Lunch at Prune begins with a complimentary serving of black olives, celery sticks, and salt. Feast on the olives, but save celery for the entree—the Toasted Manti ($12).
Ten perfectly shaped lamb-stuffed dumplings—savory and spiced, with crunchy, browned tops, each one so tiny you could easily take three in a bite. But I'd advise you savor them. The dumplings are served in a deep bowl with garlic yogurt at the center, bold, thick, and pungent. And that's where celery comes in; that yogurt is the best crudite dip I've encountered in ages. Heat in the form of cayenne butter melts slowly into the broth, of which there's just enough to cover the base of the bowl and render the manti bottoms supple and smooth.
That's how the meal should end. But as it is a small entree, you may want a starter, perhaps the seasonal Roasted Pumpkin and Cauliflower Soup to keep you warm, or if you prefer things on the delicate side, Trout Roe and Radish ($10). The radish is grated and piled high on a warm base of smoky brown butter—so fragrant! Get a little of everything in one spoonful, and allow the taut trout roe to pop into silky, salty brine. A demonstration of how simplicity really is best when it comes to top-notch ingredients, this is a dish I'll be recreating at home.
About the author: Originally from Honolulu, Kathy YL Chan writes A Passion For Food, where she chronicles her eats and travels adventures between Hawai'i, New York and beyond. She firmly believes that there is always room for dessert.