Chefs Pamela Yung and José Ramírez-Ruiz share the inspiration behind their excellent, vegetable-forward tasting menu at Brooklyn's Semilla.

By M. Elizabeth Sheldon
Updated May 23, 2017
Courtesy of Semilla

An unexpected delivery drove the vegetable-forward tasting-menu concept for Semilla, a tiny Brooklyn restaurant that’s one of the most energetic and creative new places in the country. In 2012, Pamela Yung and José Ramírez-Ruiz (veterans of Roberta’s and Per Se respectively) were planning a pop-up with five courses. “Then our friend showed up with a big box of beautiful foraged plants, and I couldn’t waste any of it,” says Ramírez-Ruiz. The couple ended up serving more than 10 courses that night, a format they carried over to Semilla, along with Yung’s stunningly good, local-grain-studded sourdough bread and a price tag of just $75. Ramírez-Ruiz brilliantly deploys meat and fish only to bring out the best in his vegetables, as with a nugget of beef tongue hidden under layers of pickled and steamed beet.