Robert Sietsema recounts his culinary journey through New York City over three decades in his latest book, New York in a Dozen Dishes. Inspired by his gastronomic roadmap, this column features twelve dinnerware collections that have framed my gratitude of the Big Apple thus far.
Let’s start with Pizza, just like Mr. Sietsema. “Throw a rock in any direction in the five boroughs and you’re likely to hit a pizza of some sort.” I’m gently tossing a pebble from my office window in 230 Fifth Ave towards 29th Street to the Martha Washington Hotel, where you will find Marta, and hand painted blue plates from Anfora’s Puebla collection that have become ubiquitous in their Instagram fame. One plate… and light and crispy pizza, can start a social media revolution.
From pizza to Chinese food, Asia de Cuba’s crispy calamari salad set me up for some serious drinking nights when I first arrived to town. The reincarnation is elevated, just like my palette, and presented on Mesh dinnerware from Rosenthal, a beautifully subtle cross stich pattern, now also available in three unique colors: demure cream, cool blue, and rich walnut.
The Clam Chowder at Aquagrill makes the top six list in the book when highlighting dish #3. Presented in Monique from Steelite International for as long as I can remember, the 19 year old recipe is complimented with dinnerware that is a perfect blend of classic and modern design. This pattern and this dish certainly make my list, too.
Global flavors through an African lens collide at The Cecil in Harlem, now plating on Rene Ozorio’s Wabi Sabi. The restaurant and the dinnerware collection both have an ethnic aesthetic and a world view of finding beauty in imperfection.
Every detail at Harlow was calculated, which is why Rosenthal’s Nendoo was selected here. A geometrically embossed rim is an elegant platform for “elevated” presentations.
Beautiful custom Richard Genori can be found throughout the city, specifically monopolizing the tables at most Major Food Group restaurants. At Santina, the plateware aids the food in transporting you to the Italian coast.
Last year we welcomed Enrique Olivero’s nurtured cuisine and custom Mexican dinnerware with open arms. With a proprietary satin matte finish, Anfora and Mr. Olivero couldn’t represent Mexican cuisine more authentically or authoritatively.
Just as BBQ is an American staple, so is Homer Laughlin dinnerware. The most appreciated vintage collections can be found at Butter, under the watchful eye of Alex Guarnaschelli. You can have great ‘cue all over this town, but my comfort food is Charred White Cloud Cauliflower on American Rose.
Bring your cuisine, use our handmade ceramic plates where no two are identical. At Chef’s Club by Food and Wine, the custom Jono Pandolfi collection doesn’t rotate when best new chefs from all over the globe visit and curate staple dishes for the permanent menu as well as intimate dinner parties.
The intoxicating aroma of the tandoori oven at Tabla welcomed me to my Union Square Hospitality Group manager’s training in 2007. While the exquisite tiling and representative artwork is long gone, the rustic Terramesa and Craft dinnerware patterns can still be appreciated at other diversely exquisite restaurants like Harold Dieterle’s Kin Shop.
The days of complete collections of one pattern may have taken a hiatus, but not at The Standard Highline. Thankfully, the design team here appreciates classic dinnerware with a prestigious backstamp: Villeroy and Boch’s La Scala.
Gem, reactive glazes on organic porcelain shapes create the Kiln collection from Front of the House. A commitment to local ingredient pairs perfectly with the natural warmth of this fresh palette at Justin Smilie’s Upland.
And since my dessert plateware collection doesn’t exist YET… my baker’s dozen won’t be pastry. Scattered throughout many of Jean-Georges properties you will discover Dudson’s Evolution dinnerware. With the lowest carbon emissions of any ceramic hospitality tableware manufactured anywhere, Evolution is a game-changer just like the restaurants where it is used.
Ready to make your mark with dinnerware? Visit www.littlemtucker.com. for all our favorite collections, and a more in depth look at many of these featured restaurants.