Lunch at Hudson Garden Grill comes with an extra-large side of greens.
That’s because the restaurant is nestled within the leafy 40-acre Ross Conifer Arboretum at the New York Botanical Garden.
Fittingly, chef Julian Alonzo is inspired by all that surrounds him and sources many of his ingredients from Hudson Valley farms and other regional producers including his pal, the lamb farmer Keith Martin of Elysian Fields.
If you’ve never paid a visit, the restaurant (open for breakfast, lunch and drinks until 6 p.m.) is the first full-service dining destination to open at NYBG and is all the excuse you need for a day trip.
Hop on the Metro-North Harlem local line to the Botanical Garden Station in the Bronx from Grand Central Terminal and you’ll be deposited across the street from the entrance 20 minutes later. There, an elegant country farmhouse with crisp checkered tablecloths, massive Palladian windows and rough-sawn red oak paneling (reclaimed from trees felled by Hurricane Sandy) awaits. If the weather is good, you can sit outside on the terrace.
On a recent visit, we loved the refreshing English pea soup with wild spring onion and pea shoots ($9) and the Satur Farms baby beet salad with candied pecans, house-made yogurt and blue cheese croutons ($12). A deliciously tender skirt steak gets a shot of creativity from a nettle chimichurri ($24).
Even if the native plant garden, orchid collection or azaleas don’t do it for you, go for the grass-fed burger ($16) with bacon and aged cheddar on a potato roll. It tastes like a Big Mac’s wildest dreams.
No backyard at home? No problem. We’re thinking of Hudson Garden Grill as our own personal backyard garden (with cocktails!) all summer long.