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Suba’s Mariscos y Verduras Channel Spain, via Long Island and the Greenmarket

Seamus Mullen’s health troubles have gotten a lot of press lately, but his cooking at Suba, his newly opened “modern Spanish” restaurant on Ludlow Street, hasn’t gotten nearly enough. Tonight, for example, Mullen is serving mariscos y verduras (shellfish and green vegetables), an updated Basque summer standard. “With the weather in the nineties, I wanted to do something that was fresh and light, but that also had a very, very deep flavor,” Mullen says. “I like this, too, because basically everything in it is in season and locally sourced, but it’s totally true to Spanish cooking – except for the Meyer-lemon vinaigrette. But that goes so well with it.” A diver scallop, some littleneck clams, rock shrimp, and cockles are steamed in Txakoli wine, and the resulting liquid is mixed with a broth of fish stock and fresh herbs, and used to quickly cook sugar snap peas, snow peas, and cranberry beans. The dish is topped with some borage flowers and served as a first course for $15. Mullen suggests drinking the Txakoli, an effervescent spirit, with it. Related: Suba’s Seamus Mullen Goes Through Something Even Worse Than an Opening

Prune Provides an East Village Kind of Clambake

You can’t get much of a clambake going at Brighton Beach, which is about as close as we at Grub Street get to the ocean these days. But we still pine for the crude pleasures of a summer ritual that has almost no presence in the daily life of New York. Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune felt more or less the same way, and so came up with tonight’s special, a dish of steamed Manila clams, merguez sausage, and corn (for $23) meant to summon the experience, if not the setting. “I think it’s like a clambake,” she says, “just not in a pit of sand in the ground. But it has all the other elements, plus ones you wouldn’t normally find, like smoked paprika, cilantro, piquillo peppers.” But why Manila clams? That doesn’t seem especially traditional. “It isn’t,” Hamilton says. “But we love their saltiness, and they are the perfect size to open at just the right time it takes for the merguez to cook.”

Picholine Has Frogs’ Legs, and Knows How to Use Them

Frogs’ legs tend to be associated with the French and Vietnamese, but according to Craig Hopson, the chef de cuisine at Picholine, the frogs in Florida have the imported ones beaten on all counts. “They’re a lot bigger and cleaner,” he says, and tonight, he’ll be serving them (for $19) as a special at the restaurant. “Frogs’ legs don’t have much flavor on their own,” Hopson tells us, so he ups the ante by filling them with a mixture of ground frogs’ legs, bacon, and foie gras, leaving a small bone protruding to hold them with, and frying them up in tempura batter as crispy frog lollipops. The dish is served with celery kimchee, considerably cooled down from the fiery Korean kind, and a spiced aïoli. But it’s the legs themselves that really jump off the plate.

Copper River Salmon and Spring Vegetables Come Together, Briefly, at Lure

Alaska’s Copper River is home to some of the most prized wild salmon, but they only come our way for a few brief weeks. The one being served (for $32) tonight at Lure Fishbar couldn’t be more basic. Chef Josh Capon grills the fish very simply, and then plates it with plump, earthy morels, crispy peas, and asparagus. “Copper River salmon is truly the king of all salmon,” says Capon. “They are the oldest wild-salmon species caught today. And due to their long swim upriver, they have a very high fat content, because they store a lot of fat to make the trip. It has a much sweeter flesh that almost melts when it cooked.” Which is one reason Capon barely cooks it, getting out of the way as much as possible so as to let its extraordinary flavor come through.

A Three-Way Standoff Between Olives, Duck, and Smoky Cheese, Tonight at Insieme

Chef Marco Canora’s menu at Insieme is divided between modern dishes like uni risotto and traditional ones like spinach lasagne. But tonight’s special, black-olive fettuccine with duck ragù, falls somewhere between the two sides. “I love this as a take on a really rustic dish, but reworked,” Canora says. “The acidity of red wine goes with the richness of the duck, and both are complemented by the brininess of the olives.” The dish is topped with fiore de Sardo cheese, which Canora says he likes for its smokiness. If we were ordering it, we would start off with a cold, clean crudi appetizer, before taking on its deep, salty flavors. ($16 for an appetizer portion, $26 for entrée.)

