Restaurateur Chris Himmel talks new Hudson Yards venture

The Dish: Restaurateur Chris Himmel

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Chris Himmel was destined for a career in hospitality. He grew up helping out at the acclaimed Grill 23, one of four Boston-area restaurants his family still owns. He went on to study at the prestigious Cornell University hotel school and worked under famed chefs like Danny Meyer and Thomas Keller before coming home to help run the family business.

Now, partnering with chef Michael Lomanaco, he's just opened Hudson Yards Grill in New York City, an American-style bistro located in the mega-project his own father helped develop. 

Here are some of Himmel's signature recipes: 

Charred broccoli with arugula pesto and pecorino

Ingredients

Broccoli
Baby Arugula - 1 pound
Olive oil - 14 oz
Pine nuts - 4 oz, toasted and cooled
Parmesan - 4 oz microplaned
Garlic - 4 cloves microplaned
Salt and pepper to taste 

Directions

• Peel the broccoli stalk of any stringy/fibrous peel. 
• Cut the broccoli in half or quarters depending on the size.
• Heat a heavy bottom pan or cast iron until light smoke appears, drizzle in canola oil and add the broccoli (cut side down). Season with salt. Over medium high heat, sear the broccoli until crusted brown and caramelized (not burnt). Turn the broccoli and place in the oven to cook through until tender (about 5 minutes at 400 degrees).
• When cooked, add two or three tablespoons of butter to the hot pan and baste like a steak with a spoon. Add fresh cracked pepper, a touch more salt and a squeeze of lemon Juice. Plate immediately. 
• Put the broccoli seared side up on the plate, spoon a generous portion of Arugula pesto on top of the broccoli. To finish, generously top the broccoli with freshly shaved parmesan or pecorino cheese.

For the pesto: 

  •  Puree herbs and oil in batches in robot coupe until coarsely chopped
  •  Add all other ingredients and puree until finely chopped
  • Do not over puree or the pesto  will turn brown.
  • Season with salt and pepper

Pimento cheese

Ingredients

1 cup jarred whole or chopped pimento peppers (7 ounce size)-Spanish Piquillo pepper if available
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup Duke's mayonnaise
8 ounces sharp cheddar, grated on a box grater
Hot sauce to taste, suggested 1 teaspoon
Salt and pepper
Crudities Vegetables and Crackers (for serving) 

Directions

  • Drain peppers, reserving liquid, finely chop by hand
  • In a mixing bowl blend cream cheese, mayonnaise, hot sauce, and ¼-cup pepper liquid with a spatula and mix until smooth.
  • Add cheddar cheese and mix well until combined.
  • Add peppers and continue to mix until combined. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Serve with crudities and crackers alongside.
  • Pimento cheese will hold refrigerated for 5 days covered with plastic, pressing onto surface.

Bistro du midi lamb 

Ingredients

For lamb marinade:

1 rack of lamb
1 sprig chopped rosemary
1 sprig thyme
3 ea cloves garlic sliced
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp cumin powder
1 cup olive oil

Mint pistou ingredients:

4 ounces basil
1 ounce mint
1 ea clove garlic
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
½ cup olive oil 

Spring vegetables:

2 lbs. Sugar snap peas
2 lbs. English peas
1 lbs. spring onions
2 tbsp butter
1 ea clove garlic diced 

Directions

• Mix all ingredients. Marinate lamb for at least 12 hours. Grill on high until desired temperature. Medium rare internal temperature of 135 F 
• Bring water to boil. Cook basil and mint in salted boiling water for 2 minutes. Shock in ice water. Put into blender with garlic. Slowly emulsify olive oil and finish with cheese. Add salt and pepper as needed.  
• Bring water to boil. Cook all vegetables for 3 minutes until tender. Transfer to pan with butter and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes and finish with pesto.