Posts Tagged With: Aquavit NYC

Most Memorable Meals of 2015

Pulker's Heuriger Feast

Pulker’s Heuriger

And just like that, its over Johnny.  2015 was yet another year of great eats, great drinks, and yes great chicken wings.  I’m grateful!  Grateful for living in the greatest food city in the world.  Grateful for living with someone who not only supports this addiction but also willing to sleep with that thing.  Grateful for the kids who will eat anything as long as its not made by mom and dad.  Grateful for the friends and family.  What will 2016 bring?  Sicily!  Other than that who knows.  Most likely more chicken wings.  Here are the most memorable meals of 2016…

Momofuku Ko (NYC) – Quite possibly the best meal we ever had in NYC was at this new Ko 2.0 location.  An 18 courser, counter sitting, feast for all senses extravaganza.  Perhaps the best, most unique dining experience NY has to offer at the moment

Momofuku Ko Venison

Bruno Pizza (NYC) – The best meal with the most unassuming name.  While there wasnt anything earth shattering food wise, the entire meal from start to finish was just brilliant.  And before Danny Meyer made the news with his no tipping policy, there was Bruno implementing its own spin on the controversy.

Bruno Pizza Eggplant

Aquavit (NYC) – Emma Bengtsson’s Chef’s tasting menu is quite possibly the most underrated tasting menu in town.  The kicker here is that not only you are presented with tasty opulence coming out one after another, but you also got the anticipation and the arrival of one of the most Instagrammed desserts on the planet

Aquavit sorbet

Caicos Cafe (Turks and Caicos) – An odd mention considering we’ve been here over a dozen times, but still very much memorable in my mind.  Two meals on every visit is our ritual these days, and both meals this past year featured all our favorites and then some. It just gets better and better.

Caicos Cafe - Tagliolini

La Taqueria (SF) – Strange for me to choose this one over the great meals we had at Cockscomb and NOPA.  But this rather hectic light lunch was the one that gave me food envy like no other.  I’ve been eating tacos and burritos for many years, but the carnitas tacos and Carne Asada Burrito here was like eating this stuff for the very first time.  Cliche, but true.

La Taqueria food

Pulker’s Heuriger (Rührsdorf, Austria) – Our first foray into the Austrian Heuriger scene was memorable to say the least.  A wine grower’s wine tavern that serves menuless, fresh, local homemade food.  This one is right by the Danube, in the picturesque Wachau Valley.  This is why you rent a car

Pulker's Heuriger

Hibernia (Anguilla) – Still fresh in our minds, we are still awestruck by this one.  A 30 minute drive East brings you to this foodie paradise.  Brilliantly executed Asian inspired food with a French flair in an absolute stunner of a setting, surrounded by essentially an art gallery.  A dining experience like no other

Anguilla Hibernia Smoked Trio

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Categories: Anguilla, Austria/Czech Republic, California, New York City, Turks and Caicos | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Aquavit – How to Train Your Pastry Chef

Aquavit Bird's NestTo become the second female in the country to get a second Michelin Star, after Dominique Crenn of SF (Suzette Gresham, also from SF joined the list since).  Quite the feat for Stockholm native Emma Bengtsson.  In a city where Michelin stars are randomly distributed like candy (my mom has one.  Found it on Craigslist), the action, the crème de la crème usually starts with the ultra coveted #2.  Although, more often than not, when the time comes you are more concerned about losing a star, as opposed to hoping to gain one.  Aquavit, a name that’s been hanging around like that balloon your kid brings home, hovering all over the house for days until it loses its luster and scares you in the bathroom in the middle of the night with its new wrinkled dog look which normally means its time to get rid of it.  Where was I?  oh yes..  Aquavit is a rejuvenated gem, rejoining the city elite.

