Yesterday was but a taste of the terror that
Saruman Mother Nature will unleash in the coming months, with plenty more days of sticky swamp ass and lethargy ahead of us. Since this is also picnic season, many among us will brave said elements to feel the grass beneath them and take in a splendid sunset or two, forgoing the dignity of dry clothes and run-free mascara. But if you love a picnic but think nature can suck it, what are you to do? Why, recreate the scene indoors, of course, where you're safe from ants, unwelcome attendees and nature, generally speaking.
Seasonally shifting Park Avenue Summer (and Autumn, Winter and Spring) will begin offering Indoor Picnics this Thursday while all other eyes turn al fresco. "With each picnic reservation, the restaurant lays down turf on the table with flowered place mates [sic] to mimic the feeling of having a picnic in the park," we're told. Courses are brought out in picanic baskets and dishes are classic—if fancy—versions of the platonic ideal picnic preparations.
On the menu: Fresh Radishes with Smoked Bone Marrow Butter and Pumpernickel "Dirt," Chilled Corn Soup with Jalapeno Cubes and Charred Watermelon to start. The main event is a dill and pickled-brined fried chicken served with cheddar cornbread waffles and an apricot butter. For dessert, it's strawberry shortcake served inside a box made of white chocolate, which would be a melty mess if you tried to do the same outside. And since illicit picnic boozing is one of the hallmarks of city picnicking, the restaurant will give you a pitcher of Arnold Palmer and a flask of whisky to recreate the sensation of danger when all's safe and well.
It's gimmicky, to be sure, but Chef Zene Flinn loves to play with food and make it fun, so it's not out of character for the restaurant. To get in on the scene, make a reservations at least 24 hours in advance for any night of the week at dinner. The feast costs $79 per person with just the food or $95 per person with the whisky and drink pairings.