A Not-So-European Union of Soft-Shell Crabs and Pickled Ramps

We’re coming into prime-time soft-shell-crab season, and we're about to leave ramps behind us. So tonight’s special at European Union, sautéed soft-shell crabs with pickled ramps ($16), is something not to miss. The crabs coming up from Maryland are bigger and fatter than the ones seen earlier in the season, one reason chef Akhtar Nawab put the dish on the menu. Says Nawab, “The soft-shells are so nice right now, meaty, sweet, and really soft. They’re alive when we get them. The pickled ramps really cut the richness and tenderness of the crab with a nice garlicky and crunchy bite.” Nawab freely offers that he didn’t invent the idea of pairing ramps with crabs, but EU makes the dish their own by also adding pickled red onions, baby leeks, and (for a trace of sweetness) cipollini onions braised in red wine and honey. Be warned, though — even the meatiest soft-shell crab isn’t going to sate you. Be prepared to order a couple, and think twice about sharing them. In another couple of weeks the dish will be a memory.

Tocqueville’s Foie Gras Special Really Isn’t About Seasonal Vegetables.

The evils of foie gras production are old news, but somehow, the stuff keeps finding its way to our tables. Possibly because it’s so freaking good. David Coleman, chef de cuisine at Tocqueville, is featuring the controversial delicacy on his menu tonight, simply seared and served with apricots glazed with sherry caramel, alongside ramps and chocolate-mint purée. “The dish is inspired by the first spring ingredients finally available — ramps from the Greenmarket and also the first apricots from California, which have a short season from May to July.” Sure, David. The dish is inspired by spring produce, not the voluptuously buttery, sweet taste of what gastronomes like Charles Gerard have called “the supreme fruit of gastronomy.” We don’t believe you, but we will happily eat it anyway.

Spring Vegetables Get the DeChellis Treatment at Sumile Sushi

Josh DeChellis’s Japanese-inspired cooking at Sumile Sushi is especially attuned to seasonality. Just look at tonight’s special, spring-vegetable sushi. Says DeChellis, “Spring’s first vegetables are so precious — just like the most prized fish of the sea — and deserve an equally simple preparation to highlight their annual arrival and delicate flavors.” Tonight’s vegetables include fresh wasabi peas, glazed spring onions, young Japanese peppers, steamed ramps, wild asparagus, enoki, water spinach and sesame, and daikon sprout “kimchee.” The special will change as it reappears from time to time throughout the spring, with different vegetables making guest appearances.

Spring’s First Veal Short Ribs at Bär-Bo-Ne

The East Village’s Bär-Bo-Ne is known mostly for its regional wines, but the food has been getting consistently more interesting since former chef John Baron departed and was replaced by the owner, Alberto Ibrahimi. The latter incorporates pointed, strong flavors into light, understated dishes such as tonight’s special of veal short ribs braised in white wine, served over parsnip purée with celery leaves ($20). “You see beef short ribs all the time,” Ibrahimi says. “But spring is here and veal is softer and lighter.” The celery leaves give some needed texture and bitterness to the soft sweetness of the meat and parsnips; Ibrahimi suggests pairing the dish with a $12 quartino of Benuara, a blend of red Nero d’Avola and Syrah grapes that he says is “rustic but elegant, like the ribs.”

A Seasonal Summit of Tilefish, Fava Purée, and Rhubarb Salad at Amalia

At Amalia tonight, chef Ivy Stark has reeled in a fish seldom seen in New York dining circles – which is too bad, because golden tilefish is one of our favorites. Meaty, dense, and full of oily goodness, it’s similar to mackerel in taste, but much, much bigger, typically weighing about twenty pounds. Since it can’t be done whole, Stark serves a pan-seared, skin-on filet of the fleshy creature, with a very springlike purée of fava beans and pineapple-mint leaves (the latter being one of the latest designer hybrid herbs on the market). “It’s really very Egyptian,” Stark says. “I was looking through my cookbooks, and I came across it and decided it would be perfect.” The dish is also served with an Iranian-style salad of raw salted rhubarb with whole mint leaves, spring chives, lime, and garlic. “I saw people eating raw rhubarb on the street in Iran,” Stark says, “and the salt completely takes away the sourness and bitterness … I love not having to cook it. It’s so much more refreshing this way.”

Appearing Tonight: Soft-shell Crabs at Anthos and Lamb Trio at Café Boulud

Every Thursday we’ll tell you what specials some of the city’s best restaurants have planned for that night. This week: Spring vegetables, the first fish of the warm seasons, and a few delicious holdovers from the cold winter months. Anthos: Pan-fried soft-shell crabs, breaded in water chestnut flour, served over a smoked egg vinaigrette with lovage, white asparagus, spring green almonds, and pickled pearl red onions. 36 W. 52nd St., nr. Fifth Ave.; 212-582-6900. Café Boulud: Lamb trio: braised lamb neck, roasted and confited lamb loin, and lamb kefta (spiced ground-lamb turnover), garnished with red lentils, carrots, and almond-stuffed prunes. 20 E. 76th St., nr. Madison Ave..; 212-772-2600. Gramercy Tavern: Suckling-pig porchetta, stuffed with house-made fennel sausage and Swiss chard, and served on a bed of rutabaga purée with grilled Swiss-chard leaves and braised Swiss-chard stems. 42 E. 20th St., nr. Park Ave. S.; 212-477-0777. JoJo: Grilled organic pork chop, marinated with Chinese cumin and honey, and served with wild ramps and fava beans. 160 E. 64th St., nr. Lexington Ave..; 212-223-5656. Blue Smoke: Barbecued organic turkey with apple sausage stuffing and bacon-braised collard greens. 116 E. 27th St., nr. Park Ave.; 212-447-7733.

