Friday, September 30, 2011

The Restaurant Week Series Part IV: A Voce

This restaurant is a favorite amongst my entire family—with good reason. The atmosphere is modern and high class, but still has a laid back feel to it. The décor is very artistic, and they practically use their wine collection as a glass wall. The view of Columbus Circle is very relaxing while sitting comfortably in A Voce’s swivel chairs.

Although just being in A Voce feels like you’ve just stepped into the chicest lounge in New York City, it is the food that takes you out of this world. Insalata di peshche, or salad with peaches, is a very fresh-tasting seasonal dish. Thinly sliced peaches mingle with watercress and fresh whipped ricotta. The peaches were just ripe enough to be sweet, but still have a nice bite, with adds to the different textures of this salad. For those who have never had it before, squid ink pasta as an appetizer is an excellent way to experience something new. Although I will argue that the squid ink adds very little flavor, the pasta was still delicious. It was even able to make someone who cringed at the idea of eating squid ink lick her plate clean.

The lamb short ribs are the best option as a main dish. The lamb was incredibly tender and the flavor was strong, but not overwhelming. The dish was surprisingly sweet, but it still made a satisfying entrée.

The dessert was surprisingly salty. A semi-frozen lime mousse was unheard of to me. It was served over thinly sliced sweet watermelon that made sure the salty mousse still felt like dessert.

Chef Adam of A Voce is not only talented, but extremely considerate to his fans (in this case me!) When I asked for the Chef’s autograph, he came out to personally give it to me even though his restaurant was packed. A Voce is the best contemporary Italian place to go in New York.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Restaurant Week Series Part III: Artisanal

Foodie Fish

A simple atmosphere with nothing special really. However, service felt personalized. The wait staff was very friendly. Appetizers were good, but nothing out of this world. Salmon rillettes lacked in some smoky and dill flavor and it was a bit bland. The country pate was better, and the pickled vegetables it came with were nice and crisp—not over marinated.

The plats principaux were unique and a bit unexpected. Wild mushroom risotto was nice and creamy. There were corn and fava beans inside, which was very different from many other mushroom risottos. Black truffle butter enhanced the soft texture as well as the bite to the wild mushrooms. Poularde Albufera is not to be missed though. Tender poached chicken, stuffed with an excellent forcemeat of sorts. The tenderness of the chicken was nice in contrast to the spring vegetable fricassee with whole grains. The savory sauce that the dish was doused in really made it something that you cannot stop eating, even though the portions were generous.

Artisanal cheesecake was a surprisingly light finish to a rather filling meal. The cheesecake part spoke for itself: light, fluffy, rich in flavor without being too dense. The gram cracker base/crust had a nice hearty texture with a sweet cinnamon taste. Chocolate marquise is another sweet way to end. Hazelnut feuilletine gave the creamy chocolate part a nice subtle crunch. Vanilla salt sprinkled on top made the contrasting flavors of dark chocolate and salt very sophisticated.

This meal could please many diners from all backgrounds. You leave Artisanal with a satisfied smile, along with some fine cheese from their fromagerie.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Restaurant Week Series Part II: Le Cirque


Foodie Fish

Le Cirque is an elegant restaurant with a playful edge. The décor creates a high-class environment. Flowers on the table were fresh, bright orange orchids. To start, chilled melon and yogurt soup—very refreshing during the summer time. The curry oil poached shrimp gives the soup a little heat and an interesting taste that you just can’t stop eating.

Service was a bit slow, and not too polite, however it is understandable on a busy day. After sitting at the table for a while, our main courses arrived. The skate is a fresh dish, yet still complex for a seafood dish. The fish is served on top of a creamy cauliflower puree that was very rich in flavor. Mini cheeseburgers “Le Cirque” were a very popular choice, and with good reason. They were cooked to the perfect medium rare, and the melting cheese made the beef all the more succulent. My personal favorite was the chicken ballantine. Thigh and breast meat, rolled in crispy skin. It was an elegant presentation with chicken far from dry. It came over corn, arugula and maitake, which reminded me of a summer barbeque, only elevated.

Le Cirque continued to impress with their dessert. Although the ricotta mousse cake was nothing all to special, Le Cirque’s Rocky Road with caramel panna cotta, chocolate sorbet, marshmallows was amazing. The frozen chocolate was so rich and sophisticated; it was not a typical rocky road for children.