December 7, 2016
I loved Flora. But I wonder how the neighborhood is going to take to this downtown restaurant in its uptown setting. The new restaurant in the Met Breuer is not your average upper east side place.
The room is spare, cool, edgy. The menu is the same. It begins with a list of lovely (and pricey) seafood, like these beautiful blue shrimp
Raw scallop snuggled into a sheet of nori
The most delicious take on uni I’ve encountered in a while – the orange roe is paired with pounded fluke, which picks up the flavor and echoes it like a gong making the taste of the sea urchin resonate, going on and on.
The strangest version of steamed clams I’ve ever encountered (don’t get me wrong – I loved them).
Then there are these completely addictive potato croquettes, which crackle deliciously when you take a bite
An elegant little salad of red endive and Bailey Hazen blue cheese
A little tart of rutabaga and raclette
And lobster dumplings and greens in a pellucid broth
Finally, this simple apple tart
One added bonus: the excellent wine list.
My advice: if you’re having trouble getting into Estela – and you undoubtedly are – consider a trip to their uptown outpost. As the Michelin people used to say – worth the trip.
I also want to tell you about the fantastic meal I had at Annisa last night; although it’s not new, I haven’t been in a while, and now I wonder why. I can’t wait to go back. Cozy, comfortable, with wonderful service (included in the menu price) and completely delicious food. If you’re looking for that rare place where you can have a conversation with your friends, this is it.
And did I mention that the food is fantastic?
We started with this: sea bream sashimi with beets and shiso. The flavors were so delicately balanced it took my breath away. Sheer joy.
A lovely little fried oyster with fennel and cucumber. What really makes this dish sing is the yogurt; so much more convivial with oysters than the richness of tartar sauce.
Barbecued squid with boiled peanuts, Thai basil and just a hint of hoisin. Squid has never been more elegant.
The main courses were both surprising, inventive and extremely satisfying. I apologize for not having better photographs, because I’d love to be able to convey the sheer deliciousness of this miso-marinated sable on its bed of fried tofu silken in a slightly sweet bonito broth. The flavors twirled around each other as the textures did a surprising little dance.
As for this duck with its pickled plums, its yama imo (Japanese mountain potato) and that little cup of foie gras chawan mushi – another texturally complex dish that made you wonder why nobody has ever put these ingredients together before. I liked it so much I almost ordered a second helping.
But that would have been wrong. It would have left no room for this delightful poppy seed bread pudding with its meyer lemon sauce. It was the perfect ending.
Categorised in: restaurants