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Second Helpings From Union Square Cafe: 140 New Favorites from New York's Acclaimed Restaurant [Hardcover]

Danny Meyer
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 20 2001
Ask New Yorkers to name their favorite restaurant and they are likely to reply: "Union Square Cafe." Indeed, Union Square Cafe has been ranked the city's most popular restaurant by the Zagat Survey for five consecutive years and has earned many of the food world's top honors, including a James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant of the Year, two three-star rankings from the New York Times, seven Awards of Excellence from Wine Spectator magazine, and the James Beard Foundation's Best Chef in New York Award for Michael Romano. What makes USC stand out in a sea of other great New York City restaurants? A simple but rare combination of extraordinary food, excellent wine, and the sort of warm, genuine hospitality one typically finds only in a neighborhood spot. In this new cookbook, proprietor Danny Meyer and executive chef and co-owner Michael Romano share the delicious dishes that have kept their customers coming back for more, year after year. Following the high standards for taste and accessibility set by their award-winning Union Square Cafe Cookbook, Second Helpings from Union Square Cafe offers more than 140 inspired recipes for everything from appetizers, soups, and salads to pastas, main courses, vegetables, side dishes, and desserts. These are the dishes that USC customers have come to know and love, including such favorites as a new version of their renowned Fried Calamari, Salt-Baked Chicken, Bollito di Vitello, Roasted Root Vegetables, and Blueberry-Lemon Meringue Pie.

But, more than simply a recipe collection, Second Helpings is a valuable kitchen resource for anyone interested in elevating his or her cooking to a new level. Michael teaches home cooks how to make their own pasta, create the juiciest chicken imaginable, correctly clean morels, and add new depth of flavor to all kinds of dishes, while Danny offers lively commentary and wine accompaniments for nearly every recipe. With their able guidance, even the most inexperienced cooks can turn out spectacular food with ease and joy.

Second Helpings captures the unique spirit of Union Square Cafe not just with recipes and animated text, but also with original black-and-white images by internationally acclaimed photographer Duane Michals. A longtime friend of USC, Duane has contributed his witty visual stories and restaurant vignettes in an innovative departure from standard food photography.

On every level Second Helpings from Union Square Cafe is a cookbook you'll treasure using again and again. Like the restaurant, it will become a familiar favorite and a trusted source of great food.

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Product Description

From Amazon

The Union Square Cafe is consistently ranked New York City's favorite restaurant by the Zagat survey. Why? Superb yet relaxed food served in a setting both deluxe and friendly. Second Helpings from Union Square Cafe, the follow-up to the restaurant's proprietor Danny Meyer and chef-co-owner Michael Romano's Union Square Cafe Cookbook, offers readers 140 recipes for Union Square's popular fare--Italian-inflected "everyday" cooking taken to a higher, yummier, but completely cook-friendly power. Dishes like Butternut Squash and Bean Soup, Roasted Halibut Pugliese-Style, and Zucchini Purée with Marjoram exemplify the book's unique approach; simple in conception and easy to execute, they nonetheless pack flavor and style to burn.

Chapters cover appetizers to desserts, with sections devoted to pasta and risotto and to side dishes and condiments, such as the restaurant's much-loved Olive Mashed Potatoes and Apple-Pear Chutney. Sweets like Butterscotch Pudding with Brown Sugar Sauce and Chocolate Pudding Flan should also keep diners happy. A word must be said about the photographs of Duane Michals, whose signature storytelling style (depicting, for example, a seated couple's response to a cell-phone-using table neighbor) wonderfully echoes the sweetly knowing tone of the restaurant itself. With a section on basic preparations, the book should become a trusted kitchen friend. --Arthur Boehm

