Sky High

October 20, 2017

When you want to feel that you own the world, it’s hard to think of a better place to be than perched in a window seat at The Aviary. If this vantage point – high above Columbus Circle –  doesn’t make you feel lucky then nothing ever will.

The food certainly helps.

It’s hard not to laugh when this great white sheet of crackling deliciousness is plunked onto your table, teetering perilously on its perch.  It must be the skin of a half a pig, zinged with vinager and so crisply crunchy that it shatters as you break bits off to dunk into that dizzy smudge of corn and chiles. Your mouth is on fire, your fingers shiny – and you are incredibly happy.

Then there’s this shrimp, one giant creature, gently fried, showered with a citrus splash and paired with the most astonishingly delicious Asian pears. Little half moons of fruit have been pickled until the experience is like biting into a crunchy lime.

The truth is that you’ve come to drink. The cocktalians at the bar are mixing and smoking and icing all manner of alcohol, making them seem like strange wizards indulging in an arcane alchemy.  I have to admit that my cocktail tastes are conservative: no one, in my opinion, has ever invented a better drink than an ice cold gin martini. Still, I was extremely intrigued by Aviary’s version of gin and tonic, which changes both temperature and taste as the minutes tick by.

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And while I wouldn’t recommend this coffee martini as a preprandial quaff, at the end of the night it is one sweet drink.

But I digress….

You won’t want to miss these little caramelized foie gras tidbits – all the satin smooth sweetness you’d ever want – sandwiched between two kinds of crackle

These adorable octopus croquettes are more creme fraiche than seafood, but they’re utterly irresistible with their little tousled seaweed tops.

And the kanpachi ceviche (hiding beneath hearts of palm), may look like jewelry, but I found the slurry of green curry so delicious that I upended the bowl and drank it, loath to miss a single drop.

And for those who prefer to buy their steak by the bite instead of the pound, this is one powerful hit of wagyu:

Are the prices high? Of course they are; you’re renting some of the world’s most expensive real estate. But it’s heady up here in the sky, and as you head back down to earth, I bet you’ll be wearing a smile.

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