A Touch of California at Upland NYC

I traveled across the country from Los Angeles to New York, only to end up at a restaurant inspired by California cuisine! What does that mean? It means seasonal produce, lots of vegetables and fruits and lean meats and seafood. And that is what Upland NYC is serving in the center of Manhattan.

Upland NYC is built around a California-inspired philosophy that takes heavy cues from the seasons. Chef Justin Smillie was born in rural California and raised in rural New Jersey. His menu honors his background while also showcasing the culinary influences of Tuscany and other places.

Upland NYC is a warm and modern open space with large jars of pickling vegetables that line the walls, as well as wine bottles. The kitchen is open but set back a bit from the dining room. As a diner, you can see the kitchen but it is not dominating the space.  

Shortly after we sat down, we were served a fresh loaf of bread, topped with salt, and a pat of creamy butter, topped with herbs. I am definitely a sucker for good bread and butter.

My friend and I decided on a bottle of wine to enjoy throughout dinner and picked the Domaine J Chamonard 2016 Morgon as Beaujolais, with its fruit and earth notes and light body, is a wine that can pair with many foods.

The Whole Crispy Mushroom is a large handful of hen of the wood mushrooms that were crispy but not battered, sitting on a creamy cloumage cheese and herbs.

I really enjoyed this play on Beef Tartare with black trumpet mushroom, puffed farro, anchovy and egg yolk. An earthy dish, the puffed farro added texture to the beef tartare.

The Upland Cioppino is a spicy gochujang broth and filled with clams, red shrimp, mussels, white fish and jumbo lump crab.

The Spaghetti con vongole is made with littleneck clams and spicy chickpeas and topped with breadcrumbs which add another level of texture.

The Salmon was perfectly cooked and tender with crispy skin and served with pickled artichokes, crispy bread, parsley and creme fraiche.

And we ordered a side of Roasted Brussels Sprouts with wafu dressing, made of soy sauce, rice vinegar and vegetable oil, and black sesame.

It’s nice to see California cuisine getting love on the East Coast and Upland NYC is serving up flavorful, seasonal dishes.

345 Park Ave S
New York, NY 10010=