This place has been called as a neighborhood gem, and I must agree. They just re-opened in April 2015 under the new management, so it has different menu from before.
It is set inside the Fort Tryon Park by Cloister Museum. It serves upscale American fare in a cobblestone building with outside space under a huge tent with glass top so that it is very bright, and you can see the trees, beautiful sky, and the Sun. They have a nice bar area and enough tables in the inside, so if you prefer to sit inside, you can do that too.
We went for a lunch, just as they opened, so we were one of the first ones to go in. The tent area is really open and airy, and with beautiful view of the nature, you don’t think you are still in Manhattan.
We started with Lemonade and Iced Coffee. The Lemonade ($4) had that real “freshly squeezed” flavor, and with enough sugar, it was great on a warm day. The Iced Coffee ($4) was very nice also, strong and refreshing. They were both nice size, so we did’t really need refill after the one glass.
As for food, they have “small Plates” and “Large Plates” section. From the Small Plates section, we had Hawaiian Smash ($10), which has avocado, quinoa bread, micro arugula, and crumble on top. Even though it is in small plate section, it was pretty nice size which was a great surprise. It was like a large size bruschetta. Very fresh, tasty, high quality item.
Then we ordered two items from the Large Plate section. Crispy Rice Gnocchi and Maitake Mushroom Risotto. They both sounded really good and interesting. Never heard of Rice Gnocchi before. So, the Rice Gnocchi ($21) has pork ragu, roasted rice cakes, garlic, scallion, fried onion, and cheddar powder. It tasted great at the first bite, but then it was a bit too salty, it required some (or a lot of) water to wash it down… If it wasn’t for that, it would have been amazing. The Maitake Mushroom Risotto ($22), which has corn, spring peas, and herb bread crumbs, was really nice but then, next the salty gnocchi, it felt it needed some seasoning. It felt it was too bland… If it had more seasoning, it would have been much better. Maybe they got mixed up when they were adding salt on one dish, and then added more salt on the same dish instead of the other plate. Who knows.
Regardless of the small disappointment, this place is a really nice spot, and has lots of potential. I would definitely try again and see how they do next time. The service was ok, no complaints there. I recommend you get a reservation, even during the non-busy day/time.
New Leaf Restaurant & Bar – One Margaret Corbin Drive Fort Tryon Park New York, NY 10040