A Light Meal For Warm Weather

strawberries strawberry bowl of strawberries
Jonathan Waxman, chef and owner of Washington Park, a new restaurant in New York City, cooks up a light early summer meal with our $30 budget.

Waxman, whose restaurant is located in the heart of Greenwich Village, has returned to the stove after some time away.

Here is his menu:
Wild Mushroom Salad
Halibut With Bok Choy And Lemon Butter
Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

Waxman owned of the hottest restaurants in New York City in the '80s -- Jams. The hot spot brought California cuisine to Manhattan and made him one of the country's first celebrity chefs. In 1989, after what the New York Times describes as "a spectacular flameout following the '87 market crash," Waxman closed Jams and Bud's (his American bistro) and a third restaurant, he sold to someone else. He basically disappeared.

According to the Times, "After years as a media darling who elevated American cuisine to the revered level of French, with prices to match; years as the hard-partying whiz kid who would hop a plane to Paris for dinner at Taillevent and show up at all his competitors' places on their first or second day of business -- poof he was gone."

Waxman says he has grown up; he says he now has a family to prove it. He believes that 13 years is a long time -- long enough for people to change.

Waxman is considered by many as one of the first people to introduce New Yorkers to new American cuisine -- which is ingredient-driven. It was a California culinary trend that he supported and promoted. It believes in using only fresh, seasonal items.

Washington Park's menu focuses on freshly harvested organic products, seafood, and game. Waxman draws often on his California influences when preparing food -- so as a result the menu changes daily and trying to always showcase the best of the season.


1 pint mixed wild mushrooms
1 shallot
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup walnut oil
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped herbs
12 small croutons
3 ounces mixed baby lettuces
1/2 cup chopped walnut


  1. Saute the mushrooms, garlic, and shallot for five minutes in walnut oil and olive oil.
  2. Add the sherry vinegar and chopped herbs. Remove from heat, toss with the croutons and lettuces in large bowl, and add walnuts. Serve immediately.

4 six-ounce halibut filets -- salt and peppered
4 heads of bok choy (small), washed and dried
1 lemon squeezed
3 tablespoons olive oil

Saute the halibut in oil for five minutes on medium heat. Turn the fish over, then add the bok choi and cook an additional five minutes. Add lemon juice and serve.


1 pint strawberry
1 pint rhubarb
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sweet butter
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup white sugar


  1. Wash, half and quarter strawberries. Wash and cut rhubarb into 1-inch dice. Toss the fruit with two tablespoons of flour and sugar.
  2. Rub the remaining flour with butter and oatmeal into a coarse, rough mixture.
  3. Put fruit into a ceramic tart mould. Top with the flour mixture and bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.
Ingredient Notes:

Walnut oil has a distinct nutty flavor that is extracted from walnuts. You must store this in a cool, dark place. It will hold for up to 3 months. You need to refrigerate to prevent rancidity once you open it.

Bok choy is also known as Chinese white cabbage, or white mustard cabbage. It is a mild, versatile vegetable with crunchy white stalks and tender, dark green leaves. It is available year-round in most markets. It should be refrigerated airtight for no more than 3 to 4 days. It can be used raw in salads or as a cooked vegetable. Bok choy is related to but not the same as "chinese cabbage."

Rhubarb: The thick, celery-like stalks of this buckwheat family member can reach up to 2 feet long. The stalks are the only edible part of rhubarb. The leafy part at the top of the stalk contains is toxic; it will feel like you are eating Fiberglas if you accidentally chew on it.

Rhubarb is generally eaten as a fruit, even though it is a vegetable. There are many varieties of this tart food, most of which falls into two types: hothouse and field grown. Hothouse rhubarb is distinguished by its pink-to-pale-red stalks and yellow-green leaves, whereas field-grown plants have cherry red stalks and green leaves.

Generally, rhubarb is in season from late winter to early summer, with a peak from April to June. Of course, hothouse rhubarb you can find generally year-round in some regions.

Because of its incredibly tart flavor, rhubarb is usually combined with a considerable amount of sugar. In America, it is traditional to combine the flavors of rhubarb and strawberries. In Britain, it is traditional to combine rhubarb with ginger.