From Publishers Weekly

In the follow-up to the original Union Square Cafe Cookbook (which won a Julia Child Award for first book), Meyer and Romano offer more pleasant fare from the landmark New York restaurant where they are owner and chef, respectively. Many of these dishes are new interpretations that use classic Italian ingredients: Cornmeal-Crusted Ricotta Fritters are served with an anchovy dressing, and Fris‚e Salad with Bottarga and Grapefruit makes piquant use of Italy's pressed fish roe. Some non-Italian flavors infiltrate here and there as well: Chili and Sage-Rubbed Salmon is Southwestern in style, while Saut‚ed Shrimp Goan Style relies on cinnamon, cumin and other spices from India. Recipes which are divided into traditional chapters such as Appetizers and Main Courses are split approximately down the middle between complex projects that require a good deal of time in the kitchen (e.g., Zucchini Fazzoletti, homemade pasta with a pureed zucchini sauce) and relatively simple preparations (like Roasted Cauliflower with Tomato and Green Olives). Desserts like Fig and Walnut Crostata and Blueberry-Lemon Meringue Pie are appropriately rustic-modern, and wine suggestions for each dish are a nice touch. These recipes aren't filled with hard-to-find, exotic ingredients (aside from bottarga, which has cameos in a few), nor do offerings such as Michael's Garlic-Lemon Steak or Striped Bass with Tomato-Caper Sauce jolt the palate with surprising new sensations. The phenomenal, ongoing success of the Union Square Cafe itself proves just how appealing even simple and familiar foods can be when prepared with high-quality ingredients and adapted to American sensibilities. Duane Michaels provides b&w photos that narrate peculiar stories of hypothetical dining experiences in the restaurant.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars one recipe under my belt! Nov. 27 2003
By A Customer
I just made the Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy. Hands down the best turkey I have ever prepared. All of my dinner guests for Thanksgiving this year commented that it was the best turkey they have ever had. Wow! The turkey was absolutely delicious, succulent, and wonderfully flavored by the complex assortment of ingredients that came about in the brining process and the stuffing and gravy. I used quince for the first time as an ingredient in my cooking.
The book is invitingly presented with it's story line approach through the photographs, sometimes silly. But yes, as another reviewer mentioned there is Jacque Pepin in the black and white photo essay in one chapter looking like he's truly enjoying himself. A great endorsement for this book as I love his cooking and personality as much as I do Julia Child.
I can't wait to try other recipes from this book and soon. I think that this book will become a regular for me to try out new recipes and enhance my own knowledge of my Northern Italian Nona's cooking every day.
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4.0 out of 5 stars More of the same with extra spice in the pics Nov. 14 2003
Most of what I found true of the first Union Square Café is also true of this sequel. And, the appearance of a sequel justifies the good opinion of the first volume. The new volume continues it's contribution to my Italian repetoire and continues to do it with recipes which are exceptionally well written. The introduction to the new volume makes it clear that many, if not most of the dishes are ... from Italian restaurants and nonas. I like this, if only because I find this much more believable than if the authors took credit for the recipes themselves. I also appreciate the traditional Italian names of the dishes as it makes it easier to compare these recipes with those done by classic Italian food writers such as Marcella Hazan and Lidia Bastianich.
The new volume uses it's photographs to add a rare element of humor to the cookbook. It is great good fun to do some celebrity spotting in the pics and be reassured that if Jacque Pepin takes the trouble to eat there, something good much be going on in the back of the house.
The new volume includes a long Pasta and Risotto chapter. A welcome addition.
On the down side, I find some of the recipes fairly long. Several are probably too much for the casual cook, although I believe some of the length is due to their being very thorough in their explanations.
Since this is a sequel to a well received book, I find the Pantry section to be a waste of space. Many named preparations from the first book are repeated in the second. Since these preparations are also available in hundreds of other books, I think this is blatant padding.
Bottom line is that the book is a worthy continuation to the original.
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This is wonderful stuff! Begins with unique photos, which are series of culinary shots that tell a story. They are delightful and so fun.
The recipes are powerful in their intense flavor, minimalist approach and creativity, both in new recipes and adaptations of famous, such as the Chicken Saltimbocca, which switches away from the veal, and adds cheese-egg-flour batter.
Also, knocked out by such as Grilled Lobster with Bruschetta Sauce and Indian "Bouillabaisse." For openers sure to hit the mark as favorites, try Suppli al Telefono, cheese filled rice balls or the Eggplant Meatballs. Dessert which combines two of my fettishes so exquisitely, Blueberry-Lemon Meringue Pie.
This is what I would rate a medium complexity cookbook in terms of skill level, and the ingredients are not too exotic to find. The book is supplemented with great instructions. Would have enjoyed photos of serving suggestions, but this in no way detracts from this work of the highest class! This one will continue to bless cooks who put its charm and class to use in their kitchens!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sophisticated Recipes for Serious Foodies Oct. 5 2001
By Michela
Since one of my favorite recipes (Grilled Marinated Filet of Tuna) comes from Danny Meyer's and Michael Romano's first cookbook, the award-winning Union Square Café Cookbook, I was eager to get their Second Helpings from Union Square Café cookbook. Adorned by the amusing, original b & w photos by Duane Michaels, Second Helpings is chock full of sophisticated recipes that have been specially adapted and thoroughly tested for the home chef from the Union Square Café repertoire of palate-pleasing seasonal offerings. While I would not suggest that a novice cook try most of these recipes, I do recommend Second Helpings for those of us who have been cooking at home for years, who are not able to be regulars at this fabulous three-star restaurant, and who want to make some exciting new variations on classic dishes, especially for entertaining at home.
Some of the recipes are summer and spring seasonal, such as Lemongrass Vichyssoise, Chilled Melon and Vodka Soup, Soft Shell Crabs with Tomato Nage, and Spring Risotto - I'll look forward to trying them in warmer weather. Others are perfect for harvest-time, fall, winter, and holiday cooking and baking - the first recipe I tried was Green Tomato Chutney, which used up my late-season bounty of unripe fresh tomatoes. I served it with my newest favorite dish - Chili and Sage-Rubbed Salmon, accompanied by buttered rice, with Plum Clafoutis for dessert, all accompanied by Champagne. (Almost every recipe is paired with excellent wine recommendations.
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