All Posts By Alia Akkam

Chef’s Take: Michel Nischan and Wholesome Wave

by in Dining Out, April 6, 2016

When it opened in Westport, Conn., in 2006, the Dressing Room — which, sadly, was shuttered in 2014 — was a pioneer of the region’s now ubiquitous farm-to-table movement. Co-founded by Chef Michel Nischan and the late actor Paul Newman, the restaurant embraced local and organic ingredients in such dishes as Iroquois White Corn Soup and Hook-and-Line Crisp Baked Chatham Cod. Here, many a meal began with the crisp, easy-to-eat “Use a Spoon” Chopped Salad, an antidote to the plethora of bowls dominated by unwieldy iceberg chunks.

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The Chef’s Take: Michael Chernow at Seamore’s in New York City

by in Dining Out, February 2, 2016

Seafood-loving diners swarm Seamore’s, in New York’s Nolita neighborhood, for the likes of kimchi fishermen’s stew and apple- and kale-flecked spicy squid tacos. The restaurant’s health-conscious owner, Michael Chernow — who also co-founded beloved chainlet The Meatball Shop — has a penchant for vegetables to boot.

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The Chef’s Take: Inday

by in Dining Out, January 7, 2016

With its potato-stuffed samosas, mounds of rice and must-have spheres of naan, Indian cooking doesn’t exactly conjure images of invigorating, low-calorie lunches. But Basu Ratnam, a young finance-dude-turned-restaurateur, would like it to. Enter Inday, his new, fast-casual eatery in New York’s NoMad District.

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Our Best Healthy Recipes of 2015

by in Healthy Recipes, December 23, 2015

Despite hectic schedules, much time this year was spent in the kitchen whipping up wholesome meals instead of relying on takeout. Throughout 2015, the recipes in our trove most relished by readers ran the gamut from creamy, comforting hummus to Parmesan-amped zucchini. These 11 dishes came to the rescue most often for home cooks staying in for the night.

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The Chef’s Take: Charred Kale and White Beans from Lido

by in Dining Out, December 7, 2015

Kale, once spurned for its obligatory green cameos at the childhood dinner table, has undoubtedly emerged as the most fashionable of vegetables. Its ubiquity certainly induces its share of eye rolls, but it “has entered into our culinary lexicon,” says Serena Bass, executive chef of the convivial Italian eatery Lido, in New York’s Harlem neighborhood. “It may not have the excitement of a new discovery any more, but like a tomato, it is far from done,” she says. “It’s what we turn to when we need an earthy punch in soups or salads and feel the urge to binge on B vitamins.” Read more

The Chef’s Take: Vegan Meatballs at the Meatball Shop

by in Dining Out, October 17, 2015


At any one of the Meatball Shop’s six New York outposts, patrons relish, say, orbs of spicy pork over a bed of sauteed broccoli, or pesto-dressed chicken atop freshly milled polenta. And while a vegetable version of the meatball has long graced the menu, now Meatball Shop owner and Chef Daniel Holzman has dreamed up a vegan recipe. Read more

The Chef’s Take: Broccoli Stalk Salad

by in Dining Out, August 1, 2015

Compared with much-in-demand kale, broccoli, that other verdant vegetable, has long suffered a far less glamorous fate. When diners do spear their forks into the nutrient-rich green, however, typically it’s the springy crown they crave, not the squat stem. Jeanne Cheng, chef and proprietor of Kye’s in Santa Monica, knows her passion for broccoli stalks rather than florets is unusual, but she became hooked as a kid, when her Chinese mother pickled them. “She’d marinate the stems overnight and they would get crispy,” Cheng recalls. “It’s funny, because I stir-fried them for my son when he was very young, and he would cry when it was time to take the plate away. He loves the stalks just as much as I do.” Read more

The Chef’s Take: Quinoa Pancakes at Cafe Clover

by in Dining Out, July 28, 2015

Brunch, epitomized by slabs of custardy French toast and chorizo-strewn omelets, is hardly the healthiest of meals. Yet this Bloody Mary-buoyed ritual mustn’t always be a lavish one.  Consider the health-conscious Cafe Clover, in New York’s West Village, where weekends revolve around market-vegetable scrambles and hemp seed-and-wheat-berry biscuits. Even fluffy, carb-laden pancakes get a good-for-you revamp under the imaginative spell of Executive Chef David Standridge, who transforms the morning staple with the addition of quinoa and serves it with barrel-aged maple syrup. Read more

The Chef’s Take: Ivy Stark’s Salmon a la Plancha

by in Dining Out, July 5, 2015

When dining out at Dos Caminos, the upbeat Mexican restaurant with outposts in New York, Atlantic City and Fort Lauderdale, chances are the table is graced with warm tortilla chips, chorizo fundido and asada tacos. The feast, however, need not be a gluttonous one. Consider executive chef and marathon runner Ivy Stark’s Salmon a la Plancha, one of the restaurant’s dishes that was featured as a lighter option in honor of National Nutrition Month in March but is now a permanent menu staple. The salmon is accompanied by lemon-herb quinoa and oven-roasted tomato-black olive salsa spiked with pickled jalapenos.

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The Chef’s Take: Sweet Potato Tacos at A.W.O.L.

by in Dining Out, June 1, 2015

Typically, the sight of sweet potatoes on the dinner table leaves us dreaming of lavish Thanksgiving Day feasts. But at A.W.O.L. (that stands for All Walks of Life) Eatery, a funky restaurant celebrating farm-fresh ingredients in New York’s Williamsburg neighborhood, spicy sweet potato tacos — sans the company of cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes — may make an appearance on the daily-changing menu amid even the sultriest of temperatures. Read more

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