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Liza

Aquavit

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Not sure the child will let me type so...

Apps:

Lobster Roll with pistachio & lemon yogurt, marinated salmon roe; Homemade ginger ale

Curry marinated rabbit & grilled octopus; chocolate port wine sauce, apple & celery root puree

 

Entrees:

Hot smoked Arctic Char; shrimp & bacon salad; salsify & parmesan puree; apple horseradish broth

NY Strip with medley of cauliflower & butternut squash, with Short rib with sauteed nettles in red wine reduction.

 

Desserts:

Arctic Circle: goat cheese parfait, blueberry sorbet

Lemon verbena & chocolate ganache; lychee sorbet

 

A fascinating menu and every dish worked. Chef often uses simple techniques in combination. The char, for instance, is smoked and cured AND poached in duck fat - yielding tender to the touch yet firm flesh with smokey afterglow. Unusual textures, too - there were four or five small extra courses which I'll have to add later. I love the platings - large schmears of sauces, often dotted with a raw version of a cooked ingredient.

 

This is the kind of food I want to order as room service and really get my fingers all over it. :D

 

EDITED to add: Very engaging service, too. However: entry and exit were unfriendly and really start and end the evening poorly.

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I'm must try this place. G isn't keen on fish, so it's never top of our list, but I like the sound of the food. Ginger ale, nettles, bacon!

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The ginger ale was served in a shot glass and is really a granita. I do think, from what I've read of your likes and dislikes, that this would fall in the former column. And it's worth a visit before they relocate at the end of the year: the soaring space above and the waterfall within make the dining room quite serene.

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Thanks, Liza. I haven't been in ages. The space is so lovely...nice to hear the food is too.

 

Ginger ale granita, yum.

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When I was last in New York, which was, um, perhaps five years ago now, I had a great lunch at Aquavit. I'd asked to be taken there from the available choices.

 

At one point during the meal a very good-looking black man in chef's white stepped out of the kitchen door and was surveying the room, projecting a tremendous, unmistakable sense of proprietariness. I thought wow, Marcus Samuelsson is lucky to have a guy in his kitchen with so much serious concern for how things are going in the restaurant, in addition to the good-looking part. Course I'd only heard his name and didn't know at that moment Marcus was one of those Ethiopian Swedish people. But on some promotional material we picked up on our way out there was his photo and so I was educated. Beautiful unusual food.

 

That waterfall -- I vowed on the spot that if I ever had a restaurant it would have a waterfall inside. I think the constantly renewed ozone in the air helps a person smell and taste more completely. Why are they relocating anyways?

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I've never been to Aquavit, but I'm making a Samuelsson recipe tonight -- a pork roast with prunes and other goodies.

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I've never been to Aquavit, but I'm making a Samuelsson recipe tonight -- a pork roast with prunes and other goodies.

:D :D

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I used to work nearby, and ate lunch there perhaps too often. I'm certainly due to re-visit.

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I have Samuelsson's Aquavit book and can highly recommend it

 

Remarkably original - lots of novel approaches/techniques to sink your teeth into (so to speak). Different without being gimmicky.

 

J

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I made a pork loin with prunes from an internet recipe that claimed to be from the book.

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I forgot to look up this thread before going with Daisy today. Had I done so, I might've been swayed to order different things. Overall, the restaurant gets thumbs down from me. I was so looking forward to going there. I thought for some reason the flavors would be cleaner and the cuisine simpler. In the restaurant's defense I may've ordered terribly wrongly.

 

1. ) Herring plate ($11)to share to start. 4 small portions: fresh to pickled, for example, one with beetroot, quail egg and touch of rosewater--might've been my imagination re the rosewater (just nicely sweet); another little pile of herring with tomato on top and cauliflower puree alongside (tiny quantities-very good); another few pieces in a shot glass ( a little like a small tribute to Damien Hirst); the last herring with curry (big mistake). Very good, 3/4 very good.

