New York is known for many things, fashion, night life, biscuits. Biscuits????! Surprisingly the most sophisticated city in the world and its' boroughs are becoming purveyors and experts on that Southern specialty. Some are traditionally made while others are given a fillip of spice. It's all part of the new city eating experience.
Ligaya Mishan wrote about this in today's New York Times Food section.Ms. Mishan, a restaurant critic for the section went on a city wide quest for the best biscuits. There are many Southern restaurants that are standouts in New York and with them comes the traditional fare.The cuisine is becoming so popular that there are even biscuit shops opening up too throughout Manhattan and her boroughs. Who has the best? Ms. Mishan visited several. One is the Beehive Oven, a Williamsburg hot spot where the owner and chief baker Treva Chadwell makes an approximation of her Texan grandmother's recipe.. These are tall biscuits , perfect little towers of married denseness and fluffiness..Chef Chadwell sometimes stuffs them with fried chicken or shrimp remoulade. One of Brooklyn's best known Southern style eateries Pies N Thighs , baker Sarah Sanna who also has Southern roots, takes on a more modern twist. She uses low gluten flour for airiness and European butter for richness. The biscuits are then brushed with a wash of raw egg and heavy cream.Chef Din Yates uses a similar recipe at Cheeky Sandwiches. The New Orleans born chef also adds butter milk too for tang.
Some bakers decide to go an entirely different route. They eschew traditional recipes and go their own way.The East Village Root & Bone make tiny ones, the size of petit fours as Chef Jeff McInnis serves them with a dipping sauce of dark chicken jus fortified with honey and sea salt. There are also twigs of fresh thyme and benne or sesame seeds for double dipping .Other biscuits from other restaurants and biscuit shops have the inside surprise of black pepper, homemade strawberry peach jam and dark chocolate as a rebel homage to pain au chocolat.. Some bakers, like Liz Santiso of Brooklyn Biscuit Company sprinkles grains of coarse sea salt on top to give it extra saltiness and crunch One batch has a dusting of chipotle on top with a smoky Cheddar filling. Even goat cheese has been added for a certain creaminess. Some bakers even nix the white flour and use cornmeal, creating a cakier kind of biscuit. All are served with either butter or honey butter.
Biscuits are not just a staple of the South anymore. They're becoming a Manhattan staple and a favorite.Like the city itself, they can be both traditional and funky, down home and chic at the same time.