Friday, December 16, 2011


The dining room is large for a four-star, with a raised platform around the perimeter featuring Grecian columns. A cocktail at the bar came with a round ice cube filled with flower petals. Nice touch.

We were VIP-ed.

A six-course tasting menu was actually twelve, since my companion and I each chose one of the two options. A duck liver terrine with marcona almonds, apple confit, and a glazed date was a perfect example of foie done well. A mosaic of duck and parsnip with poached quince and Champagne grapes was an equally well-conceived match. The dishes came with a Prum Kabinett Riesling from the Mosel.

Then: a trio of tuna (tartare with caviar, cured with compressed celery, en confit with anchovy dressing and a small puck of white anchovy); a delicious cured fluke with shiso and beets and an edamame coulis that was too difficult to eat. With it, we drank a Gruner Veltliner from Domaine Wachau.

A sea scallop, crusted in Buddha's hand and pine nuts meshed well with the accompanying celery mousseline. Artichoke and squid ink raviolini--neither a favorite ingredient of mine--surprised me with their character, delicacy, and depth. The wine pairing, a white Chateneuf-du-Pape from Chateau Monpertuis, was a small failure in pairings, overriding the delicacy of the food.

A white truffle course! Tiny pasta pockets stuffed with porcini mushrooms in a cream sauce with a quarter ounce of truffles shaved on top. We drank an impressive 1993 Heredia white Rioja.

Bacon wrapped swordfish was next, with spaghetti squash and cipollini onions. It wasn't my favorite; I felt a poached monkfish tail with toasted cashews worked better. A single vineyard Copain Pinot Noir from Sonoma was a lovely pairing.

Four Story Hill Farm squab may have been my favorite dish, cooked medium rare and served with a crisp top skin and sunchokes. With it, we enjoyed a pretty little Barolo from Sperino Lessona.

Our main courses underwhelmed me. A duo of beef (short rib and tenderloin) with chanterelles and cauliflower was ordinary. A veal plate of cheeks, sweetbreads, and tenderloin disappointed me entirely; the sweetbreads were woefully overcooked. But we drank with these my favorite wine of the evening, Chave "Offerus" Cornas from the Rhone.

Four desserts were next: apple, pineapple, chocolate, and coffee. They were fine, but better were the Chateau Pajzos Tokaji and Rivesaltes that we drank with them. Petit fours included chocolates and warm madelines. And then the night was over.

It was an impressive spread and, in some ways, more manageable than dinner at per se. Alcohol portions were too big, and I had to get out of my own way a few times. My memory is not as clear as it should have been. Alas.

60 East 65th Street
New York, NY 10065

No comments: