Ralph’s Coffee, the café from fashion brand Ralph Lauren, opened its first freestanding store in New York City’s Flatiron District on Wednesday. The debut marks the third outpost for the concept, which also operates a truck and a café at the Ralph Lauren flagship store in Manhattan. As a refreshing treat for the warm-weather months, the new shop is offering its own spin on iced coffee — tonic water with an orange slice and three shots of espresso poured in.
Availability: Through summer
Tea-Smoked Duck Breast
Chef Simone Tong’s two-unit contemporary Chinese restaurant in New York City, Little Tong Noodle Shop, is rebranding its East Village location to Little Tong. The shift reflects Tong’s desire to create a wider variety of dishes that celebrate regional Chinese cuisine. Along with the concept change, the rebranded unit is offering a new menu with items such as tea-smoked duck breast with XO fried rice, salted duck yolk and apricot sauce. The duck is smoked with a smoking gun packed with tea leaves, as seen in the restaurant’s Instagram post. The XO fried rice features Little Tong’s house-made XO sauce — made with shallots, onions, ginger, garlic, dried scallops and shrimp, fermented chiles, sugar, soy sauce, oyster sauce and a few secret ingredients. Once the sauce is stir-fried with rice, it’s topped with grated salted duck yolk.
Availability: Through early June
Caramelized Honey Tart with Dandelion Syrup
Head baker and pastry chef Charley Scruggs of Terra in Columbia, S.C., has found a new use for the humble dandelion in the kitchen. Scruggs forages for them on the outskirts of local farms and makes a syrup out of them. The pastry chef first makes a tea by simmering petals from roughly 50 dandelions in water with half an apple and lemon juice for about 20 to 30 minutes, yielding one cup of liquid. He strains the mixture and simmers it again with a cup of sugar until it reaches 218 degrees Fahrenheit.
Scruggs shares the syrup with the bar team and incorporates it into his desserts such as his newest addition — a caramelized honey tart with spiced cocoa and lime zest. The tart is served with goat milk ice cream and then drizzled with dandelion syrup all over the plate.
Availability: Through July
Café Cancale, a new Chicago restaurant from chef Paul Kahan, this year’s Nation’s Restaurant News MenuMasters Innovator of the Year, along with fellow partners Donnie Madia, Terry Alexander and Eduard Seitan of One Off Hospitality Group, debuted on Monday. The concept, meant to be the “long-awaited love letter to the leisurely oyster town of Cancale” in France, currently offers dinner service with dishes such as a lobster bialy sandwich. To create the menu item, an onion and poppy seed bialy, baked in-house daily, is split and griddled. The culinary team tosses lobster with lemon zest, salt and celery, and then serves it inside the bun with chive cream cheese and lettuce.
Price: Market price, approximately $22
Pappardelle with Ramps
Another dish for Chicago diners to enjoy at Café Cancale is pappardelle with ramps, pistachios, mushrooms and Pecorino Pepato, a sheep milk cheese with black peppercorns. The current pappardelle will be replaced with a new version featuring another seasonal ingredient once ramps go out of season.
Availability: Through ramp season, which ends around early June