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Jul 15, 2010 01:31 PM

Park Avenue Summer Review + Photos (Restaurant Week)

Photos are here:

I've been eyeing this place for a couple of years now and am excited to try it during all of its seasons. Appropriately, all of the dishes we had on the first night of Restaurant Week were incredibly summer-y and some of the best we’ve had in all of our years of Restaurant Week-ing.

• watermelon amuse-bouche

The yellow piece looked like a chunk of pineapple to me, so 10 points for surprising me, and another 10 for serving me cream cheese and herbs with fruit. My boyfriend ate the pink hunk and said it was spicy, so another 10 for that. Not that these points mean anything or can be redeemed. Sorry.

• burrata, cucumber, tomato

I kind of got this against my will. It was an extra $5, I hate tomatoes, and I wanted the corn soup. But whew, boy, if the menu had explained in detail what this was, I would’ve ordered two. The cheese is regular mozzarella on the outside, but the inside is a blend of mozzarella and cream, making it this dreamy texture. And also making it funky. It was at once the youngest-looking and oldest-tasting cheese, and it paired so nicely with the fresh cucumber. And the tomatoes? They were actually not as gross as I expected, because there was this rich tomato sauce under them that drowned them out.

• salmon tartare

I hear chefs talk about how important acid is, especially when it comes to raw fish, but I never got it until this tartare. The first thing I tasted was CITRUS!, and it was glorious. This was probably my favourite dish of the night, just because I’m usually not a fish person, and this made me want to be.

• veal chop, summer succotash

This was an extra $10, and my boyfriend made me get it just to be nice, but I secretly wanted his chicken. I’m really bad about not getting all of the meat off anything served on the bone, so I thought it was going to be a waste of good meat. And then I took one bite and realized I’d be picking up the bone and gnawing on it later. (There are pictures.) Super-chargrilled on the outside, super-pink on the inside.

The funny thing was the side. Now, I love corn like nobody’s business, but do you know what I tasted with the first forkful of succotash? PIZZA. I swear, it tasted exactly the way green peppers on a pizza do. And my boyfriend said the exact same thing without me telling him that’s what I was thinking! They must have used a lot of oregano in that salad or something.

• free-range chicken, peaches

The peaches were really the highlight here and almost overpowered everything else, which is not a complaint, because the chicken, in my opinion, really would’ve benefited from some spice. I really loved the crispy edges, though, and the crunchy pine nuts. My boyfriend liked the sweet sauce and was reminded of zereshk polo, a Persian dish from his childhood made with chicken, rice, and barberries.

• goat cheese mouse in phyllo, honeyed raspberries

Serious Eats said this was like eating frosting and was “so decadent I could never finish one by myself”. So obviously I didn’t even look at the other desserts. I would say that she was right about the goat cheese being frosting-esque, but I could’ve eaten a whole mixing bowl of it easily. I loved the thin yet moist wafer and the lemony sauce under the raspberries. This dish was so un-sweet that my boyfriend said it was like having a cheese course for dessert, but the honeyed fruit added just enough natural sugar that it completely satisfied me.

• banana parfait, chocolate crumbs, banana butterscotch puree

You know how the best part of a Dairy Queen, Dunkin’ Donuts, or Carvel ice cream cake is the uber-crunchy layer of chocolate bits? Now imagine a whole glassful of those, drizzled in banana-flavored butterscotch. WHAT? YES. Delicious.

Park Avenue Cafe
100 E 63rd St, New York, NY 10021

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  1. Great report! I've been to Park Avenue Cafe a number of times this year for lunch and dinner (not yet for Summer), and have enjoyed it very much. Seems like I need to plan a return visit soon (at least before they become "Autumn").

    2 Replies
    1. re: ellenost

      Thanks! I'm glad I had a taste of the summer menu, but the other seasons look more exciting decor-wise. Guess it's a reason for me to keep going back.

    2. I went there for Restaurant Week lunch a few days ago.
      They had the chicken with peaches and the banana parfait, chocolate crumbs, banana butterscotch puree on the restaurant week menu.

      1 Reply
      1. re: RichardMW

        Glad you enjoyed it as much as I did. Still thinking about those chocolate crumbs . . .

      2. That banana dessert is, in my opinion, the best dessert in Manhattan. And apparently they only serve it during restaurant week??? That needs to change.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JulesTei

          Wow, glad I got to try it the other night, then. I've been under the impression lately for some reason that I don't like bananas in desserts anymore. And then I had this. And now I know that I was wrong. Very wrong.

        2. Has anyone tried the 5 course BBE dinner yet??

          1. I think I might be sold JUST based on those chocolate crumbs.

            1 Reply
            1. re: uwsister

              AGREED. It's been a few months since you left your comment (oops), so I hope you had a chance to check them out. Or are at least willing to waltz into the restaurant and demand crumbs on everything you order.