season SEIZE THE
or everything there is a season, and, chefs may add, also an appropriate side dish. Chefs are
true believers in the value of an ever-changing menu that keeps customers coming back to
find out what’s new.
All side dishes begin with a plan, says Matthew King, national director of culinary development/
corporate executive chef at Boston-based Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group. “Our goal is always
to make sure the guests enjoy them. To that end, I may have a particular combination in mind—corn
with manchego to go with a Cajun rib-eye, for instance. But it is also an amazing accompaniment to
scallops, salmon and our signature bone-in sirloin.
“In the final analysis, the perfect combination of side dish and main course depends on your
mood, the weather and the company.”
Tis the season
Smith & Wollensky’s spring/summer creamy corn with manchego is a combination of sweet
roasted corn, manchego and the spiciness of ancho chili butter, which creates the perfect accompaniment to a charbroiled steak. In fall and winter, King says, his patrons’ tastes turn to something
heartier, such as duck fat-roasted root vegetables.
“Another fall favorite is pan-roasted wild mushrooms,” he adds. “This one became so popular we
made it a permanent menu item, along with our truffle mac and cheese and creamed spinach sides.”
Autumn is the time to get caramelized Brussels sprouts at Seasons 52, with headquarters in
Orlando, Florida, and 43 outlets in 18 states. The Brussels sprouts are prepared with crispy bacon,
garlic and a Parmesan crust. In winter, the restaurants feature roasted Basciani Farms mushrooms
with spinach stuffing, panko crust and Parmesan tuile, as well as warm California golden beets
prepared with Laura Chenel goat cheese, toasted pistachios and micro basil.
When fiddlehead ferns push up through the snow in spring, Seasons 52 serves them with its spring
vegetable accompaniment. Even though these delicacies are in season for only a short while, they are
bright in flavor with a deliciously crisp texture that is reminiscent of asparagus or young spinach.
Summer sides include: tamale tots with red mole and chili sour cream; quinoa grain/citrus
salad with jicama, Traverse City cherries and fresh mint; Savoy cabbage slaw with a jalapeño/
lime vinaigrette; summer vegetables such as oak-grilled broccoli with a zesty Caesar dressing;
and a skillet of roasted corn, crispy bacon, caramelized onion and Parmesan cheese.
on the menu
BY ALAN RICHMAN
Duck-fat roasted root vegetables
are a fall/winter treat for customers
at Smith & Wollensky.