Wednesday, May 25, 2011

In Vino

Veritas. In wine there is truth. In the wine list at Veritas, there is an abundance of high-ticket items. I had to call the sommelier over to direct me towards something less expensive (the lowest item I could find in all of France hovered around $120). Conceptually, I understand having a list with wines on it in excess of $25,000. But no average wine drinker can hope to afford what Veritas brings forth. And it is worth noting that point.

The amuse bouche for the evening was a Taylor Bay scallop served in its shell and garnished with a pepper coulis. It was lovely and fresh and set my palate up for more food. I began with the Ocean and Land, bone marrow and butter-poached lobster, served with a powdered lobster roe. Sadly, my lobster was overcooked and my marrow undersalted. My companion's crudo--salmon belly and Atlantic tuna with pomegranate seeds and grapefruit supremes--was a nicely composed dish, if lacking a little spark.

My entree, billed as a "wooly pig," was a pork loin cooked to medium over a gastrique and a mix of dark pork meat breaded with panko and fried, all over braised butter lettuce and roasted grape tomatoes. It was a beautiful dish, but I felt, once more, that everything lacked a little inspiration. My friend's raviolo--one large piece of pasta filled with short ribs and mushrooms--would have fit better on a winter menu. With spring in full swing, why settle for braised meat? Where were the peas and asparagus and morels and ramps?

I let the waiter talk me out of the strawberry tart and into the doughnuts and toffee pudding. One came with a peppermint ice cream and the other with a ginger lime, neither of which left me with much enthusiasm. Our cheese plate came with almonds, honeycomb, and fruit bread. Snore. I missed Tia Keenan's inspired combinations back from my Casellula days: bacon with white chocolate; lavender; home made fudge.

Overall, dinner left me a little poorer and a little underwhelmed. It could have been better, or at least less expensive. But maybe this is the milieu of the modern American three star restaurant.

43 East 20th Street, #1
New York, NY 10003

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