In my experience, Aquavit is one of the most
reliable and pleasant upscale places in midtown. It's
especially delightful at dinner, when the pace is a
little slower and the decibel level is lower. Service
is always attentive but unobtrusive. And always
What to eat? Fish, fish, fish. In my experience,
salmon entrees are usually excellent, and herring
appetizers are terrific.
Haven't eaten upstairs yet.
I highly recommend dining at Aquavit. It not only
resides in Manhattan's lovliest brownstone (complete
with indoor cascading waterfalls), but it also boasts
sensational service and outstanding food. If you are
not prepared for the for full Scandnavian haute
cuisine meal, I would reccommend dining at the
upstairs "cafe" a slightly less formal dining space
with a pared down menu. The service is not as
attentive, but the food is coming from the same
Chef Samuelsson is a pro with fish and I highly
reccommend the herring sampling, as well as the
smorgasbord. After that, you will be happy with
nearly anything. Don't forget to taste the aquavit as
re: Josh Mittleman
Thanks again to everyone who responded to me. Just
wanted to follow up and say that we tried it out for
their pre-theatre dinner this past weekend, and really
enjoyed the food. We had the steak and a fish dish
called "char" which was new to me. It's a cross
between salmon and trout, and was very good. Much more
limited menu than the regular one, but everything was
very good. Also enjoyed their bread selections very
much. Only slight minus was that we had requested the
main dining room in order to enjoy the great space
everyone talks about, only to be seated in a small area
off the main section. Apparently you need to request
the "Atrium" and in any event, they had it reserved for
parties of six only, and we were only four. Oh well.
Live and learn.
re: Josh Mittleman
An update on Aquavit: splendid. We were there for
pre-theater on Saturday, in the main dining room, and
it could not have been better.
The pre-theater menu is a sub-set of the full menu, and
I detected no skimping despite the fact that it is 2/3
as expensive as the regular prix fixe (about $40 vs.
$65, no including drinks). The service was attentive,
prompt, and knowledgable.
Some details: The herring appetizer is lots of fun,
with five different tidbits to try, served with a glass
each of aquavit and Carlsberg beer. An affectation,
but an amusing one. It wasn't available for the
pre-theater, so I had squab consomme with a scoop of
truffle risotto and I didn't regret it.
The hot smoked salmon was lovely, but I thought the
lotus-root seared arctic char was even better. Thin
slices of lotus seared onto the skin of the fish, until
the skin was just crisp. It was served over a mixture
of white beans and roasted garlic, with a few bits of
Nicoise olives to startle the palate. It all sat in a
truffled broth that gave the entire mixture something
of the feel of a cassoulet, but very light.
The desserts were wonderful. My wife had a warm
chocolate cake, which came with a couple little
accompaniments. I had plate called the Cloudberry
Taster: Cloudberry sorbet, cloudberry & champagne jelly
(I can't think of how else to describe it. It was half
jelled and half liquid and all delicious), a pistachio
pastry and a chocolate truffle for contrast.
Not an everyday indulgence, but well worth the