Read through this section on New York City restaurants and you’ll see me mention a battalion of chefs, all of whom have made their names cooking up a storm in the Big Apple. I’m chagrined to say there’s not a woman among them (which I hope says more about the world of NYC cooking than any sort of myopia on my part). But their ranks have been breached in the last decade by a chef who, arguably, serves cuisine that’s more testosterone-laden than any of the guys’. April Bloomfield is her name, and heavy, fatty, absolutely scrumptious fare is her game. I find that I can’t go to her restaurants too often because the scale scolds me the next morning. But when I do, boy, do I enjoy the experience.
Being from the U.K., her first venture in New York was this British gastropub. It was the first of its kind in the city, a triumphant announcement to us Yanks that British food didn’t have to be, well, awful. Like the gastropubs of London, which have taken classic fare and settings and made them cool, she serves items like crispy pigs’ ear salad and squid with roasted fennel to great acclaim. Too adventurous? She's also become rightly famed for the quality of her burgers and since this is a pub, you can always just stop by for a well-pulled pint.
- Pauline Frommer