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Purple Reign

Concord grapes aren’t just for PB&J anymore.

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Two-toned: Otto's spectacular grape-ricotta coupe.  

Despite their dominance in the New York grape-growing market, Concord grapes never seem to get the respect afforded vinifera varieties, or even California table grapes. A few Greenmarket-minded chefs appreciate their musky, sweet-tart flavor, and plan their menus around the grape’s short growing season. Following, a short list of their grape ideas.

Otto Enoteca Pizzeria
1 Fifth Avenue (212-995-9559)

Otto’s gelato goddess Meredith Kurtzman combines tart Concord-grape sorbetto with smooth ricotta gelato made from Coach Farm goats’ milk and adorns the complementary flavors with candied walnuts and Mission figs in orange syrup (pictured). “It’s kind of like wine and cheese in a funny way,” says Kurtzman—or a supersophisticated Creamsicle.

Lever House
390 Park Avenue, entrance on East 53rd Street (212-888-2700)

“Concord grapes have a short season,” says pastry chef Deborah Snyder, “so I just buy them up, make my bases, and freeze it.” That means delicious butternut-squash cheesecake with Concord-grape sorbet and gelée for weeks to come.

Babbo
110 Waverly Place(212-777-0303)

Pastry chef Gina DePalma’s luscious schiacciata—sweet, warm brioche with Concord-grape filling, served with honey butter and honey-vanilla gelato—is modeled after the traditional Tuscan treat. “It’s normally eaten during the grape harvest: the grapes that don’t meet their end as wine get crushed, seeds and all, spread over focaccia dough, and eaten as a snack.”

Bouley
120 West Broadway (212-964-2525)

Concord-grape-and-quince salad with pear granité and grape sorbet and gelée is pastry chef Alex Grunert’s elegant autumnal answer to run-of-the-mill, out-of-season fruit salad.

Inside
9 Jones Street (212-229-9999)

Think of chef Charleen Badman’s Concord “ketchup,” made with vinegar, cider, and allspice, as the condiment of choice for the gourmet Oscar Madison set. It perks up a fresh-mozzarella salad, and Badman says it could conceivably accompany steak.


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