At District Fray, we love to showcase exciting new dishes emerging from our local restaurants, especially those that highlight seasonal and local cooking. As such, we put together a list every season of the best dishes in town that utilize seasonal ingredients. We spotlighted the summer’s top culinary creations, which incorporate tasty summertime ingredients like tomatoes, cucumbers, figs, peaches, corn, basil and more. It may be hard to believe, but summer is coming to a close soon, so make your reservations to sample these dishes before the menus change.
What I love most about Centrolina’s panzanella is that it tastes like summer. Gorgeous red hunks of local heirloom tomatoes, fresh crunchy fragments of cucumber and crispy chunks of house-made sourdough bread are tossed together in the most delightful acidic olive oil and vinegar dressing. The minimalist dish allows for the natural flavors and colors of the fresh produce to shine through. Pro tip: Enjoy this dish with one of Centrolina’s Aperol spritz, which is especially divine and made with Aperol, bubbles and a slice of orange.
Most of the time when a dish features burrata — the famous cream-filled mozzarella cheese of Italy — the burrata is the star of the dish. But on L’Ardente’s current menu, the burrata antipasti includes so many local seasonal gems that the burrata takes a backseat to the marvelous produce. The dish includes a sphere of burrata surrounded by succulent sliced peaches and wedges of heirloom tomatoes, drizzled with a sweet, acidic fig-infused vinegar and a basil olive oil dressing. It is decadent and delicious; the ideal start to your meal at this elegant Italian restaurant.
View this post on Instagram
Rasika’s Makki Ke Shammi
Shammi usually refers to a meat-based kebab in Indian food, but this summer at Rasika chef Vikram Sunderam has concocted a corn kebab (“makki” means corn), where roasted yellow corn is blended with ground Bengal gram, caramelized onions, black cardamom, mace, black pepper and red chilis, and then formed into a patty, which is cooked on a flat griddle. The kebabs are served with an emerald green mint and cilantro chutney and adorned with a micro edible marigold. The dish is simultaneously bright, bold, smoky, savory and sweet.
Sababa’s Zucchini Al’haesh
Zucchini is one of summer’s most versatile vegetables and is utilized by a number of different cuisines. At the Israeli eatery Sababa, chef Ryan Moore honors zucchini in a dynamite dish called zucchini al’haesh. Al’haesh translates to “on the fire” in Hebrew, which Moore interprets in two ways. First, the zucchini is grilled, and second, it is blanketed in a super spicy harissa sauce. The slightly sweet zucchini pairs perfectly with the spicy sauce, and the complimentary pita is great to mop up every last bit of the sauce.
Tomatoes are arguably the single best, and most popular, summer ingredient. For those that agree, you will love the chitarra pasta at Sfoglina: Long strands of hand-cut noodles are swirled in a simple but vivid tomato sauce, then crowned with sprigs of fresh basil and a dusting of parmesan. When tomatoes are as sweet and luscious as they are in the summer, they don’t need much when turned into a tomato sauce, and this sauce is a perfect example. With only a few ingredients to complement the tomatoes, including basil, garlic and fruity olive oil, the dish puts the umami tomato flavor front and center.
Zaytinya’s Karpuzi Me Feta
Chef Michael Costa loves cooking with summer ingredients so much he has a special menu of specials called “summer festival.” Of those dishes the karpuzi me feta is the dreamiest item, with cubes of juicy watermelon, fruity but tart kalamata olives and tangy feta cheese. The sweet watermelon contrasts the sharp flavors of the other ingredients, and a smattering of fresh mint adds a clean, refreshing note. With only salt, pepper and some olive oil as additional ingredients, the dish is effortlessly simple, light and perfect for a hot summer day.
Enjoy this piece? Consider becoming a member for access to our premium digital content. Support local journalism and start your membership today.