ADDRESS: 467 Columbus Avenue
(Between 82nd and 83rd Streets)
New York, NY 10024
WEB SITE: www.bluecaravan.com
TELEPHONE: (212) 595-4300
FAX: (212) 595-4333
HOURS: Breakfast: 8:00 AM – 12:00 Noon, Mon.-Fri.
Lunch: 12:00 Noon – 4:00 PM, Mon.-Fri.
Dinner: 5:00 PM – 11:00 PM, Mon.-Sun.
Bar/Lounge: 5:00 PM – 11:00 PM, Sun.-Thurs.
5:00 PM – 1:00 AM, Fri-Sat.
Brunch: 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Sat.-Sun.
Happy Hour: 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM, Mon.-Fri.
CUISINE: Modern Tapas and Global Cuisine
Restaurateur/Chef Mei Chau
CREDIT CARDS: All major cards accepted
PRICE RANGE: Lunch: $ 7 – $20
Dinner: $ 7 – $30
DRESS: Casual Elegant
SEATING CAPACITY: Dining Room: 40
Private Party Room: 30
Outdoor Café: 20
NUMBER OF ROOMS: 3
PARTY FACILITIES: Available upon request
(Private Party Room and Bar/Lounge are
available for customized private parties and
On Monday evenings, from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM, the
Bar/Lounge features live world music.
OUTDOOF CAFÉ: A charming outdoor café on a lively street will seat 20 people.
OWNER/CHEF: Mei Chau
BEVERAGE/WINE DIRECTOR: Jeffrey Palumbo
OPENING DATE: April, 2011
Blue Caravan, is a stylish, spacious Upper West Side eclectic brasserie, featuring modern tapas (small plates) and global cuisine (dinner plates). The restaurant, which opened in April 2011, is owned by Restaurateur/Chef Mei Chau. formally of the award winning Franklin Station Café in Tribeca, which was one of our favorite restaurants in its day.
Blue Caravan is also one of the most exciting restaurants to open on the Upper West Side in years and is an outstanding discovery. The ambiance reveals itself through a 12-foot high ceiling, lacquered wood candlelit tables, rattan and fabric-upholstered chairs and beautiful contemporary photography and artwork adorning the walls of the restaurant by the owner’s husband, Marc Kaczmarek (check out his bio: www.marckaczmarek), an acclaimed professional photographer. There are Brazilian cherry wood floors, stylish chrome mirrors, mood lighting, and an open kitchen to create a handsome setting.
Blue Caravan’s seasonal global menus are sophisticated and creative, yet simple and earthy. Mei Chau’s menu is inspired by the multi-cultural influences of her native Malaysia and its popular small plates. As such, it showcases modern tapas (small plates) and global cuisine (dinner plates), thus allowing Mei the creative freedom to create new dishes regularly so that the menu constantly evolves. It is also an outstanding bargain with appetizers starting at $7 and entrees from $16. A copious dinner of small plates can be enjoyed for a token $20 per person or less. It is prudent to save room for the elegant entrees and to accompany one’s meal with a selection of the excellent wines from a user friendly list on the back of the menu.
Blue Caravan features a fine selection of global wines. The international wine list, created by Mei and Beverage Director Jeffrey Palumbo, changes seasonally and is continually evolving. A variety of wines by the glass are also available. We enjoyed wines a full bodied Pinot Gris, from Bott Freres 2008 for $32 the bottle and a fresh and sprightly Rioja Lan Crianza 2006, also $32. There is also a food friendly Riesling and Pinot Grigio by the glass (glass prices from $7 to $10).
When ordering, note that Ms. Chau’s global dishes and sauces are enhanced by an eclectic selection of fresh, flavorful herbs and spices from all around the world. Her use of fresh fruits, seasonal ingredients as well as a variety of global flavors is the foundation of Blue Caravan’s culinary style.
Recommended small dishes include a succulent Shrimp, with garlic, parsley and white wine; zesty Chicken Wings ginger and soy sauce; a fabulous Jasmine Tea Smoked Mackerel, with seaweed tartar sauce and beetroot crisps.; Kabocha and Potato Gratin with cucumber and dill salad (the best vegetarian dish we’ve tasted in ages; Nyonya Mussels, were mildly curried, delicious and also offered Provencal style); Steamed Clam chorizo, white wine, garlic: light and luscious Braised Oxtail Dumplings In Their Own Broth with thai basil beansprouts and crispy shallots; a terrific Pork Bun filled with slow roasted pork belly, ginger hoisin sauce, shitake mushroom, garlic show pea shoots and two dishes, soon to be on the menu from Malaysia that are worth requesting: Laksa (There are two basic types of laksa: curry laksa and asam laksa. Curry laksa is a coconut curry soup with noodles, while asam laksa is a sour fish soup with noodles. Thick rice noodles also known as laksa noodles are most commonly used). Here, the chef demonstrates a free hand and uses Udon Noodles to great advantage. Steamed Seafood in an ethereal fish mousse is another original creation sourced by Mei’s homeland.
