Years ago when Sapa opened, I recommended to Fred to have a closing dinner there. He did and thought the food was really good and we should go back. We never did. Big mistake. This week, after Josh leaves for camp, the girls have planned a food extravaganza for us through New York. Last night, since Josh and Fred went to the Mets game and we went to the Liberty game, the girls began our journey at Sapa. Great choice.
To begin, is the design of the restaurant. There is a happy hour area at the front of the restaurant, a long bar once you enter the place on the right hand side with plenty of room to go a few people deep if need be, big banquettes for eating, a small sushi bar to sit at and then other intimate seating in the back. Each area is a different experience which I really liked. Even the bathroom downstairs are quite cool. A long enclosed water tub with a bunch of doors on the left hand side for bathrooms. The eye to detail is over the top. Most important, the service is great. People couldn’t have been more attentive and pleasant.
The girls ordered for the three of us. We decided to share everything. It is very conducive to sharing but you could easily just have your own too. After spending the last few days watching Top Chef, eating with the girls has become quite the experience. They test their palettes and comment on each detail. It is fun and hilarious at the same time. I should have taped the dinner.
We started with four plates. Roll of the day. Pepper swordfish carpaccio with was rolled around rice that had apples, cucumbers and shiso inside. This was served with 2 dipping sauces, both a had a sweet/sour combo going. This was the only dish I didn’t love. I found the taste bland and the consistency very dense.
Next was the scallops. On a long white rectangle plate there were 3 seared scallops served over a warm sea weed salad with half a grilled fig on the side and a miso paste running along the dish. This dish was delicious. The fig had been brushed with possibly cinnamon that created a whole other flavor next to the warm salad and perfectly cooked scallop with the miso. Yum.
2 large Grilled Maya prawns that were peppered and then served over a vegetable stir fry of bok choy, bean sprouts and sugar snap peas with spicy peanuts. Thoughts of Thailand came rushing back to my head. The sauce kafir lime glaze get the whole dish zip. Not only was the plate beautiful it was delicious. Great to share but it could have easily been eaten solo.
Next was the Cocoa Peanut Glazed spare ribs. The sauce is so dark and rich that is looks like mole sauce. The meat falls off the bone and the taste is extraordinary. Rich and layered. There are hints of cinnamon and cardamon incorporated into the rich Cocoa taste of chocolate and coffee. I am glad we shared this because it is incredibly rich.
Just to mention that the music here is great. At this point we had Rolling Stones blasting from the speakers.
Next round was a fish. Halibut steamed in a soy ginger broth served over a thinly sliced piece of tofu and a few random mushrooms and cherry tomatoes that had been cooked for color. Next to this was large pieces of wilted bok choy. This dish was light yet the broth was so delicious that it could have been our favorite. Subtle flavors creates a big taste.
We had along side this a bowl of mixed Asian Greens that were wilted with a soy based sauce and enough chilis to give it a real kick. We also went with the chicken confit roll out of sheer curiosity. Pulled chicken wrapped into an egg roll wrap and stuffed in the middle was greens and a serious pack of spice. Interesting and tasty.
We couldn’t resist dessert although one could easily pass and just take a stroll some where and pick up an ice cream cone on a summer night. We had the milk and dark chocolate tart with dolce de leche cream. A light crispy round shell filled with the cream on the bottom, then layered with milk cream and then gobs of smalled curled pieces of dark chocolate. Interesting and simple.
We asked about some of the dishes we saw coming out of the back that had not been on our menu. They have a happy hour menu from 530-730 daily which our waiter gave us to take a peek at. I like that concept. The area where Happy Hour was playing out was completely different and separate from our experience. Everything on that small menu looks great. Coming back for Happy Hour is definitely in my repertoire sometime this summer.
Sapa gets high marks all around. Located right outside the Flatiron area. So far, the girls have started our eating extravaganza out on the right foot. You might wonder how they chose Sapa. Patrica Yeo, the chef and owner of Sapa beat out Morimoto in Iron Chef. Let’s taste.