Aquavit has settled into their new location on East 55th Street. I have been for lunch twice in the cafe area since they moved but not for dinner. Last night, we went with 2 other couples for dinner in the dining room.
Fred and I went to the bar earlier to have some Aquavits. Flavored Scandinavian vodkas made by Aquavit. You can taste one or 3 or more. The group of them is called a flight. I tried 3 different kinds, Fred had 3 others. Pineapple Thai Basil, Grapefruit Lemongrass, Cucumber, Vanilla Pear Black Pepper, Raspberry Lime and Ginger and Mango Lime Chili pepper. We tasted them all. I didn’t really like them. They were a bit too medicinal tasting for me. I switched to a basic Scandinavian vodka on the rocks but I think I like Russian vodka better.
Architecturally, the restaurant is absolutely beautiful. Simple, serene and well done. The food compliments the decor. Each plate is a masterpiece. What you order is not what you expect when the plate is delivered. Small beautiful portions placed masterfully on a plate.
I always have herring when I go. Some tastes are better than others. The herring mixtures come with a small shot of caraway Aquavit and a carlsberg beer. Fred had the kumamoto oysters which were truly delicious.
For a main course I had the Sea Bass and Shrimp. 2 pieces of Sea Bass seared and placed on different sides of the plate. In the middle of the plate was sauerkraut that had the texture of celery room mixed with tiny tiny sizes of chorizo. For dipping there was a small circle of potato aioli and another one of broccoli puree. Beautiful presentation. The tastes, ok. Everything stands on its own but you have to meld the food on the plates to create tastes. Fred had the smoked trout. The trout was served in a bowl over a medley of mushrooms and asparagus and a geoduck clam. The waiter finishes it off with a horseradish broth. The flavor and texture of the trout was really good. Someone else had the roasted Salmon. I had thought about ordering that and am glad I didn’t. I really did not like the taste. Way too heavy in flavor. The scallops and rare tuna was beautifully presented, almost layered and now what I expected. The scallops were wonderful.
Dessert was a medley of different tastings. Some good, some weird, some not great. Their signature dessert is the artic circle. Goat cheese parfait combined with sorbets on the side. The parfait tasted like a creamsicle. Really good. The peanut butter ice cream with tangerine jelly was delicious. I love peanut butter and this was top. The ice cream sandwich presentation was wonderful but taste wise, just OK. I had the pumpkin bread with a blue cheese on the side and small round pieces of pear. Nothing great and the cheese looked like a whipped green pesto. It wasn’t that interesting.
All and all, we had a blast because I loved the company but the food didn’t wow me. Presentations were awesome but tastes weren’t.
Since I have been to Vienna and Scandinavia in the past few days, food wise, I have to say, I prefer Vienna.