Fabulous SHO Shaun Hergatt Dinner - Restaurant Week (with photos)
I came to SHO with two other friends after having not seen each other for months. I heard a lot of good things about this place and Restaurant Week gave me the perfect excuse to come try it out.
I fell in love with the decor the moment I entered the restaurant. Red and gold are one of my favorite color combinations (I used to live in an apartment building that was all red and gold too with a gorgeous red and gold lobby). The dining rooms looked so luxurious, so elegant, and so so sleek that I was utterly enthralled.
Upon making our selection, bread was served. There were olive, multi-grain, and ciabatta available. I chose the ciabatta, but immediately frowned upon trying to break the bread. Alas, the bread was terribly hard with an especially thick crust. My attempt to eat it was more like a vigorous jaw exercise. The bread actually stabbed my gum while I chewed. Ouch. However, the butter was wonderful.
1. Summer Tomatoes en Gelée (friend’s) – Jansal Valley African basil, white balsamic
This was a friend’s appetizer which she very much enjoyed. Her comment, “This is so good and I don’t even know what I’m eating. The gelly is so cool.” Whatever it was, she approved! The salad certainly looked beautiful. The vibrant colors of the tomatoes, the pureed basil, the gelly, and the edible flowers turned this dish into a work of art.
2. 64 Degree Knoll Krest Egg (mine) – Maine peekytoe crab, haas avocado, truffle crème
Oh, how pretty! A perfectly poached egg (done at 64 degrees of course) perched atop a piece of toast stuffed with avocado. Nestled against the egg was a mound of peekytoe crab meat, with the truffle cream sauce in foam form off to the side. The entire dish was garnished by edible flower petals. The yellow flower petals resembled a bright and happy summer skirt. I was almost reluctant to break into the egg because the dish looked so lovely. But broke into the egg I did, oooooooh the luscious yolk oozed out sensuously. I scooped up bits of the crab meat along with some luscious yolk, a bit of the beautiful flower petals, and a little of the truffle cream sauce. I couldn’t help but to break into a smile. A happy savory sunshine on a plate was exactly what this dish was.
3. Berkshire Pork Belly (friends') – sprouted lentils, black mustard, banyuls jus
The pork belly dish looked very impressive, check out the two large slabs of pork belly! I’m happy to report that the cut came with plenty of meat, rather than all fat. I sampled a small piece off my friend’s plate. Whoa, intensely porky! The pork was braised in a soy sauce based concoction and tasted very familiar and comforting to me. Though, I wish the meat part was more tender, it was a bit chewy for my taste (should have been on lower heat during the sauce reduction step). My friends also would have preferred if there had been more vegetables to help offset the richness of the pork belly.
4. Petuna Farms Ocean Trout (mine) – saffron leek soubise, kalamansi dressing
This! Was absolute heaven! The best dish of the evening for sure. The fish was cooked perfectly, with a delectable crispy skin and flavorful and tender flesh. I could have just eaten the fish on its own, honestly. But the sauce! That gorgeous bright yellow saffron sauce topped by caviar and leek was simply sublime! It was smooth and creamy (but still very light), with a slight hint of tanginess and a luscious underlying savoriness that I’m at a loss of words to describe. The sauce was completely, absolutely incredible! It paired perfectly with the fish. It and the fish were soulmates in this dish. Soulmates! The sauce elevated the dish to a divinely pleasurable experience. Just thinking about it now sends me into rapture. *sighs*
5. Summer Berry Trifle (mine) – Vermont Creamery fromage blanc ice cream
The perfect dessert. Bright and refreshing berries surrounded a trifle, with a spoonful of ice cream set on top. Not only was the dish pleasing to look at, it was a pleasure to eat as well. As a fan of fresh fruits in desserts (and fresh fruits period), I felt it hit just the spot. Fantastic.
6. Petit Fours – almond milk chocolate, lime meringue macaron
Delicious! I love chocolate and almond combinations, so there’s no way I wouldn’t like the almond chocolate here. The lime meringue macaron actually served as a great palate cleanser. The lime-ness was excellent for restoring flavor neutrality in my mouth.
What a phenomenal meal! I think I made really excellent choices with my selections this time. Everything was perfectly to my taste. It was just marvelous! The restaurant must have enjoyed having us as guests and wanted us to stay longer because after we finished eating, we couldn’t find our server to give us the check. :) So we lingered for more than half an hour chatting post-meal until we finally spotted our server. The bill was paid and happily sated (and me still dreaming about the trout dish), we took our leave of the restaurant. I thoroughly enjoyed our walk back through the dazzling wine rack lobby and stepping into the elevator, I stepped back into reality.
SHO Shaun Hergatt
40 Broad St, New York, NY 10004
Glad to hear that you had a good meal, especially during RW. I ate there recently (not during Restaurant Week). I thought the food was very good, but the service was abysmal. This was the second time I was there -- first time was when they recently opened so I chalked it up to that. We didn't even get the mingardises at the end.
re: Miss Needle
Yeah, the service definitely could have been better. I wasn't too annoyed since I was dining with good company and was still feeling happy from the food.
