What's a seasonal menu in summer? Fresh everything. When fall rolls around, the choices narrow, and pumpkin starts cropping up in suspicious places.
At first blush it's thrilling. By your fourth pumpkin soup/ravioli/pudding/pie/tart, you're ready for a more inventive take on the Taste of Autumn.
Where to look for a seasonal menu that offers something other than variations on tubers? And what to look for?
"You shouldn't let root vegetables intimidate you," says Ryan Sutton, Bloomberg's food critic. "For those who like produce-heavy fare, some of the better restaurants in New York offer nice, light options with winter produce."
He cites ABC Kitchen: "The kitchen's run by Dan Kluger, and he does a nimble carrot salad with avocado, cumin and sunflower seeds. It's a light root vegetable dish."
Along those lines, Sutton recommends a carrot dish from Nomad, run by chef Daniel Humm. Also on the list should be Hearth and Craft. "Craft is a lovely restaurant that serves hen-of-the-woods mushrooms," Sutton says. "It's an earthy, nutty flavor that you can get throughout the year."
Or say no to the root cellar. "Some chefs serve tomatoes through the year," Sutton observes. "Blue Hill Stone Barns grows certain tomatoes hydroponically, or at least they used to."
And there's nothing wrong with getting veggies from a can. "The more practical solution would be to eat preserved tomatoes," he says, "and there's no better way to eat preserved tomatoes than in a pasta sauce.
"For those who want to be truly anti-seasonal," Sutton says, "you can go to any steakhouse in the city and get a beefsteak tomato salad any time of the year."
He doesn't recommend it. Deep-frozen produce is for late winter, when anything goes.
James Tarmy reports on arts and culture for Bloomberg Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News.