: Grand Central Oyster Bar, 89 E. 42nd St., 212-490-6650, oysterbarny.com
The Cookbook: The Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant Complete Seafood Cookbook
The Story: The legendary restaurant within Grand Central Station is now 100 years old, as old as the terminal itself. Not just an oyster bar, Grand Central serves seafood of all sorts, and its cookbook presents more than 200 recipes for oyster pan roasts, bouillabaisse and more. This version came out in 1999; an update will be released in the fall, commemorating the restaurant’s centennial.
The Restaurant: Balthazar, 80 Spring St., 212-965-1414, balthazarny.com
The Cookbook: The Balthazar Cookbook
The Story: Keith McNally’s Balthazar is a New York icon, a beautifully styled SoHo brasserie where the French classics are always first-rate. Its cookbook details the preparation of many favorite dishes, from Moules à la Marinière to the Chocolate Pot de Crème.
The Restaurant: Bouchon Bakery, 10 Columbus Circle, 212-823-9366, and 1 Rockefeller Plaza, 212-782-3890, bouchonbakery.com
The Cookbook: Bouchon Bakery
The Story: Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery (with locations in Las Vegas and Yountville, C.A., as well as NYC) is one of the city’s most beloved bakeries, and the Bouchon Bakery cookbook gives detailed recipes for many best-sellers, like the “TKOs” (Thomas Keller’s Oreo interpretation) and the rich, chocolatey bouchons.
The Restaurant: Clinton Street Baking Co., 4 Clinton St., clintonstreetbaking.com
The Cookbook: Clinton St. Baking Company Cookbook: Breakfast, Brunch & Beyond from New York’s Favorite Neighborhood Restaurant
The Story: This homey Lower East Side restaurant has excellent fried chicken and baked goods, but it’s the pancakes that prompt the hours-long brunch lines. Its cookbook explains the secret behind those pancakes, with dozens more recipes for biscuits, sandwiches and more.
The Cookbook: Momofuku
The Story: David Chang is one of the city’s most innovative and highly regarded chefs, and his various Momofuku restaurants are as popular now as they were when just-opened. The Momofuku cookbook delves into the process behind many of his best-known dishes. Know that this isn’t a book for novice chefs; expect long, involved processes and ingredients you may never have heard of.
The Restaurant: Babbo, 110 Waverly Pl., 212-777-0303, babbonyc.com
The Cookbook: The Babbo Cookbook
The Story: While not his first, and not his fanciest, Babbo remains Mario Batali’s most popular restaurant; more than a decade after its opening it’s still tough to get a seat. This cookbook lets you recreate many of his recipes at home, such as the Mint Love Letters pasta or the Two-Minute Calamari, Sicilian Lifeguard Style. Babbo’s dessert cookbook, Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen, is also excellent.
The Restaurant: Frankies Spuntino, several locations, frankiesspuntino.com
The Cookbook: The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual
The Story: Now with several locations, Frankies Spuntino got its start in Carroll Gardens, where it won fans for its particular modern take on red-sauce Italian cuisine. The Frankies cookbook not only gives recipes, but tales and tricks from the kitchen, giving you tips on how to make fresh pasta, or the Franks’ thoughts (it’s run by Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo) on Sunday “sauce,” aka ragu.
The Cookbook: The Chelsea Market Cookbook: 100 Recipes from New York’s Premier Indoor Food Market
The Story: For 15 years, Chelsea Market — with its many food stalls, bakeries, shops and restaurants — has been one of the city’s favorite food destinations. The Chelsea Market Cookbook will have more than 100 recipes from many of the market’s vendors, plus photos and stories from its many years in business. (Chelsea Market Cookbook will be released in October 2013.)
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