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Sep 4, 2011 11:18 PM

Pardes Tasting Menu is EXCELLENT

About 9 hours ago, a friend and I went to Pardes for the tasting menu and I am seriously still raving about the excellent quality of dishes and options.

The first thing we had was the amuse bouche which was just a small bite of a radish, fig, almond, olive, and a few other things (snap peas, I think?) It was one small bite but yet delicious. I loved th sweetness of the fig, making it great for someone like me who doesn't really love her veggies.

We then had a tuna tartar topped with watermelon next to a rice fritter in a bed of avocado puree. The pairings of tuna and watermelon were fantastic, and the fritter was very good -- very sweet.

My friend elected to try beer pairings with her food, so she got red rice beer for this course.

The second course (yes, the amuse bouche was actually not a course but a taste of what was to come) was a sardine over a bed of quinoa. I'm not really a fish person but even I enjoyed this. The only thing that I didn't love was a tiny bone in my sardine, but nothing to worry about!

The third course was a salt cod fritter with this rouille sauce on a bed of mushrooms (onions?). It was actually quite an interesting presentation. The cod fritter was just that -- a ball of fish -- but it was attached to an eyedropper thingy which had the rouille (sauce). The idea was you were supposed to squeeze the sauce into the cod and enjoy it. It was very creative and delicious.

For that course, my friend had the Omer Blond Ale.

The fourth course was a salad of heirloom tomatoes with garlic bread and balsamic gelee. Again, I'm not really a salad person but it was sweet and delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed this dish. If I could get salad like this all the time, I would be a salad lover!

The fifth course was this salt cured duck breast with figs and cantaloupe sorbet. Amazing! The sorbet was great and the pairing of sweet and salty was really incredible.

The sixth course was duck again (which is awesome, since I love duck) two ways: salt cured as before but also with jersey peaches, carmelized spelt, and treviso - I have no idea what this stuff was but I loved the sweetness of this duck in particular and it definitely was my favorite duck dish of this menu.

We were given Gavroche French red ale for that course.

We were then given some veal loin which was served with dates, pistachio, cabbage, and an absinthe/parsnip puree. Also a great dish, but I am thinking the cabbage was more for presentation and not for eating -- it was a bit bitter after the first few bites!

The eighth (yes, 8th) course consisted of this goat turine, which is not on their current menu. It's a breaded item. It looks like a knish, almost, and inside is this delicious meat. Next to that were three dipping "sauces" - black rice, tofu salad, and something green with a strong and tangy flavor.

Earlier in the meal, we were wondering about the Moussaka which was on the menu and how it would be presented at the restaurant. Unknown to us, they brought that out next (course #9) and it was lamb with eggplant as expected. If anything bothered me at the tasting, it was that they didn't give us knives for this dish! Still, it was hearty and a good dish.

Finally, we were onto dessert. Courses 10 and 11 were also great - fresh strawberry in a chocolate sauce with hazelnuts and a balsamic reduction on top of the strawberries. That was actually another unique pairing. Normally, for dessert, you don't expect a dressed strawberry, but it went quite well with the chocolate.

The other dessert was a chocolate mousse - the bottom layer was a cake or something, and there was a unique flavor that my friend thought was an Indian spice. (On the menu, it's said to be pain d'epices, whiskey, mulberry, grapefruit, and cooca nib 10). That was a great way to end a great meal.

Having been to two tasting menus in NYC thus far, I can say that they both are awesome -- but at Pardes, there are more courses for a similar cost, thereby making it an incredible affair and definitely my top pick. I thought it was delicious and honestly cannot wait to go back again.

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  1. I guess everyone only reads CHOW during work then and not on holiday weekends!

    either way, enjoy the review ;)

    2 Replies
    1. re: tamarw

      How much is the tasting menu per head? Still trying to get there from NJ.

      1. re: njkosher

        $95. And I feel your pain... I want to get to Mosaica one day!

    2. Had the tasting menu last night. For four people. Still floating from the pleasure of it. Talk about hedonism on Hanukkah.

      They started us with an amuse bouche on a small plate that held a tiny latke, a flake of smoked trout , a tiny pool of sauce, and a sprinkle of green onion. It dazzled my tongue.

      It was uphill all the way form there.

      They say eight courses ($95) and can pair wine and beer with it, we will next time, but last night there was severe jet lag and other reasons not to.

      Some of the courses were tiny, perfect, exquisite delights, a tiny fingerling potato served with cod caviar and a complimenting sauce. And there are palate cleansers, one was blueberry sorbet that was too sweet - and that was the only flaw in this exquisite feast where every dish seemed more exciting then that last.

      Other courses were things like
      Other courses are things like lamb four ways. You are then served bacon, real bacon from lamb, along with a wonderful salad, This included the most the most wonderful, dry roasted ribs, smoky, salty and coated with a mustard sauce. (the feef course included the best ribs I have ever eaten, in a sauce that was flavorful, not merely weet and spicy) an herbed goat-based soup, a lamb stew, and a plate or the roasted lamb with the tenderest meat imaginable in pink slices. And a salad with slices of bacon on the side. Real bacon form lamb. I have just raved about this on the kosher bacon thread.

      I should linger over the description of the goose course, which was imaginitive, wonderful, and reallly, I never knew that sliced goose breast could taste like that.

      But I have to go to work and I hope that I have at least written enough to persuade DebbyT to order the testing menu for her anniversary dinner tonight.

