4 food baskets from the Cervo store for all your holiday gift needs
Summer 2020 will go down in history as a time of sleep for the downtown Manhattan food and nightlife scene. Despite rumors of New York’s demise, savvy city dwellers headed downtown where life could be found abundantly. Cervo, a seafood restaurant that relies heavily on classic Spanish and Portuguese flavors, knew that the only way to run the open-air restaurant was to take over not only the sidewalk, but the entire Canal Street. So that’s exactly what they did.
“We petitioned and were fortunate enough to have Canal St. Street closed.” Leah Campbell of the Cervo team says so. “We opened for outdoor dining, take out pickup and delivery. We discovered our systems for running the restaurant in a way that we found to be safe and fun, and although it was difficult, it was a joy to do.
While New Yorkers stayed safe at home, the only way to travel was to eat. Which is why night after night every outdoor table was filled. Small socially distant groups indulged in local produce Piri Piri chicken, lean fries with garlic garlic and grilled prawns with head drizzled with fresh sherry from the tap.
Leah Campbell agrees. “It’s a beautiful thing to see the streets of the city salvaged in this way.”
As winter approached, the Cervo team realized they needed to pivot. Too many problems remained to eat inside. “Without the government support, which people in our industry have desperately needed for months now, we have decided to move towards a grocery and wine store model.”
According to Campbell, the team has come back to what they know: great food starts with great produce.
“In March, we turned our three small businesses into grocers for contactless pickup almost overnight, and Hart’s in Brooklyn we’ve stuck with that ever since, slowly expanding our offerings and moving inside, creating a store you can walk into.
Does this model work in a world with fluctuating restrictions, closures and a lack of regular access to farms and local resources?
“This model market allows us to maintain the graceful cycle of our work, to order from our farmers, winegrowers and vendors, to make fermented hot sauce, potato salad, broth, to season the chickens, meat fish, braised beans, the cuisine we love to cook. To bring food, wine and spirits to our neighbors and guests and to keep the lights on. “
So, according to Campbell, yes. The foods available change daily, but range from fresh produce to ready-to-roast chickens, bags of mussels, and bottles of locally and internationally sourced wines and spirits. .
But is the market model more secure? “We had nine months to learn a lot about how to do it, and we figured we could bring that to Cervo and our neighborhood here on the Lower East Side, a sure-fire fix for the fall and the winter. To do it in the safest way possible and to keep it going. “
Can’t see your friends or family this year? Drop in a basket of goodies for a smaller, but no less special celebration.
“With small, safe gatherings on my mind, it’s really about 1 to 2 people, and sure enough you can double down if you’re more.” Campbell says specially prepared baskets ready to transport your taste buds if not yourself. “We’re grocers now, but someday we’ll be a restaurant again. “
Cervo’s Shop is open Thursday through Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. with a rotating supply of artisanal, home-made, and plain good.
- Cervo cap for the sun
- Dream beach snack of our potato salad with Basque peppers, canned mussel escabeche, a little fancy olive oil and homemade chili oil (Cervo’s secret ingredient) on top
- Drink Union Mezcal, drink it neat or prepare our mezcal margarita
- La Prat, a mix of Catalan land of red and white grape varieties, one of Cervo’s most unique offerings.
- A dozen east coast oysters – soft, meaty and creamy brine (Duxbury oysters from MA)
- Oyster knife
- To dress the oysters, three options: lots of lemons, our fermented spicy sauce, Celery flavored vinegar tart
- Homemade red vermouth, drink it over ice (olive optional), with a Cervo’s coaster on your table
- Palido sherry, unfiltered, salty, textured – the perfect aperitif from Cervo
Real little party
- Succulent Serrano ham slices
- Manchego cheese marinated with Basque peppers and herbs
- Box of Small Scallops
- Grapes of March
- Fine & Raw Chocolate
- Pimenton marinated olives
- Noguer Baix, ancestral method cava, our favorite
Weekend at home
- Our new wine key, the Spanish Pulltaps, says “Cervo’s is a seafood restaurant”
- Vegas Altas, a crisp, clean and ethereal sparkling rose from central Spain
- Parlor Café Wallabout in beans
- Crown Finish Caves Tubby Cheese
- Our braised butter beans, to eat with eggs in the morning, to eat in pints at midnight
- The Cavern candle that we use in the Cervo bathroom
- Collect gin and martini olives