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An Annual Ode to Turkey Day


Natural Traveler’s Review of the Thanksgiving Menu at Keens Steakhouse in New York City

By JR Rosenthal, Food Editor

Executive Chef Bill Rodgers knows a thing or two about the concept of farm to table. In planning and formulating this year’s Thanksgiving menu, Rodgers has harkened back to the culinary mantra that local and sustainable reigns supreme.

“Several of the menu items for 2016 reflect my interest in promoting local purveyors, farmers and growers, “says Rodgers, who is known for riding his motorcycle into the most remote areas to investigate the best quality ingredients. “And so I was able to find a farm in rural Pennsylvania that is cultivating Asian pears; a creamery in Vermont that produces one of the best blue cheeses in the world; and a free-range game farm in the Hudson Valley that raises the best turkeys available.”

The latter reference is to a dish that is not new to the Keens Thanksgiving Menu: The Organic Free-Range Turkey from Quattro Farms in Pleasant Valley, New York, has been a mainstay on the menu here for years. Featured in the Keens T-Day roundup last year,  this Baron of turkeys  is so delicious and complex because the birds are raised of high-quality, locally-grown feeds and treated with the deference they deserve.

20161102_154415The four new dishes this year are bound to be classics: The list includes two new appetizers—Roasted Purple Cauliflower with Whipped Goat Cheese, and Small Butternut Squash and Potato Dumplings with Brown Butter and Sage. And two new items in the soup and salad course: Chestnut Soup with Pancetta, and Mesclun Greens with Pennsylvania Pears, Bayley Hazen Blue Cheese and Candied Pecans.

Bayley Hazen is a cheese made from raw milk at the Jasper Hill Creamery in Greensboro Bend, Vermont. Bayley Hazen is the perfect blue cheese, as it evokes a creamy, buttery, grassy flavor, fudge-like texture and a psychedelic blue-grey color.

The Asian pears, produced in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania, are so succulent and subtle in flavor—the perfect counterpoint to the nutty tones of the Bayley Hazen. “I decided to add candied pecans instead of my original choice of candied walnuts to the salad, “said Rodgers, because pecans have a richer flavor that pairs perfectly with blue cheese and pear.”

Here are the chef’s descriptions of the four new items, followed by the full menu of delights served up on November 24. Enjoy!

Mesclun Greens with Pennsylvania Pears, Bayley Hazen Blue Cheese and Candied Pecans20161103_134417

Field lettuces with sliced Asian pears, watermelon radish, Bayley Hazen Blue Cheese and candied pecans dressed in a Dijon Vinaigrette made with mustard, rice and red wine vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, canola oil and peanut oil.

Chestnut Soup with Pancetta

A traditional holiday soup made with chestnuts, pancetta, onions, celery, chicken stock and milk, then garnished with crisp pancetta.

20161028_175440Small Butternut Squash and Potato Dumplings with Brown Butter and Sage

Delicate gnocchi made from roasted butternut squash, potatoes, eggs, flour, parmesan cheese, nutmeg and salt. The dumplings are sauteed with butter and finished with black trumpet mushrooms, shaved parmesan and sage butter.

Roasted Hudson Valley Purple Cauliflower with Whipped Goat Cheese

Locally grown cauliflower poached in wine, water, butter, olive oil, lemon juice, bay leaf and crushed red pepper. Roasted in a 475 degree oven and served with a combination of whipped goat cheese, cream cheese and garnished with chopped chive.




Iced Relish Tray with carrots, celery, olives and house-made blue cheese dressing.



Starters (pick 1)

Iced Shrimp Cocktail

Roasted Purple Cauliflower with Whipped Goat Cheese

Grilled Thick-cut Berkshire Bacon

Small Butternut Squash and Potato Dumplings with Brown Butter and Sage

Maryland Lump Crab Cakes


Soup and Salad (pick 1)

Chestnut Soup with Pancetta

Mesclun Greens with Pennsylvania Pears, Bayley Hazen Blue Cheese and Candied Pecans

Entrees (pick 1)

Organic Free-Range Turkey from Quattro Farms

Two 6-ounce double Colorado Lamb Chops

King’s Cut Prime Rib of Beef

12-ounce Prime Filet

Steamed Whole Maine Lobster

Sides (all are included)

Glazed Carrots

Smashed Candied Yams

Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes

Fine String Beans

House-made stuffing (aka dressing)

Desserts (pick 1)

Pecan Pie with Bourbon Cream

Assortment of Sorbets and Ice Creams

Lady M Chocolate Cake

Pumpkin Pie with Ginger Cream

Warm Apple Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream


Keens Full Roast Coffee or Tea

$115 per person

$58 children under 12



Keens Steakhouse

72 W. 36th Street, New York City, New York 10018

Open 1 to 8:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day

Reservation Required






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