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Aquavit

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Went last night and was amazed at how much we enjoyed the tasting meal. We had been there a few times before, but in the old location. I never felt it noteworthy, but this visit put it on par with places like Gordon Ramsey's, Ducasse, Jean George, and the like. We added the wine pairings, and everything was really exceptional.

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  1. Can you elaborate on any particular menu items / wines you tried that really stood out? How many courses is the tasting? I had a fabulous meal a few years ago at the old location but haven't made it there lately. Thanks!

    4 Replies
    1. re: Nikitenka

      After 2 different amuse bouche, the second of which had 4 parts, an oyster, a clam, each with sauces, and 2 other fish items, we had a lobster roll that was made like the Vietnamese style rolls, wrapped in a cold crepe. There was a fois gras mousse with something else, which was fantastic. Sorry my memory is not that great for exactly what we had. There were 7 courses in all besides the amuse bouche. There was a warm smoked trout served in a bowl that had a passion fruit cold soup poured over it, a venison dish, a cheese course with 1 small piece of cheese with some other things on the plate, and 2 different desserts. I can't tell you specifically what the wines were, but because it was so heavily fish, besides the flavored aquavit that they served first, there was a reisling, and sorry I can't remember. You will just have to try it for yourself I guess. I think you can go on zagat's and see a link to the menu to give you an idea. When I am eating a meal like this, I just concentrate on enjoying it, not necessarily remembering exactly what we had.
      What every one of these restaurants should do is what Tru in Chicago did. At the end of the meal, they gave us a printed menu of what we ate, complete with the wine pairings.

      1. re: robinsilver

        Thanks robinsilver - that is helpful. Understand that it's difficult to keep track of everything in a tasting, had just been wondering if there were any particular Eureka! moments. Sounds like you had many of them. We will have to give aquavit a try soon.

        1. re: Nikitenka

          I also had a wonderful meal in the Dining Room at Aquavit before Christmas - not the tasting menu though. I definitely recommend it, though too much time has elapsed for me to remember what we had, other than the foie gras ganache. And the aquavit selection, is, of course, very good as well.

      2. re: Nikitenka

        FYI: Aquavit does "publish" their tasting menu on their website, and while there may be some daily variation based on availability, i think they stay pretty true to form.

        i once had a restaurant week lunch in the old location, and wasn't moved by anything on the RW menu so ordered something else -- i hadn't been impressed, and the service was snotty and awful -- they really had made us feel inferior for being there for RW,

        luckily, a few years later (and now at least 2-3 years ago) some vendors took me to lunch there and we had their tasting menu, and i remember being wowed at just about every turn ... and i definitely DO want to return to experience that again, or some of the standouts ala carte.

        i just checked their current tasting menus, and out lunch menu then had more courses than the lunch tasting now (was also more expensive), and had some of the items that are now only on the dinner tasting. lots of great stuff, and i do remember that the soups (even when sounding bland) were exceptional, and the foi-gras ganache was unusual and very pleasing. all the fish preparations were delicious as well.

        alekz

      3. We haven't eaten in the back dining room, but I remember for restaurant week, we felt pretty much like regular diners (ie, not inferior). It was a good amount of food for the price, and some of their specialties were also listen, so we felt like we were really tasting what the menu had to offer, instead of some places where you get chicken or pasta that would never grace the real menu.

        We also got the wine pairings by the glass. My fiance ended up with a beer pairing for one, the others were wines. One wine just tasted off - we asked the waiter about it and he was really great and told us that it was not spoiled, but some people are super sensitive to the wine and find it to be too bitter, while others don't taste the bitterness as much. He generously substituted the wine for another type and poured a full glass as an apology. I thought the service was outstanding.

        On subsequent trips to the cafe we found everything to be exceptionally prepared with wonderful service. It's definitely in our regular rotation.