the kitchen at b&n

Culinary entrepreneur Lidia Bastianich made a guest appearance at Barnes & Noble in Eastchester recently. Several hundred turned out to listen to her discuss her cookbooks and field questions about her stellar career. She managed to rouse the crowd. It was nice to see her again. I am a fan – having always considered her cooking style to be “vivacious and lush.” Felidia, her renowned restaurant in Manhattan, is where I celebrated my 60th!

Prior to the talk, my companion and I decided to have an early dinner at the new Barnes & Noble Kitchen on the premises: a new concept the bookseller is testing. Every time I visit the store, usually in the afternoon, I notice how active the restaurant and coffee bar have become. The house no reservations policy worried me a bit, especially with Lidia on the premises, but the manager led us to a good table where we were able to watch the evening unfold.

We ordered a tasty well-oiled and herbed Hummus Platter with za’tar, surrounded by carrots and multi-color broccoli for dipping. The crackly Lavash toast that came along with it was just delicious! We craved more.

Our mains: brick-cooked chicken on the bone served with a potato puree with tarragon and watercress: tender and very flavorful. And plancha-cooked salmon served on a bed of whole grain tabbouleh salad with basil dressing. The salmon filet was cooked impeccably, the salad a fine balance. We were impressed, better than we anticipated for this type of in-store operation.

We will return.

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