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the sweet scoop
the sweet scoop
Yesterday, I had a fantastic lunch at Houseman restaurant in Hudson Square with a bunch of food industry friends, and the meal was a knockout—from the double-decker burger with caramelized onion and roasted mushroom relish to the French onion soup sandwich, and everything in between. One particular dish stood out as it was like nothing I’ve ever tasted before: the roasted-squash salad. Wow.
Tender, sweet kabocha squash gets coated with a vibrant dressing of herbs, pistachios, feta cheese, and vinegar-plumped currants—creating a bold flavor-texture punch that beautifully showcases the season. If you can’t get to Houseman to experience the real thing soon, lucky for you, Sam Sifton published the recipe for this vegetarian stunner in the Times so you can recreate it at home. Enjoy!
Houseman’s Roasted-Squash Salad
Originally published in the NY Times
Step 1: Put the currants in a small bowl, and pour the white-wine vinegar over them. Allow them to macerate for several hours or overnight, though in a pinch you can allow them to plump up while you prepare the squash. Heat oven to 450.
Step 2: Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, peel both halves (if you like: the skin of the kabocha squash is edible) and slice the squash into 1/4-inch half moons. Dress the squash lightly with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and season with the salt. Place the squash on a parchment-lined sheet pan, and roast until soft and caramelized, approximately 15 to 20 minutes, turning the pieces once or twice during the process. Remove the squash from the oven, and set aside to cool.
Step 3: Meanwhile, in a medium-size bowl, combine the fennel seed, sumac and coriander, then
add the parsley and cilantro, and stir to combine. Add 1/3 cup olive oil, and stir to combine. You want a wet mixture and may need to add a couple of extra tablespoons of oil to get it.
Step 4: Drain the currants, reserving the vinegar, and add them to the green sauce. Add the lime juice, pistachios, cheese, 6 tablespoons olive oil and 5 teaspoons vinegar from the pickled currants to the green sauce. Taste, and add more lime juice or vinegar if you like, along with a spray of salt.
Step 5: Place squash on a warm platter, and spoon the dressing over the top.
Power duo Hugh Crickmore, former partner of Mas (farmhouse), and chef Alex Leonard, of two Michelin-starred Blanca, teamed up to open Lowlife on the Lower East Side.
Officially open to the public on Monday, the 70-seat restaurant showcases a thoughtful approach to seasonal ingredients. The à la carte menu, which draws inspiration from Japanese culinary techniques, features refined dishes—including lamb tartare with mint and shrimp salt, borscht with raw cream and trout roe, and yakitori-style chicken grilled on a robata—all elegantly plated, though the setting is casual and comfortable.
Leonard is embracing more complex techniques and flavor combinations, while allowing the ingredients to shine. Much of the kitchen’s produce hails from an organic Catskills farm owned by Crickmore’s brother, breads are sourced from Roberta’s in Brooklyn, and the chef makes his own vinegars, pickles, kimchee, freshly-churned butter, and cheese in-house.
With beautifully presented modern fare, a wine list focused on natural and sustainable winemaking, and a mid-century-modern-inspired interior, one thing is certain about this Stanton Street newcomer: there’s nothing lowlife about it.
Lowlife, 178 Stanton Street, 212.257.0509, lowlifenyc.com | Image: Melissa Hom for Grub Street