      You do have to phone ahead to order the tasting menu.
      And you should always make a reservation, even if that means phoning as you head toward the restaurant. They respect reservations, but can have a long line of people who foolishly didn't reserve/

      5 Replies
          1. re: tamarw

            Adina's post was so long that I forgot it by the time I got to the bottom. :-)

        1. re: AdinaA

          Oh, AdinaA...we didn't know a tasting menu was available! NEXT TIME! So, I'll give my report...we traveled from NJ in torrential rains and crazy winds. Called ahead to say we'd be 1/2 hr late. No problem - our table was waiting. Amuse...little latke with tuna tartare, tartar sauce (LOL), cuke. Delish. Waiter returned to table to tell us that the sweetbreads were sold out. Sad. Hubby ordered the frisee with lamb bacon. Decadent. Too much frisee. I ended up with beef tartare...some type of seed (pumpkin?) in the mix. Very yummy. Side of fresh sweet potato chips. Shared a Pardes Burger. Best burger I've ever had in my life. Hubby then had the Goose 4 ways. He was over the moon. I had the lamb. Absolutely wonderful. The rack was mostly crisped up fat (YAY), but I scraped off the coating, which had a taste I couldn't identify that I didn't like. Pardes fries. YUM. And a glass of rioja. Dessert - we shared the Gianduja plate. Divine.
          Two complaints....husband ate his appetizer alone. My tartare arrived after the burger. And the Lubavitch family that arrived AFTER us got served immediately with tons of food and left before we finished our mains. Were they someone special perhaps?
          So many other things on the menu I wanted to try...but my stomach was quite full by the end of the evening. So...home to NJ...only 1/2 hr drive home (over an hour there).

          1. re: DebbyT

            LOVE love LOVE the pardes burger. Worth paying for a babysitter and waiting an hour for it to show up at the table!!

        2. OK, I have to ask this. I may really be missing something here, but I'm not clear on the advantage of ordering the tasting menu.

          Here's my take . . . If my husband and I go and each order four different menu items (appetizer, meat snack, entree, and dessert, for argument's sake), and share all the items, we also will wind up tasting eight different things, and probably not spend the $200 that the tasting menu will cost for the two of us. And this way, we choose everything, and don't have to worry that something will be served that we might despise (we're pretty open, but each of us have a couple of real aversions that could really stand in the way of enjoying a particular course). And if more than two are dining together, and agree to share, they could potentially get to taste even more than eight to ten courses. I hope someone can enlighten me.

          11 Replies
          1. re: queenscook

            My guess is that many of these dishes are only available on the tasting menu.

            1. re: DeisCane

              I don't think that's true. Many of the dishes I ate were on the regular menu.

              The benefit to a tasting menu is that you get many more options to choose. After all, you're tasting (sampling) a lot of dishes.

              Also, consider that tasting plates are typically smaller so you actually have room in your tummy for everything. If you bought regular portions, you'd be paying more (Pardes isn't cheap) and be very very full.

              If I go back there (and I know I will), I will get the tasting menu again. I just love the options and the element of surprise before trying each dish.

              1. re: tamarw

                I have to respectfully disagree about paying more for regular portions and getting more to sample in the tasting menu. My husband and I were there tonight (after all this talk of the place, we had to go again!), and we split seven dishes (a salad, two appetizers, two entrees, and two desserts), so we got to try seven dishes for about $115. I don't know that I could (or would) have been much happier with another few more choices, for eighty more dollars ($95 X 2).

                As for the play-by-play . . . loved the pistachio risotto (2nd time we've had it) and the kabocha squash salad; the goat was fine, but we didn't love it; the chicken and waffle dish was very nice; the BBQ rib was tasty; and both desserts: the gianduja mousse and the walnut ice cream were really excellent.

            2. re: queenscook

              Well, there are eight courses, and several additional things served in between courses. But, while some of those eight courses may be a single dish, others have, for example four different ways of preparing goose. So it's more like 8 times 4 plus about 3 plus...

              Never mind, I ate so much I lost count.

              Of course, to me, part of the fun is the surprises. And the luxury of letting a master compose the menu for you. He is the artist, after all, and

              The real point is that the chef, this artist of the palate, is composing a feast for you. riffing on what he did with the goose when he decided how to prepare the lamb. Playing with your palate. And with so many dishes, he has the opportunity to experiment with new combinations of flavors. After all, he's serving five different lamb preparations, he can risk doing something boldly imaginitve with one of them.

              I wouldn't compare it to a meal, and certainly not by counting the dishes. It's more of a performance, and with Chef Moshe, it was a masterful performance.


              1. re: AdinaA

                I can't wait to go there! In the meantime, is there an updated menu online? (Their website is under construction).

                  1. re: tamarw

                    Somewhat, but more over the long run than the short run. We were there about three weeks ago, and again tonight, and I'd say the menu was probably about 80% the same as then.

                    1. re: queenscook

                      Yeah, it's not a drastic change, but considering that just about every other restaurant I have been to hasn't changed their menus in years, it's pretty frequent to me :)

                    2. re: tamarw

                      Does Pardes have a website with menus listed on it? How are the prices for kosher food?

                      Is the place itself casual like a cafe/bistro?


                      1. re: kevin

                        Not exactly. Their menu changes a lot.

                        They have a Facebook page and you can see updates (new additions, and an older menu) here:

                  2. re: AdinaA

                    I understand what you are saying, but the last time we were there, we had the goose 4 ways as one of our choices, so on that trip we also had more than the seven different items we had chosen to share. And as for the surprise aspect, even when we order, we are surprised when the food arrives, since it's usually so different from what we would have expected.

                    I would actually rather save the money not spent on the tasting menu, to be able to go another time, and taste that many more dishes.

                1. we did the tasting menu - it was amazing and well worth the money if you enjoy something different - out of the box