Christo and Jeanne-Claude's The Gates, the eagerly awaited public art project coming to Central Park in February, has attracted tremendous attention from the media as of late. Inevitably, the race has now begun to find ways to profit from the project. From the City government to museums to hotels, everyone looks to be getting in on the act, restaurants included.
But what's the dining angle on The Gates? It turns out to be saffron, of all things. The stigmas of the crocus sativus flower bear the color of the fabric that will hang and billow from each of the 7,500 gates being installed throughout Central Park.
New York City’s restaurants are celebrating The Gates with inventive saffron dishes like Seared Diver Scallops with Saffron and Blueberry Pavlova with Saffron and Passion fruit. Saffron selections will be served at Bolo (23 E. 22nd St., 212/228-2200, www.bolorestaurant.com), Django (480 Lexington Ave., 212/871-6171), Josephs (1240 Avenue of the Americas, 212/332-1515, www.citarella.com), La Prima Donna Restaurant (163 W. 47th St., 212/398-3400, www.laprimadonnany.com) and Chelsea’s Finest Restaurants (www.chelseadining.com) including La Belle Vie (184 Eighth Ave., 212/929-4320) Mare (198 Eighth Ave., 212/675-7522), Tello's (263 W.19th St., 212/691-8696), Cuba Cafe (200 Eighth Ave., 212/633-1570) and Piccolo (226 Third Ave, 212/420-0600).
Of course, should you choose to celebrate The Gates in the privacy of your own home, The Food Section recommends whipping up some saffron-infused Risotto alla Milanese. This recipe works great.
Incidentally, let's be happy that New York restaurants aren't pushing a menu based on Christo's diet, which was described this way in a recent article in New York magazine:
“Sometimes he comes down to eat raw garlic, which he eats three times a day,” says [Christo's wife and collaborator] Jeanne-Claude. “A total of one head of garlic a day, raw, like candies. With some yogurt. And sometimes a glass of soy milk. That takes him about three minutes. Then back to the studio.”