I thought the inattentive service was due to the restaurant being busy with Restaurant Week. It was really unfortunate that you still received bad service during normal times. It'd be a shame if this place were brought down by the service, since everything else about it was so great.
I'd still go back during normal times to experience the ambiance and the food again. Hopefully, the service would be better (keeping fingers crossed).
I did enjoy the food very much. That's why I was so disappointed by the service. It wasn't restaurant week. Maybe if it was I would have understood and probably go back. But I don't think I'll be heading back anytime soon.
They had plenty of guys working on the floor, but I noticed that a small portion of tables (basically 3 tables in my section) received the best service while the rest of us got crapped on. The table next to us had to wait half an hour for them to receive their second dessert from the tasting menu. We waited half an hour for our check as well, even though we asked twice. Another guy near us ordered the wine pairing with the tasting menu. Food would arrive so late with the wine that he always finished his wine before the food ever came. I guess we weren't VIPs. Wish they wouldn't make the disparity of treatment so blatant.
Hopefully you will get better service than I did the next time you go there. It seems that they didn't offer the truffle butter with your bread for restaurant week. It goes wonderfully with the multigrain bread.
re: Miss Needle
I went during non-RW time (last month, I think) and I experienced the same thing: There were tons of staff on the floor, but only a couple of tables were getting great service. I noticed that they were the ones ordering multiple bottles of wine. When we were the only ones in the room, we got great service, but once it picked up, the quality of service plummeted.
But the food is just fantastic, and the truffle butter is spectacular.
>There were tons of staff on the floor, but only a couple of tables were getting great service.
Ugh, I hope we don't see that when we go for dinner next Tuesday. That would annoy the heck out of me - tons of staffs milling about yet no good service getting done is one of my biggest restaurant pet peeves.
I wonder if they would offer truffle butter for an extra charge? Sounds like it might be worthy.
Just want to update that I went back to SHO yesterday (Saturday) for dinner. They were doing Restaurant Week for Saturday dinner as well. It's likely that they'll be doing the RW extension too.
My reservation was early, so other than me, there was one other table of diners in the room. The service was excellent this time. My server was Marissa. She was clearly really enthusiastic about the restaurant's cuisine. I wasn't feeling talkative and was drooping from the heat, so I didn't engage her in discussing the food too much. But, the other table was asking a lot of questions about the menu. She was incredibly patient and happy to explain the dishes and how much she enjoys the cuisine at SHO. The other table ended up ordering from either the regular prix fixe menu or the tasting menu, but I was not at all ignored or overlooked because I went with the cheaper RW menu (I also didn't order alcohol, while the other table did). The entire time, I was fully attended to by the wait staff. People refilled my water, gave me more bread, and checked on me from time to time.
This time, the bread was great too. They were warm and fluffy and just wonderful. I also ordered the dishes I was interested in but did not get at the previous RW dinner.
1. Summer Tomatoes en Gelée – Jansal Valley African basil, white balsamic
One of the things that really endear SHO to me is the plating of the food. Everything was done with an artistic eye on color and form. The use of fresh whole flowers, petals, and stamen as garnish in most of its dishes sets it apart from most other restaurants out there. You can clearly see this employed in this tomato salad. The base was of deep green basil puree with a layer of translucent tomato gelly. In the center was a mound of delicious cottony ricotta, satellited by 6 skinned green and red small tomatoes. Finally, some beautiful pink and red flowers, petals, and stamen, and green leaves (arugula) topped the entire dish off.
The moment the plate was set down in front of me, I caught a whiff of the bright basil. My mouth started watering. Biting down on the juicy tomatoes was an explosion of refreshing acidic sweetness. The fluffy ricotta was so delicious that I couldn't get enough of it. What a perfect summer salad. The only thing I have to pick with this dish was that the kitchen just slightly overdosed on the balsamic. I was feeling a bit "balsamic-ed out" when finishing the last few forkfuls.
2. Berkshire Pork Belly – sprouted lentils, black mustard, banyuls jus
I complained that the pork belly was a little chewy the last time I tried a bite of this dish. Braised pork belly is my childhood comfort food and knowing that the dish wasn't perfect last time made me even more vigilantly critical. The moment I pierced my fork into the meat, I knew this is a winner. The fork tines practically met no resistance. My, my. I suppressed the urge to just lift the entire piece to my mouth and chow down. The pork was so rich, so melt-in-your-mouth, and so deeply flavorful. Heaven.
I also echo my friends' opinion regarding the components accompanying the pork belly. The sprouted lentils had a sharp bitterness to them that helped to offset the richness. However, the bitterness was a little too intense for my palate and was almost off putting. I'd suggest using a fibrous, leafy vegetable like baby bok choy, or broccoli rabe instead to provide the counterbalance and texture contrast.
3. Milk Chocolate Cremeux - Frog Hollow apricot sorbet
Oh, how I wished the apricot sorbet was gelato or ice cream instead. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the cremeux. It had a thin layer of hard chocolate outer shell and a creamy interior. Taking huge spoonfuls each time, I practically inhaled the truffle-like dessert.
No waiting more than half an hour for check this time. The check was brought promptly upon request and as I walked out, the wait staff and maitre d' thanked me and wished me a good night.
SHO Shaun Hergatt
40 Broad St, New York, NY 10004