In these bleak times, much of what you read in the pages of food blogs and magazines are obituaries. You learn that this hallowed institution or that shrine to haute gastronomy has folded. Against that grim backdrop it is a pleasure to report that Hortus NYC, reviewed here, is very much alive and well.
In fact the two-year-old Asian fusion restaurant radiates a warmth and visible glow at nights against the encroaching cold, emanating from propane heat lamps that permit dining in the garden patio.
Whether you sit inside or out, the new fall menu beckons with a starter of plump and buttery scallops, pan seared and accompanied by a cauliflower purée, roasted cauliflower, and pickled grapes. Among the main courses is an East-West variant on duck à l’orange, the bird brushed as it cooks with a piquant syrup derived from daikon.
A shimmering custard based on Thai tea arrives in the company of a tart and refreshing blueberry compote.
Hortus NYC, 271 Fifth Avenue (bet. 29th and 30th Sts.), 646-858-3784, is open for Monday through Saturday for lunch, and seven days for dinner.