New Leaf Café (located within Fort Tryon Park at 1 Margaret Corbin Drive)
The stone building was constructed along with the park by John D. Rockefeller Jr. and originally served as a cafeteria and park offices. After the park and the café had deteriorated, Bette Midler and friends discovered it in the 1990s and launched the New York Restoration Project (NYRP) to refurbish the building. Thanks to the NYRP, the New Leaf became a popular destination for locals and a surprise find for visitors. Now run by Coffeed, a food and beverage company with multiple locations, the New Leaf provides seasonal American comfort food in a cottage-like setting.
(For directions to the New Leaf Café see Fort Tryon Park below.)
Washington Heights is home to numerous satisfying Latin American restaurants. While it will be easy to find familiar foods like pork cutlets or rice and beans almost anywhere, there are some less familiar offerings, such as pupusas (Salvadorean gluten-free cornmeal patties stuffed with various fillings). To learn a few of the many ways plantains can be prepared, you must visit Malecon or another Dominican restaurant with mofongo in its name. Ripe plantains can be offered as maduros, sweet side dishes or in an omelet. Unripe green plaintains may be prepared as tostones, a savory food usually enhanced with a hint of salt; cut-up plantain is fried twice, first to soften and then flatten the slices and second to brown the slices. While tostones are a great side, a main dish called mofongo uses the green plantain as its base. Chicken, beef, seafood, bits of fried pork skin, alone or in combination, usually topped with gravy are added to the mashed plantains resulting in one very filling, tasty meal.
While we heartily recommend sampling the Latin-American foods in the Heights, we feel Coogan’s, at 4015 Broadway (an Irish pub that might be found anywhere in the city), deserves a special mention and is a must.