Pete Wells who awarded Aquavit with a three star review last month, mentioned an overall stiffness, with servers suffering from “Michelinitis”.  In comparison to that, our dinner was a Swedish House Mafia post concert party.  The staff was extremely professional, but friendly, loose and engaging.  We felt comfortable, and you get a sense that the patrons around you are as well.  Maybe its Wells, whose bust is Googleable, making everyone nervous.  Though I do agree with him about the chairs, which weren’t the most comfortableAquavit

There are 3 different menus as you can see on their site.  While all offer a nice glimpse of Emma’s greatness, to take full advantage one should look left, at the Chef’s Tasting.  Eight dishes are listed, but with all sorts of fun surprises in between, its more like 15.  I cant recall all the details (the meal is now a week old) but I do recall much.  The other night I had trouble sleeping because both of us couldnt remember Daniel Craig’s name with no electronic devices next to us.  She wanted me to go downstairs and look it up (which would also mean bringing yogurt), but I refused.  At 1 am I finally figured the first name is Craig, at 3 I realized its the last name, and in the morning I saw the hard truth: Turns out Daniel Craig’s name is Daniel Craig, and we are pathetic.  But thats for another post.  Here’s the long rundown of the meal at Aquavit.

The bread – A great meal must start, and end (and some in the middle) with great bread, and this one did not disappoint.  In fact Emma herself was also in charge of bread service before the big promotion.  The Danish rye and the brown butter in particular was simply… wait for it… Divine!

Aquavit - Gravalax and AsparagusGravlax Asparagus – Starting with a bang.  Like a full plump egg ravioli, with layers of salmon coating more salmon bits, with essentially an asparagus ménage à trois.  Asparagus panna cotta, apsaragus tips (let me know when I start sounding like Bubba gump), asparagus ribbons, and asparagus espuma.  Ok, so there was no espuma.  But there was something exceptionally delicious in this dish that I havent found in any gravlax/lux before.

King Crab and Rhubarb –  With nutmeg butter, you can see the ingredients clearly below.  The least favorite dish came in early.  Not much wrong with it, but lacking the brilliance of the others.  You are supposed to eat all three together, and you quickly realize that you include too much of the tarty rhubarb.   And on your second bite you realize that you have too much butter.  By the time you find the right balance you are left with a quarter of the king crabAquavit King Crab

Calf’s Liver and Cucumber – I dont know what Pete Wells was eating, or perhaps they adjusted this dish after the review but I thought this was one of the strongest dishes.  A hockey puck of creamy calf’s liver wrapped inside this cucumber gelatin, with a surprise inside in the form of braised oxtail, and sliced cucumbers adding a nice crunch.  Spectacular looking, and tasting dish

Beef Tongue and Nasturtium – While I truly enjoyed this one, the name of the dish should really be”Potatoes”.  Marbles potatoes baked in ash, some of the smokiest, tastiest potatoes I ever had.  Yes there were tender strips of beef tongue and Noma-esque Nasturtium (flowers and sugar are two common Aquavit elements) among other things, but it was the potatoes that took center stage.Aquavit Calf's liver

Mackerel and Pistachio – Perfection!  Mackerel’s strong personality was well contained, and the result was quite flavorful.  Simply put, perfectly cooked.  Candied pistachios, more flowers, foam contributed to the fun.  This is the dish that showcases Emma’s style the most

Lamb and Spring Onion.  Essentially this one is lamb and spring onions!  Onions posing in every way shape or form, Kardashian/Jenner style.  Lamb, slowly cooked for three days had a nice crispy top layer and a fatty middle layer.  Nice flavor overall, but a bit more fat than we like

Aquavit HavgusHavgus and Walnut – One of the havgus cheese strips was still alive when it showed up, and eventually unrolled itself.  There were more candied nuts, along with thinly sliced fresh peaches and birch syrup, though the Havgus midway proved a bit heavy and tiresome.  And tiresome is the last feeling you want to have before the next dish

Arctic Bird’s Nest (top) – This is the star, the main event. the Thrilla in Manila of the tasting menu.  You anticipate it, you know its coming, and at some point you think maybe its not a good idea to have that third Danish rye with brown butter, because we are not here for Danish rye and brown butter.  I cant think of another such place in NYC whose menu’s star is a dessert.  I’m sure it exist, but I cant think of any.  The Bird’s Nest was as selfie worthy and spectacular as we imagined.  There was a “cookie” nest, Goat cheese parfait eggs, snow dusting of frozen yogurt, blueberry and raspberries sorbet, a hint of gold and more than a hint of brilliance.  Well done!

Aquavit
Park Avenue Tower, 65 E 55th St
$$$$
Recommeded Dishes: Get the Chef’s tasting menu

Aquavit sorbetAquavit Lamb and Onion Aquavit  Mackarel Aquavit Oyster 010

 

Categories: Midtown East, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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