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Calling all Degustation pros / fans....

linguafood Sep 30, 2010 08:09 AM

Got a rez for tonight: birthday dinner.

We were pretty set for doing the 5 course tasting menu, as 10 courses just sounds excessive, and I'm not sure I want to feel like passing out after dinner if ya catch my drift. City life and all, we might wanna grab a few drinks afterwards.

My question (having noticed the foie gras dish) is whether one has any 'control' over the dishes they choose, or do you just eat what is served? This is even more important given that we'd have to eat the same thing if we opt for the tasting menu.

Should the most 'recent' thread (2008!) stlll be valid two years later, would we really be able to order 5 courses รก la carte and still not pay through the roof for it?

Anywhos - any thoughts or comments would be very much appreciated.

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Degustation
239 E 5th St, New York, NY 10003

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  1. daffyduck RE: linguafood Sep 30, 2010 08:30 AM

    i would do the 10 course tasting, the portions are very small. i was just barely full after it. it felt like i just ate 2 slices of pizza . the chefs are right there so you have some control. for example the wagyu cheesesteak I was able to request it bloody rare. i also remember my dad telling them he did not like crudos so they substituted it for a squid ink risotto. But unless you really don't like something I would go with what they give. if you're into wine bars i think bar veloce is a good place to hit up afterwards. i'd easily be able to do a nutella panini after a 10 course tasting at degustation. oink oink

    1. k
      kathryn RE: linguafood Sep 30, 2010 08:31 AM

      You can certainly request a dish to be included if you wish. Some complain the 5 course isn't filling, though.

      They do have a web site now, with menus & prices:
      http://www.degustationnyc.com/

      1. r
        rrems RE: linguafood Sep 30, 2010 10:32 AM

        You should have the 10-course, and if you notice a particular dish on the a la carte that interests you ask if it is part of the 10-course, if not they may agree to substitute. Alternatively you could order 5 or 6 dishes per person (the portion sizes of the a la carte are mostly larger than on the tasting) and share the dishes. We did this on our last visit, as we have had the 10- course several times, and we really enjoyed it. We skipped dessert, were quite stuffed, and spent a bit less than we did for the 10-course.

        1. c
          ciomar RE: linguafood Sep 30, 2010 12:00 PM

          Go for the 10 course. They have always asked us if there is anything we don't care for. My husband and I agree to try anything they put in front of us and are never disappointed (even with sweetbreads). Even if you hate it, its only one or two bites and you move on to the next surprise. LOVE LOVE LOVE Degustation.

          1. linguafood RE: linguafood Sep 30, 2010 02:50 PM

            Yah, I'm pretty much decided on the 10 course menu. I'd LOVE the foie gras dish, and I also wonder if one can ask for more savory than sweet dishes (tho i realize that would be the case anyway, but neither one of us are crazy about dessert). Since both of us would HAVE to do the 10 course tasting, there is probably no leeway with one person getting more or less dessert-y dishes.

            I am def excited.

            3 Replies
            1. re: linguafood
              daffyduck RE: linguafood Sep 30, 2010 06:53 PM

              last time i went there were only 2 dessert courses out of the 10 and they were awesome. i believe the 5 course has only one. i still see one of them on the menu the carmelized torija which is a soaked brioche that's carmelized, it's delicious! (i feel the citrus fruit it comes with though, is out of place).

              1. re: daffyduck
                p
                Pan RE: daffyduck Sep 30, 2010 10:51 PM

                My girlfriend and I loved the way the citrus fruits provided a tart contrast to the sweet dessert, and we thought it was one of the best courses when we had it over a year and a half ago.

                1. re: Pan
                  daffyduck RE: Pan Oct 1, 2010 09:17 AM

                  i'm not the biggest fan of tart things, when i had that dessert i just kept thinking why would they put this if they could put more brioche or maybe ice cream haha.

            2. linguafood RE: linguafood Oct 1, 2010 08:25 AM

              First of, the prices on the website are not up to date. ALL dishes were $5 more expensive, and the tasting menus have also gone from $50 to $55 and $75 to $80.

              Well, here's what we ended up doing - the foie was NOT going to be part of the 10 course tasting, so we just hand-picked 8 different dishes to share, which were:

              Spanish "tortilla" with quail egg and shallot confit - very nice, more like a raviolo with a filling of runny egg & onion

              Crudo of seasonal fish - tiny portion of very good hamachi

              Oxtail-stuffed squid on some black ink lentil risotto - probably the most successful dish of the night

              Octopus carpaccio with celery and avocado - interestingly enough, the flavor profile was akin to Thai beef salad, dressed with lime and cilantro; the octopus, however, was a bit on the rubbery side

              Fried sardine on Spanish risotto - ok, but nothing special

              Rabbit tasting - a tiny meatball, some bacon-wrapped loin - tasty but TINY

              Squab on yet another risotto: one of the thighs was practically raw, and I asked for it to be cooked more. Which somehow made one of the cooks raise an eyebrow. Seriously? I like my meat *very* rare, but pidgeon leg sashimi is just not my thing. Didn't quite get the attitude there.

              Foie gras with strawberries and cava jelly - nice, but didn't rock my world. The cava jelly cubes were a nice, prickly touch, but I've had better (and more than an inch or two) of foie, and I like the accompanying fruit to be more assertive than strawberry. Think plum, or dark cherry, or dark berries. Anywhos. Considering the foie was the reason we did not get the 10 course tasting, this was a disappointment.

              Also, it seemed that the 10 course had sweetbreads, which, had I known about it, could've made up for the lack of foie.

              The last dish of the night was also rather disappointing - very chewy (!) Wagyu beef with potato hash browns and creamed spinach: meh.

              All in all, it was a bit over $200 (we each had a couple beers & shared a bottle of white) plus tip. More money than the meal was worth it, to me. Nothing really wowed me here. Won't be back.

              4 Replies
              1. re: linguafood
                daffyduck RE: linguafood Oct 1, 2010 09:16 AM

                sorry to hear, i went back in march so i didnt have any of the dishes u had except the squid inked risotto and the "tortilla" i dont know if they still have it but the croquettas and the duck egg mousse with lamb bacon are out of this world. their dessert courses are fantastic too.

                1. re: linguafood
                  r
                  rrems RE: linguafood Oct 1, 2010 09:40 AM

                  I've had most of the dishes you did and loved them. Chacun a son gout.

                  1. re: rrems
                    linguafood RE: rrems Oct 1, 2010 03:07 PM

                    Well, I didn't say it was bad at all. It just didn't rock my world. Perhaps I'm jaded.

                  2. re: linguafood
                    biondanonima RE: linguafood Oct 5, 2010 08:25 AM

                    Bummer - I absolutely LOVED Degustation when I went but obviously the menu has changed since then, and if the prices have gone up it may not be the steal it was a couple of years ago. There were several dishes that truly rocked my world and that I dream about to this day, but I must say your descriptions of what you had don't interest me nearly as much as the menu we enjoyed. Maybe I'll wait for another change of season to try it again.

                  3. k
                    kathryn RE: kelea Apr 8, 2011 08:04 AM

                    The torrija dessert is fantastic, isn't it? Who knew the Spanish made the best French Toast, eh?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: kathryn
                      kelea RE: kathryn Apr 8, 2011 08:07 AM

                      OMG YES!! I don't even like dessert. It was delicious...

                      I'm sitting here drooling over the soft scrambled egg. it's now my desktop image.

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