Ramps combine the best qualities from garlic and onions in the same plant. The wild leek’s canoe-shaped green leaves begin popping up at the start of spring and begin appearing on menus as soon as foragers can get them out of the forest and into kitchens. Here are 15 delicious ramp dishes and drinks starring the highly-prized wild edibles. Not near one of these restaurants? OpenTable has you covered with more than 51,000 spots around the globe.
The Wilson, New York, New York
This is not your average martini. To begin, vodka and dry vermouth are infused with a touch of salt in an immersion circulator. The spirituous mix is super chilled and graced with a few drops of ramp-infused olive oil. Make a reservation at The Wilson.
The Restaurant at RT Lodge, Maryville, Tennessee
Chimichurri sauce ramps up grilled pork tenderloin. Ramp tops and bulbs form the backbone of the verdant condiment, which gets even greener thanks to plenty of fresh parsley and oregano. It’s the taste of spring in a sauce. Make a reservation at The Restaurant at RT Lodge.
Alden and Harlow, Cambridge, Massachusetts
We didn’t know ramp hash browns were a thing, but now we’re obsessed. The greens-laced golden rounds complement the New York strip steak from Creekstone Farms. Smoked fennel slaw and pickled rhubarb butter complete the pretty presentation. Make a reservation at Alden and Harlow.
Legasea, New York, New York
Hats off to this seasonal sensation. Cappelletti are packed with ramp mascarpone, lavished with brown butter, and tossed with fava beans. Spring has rarely tasted so decadent. Make a reservation at Legasea.
The Oval Room, Washington, D.C.
Brown butter adds deep richness and umami undertones to the flounder. Porcini mushrooms contribute an earthiness, while ramps bring an oniony-garlicky sensibility. Consider it high-minded surf ‘n’ turf. Make a reservation at The Oval Room.
Swift & Sons, Chicago, Illinois
These are not your aunt Irenka’s pierogis. They are loaded with ramp bulbs, black truffle, and ricotta cheese. They sit atop ramp-y crème fraîche and toasted breadcrumbs soaked with ramp oil. Make a reservation at Swift & Sons.
GT Prime Steakhouse, Chicago, Illinois
Ramps add freshness and funk to charred broccoli. Pickled fennel brings tartness, macadamias insert rich nuttiness into the equation, and burrata contributes milky creaminess. Healthy, but still indulgent tasting. Make a reservation at GT Prime Steakhouse.
Marble + Rye, Buffalo, New York
Rex’s tune “Raw Ramp” inspired the ramp-y “You’re A Champ” cocktail. Hand-foraged ramps are infused into gin, which is mixed with aquavit, Cocchi Americano, lemon, tomato water, husk cherry bitters, and rich garam masala syrup. It’s garnished with a ramp and a lemon twist. Make a reservation at Marble + Rye.
100 Acres: The Kitchens at Hotel Henry, Buffalo, New York
Vegans rejoice! Every day, there’s a plant-based plate featuring goods from the gardens and local farms. The current prep features spinach and pistachio tortelli topped with ramps. Make a reservation at 100 Acres: The Kitchens at Hotel Henry.
Santina, New York, New York
Slow-poached salmon gets a lift from seasonal veg. When they’re available, pickled ramps are included in the mix to add a garlicky sensibility. Other components might include pencil asparagus, snow pears, Fresno chilis, and Thai basil. Make a reservation at Santina.
Bar Primi, New York, New York
Ramps from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm in the Catskills grace this flavorful pasta. The handmade tagliatelle is boosted further with sausage, crunchy breadcrumbs, and lemon zest. Carb loading has rarely tasted so good. Make a reservation at Bar Primi.
RPM Italian, Chicago, Illinois
Gnocchi are so comforting. The puffy pillows manage to be featherweight and yet super satiating. In this outstanding rendition, they’re paired with ramp pesto and aged goat cheese. Make a reservation at RPM Italian.
Bourbon Steak, Washington, D.C.
This tartine celebrates the microseasons, changing almost every day. In this iteration, executive chef Drew Adams topped the grilled bread with ramps, fiddleheads, garlic mustard, wild onions, wild onion flowers, ramps, sorrel, and borage. Plus, there are razor thin ribbons of ham and a slather of housemade ricotta for good measure. Make a reservation at Bourbon Steak.
Pumpkin, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Potatoes make everything better. Case in point is this potato crusted cod. It arrives with skordalia (garlicky potato spread), ramp and ham vinaigrette, and steamed ramps. Make a reservation at Pumpkin.
Equinox, Washington, D.C.
Caramelized Hawaiian hearts of palm cakes star in this vegan dish. The sunny rounds come with sunchoke puree, asparagus, and pickled ramps. So good even carnivores will want to order it. Make a reservation at Equinox.
Have you been ordering ramp dishes and drinks this season? Let us know here or over on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter. And, remember to snap + share your #dishpics with us on Instagram for a chance to win in our weekly giveaway.
Nevin Martell is a Washington, D.C.-based food and travel writer and the author of several books, including Freak Show Without A Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations. Find him on Twitter @nevinmartell and Instagram @nevinmartell.
Photo credits: Matt Snyder (100 Acres); Nevin Martell (Bourbon Steak); Ally Straussner (GT Prime, Swift & Sons); Bondfire Media (Pumpkin); John Stoffer (RPM Italian).