Drinks & Dining
4 Deliciously Fresh & Light Summer Bites
Highlights: Chef Ryan Hardy of Charlie Bird NYC shares his favorite light dishes as well as fresh food & wine pairings ideal for summer.
There are tons of Italian restaurants in New York, but none quite like Italian-inspired Charlie Bird.
“When we opened the restaurant, we wanted to put together a restaurant that has delicious Italian flavor yet a non-denominational place to eat for all New Yorkers,” Ryan Hardy, chef and partner at Charlie Bird, told New York Smash.
The well-known chef hails from Kentucky, where he spent his childhood noshing on comfort food like rich potatoes and mouthwatering pork-heavy dishes. Since then, he has traveled the world to experience countless flavors and cuisines.
“Italian resonated with me the most. I love fish and pasta,” he said.
Using carefully selected authentic ingredients, his menu offers a fusion of Italian classics and dishes with a unique twist, such as Charlie Bird’s Octopus Saltimbocca recipe with crispy Prosciutto di Parma, grilled octopus and veggies.
“As a chef, 50 percent of my job is product research — finding great meat, fish, flour and so on. We have to start with the best ingredients possible to make great food. These things are important even before you start creating. Proschiutto di Parma is one of those top echelon ingredients,” Hardy said.
For summer, Hardy said he prefers light seasonal dishes and small, beautiful plates. Here are a few refreshing and tasty things to enjoy on a hot day:
1 . Cold rosé wine with prosciutto, fresh seasonal fruits or berries
“Peaches are perfect with cold rosé,” Hardy told us.
You can also add fresh ricotta, cherries and melons.
2. Fresh pasta and heirloom tomatoes
“I always make pasta,” Hardy said. “To me, it isn’t a meal unless you have pasta.”
For summertime dining, he recommends fresh rigatoni with heirloom tomatoes, which are in season and on the market, instead of the canned variety.
3. Local seafood
Try Whole Roasted Striped Bass or Fluke which swim locally, suggested Hardy.
When it comes to shellfish, he recommended clams and oysters. “They’re refreshing and go so well with crisp, white wines and rosés of the season,” Hardy said. “The highest quality fish in the whole world come from the north Atlantic, in my opinion, and that’s where we live.”
“At Charlie Bird, we specialize in crudo — raw rish presentations,” Hardy told us.
Crudo, which means “raw,” originates from the coastal region of Southern Italy. For those who love the light and fresh taste of sushi and ceviche, this is a fun alternative.