The Lever House Cookbook

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9781400097807: The Lever House Cookbook

From the unveiling of the innovative Lever House building to the sublimely fresh, modern dishes at the restaurant today, this luxurious cookbook celebrates the food, the architecture, and the design history of a New York landmark.

When the Lever House building first opened its doors in 1952, prominent architecture critic Lewis Mumford called it “the eighth wonder of the world.” New Yorkers flocked to the site to get a glimpse of the city’s first all-glass skyscraper, a bottle-green gem that looked startlingly modern on Park Avenue. Fifty years later, Lever House is still creating a sensation. When John McDonald and Josh Pickard opened the Lever House Restaurant in 2003, it became an instant classic with the power-lunching celebrity set. Acclaimed chef Dan Silverman’s spectacular menu and designer Marc Newson’s incomparable decor won immediate attention from The New Yorker, the New York Times, and the city’s hippest residents.

Now, this cookbook captures the essence of Lever House. Opening with a chronicle of its history by Vanity Fair writer Matt Tyrnauer, The Lever House Cookbook offers an unprecedented look into the innovative design and the designers of the building and restaurant. Dan Silverman believes that fresh, sophisticated cuisine needn’t be overly complicated, and all of the more than 125 recipes here prove that the perfect combination of ingredients results in bold new flavors. Hamachi with Soy-Sherry Reduction offers a beautiful balance of salty and sweet, while a splash of Citrus Vinaigrette brightens a rich, buttery Alaskan Black Cod. Risotto al Barolo sings when studded with caramelized butternut squash, and the recipe for Grilled Lamb Chops redefines the hefty, juicy meal. Familiar tastes such as caramel and cinnamon reach new heights in Lever House’s signature desserts, like Apple Cheesecake Crisp.

With vivid photographs of the dishes and modern and archival images of the venue, The Lever House Cookbook is a timeless monument to New York style.

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Review:

Built in 1952, Lever House is one of Manhattan's first and most fetching glass-skinned towers. In 2004 it became home to an eponymous restaurant, whose chef, Dan Silverman, has been praised for its luxurious yet direct menu. In The Lever House Cookbook, written with JoAnn Cianciulli, he offers 125-plus recipes--dishes like Grilled Sorrel Soup with Smoked Trout; Pan-Roasted Poussin with Tarragon Jus, Wild Mushrooms, and Snap Peas; Berkshire Pork Chops with Cipollini Onions, New Potatoes, and Pineapple-Kumquat Chutney; and Pan-Seared Hake with Salsify, Oyster Mushrooms, and Salsa Verde. A dessert section, provided by the restaurant's pastry chef, offers treats like Lemon Meringue Blueberry Pies and Cranberry Pecan Tart with Maple Ice Cream.

This isn't everyday cooking--most of the recipes require multiple preparations and hard-to-find or expensive ingredients--but neither is it particularly fussy nor complicated to do, thanks largely to recipe clarity. Readers wishing to take the plunge will undoubtedly want to do so for an occasion, or at least when time isn't an issue. (Dish components can also be "edited down" to simplify.) With technical tips, asides on ingredients, multiple photos, and a building biography by journalist Matt Tynauer, the book makes a good case for the well-crafted chef's cookbook offering delicious, unaffected fare. --Arthur Boehm

About the Author:

Executive Chef Dan Silverman has been cooking professionally in New York for nearly twenty years, most recently as executive chef of the Union Square Cafe. Silverman was recognized as one of America’s Ten Best New Chefs by Food and Wine. Under his eye, Lever House was nominated as one of the best new restaurants of 2004 by the James Beard Foundation. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter.

JoAnn Cianciulli is a food writer and culinary producer. Her cookbook credits include collaborations on Tyler Florence’s Real Kitchen and Aarón Sanchez’s La Comida del Barrio. She was producer on Food Network’s Food 911 and PBS’s Cooking Under Fire. A die-hard New Yorker, she lives in Los Angeles because juicy tomatoes are available year round.

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