You know the place is popular when you show up and the door is locked. You’ve been trying to make reservations for the past 3 months until you finally score a “senior citizen” slot of 5:30 and show up at 5:15 courtesy of zero traffic (Thanks to our borough presidents who endorsed Chris Christie). A locked door was a first for us. Hearing DM (Depeche Mode, aka “Greatest group in the history of greatest groups) as soon we walked in was a first as well. I knew right there and then that this will be a fun evening. And it was!
Piora is as refined and polished as they get in this class. Its not quite Italian, not quite Korean, not quite “Fusion” (why everyone hates you “Fusion”. I say you are misunderstood). Hence, the default “New American” tag applied. Does anyone eat “Old American” anymore? Piora (“Blossom” in Korean) is the strange, but hey it works, combination of an Italian-American executive chef and a Korean owner/manager in the West Village. A cozy back room overlooking a stunning snow dusted garden (a rarity these days). The atmosphere almost seemed odd which sort of worked in our favor, if it makes sense. You just dont expect alternative/clubby music in a place like this but it worked.
Before I dive to the food though, mad props to one particular drink here. “Leaves Falling” — Plymouth gin, Calvados apple brandy, Earl Grey tea, maple syrup, lemon and apple. I want to try making one of those at home, when I’m down, or watch Turkish movies. All I need now is all those ingredients and a bartender.
Some of the dishes were a little on the salty side, though thanks to the Falling Leaves I cant remember what they were. All by design of course, and all still quite complex and enjoyable
Monkey bread – With Lardo and seaweed butter. This was pretty good as expected and a no brainer starter but so are a lot of very interesting bread baskets all over town that cost $6 less
Carrots – Perhaps the most memorable dish. Wonderful array of different flavors and textures with pistachios, yogurt, showered with pink “ham snow”. A glorious dish.
Egg – Very Good! Poached with 3 succulent deboned chicken wings, potato, and artichoke Barigoule. Is it me or every “New American” menu these days must include a dish called “Egg”
Bucatini – Perhaps the most celebrated dish on a menu that includes 3 pastas. A very unique blend of squid ink Bucatini, black garlic (The Korean black garlic, not the feh! kind), Dungenese crab, Maitake (yum) and chili
Gnocchi Special – Excellent! Picture below is half the normal size (they split some dishes for us). Not your traditional Gnocchi. Texture closer to fried potatoes in Gnocchi shape. With lobster (not skimpy), sitting on a bed of artichoke puree, with some hints of French black Truffles. Meaning, its the kind of truffle that surrenders to the rest of the ingredients rather quickly!
Rigatoni – Very Good! Red wine, duck sausage, fig and spigarello (a distant cousin of broccoli. The one that never calls because you don’t call)
Rohan duck – A great dish! Nice and crispy skin, peking duck-like, faro, and yet more of that lovely black garlic
Trout – Tasted fine according to the Hummus Whisperer. BTW, we were joined again by the Hummus Whisperer and his wife the Hummus Punisher. (That’s what he calls her, don’t know why and frankly don’t want to know. Whatever they do at home in their spare time is not my business)
Olive oil potatoes beat out the Sunchoke hazelnut in the extras match. Desserts weren’t memorable (damn you Falling Leaves) but the meal overall was indeed.
430 Hudson st