The Many Flavors Of Pumpkins

Jack-o-lanterns have come and gone, but pumpkins are still lighting up menus around the neighborhood. Some people look forward to pumpkin spice lattes, but I’m always excited to see what creative offerings local restaurants come up with each year. I set out on a mission to find the East Village’s best dishes — both savory and sweet — starring autumn’s iconic vegetable.

pumpkin pancakes at Cafe OrlinCarolyn Stanley Pumpkin pancakes at Cafe Orlin.

Cafe Orlin
41 St. Mark’s Place, 212-777-1447.
At Café Orlin, I was able to get my fix before noon with pumpkin pancakes with cinnamon-spiced yogurt. The pancakes are dense and not too heavy on the pumpkin or the sugar (though I was happy to make use of the side of syrup).

roasted pumpkin at PruneCarolyn Stanley Roasted pumpkin at Prune.

54 East First Street, 212-677-6221.
Simply roasted pumpkin is a main course at Prune, and it’s made with a few surprise ingredients: ginger beer and brewer’s yeast. The combination may sound daunting, but the effect is anything but: it comes out just on the savory side of sweet and allows the flavor of the pumpkin to shine.

pumpkin pie ice cream at StogoCarolyn Stanley Pumpkin pie ice cream at Stogo.

159 East 10th Street, 212-677-2301.
Vegans don’t have to miss out on the pumpkin fun (it is, after all, a vegetable) and Stogo delivers an excellent dairy-free option. The soy-based pumpkin pie ice cream has all the cozy, cinnamon-laced comfort of the pies of childhood.

6th Street Kitchen
507 East Sixth Street, 212-477-4649.
Pumpkin shows its versatility at 6th Street Kitchen, with both a savory and a sweet option. The pumpkin “tart” with bleu cheese and cranberry is actually a deconstructed pastry: the light-as-air puree of pumpkin comes in a mug with a few “crust” squares on top. Dessert, however, keeps things simple with a pumpkin ice cream sandwich on crisp ginger cookies.

pumpkin marscapone mousse at Northern SpyCarolyn Stanley Pumpkin marscapone mousse at Northern Spy.

Northern Spy Food Co.
511 East 12th Street, 212-228-5100.
Seasonal beacon Northern Spy Food Co. puts plain old pie to shame with its pumpkin marscapone mousse. Served in a mason jar, the striated dessert actually features two types of mousse, one maple marscapone and one pumpkin, that are topped with a spiced caramel drizzle and a crumbly pecan wafer.