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Food for Thought

New York City Restaurant Cookbooks

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There are lots of reasons to want to recreate favorite restaurant recipes at home. A happy memory of a meal, maybe at a place that no longer exists; the pure challenge of replicating that mystery sauce or seasoning; the desire to be thrifty, cooking in more and eating out less; improving cooking skills through imitation... having already had a taste of perfection. Some restaurant meals are just inspirational to the home cook.

Lunchroom and restaurant, Grand Central Terminal, New York.,Lunch Room And Restaurant, Grand Central Terminal, New York., Digital ID 809542, New York Public LibraryLunchroom and restaurant, Grand Central Terminal, New York. Digital ID 809542Pinterest, that virtual bulletin board loaded with visuals, is one place to browse for "copycat" recipes. There are also scores of bloggers that set out to do this for all of the popular national chain restaurants. If you're dying for Olive Garden's Fettucini Alfredo, it's not hard to find someone who has already done the research on cheese proportions for you using Google.

Since this is New York, home of some of the best restaurants in the world, my idea was to pull together resources based less on chains and more on the dishes you might want to recreate that are unique to this city. Jacques Torres's chocolate chip cookies. Eleven Madison Park's granola. New York style pizza. The shack burger! I've eaten these things, and honestly I don't know that my homemade attempts can possibly compare. Still, it's fun to try. I am equally interested to learn how to make renowned dishes I haven't had the chance to order yet: Nobu's black cod miso, Frankies Spuntino's Wine-Stewed Prunes and Mascarpone.

I compiled all of the cookbooks I could find that are based on a particular restaurant or group of restaurants under one chef. To be included in this list there have to be actual recipes, but many books also contain narrative describing the history of the place and the owner or chef's vision and food philosophy.

W = Link to Wikipedia entry; M = Link to What's on the Menu?

Russian Tea Room, 150 West 57th Street (RESTAURANT), Digital ID 2042410, New York Public LibraryRussian Tea Room, 150 West 57th Street, Digital ID 2042410Here are general resources about favorite New York City restaurant meals, in reverse chronological order:

Here's a handy tip. Unsurprisingly, many of New York's chefs have appeared in the pages of The New York Times over the years, often sharing popular recipes from their restaurants. Using this search box, type in the name of a restaurant, chef, or dish to view only the recipes they have submitted to the paper. Try searching for the keyword "adapted" just to browse some of them.

Browse Recipes from New York Chefs in New York Magazine.

Have you tried to cook a new dish yourself after enjoying it in a restaurant? Please share your experience in the comments.

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