Dinner at Aquavit - Great Food, so-so service
Based on the recent accolades Aquavit has been getting on this board, my partner and I decided to try it for the first time last night. We were happy with the food but found the service lacking. First, the food. I started with the "foie gras ganache" with duck confit. It was exceptional, but my only complaint was that there should have been more ganache. As it is, they really should describe it as "duck confit with foie gras ganache" since the confit was the larger item on the plate by far. My partner had the herring sampler, which was delicious, and the Carlsberg beer and Aquavit served with it made it really special. For mains, we had the seafood stew, which was beautiful, perfectly cooked, and served in a wonderful broth, and the venison, which, though perfectly cooked, was a simple preparation and unfortunately just the same old farm-raised venison, which I just can't get excited about. The raspberry napoleon was nothing special, but the chocolate caramel tart was very, very good. I do think that at these prices, they should include more little tastes. There were 3 tiny amuse-bouches, a palate cleanser after the main course, and no mignardises at all. Friends who were also dining there for the first time and were coincidentally seated next to us were given an additional course between appetizer and main, but we were not. This brings me to the service. We had already had cocktails, so we would only be ordering wine. When the waiter presented the wine list, I asked for menus, so I could make an intelligent decision on the wine. No menus materialized, and I had to ask a second time. There was a rather long delay between app and main, with no apology, explanation, or additional dish during that time. The last straw, though, was when I was almost finished with the main course and our wine glasses were empty. The wine is kept away from the table, and I could not flag down the waiter. A busboy wanted to take my plate away even though I was not finished. I told him we needed wine and he clued the waiter in. This is inexcusable in a restaurant of this caliber. Our 3 favorite restaurants in this price category, Cru, Picholine, and Eleven Madison, serve food at least equal to Aquavit, with far superior service and timing, and lots of extra tastes including with the prix-fixe, so despite the good food, with the limited number of occasions we have for very expensive restaurants, I see no reason to return to Aquavit.