I somehow forgot to post this during Restaurant Week. Whoops!
We visited The National as one of our last New York Restaurant Week stops during Summer 2013.
They had a nice looking Restaurant Week menu…
…but Mike got lured in by The “Ugly” Burger…
…and the Summer Squash Fritters (black garlic!) So I went Restaurant Week and he went burger and squash fritters. We’re a good pair like that.
I really like the space. It feels like my Grandparent’s kitchen nook if they had to expand it to a restaurant.
We started with some very well prepared cocktails.
I got the Venetian Royal with Villa Sandi Prosecco, Thatcher’s Blueberry Liqueur, and Tarragon Blueberry Syrup.
Mike got the NTL. Mule with Russian Standard Vodka, Stirring’s Ginger, Luxardo Maraschino, Barritt’s Ginger Beer, Angostura Orange Bitters, Fresh Ginger and Lime.
I liked that Mike’s was in a copper mug.
I began the Restaurant Week menu with the pea gazpacho. This was made with sugar snap peas, pistachio, and lemon. The pea flavor was pronounced and smooth and the pistachio was a great compliment.
The fried squash itself was tasty, but the black garlic sauce is the stuff that dreams are made of. I think black garlic may be one of my favorite flavors in the universe. This was absolutely fantastic and I want to pour it on everything I ever eat for the rest of time. We lopped up every drop with the bread on the table.
Mike’s burger was, indeed, ugly. He says it was juicy and bacony. Delicious.
And his fries were very well crisped.
We also threw in a side of brussels sprouts, because we cannot ever resist them. Especially when they are labeled as “crispy.” (These were also labeled with cider and mustard). These were some awesome brussels. They were, yes, very crispy. The cider and whole grain mustard was also a great compliment to the sprouts without being too mustardy.
Back to the restaurant week menu, I got the mahi mahi on coconut basmati rice with asparagus and sweet and sour sauce. I couldn’t have the sweet and sour sauce, but it wasn’t at all missed. This fish was cooked perfectly, had great flavor, and the fluffy coconut basmati rice was great. The best way I can describe this is that all the flavors were just shiny. Each one broke through and went so well together. A great fish dish.
For dessert, we split my Restaurant Week selection of Whiskey Chocolate Mousse with hazelnut feuilletine and passion fruit sorbet. I just looked up “feuilletine” and it is defined as a delicate cookie crunch. Sure enough, inside the chocolate square you see here was a layered delicate cookie crunch with mousse and a nice whiskey flavor. The passion fruit sorbet was a bit strong for the whiskey flavor, but I still really enjoyed this dish. The chocolate sauce was rich and very, very nice.
I loved this meal. I am not surprised after watching Chef Geoffrey Zakarian cook on TV many times. Everything he makes just looks so good and with the flavors I enjoy, so it was great to be able to taste it. I have been to The National for brunch in the past, and it was very good, but this was an even more impressive meal, especially since it was (mostly) off the Restaurant Week menu.
Total Nom Points: 8.5 out of 10