 

2. ) For me, rare tuna with scallops ($25) (one scallop more like, sliced in 2 pieces) on a bed of what looked like garden moss. Not very appealing to look at as in addition to the green sprouts there were dollops of spinach and horseradish (the second not evident to taste) puree around the plate making the dish look very green and kind of weedy. The moss-like stuff was quinoa which I don't think I'd ever tasted before--just as well and never again?

 

I tasted Daisy's smoked Arctic Char and it was OK, but the apple sauce spooned around it table-side was too sweet for the fish I thought.

 

We had a bargain white that I hope my companion will fill in on.

 

Very funny that we were both led to table that was by the waterfall and on sitting down we both said the staircase down looked so grimy. I said it needed a good "hoover". I guess this is what happens when a resto is about to relocate.

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I pretty much concur with Yvonne. The apple broth poured around the char was indeed a misstep and much too sweet. Better to let the fish stand alone with the ethereal parmesan puree it was plated with. It would have been excellent that way. I did comment that Yvonne's dish was 'bosky-looking'. Many greens and browns.

 

The tableware is all very dramatic and attractive, but not always utilitarian. My main, in its pool of broth, was of course served in a bowl, modern and large with a curved lip and no service plate. This necessitated that the fork,knife and spoon needed to consume this dish all had to be awkwardly parked in the bowl, handles jutting out, between bites.

 

The wine was a 2001 Bolgheri Vermentino, very nice, and at $35 indeed a bargain. I do not remember the producer (I am hopeless when I drink wine at lunch :D ) and while there are two vermentinos on the online list, neither is the one we ordered. We started with glasses of Iron Horse brut rose, which I would discounsel. As Yvonne said, so sweet it reminded one of a kir.

 

The place looked shabby, I thought, and there were some hideously incongruous Christmas decorations scattered about. Aquavit appears to do a very solid lunch business. Does anyone know where the restaurant is moving to?

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I've eaten at the Cafe twice, but never in the dining room. I'd have to say I was very disappointed by the Samuelsson-supervised dishes. Lack of balance; sometimes outright misguided.

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Had a fantastic dinner at Aquavit this past weekend. This was my first time in the new space at 65 E. 55th St., which just a short walk away from its former location on 54th. The new space is quite a big larger than the old one, with a vastly expanded casual cafe section at the front, and a larger lounge area in the back. The formal dining room is much the same size as before, although the tables seemed a lot more close together here. The restaurant was packed at 9pm and very loud during the course of the whole meal.

 

Had the three course prix fixe, 78 dollars.

 

I ate:

1. Herring sampler. Four different marinades, all yummy. Favorite was spicy matjes marinade. Herring was melt-in-mouth tender and very unctuous.

2. Seafood stew. Consisted of cylinders of lobster, shrimp, smoked salmon, and scallops, plus potato, in a saffron-dill cream broth. All components were perfectly cooked, and ingredients were high quality and intrinsically flavorful. Very good.

3. Apple sorbet dessert. This was just extraordinary, with a sublimely smooth and very green apply sorbet atop the most dense and decadent fennel flavored curd.

 

Husband ate:

1. Wagyu carpaccio. Very flavorful beef with a wonderful and very complex smoky broth poured atop.

2. Venison tenderloin. Perfectly cooked, again with another very complex broth.

3. "Artic circle" dessert, frozen goat cheese mousse with a liquid passion fruit curd center.

 

Only real disappointment were the breads, a choice of pumpernickel rolls, caraway rolls, or swedish crispbread. The rolls were hard and cold, and the butter was tasteless.

 

Service was efficient and knowledgable, if not the warmest.

 

Drank an unremarkable Puligny-Montrachet from Latour (2001, Les Truffieres), and a very nice and round Brunello de Montalcino which I can't remember the exact producer and vintage details. Also had two shots of aquavit, one grapefruit flavored and the other lingonberry, which although delicious pretty much wiped out any really detailed memories of the evening.

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