It's Cherry-Blossom Time at Sumile

For the remainder of this month, Sumile Sushi chef Josh De Chellis will be preparing a Japanese spring tasting menu incorporating preserved cherry blossoms and leaves. “The whole cherry-blossom experience is an excuse to cook delicately,” says De Chellis. “That’s what spring is: the first grasses and first vegetables. It’s a delicate time of year.” De Chellis works the cherry blossoms and leaves into four courses, all accompanied by a Sparkling Sakura Sake Elixir infused with them. Unagi (eel) is smoked with cherry blossom, touched up with a blossom glaze, and served with a rich foie gras mousse. Boned squab is rolled up with blossom-infused rice, then roasted, sliced, and served over a bitter, smoky burnt eggplant purée. A chocolate-and-cherry-blossom tart rounds out the meal, which costs $70 including sake. On a cold and rainy day like today, you could do a lot worse for a shift in mood.

Snow Crab, Sure. Ritz Crackers — Definitely!

The icy waters off the Canadian Maritimes bring special bounty at this time of year, and right now, that takes the form of one of the biggest and best of all crab species: Chionoecetes opilio, or snow crab. These monsters, which can easily weigh between five and seven pounds each, are just beginning to show up on menus, David Pasternack of Esca tells us.

Artichokes, Straight Outta Cali

Agata & Valentina Ristorante draws on its sister market’s first-class produce, and right now, that means Castroville artichokes from California, the very first of the season. “They’re meatier and more tender than the ones we’ve been seeing, which all come from South America,” executive project manager Sarah Taylor tells us. “They’re bigger, and they have more flavor, too.” Tonight, in honor of these new arrivals, chef Salvatore Fraterrigo is offering a stuffed-artichokes special ($9). The veggies are crammed full of bread crumbs and garlic, per the traditional recipe, then supplemented with tangy anchovies, rich but mild caciocavallo cow’s-milk cheese, and Parmesano Reggiano, standing in for the more usual Pecorino Romano to give the dish an extra dose of class.

We’ve Got Oceana’s New Menu — and Word of a Special Served Only Tonight

The man Ben Pollinger succeeded as executive chef at Oceana in October, Cornelius Gallagher, was one of the city’s top toques, and much of the kitchen left with him. Finally, though, Pollinger has settled in and after much tweaking of the original, finally introduced his own menu (which we’ve filed into our flourishing playground of a database). Says the chef: “Oceana’s menu reflects my vision for what I wanted to do here: a kind of global seafood, with a simultaneous awareness of classic American cooking.”

Haute Brazilian at Café Boulud — Limited Time Only!

We’ve got nothing against your typical feijoada, the black-bean stew that’s Brazil’s national dish and often as dark and heavy as a neutron star. But though there are fine meals to be had in “Little Brazil” (which you can find on 45th and 46th Streets near Fifth Avenue), New Yorkers rarely get to taste the best of what the country has to offer. This week, as Rob and Robin point out in the magazine, top Brazilian chefs João Leme and Fred Frank have been cooking more nuanced, tropical-tinged dishes at Café Boulud. Their repetoire includes a high-end feijoada, which will be served, once the chefs leave at the end of the weekend, every Saturday this month. But we’d try some of their other dishes while there’s still time.

A Very Special All-Pork Program

Welcome to a Very Special Episode of Grub Street. In honor of National Pork Day, we’re going to turn back the clock and look at some of the most memorable pork moments from our first six and a half months. We remember them as if they were yesterday …

The Skinny on Fat Tuesday: The Drinks

After you’ve loosened the Fat Tuesday feed bag, it’s time for bands, beads, and of course, booze. Though New Orleans’ favorite fruity rum concoction, the Hurricane, won’t be served in go-cups in these parts, plenty of local establishments are providing incentives to drink on-site.

The Skinny on Fat Tuesday: The Eats

Ash Wednesday, if you don’t know, marks the start of Lent, Christianity’s season of self-denial and austerity. Some mark Ash Wednesday Eve consuming loads of meat and drinking. Here’s our short list of places to celebrate Fat Tuesday.