Restaurant Week Summer 2013: Ai Fiori

28 Jul

Next up on the Honeymoon adventure queue is French Laundry, but before we get to that, it is currently Restaurant Week in New York!  We try to go to at least 3 new restaurants each Restaurant Week season (Winter and Summer) and here is the summary and links to all the places we have visited so far and the blog roll of all the individual reviews.

One place I hadn’t intended on going to was Ai Fiori, but when a friend pinged me during lunch time and asked if I had any plans, how could I say no to revisiting one of our favorite Michael White restaurants? Especially to try their Restaurant Week menu.

We both commented on the absolutely stunning orchids on all the tables.

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We decided to do one order on the Restaurant Week menu ($25 for a 3-course menu) and one off the regular menu ($42 for 2 courses).

First, off the regular menu, we tried the Crudo di Passera: fluke crudo, american sturgeon caviar, meyer lemon.

This was a stunning dish. Fresh flavors with the caviar bursting in your mouth, brightness from the lemon, and fluke that tasted like the sea.  Brilliant.

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Off the Restaurant Week menu, we tried the Country Terrine: housemade pâté, frisée, mustard, cornichons.  This was so so.

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I was surprised that it was, if anything, kind of bland.  Even the pistachios in the terrine were bland.  Disappointing, especially for how good everything else we have had there has been.

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From the regular menu (bottom of the Restaurant Week menu), we tried the Agnolotti: braised veal parcels,squash purée, sunflower seeds, black truffle sugo.

Only now looking back our my previous review do I realize it’s exactly what I ordered (and enjoyed) last time. The sunflower seeds added a nice crunch to the flavor packed and rich agnolotti.  The sauce was awesome and we enjoyed sweeping our bread through it to lap up every bit.

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The Restaurant Week entree selection was the Razza: pan roasted skate wing, zucchini, artichoke purée, blistered cherry tomatoes

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I REALLY enjoyed this dish.  Skate is something I only recently tried and I am constantly impressed with how it is like a fish but tastes like shellfish.  It’s like a lobster flavored fish filet.  This was an ever so slightly crispy wing with tons of flavor.  The vegetables were perfectly cooked and nicely sweet.  A simple presentation of a really bright and fresh dish.

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For dessert, we split the Restaurant Week selection and went with the Crostata diCioccolato: dark chocolate mousse, olive oil gelato.  The mousse was very good but the olive oil gelato was extra special.  Great flavor that created a lovely foil for the chocolate mousse.  This wasn’t too rich but had a lot of nice textures going on with the mousse top, soft base, crunchy chocolate under the gelato, and a crumble of what appeared to be nougat.  A very nice dessert that didn’t weigh me down at lunch time.

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A lot of times when I go out to a nice weekday lunch I feel as though my afternoon work performance is certainly subpar.  It was not so after this lunch, with a good amount of food that left me satiated without being overfull.  The skate was really a highlight for me and made the so-so terrine worthwhile for Restaurant Week.  I would certainly recommend, but definitely swap out the terrine for one of the other options.

And the regular menu, as before, was excellent all over.

Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10

Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10

 

2 Responses to “Restaurant Week Summer 2013: Ai Fiori”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Restaurant Week Summer 2013: L'Ecole at the French Culinary Institute » - July 28, 2013

    […] the same day I went to Ai Fiori for lunch, we went to try L’Ecole for dinner. (I am insanely thankful for my charmed […]

  2. Restaurant Week Wrap-Up: An on-going list of where to go for NYC RW (Updated Summer 2013) » - August 3, 2013

    […] Ai Fiori: They only participate in lunch, but it’s a very nice menu with some hits (the skate) and some misses (the terrine).  The skate alone was good enough to recommend despite the so-so terrine app. […]

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