The Secret Garden

If there’s one thing New Yorkers are united in during the dog days of summer, it is the perpetual search for the perfect summer retreat in the heart of the city— an oasis of lighter plates and great drinks that keep them well fed and fueled between trips to the Hamptons! The Garden at David Burke Kitchen has become that coveted spot as it enters its fourth season in the sun.

“The best part about the Garden at David Burke Kitchen is that it’s tucked away. You can’t see it from the sidewalk; it’s very much like a secret place,” explains General Manager E. Thomas Braden. “Most of our guests have either been here before or heard about it through press we’ve received, but it’s still one of those magical places you can go to that isn’t overrun with tourists or people from outside the city. It’s very much a local’s spot.”

Some of those locals happen to have some famous friends, like Sting and Alicia Keys, who come to sit, observe, and enjoy. And given the different experiences you can have outside, what’s
not to enjoy? “It’s a very diverse space,” adds Braden, who points out all the different levels. There’s the garden area on the ground level with its own bar, a chef’s table that overlooks it, a “faux” landing or bird’s-nest area over the front of the hotel, and the Treehouse bar below it, where you can also order from the menu. “This diversity allows for multiple events to happen at the same time, along with à la carte dining.”

Executive Chef Chris Shea’s menu is completely different from that of Kitchen downstairs, guests can expect lighter fare offerings with the option of ordering from the downstairs menu as well. “With an outdoor space, the dining experience incorporates being outside, and that usually goes hand in hand with simpler dishes, flatbreads, fish, and more snacks and shares at the table,” Braden adds. Chef Shea prepared a menu with just that in mind: “Items are a little more health driven, easier to eat in the heat,and travel well from the kitchen to the table.” As the temperature rises, expect shrimp and crab gazpacho and crudos and lots of lobster. “We have lobster rolls as well as a wonderful entrée: poached lobster salad with beet Carpaccio, orange vinaigrette, and asparagus,” explains Shea. Fish is prepared simply too: “We have a salt-baked striped bass with olive oil and a lemon and fennel sauce. Light and bright for the summer.”

Chef Shea will take it outside each Sunday for a pig roast next to the chef’s table. “We roast whole suckling pigs that we get in-house on Thursday, when we bone them out and set them up on a cure until Saturday morning,” says Shea. The pigs are then rinsed and tempered before they are dropped into a La Caja China wooden box. Coals are placed on top, and the pig cooks for about six hours. The faces will be roasted and served confit too.

With herbs grown in the planters that dot the garden area, the space is as functional as it is fantastic. A secret— although perhaps not for much longer!

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