Torrisi Italian Specialties 20 course tasting report
finally made it here for the 20 course. this is definitely not worth the $150. if you haven't done it yet, i would strongly advise against it. at the point where "pretzels," like 10 mini pretzel bites divided between 2 people, counts as a course, you really start to wonder. how dumb do they think people are? in fact, at least 9 of the 20 courses are snacky, insubstantial things, and two of the courses are served simultaneously--we were asked to share the foie gras newberg and the tartare, i'm not sure whether that's the treatment everyone gets but if so that's, well, just a travesty of fine dining or good eating or whatever you want to call this messed up genre. I would pay $75 for this "20 course" meal. maybe more like 10. if you're being generous.
super fast run down.
"our americano"--a virgin americano. why. (i mean, i know why it's virgin here, but why serve this at all.) lame beyond belief.
the quail's olive--quite good though too derivative/not original
pretzels--a sign of bad things to come
sable cigarette--quite good though too derivative/not original
oysters--the pepper mignonette blew out the oyster flavor
little neck clam--pickle flavor blew out the clam
buckwheat caviar knish--this was awesome. ridiculously good wow.
rabbit terrine--no opinion. didn't get enough to eat to form an opinion.
easter egg--what? this didn't make any sense. a gold easter egg filled with sabayon and random garnish. totally incoherent.
cashew chicken--haha? not amused
everything above the line was essentially a 1 bite course
pasta primavera--why would you pulverize perfectly good morels and then soak them in acid. my brother compared the 'pasta' to a popchip covered in pringle's pizza seasoning. the only redeeming element was the pine nut butter.
mackerel in crazy water, atlantic aqua pazza [SIC]---why (i found myself asking this question a lot) would you cut mackerel into a thin rectangular block? bizarre. the acqua pazza was excellent, I wish they had just served that...
foie gras newberg--I liked this a lot. i wish I didn't have to share a 1-2 oz portion with another person. i call BS
delmonico steak tartare--the potato crisps they served with this blew out the beef flavor. i would suggest, if you go, eating the tartare without accompaniment. the bearnaise egg was a fail--pasty, not as good as an actual egg yolk.
sheep milk ricotta gnocchi--best part of this was the chamomile blossom served alongside. at this point, i saw a connection to the french laundry aesthetic, including faux witticism--here, the technique isn't nearly strong enough to carry the concept, though
octopus spaghettini--maybe the strongest dish of the night. super flavorful, saturated, perfect pasta, tender octopus
ravioli caruso--filled with chicken liver. grainy grainy grainy. in st. louis we have a chain called pasta house. it's chain red sauce italian. this reminded me of Pasta House ravioli, which i like. haha.
jewish lamb--why ruin good meat with a sticky sweet manischewitz glaze. tiny tiny portion. sunchoke garnish was really good.
cheese danish--they try to suggest to you that this is like a bagel and cream cheese. that is, your server says, organically, this reminds me of a bagel and cream cheese. then on the menu, it says 'bagel shop,' indicating that this is all some sort of grand mindf***. i thought this was really good, a buttery pastry flecked with poppy seeds and covered in a tangy cheese (nettle farms or something? who knows). so stupid that they come back and ask if you want another piece. so stupid.
ginger italian ice--loved it.
maraschino float--this was terrible. almost inedible. tasted like cherry medicine. the root beer component+cherry syrup tasted like medicine. an epic fail.
pastries--my god, some of these were awful. i actually gagged on a seaweed salt water taffy. it was like a prank candy you buy for halloween or something. and a little tart shell filled with peas and some vile pastry cream or the like. nightmares. "herbal" "medicinal" were dominant adjectives bandied about
when I pay $150, I expect better service and at least some comfort. the seating is supremely unpleasant. too crowded. you're rubbing shoulders and ***es with couples on the left and right. the music selection is strange, but not intrusive. just strange. likewise, the menu is incoherent. i felt like i was reading a string of unrelated sentences, some of which made sense together, others, not so much. i'd also just like to add that the food looks nothing like it does on white-adjusted dslr. the lighting is so yellow that all the food is really, really washed out and unattractive. without a zoom lens, it also looks really, really small. I cannot believe that this is what is considered a cutting-edge, must-visit restaurant experience in New York these days. (background: i eat at this price point about once a month-2 months) I have been doing a good job of avoiding restaurants I suspect that I won't like, but after looking over some menus, I thought this would be a winner. But the menu tonight felt more appropriate for April than June (easter egg, pasta primavera, lamb dish), the portions were extremely small, false advertising on 20 courses imo, and much of the food was at best "good" (as in neighborhood restaurant level good) and at worst horrible.