Food & Drink Magazine

Park Avenue Cafe

By Yonni @vegandthecity
Last Thursday night I met two girl friends of mine at Park Avenue Winter.  If you don't know about this gem on 63rd and Park, you need to look it up.  Formally known as Park Avenue Cafe, this restaurant changes seasonally ~ and not only the menu but the decor.  I had my 38th birthday dinner there when it was in the autumnal theme, and not only were the dishes delectable, the feel of the restaurant was that of fall with harvest colors and wooded decor.  On Thursday the restaurant had been transformed into winter white with an ice bar of vodkas lining the hallway leading to the upstairs dining room, a mirrored french door style wall with a distressed wood frame separating us from the party room, and twinkling crystal votives further emulating a wintery scene.  And clearly my friends weren't the only Upper East Siders to think this place was worthy of a great night out ~ I ran into two other couples I knew from the same part of town, and judging by the clientele, many people find this to be a very trendy dining destination.  (Surprised I picked it?)
As with most of the restaurants I review, this isn't a vegan restaurant, but it is accommodating.  For one, when the breads arrive, a printed card accompanies them listing the varieties and ingredients in each (I chose a small, warm pumpernickel roll with golden raisins and, I believe, walnuts.)  It is not inexpensive, and I did indulge in some Chateauneuf-du-Pape, but the somalier was happy to offer me tastings as I made my selection so at least I knew I was spending the money on something I would like and that would pair well with my meal.
My friends enjoyed an amuse, brought to the table once we sat, and I started with a mixed field greens salad with shaved radish in a dijon vinaigrette.  As an entree, I adapted two side dishes to have them made without butter (or pancetta) and really liked the flavors of the miso glazed brussel sprouts and sauteed tri-colored cauliflower.  I worried that without protein, rice or potato I might not feel full but it was a wonderful meal ~ and let's be honest, when you're with good friends, sharing stories and laughing a lot, in a beautiful environment, how bad can any meal be?
When you want to splurge a little, call for a reservation.  I have never heard anything but rave reviews.  And clearly I've added my own!

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