Last night Fred and I had the pleasure of having dinner with 3 food market influencers.  Ben Leventhal ( snarky blogger, friend and new NBC man about town), Kate Krader ( Restaurant editor Food and Wine ) and Dana Cowin (Editor-in-Chief Food and Wine).  Needless to say, I was thrilled to have break bread with Kate and Dana and always with Ben. 

We started off at a party for the new chef a the Four Seasons.  Personally, not my thing but it was fun to go since I haven't been there in literally 25 years for a meal.  Perhaps I should return with the new chef.

For dinner, we were completely following their lead, after all, who wouldn't?  We went to Ardesia which is a wine bar that opened about 2 weeks ago on 52nd between 10/11th Ave.  Not a location I generally frequent.   Ardesia is a nice mix of fabrications that create an edgy hip feel.  A large chalkboard wall with the specials on one end of the restaurant.  The bar has two tiers.  On the upper level a banquet wraps around the perimeter with small tables that move.  Very comfy.  Below is the bar, where you walk in with airy wooden stools which continue to high tables for drinking and dining.

The person behind Ardesia is Mandy Oser who comes out of Le Bernadin.  Super nice and thrilled to see us there.  The chef is Amorette Causus who was at El Quinto Pino.  The wine list, of course is extensive. Lots of interesting beers too.  I always love a wine bar.  They have been huge in London for years and years and have never really become a trend in NYC. 

The food, which is small bar portions, was really delicious.  Some more than others, of course.  We started with a whipped goat ricotta over a toasty crostini.  Simple with just a slight flavor.  Next round was a course of salads.  Small cubed red beets mixed with tiny shaved pieces of ricotta salata, some chopped greens and a sherry vinaigrette.  Tasty, classic.  My absolute favorite which I'd love the recipe for is the fresh bean salad.  Yellow wax, haricot vert beans and roma beans mixed together with thin crispy shallots over the top and a lime mint vinaigrette.  There was an Asian bend to that salad.  Full of taste and with a kick.  We ended up ordering another round. 

I might have hit the pork wall belly wall.  It might be time for restaurants to come up with something else.  Although the crispy pork belly bites served over a cubed apple salad was good, I'm over it.  The salt cod cakes with a caper remoulade over the top was a nice light touch.  Think crab cakes. 

The two dishes that were heavier was the Duck Banh Mi sandwich which is hitting the streets of NYC these days.  House cured duck with a spicy duck pate, pickled veggies between a long soft bun.  Yum.  The other a Germany sausage which was boiled ( I would have preferred to have it pan fried ) served along a soft pretzel that again was so good we ordered more pretzels.  Good side of a zingy mustard.

Hit of the evening was dessert.  3 house made ice cream sandwiches filled with Donnybrook Farms ice cream.  Hazelnut, pistachio and vanilla.  They were wrapped up in wax paper and the flavors written on top.  We just cut them up and shared.  Old school.  Perfect consistency and temperature.  The hazelnut was the best with the tiny nuts that crunched in your mouth. 

Keeping Ardesia in mind for post-theater or pre-theater or if I do happen to be in the neighborhood.  A couple of new apartments in the area that will certainly enjoy their new addition to the neighborhood.