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The Glutton’s Guide: The Onion Tree in Sea Cliff

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The Onion Tree

Nestled in the charming village of Sea Cliff, NY, The Onion Tree promises an unforgettable culinary journey with its eclectic menu and vibrant flavors. I was introduced to this charismatic gem on a Wednesday evening as part of a group of diners that have come to call themselves “The Dead Chef’s Society.”  

Dead Chefs Society

The Dead Chefs Society

This group of gourmands, epicureans and travelers was founded two years ago by friends Josh Jaycoff and Adam Gotterer and seeks to connect with the cultures that give us authentic ethnic cuisine here on Long Island by immersing themselves in the food and drink.  Customized DCS menus curated to the society allow members to try an array of a restaurant’s most flavorful dishes in a setting of like-minded foodies.  This was my eleventh outing with the DCS crew – and this one did not disappoint.  

The Story Behind The Onion Tree

My recent visit to The Onion Tree left me thoroughly impressed and desiring to return soon – perhaps even for a casual meal of their pizza and wings.  The restaurant opened in March of 2020 by chef/owner and married duo Jay and Raquel Jadeja, and they needed to pivot quickly when a global pandemic hit just a week later. 

The menu morphed to adapt and offers both a modern and regional approach, and then throws in artisanal Napolitano-styled pizza that include the traditional Pizza Margherita, Funghi and Calabrese – but also a Masala Margherita that packed a punch, a chicken tikka masala pie that’s even spicier, and a short rib pie served “Darjeeling style”.

Pizzas at The Onion Tree

Starters I Tried

Here’s a rundown of the standout dishes that turned the evening into a delightful feast:

Voodoo Chicken Wings: These wings pack a punch with their perfect balance of heat and flavor. Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, the Voodoo Chicken Wings are coated in a spicy, tangy sauce that leaves a lingering, addictive kick. They are the perfect appetizer to start your meal with a bang.  They are a dish that on their own are worth your trip to Sea Cliff.

Voodoo Chicken Wings

Jay’s Balls: Tender and juicy, these lamb meatballs are a testament to The Onion Tree’s commitment to using high-quality ingredients. The meatballs are cooked to perfection with pastured cumin and garlic, and served with a spicy vinaigrette with pickled cucumber and yogurt that complements the lamb’s natural flavors beautifully. Each bite is a mouthwatering experience that will leave you wanting more. 

Jays Balls

“Deconstructed” Gol Gappa: A refreshing and playful addition to the menu, Gol Gappa offers a burst of flavors and textures. These crispy, hollow puris filled with tangy tamarind water, spicy potatoes, and chickpeas are an explosion of taste in every bite. They are a fun and delicious way to awaken your palate.

Deconstructed Gol Gappa

The last small plate starter was a Dosa Waffle served with coconut and hari chutney’s with cilantro and tadka.  You felt like the ingredients were picked in a back garden, and burst with flavor in your mouth.

Dosa Waffle

Drinks You’ll Find at The Onion Tree

We paired our dinner with selections from their wine and artisan cocktail list.  Starting with a Barbera d’ Asti from Treviso Italy, the menu offers a great seleciton of reds and whites with a nod to Chef Jay or his wife (aka The Boss) Raquel for their personal favorite selections. 

The Onion Tree

In “Indian” fashion, multiple craft IPAs, lagers and ales are featured as well.  With the arrival of the pizza marking out midway point, we went with their smoked Mirchi Margarita, presented with the smoker still atop to maximize the infusion of flavors as it arrives to the table.  The slightest hint of ghost pepper mixed with the smokiness made for a wonderful cocktail.  

The menu includes a spiced and smoked mint julep and a mezcal negroni, and a fully stocked bar in the corner makes this place suitable for any cocktail lover.

Mains I Tried

A Masala Margherita Neopolitan-style pizza marked a midway for the meal and was delivered from their portable wood fired oven used in much of their catering calls.  It featured San Marzano tomatoes, fior di latte, basil, salt, tadka and curry leaves, finished with roasted chilies that packed immense heat. 

Masala Margherita Neopolitan style pizza

It was a twist on the margherita pizza that won Chef Jay first place at the 2022 Pizza Pasta Northeast Expo in Atlantic City.  Their pizza line up that offers spice to those that enjoy indulging in the forbidden levels of the Scoville Scale.  The Masala pie rings in at 2 out of 3 peppers, but when I return I will have to try their spiciest Chicken Tikka Masala pie just to satisfy my own masoschistic ways.  

Dinner comes as four dishes – starting with a banana leaf wrapped salmon dish called Meen Kozhambu.  It featured succulent salmon fillets delicately wrapped and cooked to perfection with coconut milk, lemon, and Kashmiri chili powder with green chilies, onion, ginger, garlic and tomatoes. It was incredibly tender and flavorful, with a subtle smokiness that enhances its natural taste.  I’m not usually a salmon fan, but found myself going in for a second helping.  

The unique dish of Bum Tchoonth Waingan combines the earthy flavors of eggplant (waingan) with the sweetness of slow-cooked apples. The result is a harmonious blend of sweet and savory that dances on your taste buds. The eggplant is cooked to a melt-in-your-mouth consistency, and the apples add a delightful contrast that elevates the dish and complements the whole meal.  A treat for anyone looking for Indian vegan fare.

Bum Tchoonth Waingan

To round out the meal, Chicken Curry is a comforting classic, featuring tender chicken pieces of thigh meat simmered in a fragrant and flavorful curry sauce. It’s rich, creamy, and packed with spices that create a warm, satisfying experience.

Chicken Curry

The Mutton Beli Ram was a robust and hearty dish with succulent meat cooked tender in a rich, aromatic gravy. Found myself dipping pieces of roti in to the savory broth over and over. Both of these dishes are a great example of The Onion Tree’s ability to deliver the authentic and deeply satisfying flavors of India.

Mutton Beli Ram

Dessert To Try at The Onion Tree

Dessert was a Thandai Mousse which took a base of cream cheese and paired it with saffron, cardamom, fennel, and poppy seeds – and was the perfect chef’s kiss on what was a wonderful evening.  Not too sweet, with a textured parle-g, reminiscent of a graham cracker cheesecake crust – that made for a textured balance to the creaminess of the mousse.    

Thandai Mousse

Conclusion

In conclusion, The Onion Tree in Sea Cliff, NY, is a must-visit for food enthusiasts looking to indulge in a diverse and flavorful dining experience.

Each dish is crafted with care and creativity, ensuring a memorable meal in an ambiance of caring and charisma that will have you coming back for more.  A truly wonderful addition to the restaurant scene that denotes the quaint charm of Sea Cliff. For more information about The Onion Tree, click HERE!

For more reviews by “The Glutton’s Guide,” click HERE!

Disclosure: Mr. Madden paid for his own reviewed meal and no other compensation was received. The reviewed restaurant did not receive an advance copy of the review and receives no editorial control of the copy.

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