A dinner to remember

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***Warning: this post is about food. In short, it’s about one dinner. So, if you aren’t interested in a whole lot of talk about fancy food, I won’t be offended if you move on to the next post.***

I’m not sure if I’ve talked about this on the blog before, but T is an expert-level gift guesser. He ruins surprises with the vaguest of clues. It’s exasperating. So, when I had the opportunity to make reservations at a restaurant that he’s always wanted to go to and believed to have closed? (They actually close at the end of November.) I had to go for it. Open Table would take reservations 30 days in advance and if I logged on at/around midnight EST, I could pretty much choose any time I want. Hilariously, that evening was T’s birthday, so I gave him a card with the surprise on it and he got to help me pick a time for dinner reservations. Needless to say, he was VERY surprised. (Score!)

And that’s how we found ourselves getting all gussied up:

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And going here:

IMG_9769Being that it’s New York, we expected the restaurant to be pretty dressy. T brought his suit and I was expecting to need to get a dressy-dress. But when we looked on the website (and walked by the restaurant the night before) we confirmed that it wasn’t super fancy. Which is just as well, I’d have felt weird wandering around the Lower East Side in formal attire. It also made it a much more comfortable atmosphere. The server was really nice and we enjoyed some very nice cocktails to start. Then it was time to let the games begin!

The first course was an oyster in an edible “shell” (they told us what the shell was made of, but I can’t remember the other ingredients besides hazelnuts.) It was so amazing, I almost forgot to take a picture of it! Suffice it to say, it was much prettier when it came out:

IMG_9772Second course was an egg-yolk potato ravioli, with little crispy potato bits and cucumber caviar. I managed to take pictures of all of the dishes from here on out, before gobbling them up. I’ll also save time and say that everything we ate was AMAZING…

IMG_9774Third course: a frog leg in a rooibos-infused broth. Insane.

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Fourth course: cuttlefish with carrot, chamomile and schmaltz:

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This one was particularly cool. Szechuan-spiced charred chicken liver, with melon and little crunchy triangles of Ethiopian injera bread.

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In the four-way tie for favorite dish, this one was on both T’s and my list: shrimp & grits, (where the grits were made out of shrimp) with pickled jalapeño and chives(?).

IMG_9781At this point, I should mention that each of these beautiful courses is paired with a fabulous wine and we were feeling no pain! Seventh course was a Hamachi tuna with turnip, Shiso and blood sausage:

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The next good course for the dude at the table next to us to impress his date with his food-snobbery. But I thought this pork collar was fantastic. They paired it with poppy seeds, red bell pepper and a tamarind-sauce. Mmmmm…

IMG_9784Next up: Waygu beef with watermelon and a fermented black bean powder. I can’t remember what the crunchy thing on the top was made from, but it was a nice compliment to the steak.

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This course was fun. It was a crunchy Earl Grey tea thingy, with butternut squash and little tapioca pearls. I wished I’d thought to turn the dish around so you could see more of the stuff underneath:

IMG_9788Closing in on the home stretch: a verbena plum mousse (that had more of a gelatin consistency) and some vanilla bean powder-infused oil. And buckwheat was somehow involved…

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And finally, dessert course: an Ovaltine cake, with marcona almond, cardamom, and sheep’s milk. There’s a little piece of grapefruit in there as well.

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And then, of course, there was a little finishing “mignardise” (which is French for fancy stuff at the end of the meal, j/k!) The little cubes were a nice dark berry flavored gelatin and the little cookies were mildly flavored and covered in cheese. (I should mention that I’d had much wine at this point, so this course is a little hazy… ) T fortified himself with an espresso in a beautiful Bodum glass that we admired for probably an embarrassing amount of time. I shudder to imagine our neighboring table’s social media entries…

IMG_9795It was a fantastic evening that I’ll remember for a long, long time. We didn’t feel like messing with trying to find a cab and the Uber ride to the restaurant was a cluster, so we braved the subway. Which gave us the opportunity to have drunken architectural conversations about “whether that was the Woolworth building or not, but it has a crane on it!” I’m so happy I took a picture because it’s pretty clear that it is, in fact, the Woolworth building. (The crane is hard to see in this picture, but it was on the building behind it, one in front of the Freedom Tower.)

IMG_9796Thankfully, no one nefarious is downtown that late at night and we made it back to the hotel safe and sound. If you’re still reading at this point, thank you for indulging me in recalling our night of culinary excess. And now back to our regularly scheduled programming…

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