Entrees offer a lovely PAN SEARED RED SNAPPER with Jerusalem artichoke puree, and a terrific ROAST MONKFISH with Sautéed Brussels Sprouts; Eggplant Fan roasted eggplant, zucchini, summer squash and tomato fans, quinoa stuffed artichoke; and a minor miracle: Giant Prawns, perfectly grilled with herbs and spices. and Ginger Red Pepper Sauce. If in doubt, go for the DAILY CHEF’S TASTING PLATE.
We were too full to sample desserts, but the seductive coffee machine emitted a haunting aroma, which we will sample on another occasion, perhaps brunch. Blue Caravan, with its romantic setting, friendly and attentive service, superb kitchen and gentle prices along with a personalized and welcoming proprietorship, offers a unique dining experience for all to enjoy. Absolutely a delight!
Copyright 2011 By Punch In International. All Rights Reserved
Crispy Calamari calamansi and sweet soy reduction, garlic panko
Gambas Al Ajillo shrimp, garlic, parsley, white wine.
Krupuk Chicken Wings ginger, soy and hoisin sauce
Truffled Mixed Mushroom Bruschetta parmesan, rocket.
Porcini And Sweet Pea Arancini smokey eggplant aioli.
Jasmine Tea Smoked Mackerel seaweed tartar sauce, beetroot crisps.
Kabocha And Potato Gratin cucumber and dill salad.
Chicken Skewers lemon, thyme and garlic, horseradish cream.
Coconut Galango Mussels lemongrass, coconut milk, galangal
Steamed Clam chorizo, white wine, garlic
Braised Oxtail Dumpling In It Own Broth thai basil beansprouts, crispy shallots
Pork Bun slow roasted pork belly, ginger scallion sauce, shitake mushroom, garlic show pea shoots
Duck Confit Salad green papaya, mango, watercress, candied almond, den miso vinaigrette
Feta roast grape, toasted pine nut, frisée, balsamic reduction
Goat Cheese blood orange, cucumber, fennel, spiced walnut, rocket, citronelle
Eggplant Fan roasted eggplant, zucchini, summer squash and tomato fans, quinoa stuffed artichoke.
Chicken & Apple Sausage chicken and apple sausage, curried roast parsnip mash, green beans, apple tamarind compote
Shiitake Chicken Udon shredded chicken & watercress in shiitake mushroom sauce.
Pan Seared Red Snapper jerusalem artichoke purée, asparagus, tomatillo salsa.
Pan Seared Magret lentils, sugar snap peas, flowering chive, cherry port glaze
Roast Monkfish sautéed brussels sprouts and lily bulb, parsley coulis.
Grilled Stuffed Squid chorizo, shiitake and lemongrass stuffed squid, squid ink risotto
Five Spice And Orange Braised Short Ribs lemon, herb cous cous, chinese broccoli
Daily Chef’s Tasting Plate please ask our wail staff for daily selection
Restaurateur/Chef Mei Chau celebrates international cooking at Blue Caravan with a particular emphasis on modern tapas and global dishes. A native of Malaysia of Chinese heritage, Mei learned to cook from her mother. She was born and raised in a small fishing village on the East Coast of Malaysia. Her parents had a farm where they grew herbs and vegetables, and raised farm animals. Later on, her family opened a produce stand in the local market. These formative years exposed Mei to organic produce, a love of cooking, and the multi-cultural influences of Malaysia. When she was a teenager, she moved to Kuala Lumpur, the nation’s capital, to continue her formal education. In the big city of Kuala Lumpur, she was exposed on a large scale to the many ethnic groups and their different cuisines. She enjoyed the many restaurants and outdoor food stands that featured true fusion cooking and small plates. This was cross-cultural cuisine at its purest. It had a multi-cultural impact on Mei in every area of her life. After graduating from Kuala Lumpur College of Art, she moved to New York City in 1988 to continue her fine art studies.
In 1993, Mei opened Franklin Station Café, a French/Malaysian bistro in TriBeCa. It immediately became popular with the local artists of that time. She worked in all areas of this intimate bistro. In the dining room, she greeted her customers, many of whom became regulars, with the warmth and openness of a host. In the kitchen, she was continually creating new Malaysian dishes with a French influence. In June 2008, she closed Franklin Station Café after 15 years.
After 3 years, she found the ideal space for her new restaurant on the Upper West Side. With its neighborhood flavor full of a variety of artistic people reminiscent of her earlier years in TriBeCa, she felt at home again when she opened Blue Caravan in 2011.
Mei Chau comments on becoming the Owner/Chef of Blue Caravan: “I am delighted to have opened Blue Caravan. I am essentially a self-taught chef with a passion for the multi-cultural dishes of my heritage. Since New York City is a global village, it’s natural for me to embrace the culinary influences from all around the world.”
Mei continues: “I chose the name Blue Caravan for several significant reasons. I have studied flamenco dancing over the years. Since flamenco’s origins are with the gypsies who traveled in caravans, I was inspired by their free spirit. And incidentally my favorite color is blue. It symbolizes nature (ocean, sky) and with it a free and open spirit that has no boundaries. Hence, Blue Caravan.”
She explains: “A restaurant is a place where you serve people. It’s important to create an atmosphere that’s friendly. My customers are like family. I like to think of them as being in my home where I am the host and getting to know them.”
Mei looks forward to hosting private parties, business events, and other special events in the Bar/Lounge and in the Private Party Room (Atrium) at the rear of the restaurant.