Scott Bryan is the most underrated chef in New York City. I’m always surprised when people have never heard of him, but, then again, the press-shy Bryan would probably rather die than hock wares like Emeril.
Back when Bryan was the chef at Veritas –an upscale restaurant known as much for its extensive wine list as its three stars from the New York Times for food–I probably stopped in more than I should have to eat and drink with a lively crew. (It didn’t help that I discovered my old friend Eric, who I’d lost touch with from high school, was one of the sommeliers there.) I couldn’t go too long without eating Veritas’s warm asparagus with truffle fondue and the crisp yet juicy roast chicken (I mean, who makes ordering chicken in a restaurant worthwhile?).
Now Bryan is at Apiary , a restaurant in the East Village whose caliber seems slightly out of place if not for its $35 prix fixe menu four nights a week (though if you really want to enjoy his cooking, you’ve got to go à la carte).
His crisp sweetbreads are the best I’ve ever tasted, with an acidity that deftly cuts through the rich, chalky meat. You can’t go wrong with any of his fish preparations, and the pork chop that two of my friends ordered on our last visit was so tender and perfectly cooked I couldn’t help eating the last few bites when they deemed themselves too full. Not to be forgotten, the rabbit pappardelle is a decadent and aromatic stew of falling-from-the-bone meat, mirepoix, and fresh egg pasta–it is the quintessential winter feast.
[Pictured at top: Chatham cod with hen of the woods mushrooms, fava beans, melted leeks, and herb emulsion]
Other NYC restaurant reviews:
Minetta Tavern: I Don’t Get It 
Colicchio & Sons: What’s New Is Old 
Eleven Madison Park: French Laundry Wanna-Be 
Peter Luger v. Strip House: The Steak-Off 
Motorino v. Kesté: Neapolitan Pizza Pie-Off 
Locanda Verde: Swing and a Miss 
Maialino: Danny Meyer Does It Again
Marea: Do Your Homework 
Great Jones Cafe: Best Wings In The City 
Seäsonal Restaurant & Weinbar: Who Knew? 
Brooklyn’s Fatty ’Cue: Malaysian BBQ 
La Esquina: VIP Mexican Food?