After Jean-Georges Group wine director Bernie Sun let it slip about his new restaurant obsession Family Recipe (231 Eldridge St., 212-529-3133) during a New York City Wine & Food Festival panel, I've had the Lower East Side eatery on my mind. Sun warned that the space is small and does not take reservations, so erring on the side of eating earlier, I made a beeline for Eldridge Street right after work.
Born to food-obsessed parents in Tokyo, Akiko Thurnauer experienced different culinary cultures and flavors from an early age. From fine dining to street fairs, Thurnauer developed an affinity to cooking with the many unique ingredients collected along the way. Her mother's cooking and her father's hospitality are apparent in everything that she and her staff do, so it comes as no surprise that the restaurant not only showcases Thurnauer's own kitchen skills but also pays homage to the culinary legacy of her father. At the end of the evening, Thurnauer paid a visit to my table to see how the meal was — like father, like daughter — and told me that she wants everyone who eats here "to feel special." I'd say she nailed it on the head. Thurnauer cooks from the heart; one part French technique, one part Japanese influence, one part locally sourced ingredients, and one part personal touch equals a perfectly plated slice of home away from home. Click through to check out my meal from Family Recipe.