Special Event
Ari Nieminen
Ari Nieminen

Al Fresco Dining

Ari Nieminen
Water’s Edge | Long Island City, NY

Tuesday, July 19, 7:00 pm
Members $90, guests $115

Perched on the shores of the East River, Water’s Edge has been offering al fresco dining with show-stopping views of the Manhattan skyline—and one of New York’s most unique dining experiences—since it opened its doors in 1983. But with the recent arrival of a new chef, those views now vie for attention with the food. “With the acquisition this year of chef Ari Nieminen,” wrote John Mariani in his Virtual Newsletter, “Water’s Edge leaps formidably into the status of a dining room whose food is as good of a reason to drive out to Queens as the panorama from its window.”

This isn’t Nieminen’s first experience upstaging a restaurant’s dramatic surroundings. His last post was at Café des Artistes, where his food stood up to Howard Chandler Christy's pastel-hued murals of nude beauties, and he was praised by the New York Times’ Melissa Clark for “revitalizing the classics at this grande dame of a restaurant.” Before that he was at FireBird, the sumptuous St. Petersburg–style Russian establishment on Restaurant Row, where diners surrounded by marble columns, chandeliers, and gold brocade found Nieminen’s food to be “equally lavish,” as Catharine Reynolds of Gourmet declared.

Nieminen, a native of Finland, came to the United States after completing high school to follow his dream of becoming a chef. He enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America and, upon graduation, began working at the River Café, first under Charlie Palmer and then David Burke. After stints heading up the kitchens at Los Angeles’s Lunaria and New York’s Fifty Seven Fifty Seven at the Four Seasons, he made his mark at FireBird and Café des Artistes.

With Nieminen now at the helm at Water’s Edge, the restaurant has entered a new era. According to Charlie Suisman of the Manhattan User’s Guide, the chef’s New American dishes like sturgeon with sorrel-whipped potatoes and Long Island duck breast with caramelized apples make Water’s Edge “a restaurant worth rediscovering.”

House-Smoked Duck Breast with Poached Apricot

Miso-Glazed Diver Sea Scallops

Foie Gras–Breaded White Duck Kidneys with Cipollini Onions

Buckwheat Blini with Gravlax and Salmon Caviar

Classic Gougères

Marika’s Mango-tinis

Scrambled Long Island Duck Eggs with American Sturgeon Caviar, Crème Fraîche, and Vodka

Frozen Grey Goose Vodka

Hot-Smoked Chardonnay-Cured Montauk Swordfish with Frog Hollow Farms Cherries, Herbs, and Whole-Grain Mustard Vinaigrette

St. Clement Chardonnay 2002

Torchon of Foie Gras with Pickled Ramps, Vanilla-Poached Rhubarb, and Sherry Vinegar Gastrique

Chauvenet Chopin Chambolle Musigny 2001

Roasted Saddle of Lamb with Young Spinach, Feta Cheese, Caramelized Walnuts, and Roasted Pepper Vinaigrette

Chateau Souverain Cabernet Sauvignon 2001

Red Currant Granité with Frosted Red Currants and Currant Sabayon

Almond and Summer Fruit Macaroons

Santero Moscato d’Asti

Chocolate Mignardises

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