Personality on a Plate: Chef Serena Bass Dazzles at Lido in Harlem

Personality on a Plate: Chef Serena Bass Dazzles at Lido in Harlem
From, by Wanda Mann

image courtesy of Lido

image courtesy of Lido

Serena Bass Lido HarlemSerena Bass, Executive Chef, Lido.
image courtesy of Lido

Serena Bass, executive chef at Lido restaurant (2168 Frederick Douglass Boulevard at 117th Street) in Harlem, is no shrinking violet and her cuisine is vibrant, creative, and multi-faceted - just like the woman. Born in London, Serena seems to have taken New York City by storm from the moment she crossed the Atlantic. Serena's culinary career was dramatically launched when she was asked to cater a last minute dinner party for Andy Warhol and 60 guests. Since that fateful call, her catering business continues to flourish with all manner of celebrity and society clientele. For years, Serena was also a doyenne of New York's nightlife at the eponymous lounge that she operated in the basement of the  legendary Chelsea Hotel. Author of a James Beard cookbook, Serena brings serious knowledge and charisma to Lido.

Lido Exterior
image courtesy of Lido

Lido Interior
image courtesy of Lido

Owned by Harlem resident Susannah Koteen, Lido opened in 2011 and is one of the pioneers of the Restaurant Row that has blossomed along Frederick Douglass Boulevard. A neighborhood restaurant with boundless appeal, I've enjoyed many wonderful meals at Lido and the elegant but unpretentious ambiance is the perfect place to relax over a leisurely meal with friends. In the warmer months, you can dine al fresco at Lido's sidewalk cafe and watch Harlem stroll by in all its splendor.

I recently had the chance to sit down for lunch with Serena and sample a few of the item's on Lido's seasonal menu. As the name implies, the menu is inspired by Italy but Serena deftly incorporates flavors from around the globe. A meal prepared by Serena is one you'll never forget and a meal WITH Serena was one of the best lunch dates I've had in ages. If Serena is at Lido while you're dining, she will saunter by your table to say hello and ask if you are enjoying your meal. I'm pretty confident that your answer will be yes!  Here are a few of my Lido favorites.

IMG_3223Crispy Brussels Sprouts, Bacon, Organic House Made Ricotta
More kids would eat their Brussels sprouts if they were this delicious! The creaminess of the ricotta is a fabulous contrast with the crispy bacon and earthy sprouts. Seasonal, sumptuous, and satisfying!

Grilled Tuscan Bread Crostini
Sicilian Tuna, Fennel Seed Aioli, Fried Capers, Parsley, and Lemon
This savory appetizer unites big flavors in a harmonious way. A sophisticated alternative to a boring tuna sandwich, quality ingredients make this quite special. The hint of lemon unites everything with a jolt of freshness.

Lido Salmon
image courtesy of Lido

Grilled Atlantic Salmon, Sauteed Spinach, Celery Root Mash, Citrus Beurre Blanc, Crisp Parsnip Ribbons

If you avoid salmon on menus because you find it boring, this is the dish that will make you reconsider. Resting on a bed of the most luxurious celery root mash and topped with crunchy ribbons of parsnip, Lido's salmon is revved up but not over-the-top. Another great example of Serena Bass's knack for combining flavors and textures.

Lido Bread Pudding
image courtesy of Lido
Warm Victoria Plum Bread Pudding, Scented with Orange Zest & Rosemary,  Vanilla Gelato.

Excuse me while I spend the winter cuddled up with this dessert. Yours truly does not have a huge sweet tooth and prefers desserts that aren't too fussy. What could be cozier than a warm piece of bread pudding paired with ice cream? This is a homestyle dessert interpreted by a pro and the result is a little slice of sugary bliss.

I've only tapped the surface of the Lido menu - the restaurant offers a diverse selection of pastas, salads, seafood, meats, desserts, and more. There is also a lovely wine & cocktails list.

For more information, visit the Lido website.




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