Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer 2011 NYC Restaurant Week Review: An Amazing Meal at Aldea

Wow, what a great decision by my brother to check out Aldea for lunch, which is helmed by George Mendez of Top Chef Masters fame.   The restaurant serves Portuguese/Mediterranean cuisine and just earned their first Michelin Star this year.

They were participating for lunch for restaurant week, and three courses were the usual $24.07.

Outside the restaurant week menu, we saw the Uni (sea urchin) open faced sandwich and HAD to order it.  The uni was dressed with tomatoes and shiso, and tasted minty and refreshing...which was a very nice counterpoint to the velvety sea urchin.  I actually prefer this dish over Marea's sea urchin and lardo, which is a bit heavy with the rich sea urchin + rich lardo flavor.

Yes, it's one of the most expensive sandwiches you will see at $19, but man was this dish luxurious.  You know you want this sandwich!!

For soup we got the tomato cucumber gazpacho.  There's bits of tomato and cucumber inside and the sphere in the center is not an egg but as super soft buffalo mozzarella, drizzed with some basil oil.  This soup was a simple vegetable soup but man all the ingredients here just combined so perfectly.

The other appetizer we got was a rustic pork and duck terrine, drizzed with a muscat wine gelee and served with a side of arugula salad and toast.  The wine gelee was really surprising and gave a lot of zing to the terrine.

For entrees, we got the farro risotto with cucumber, orange, and wild mushrooms.  There's also some Greek yogurt added to the risotto to give it some more body, and was lighter than say...parmesan cheese.  The farro risotto was excellent.  I didn't even realize that the dish was vegetarian until I was typing this!  It was hearty and delicious.

The other entree we got was the skate wing with zucchini ribbons, sherry, and duck jus.  The skate was cooked perfectly and the sherry and duck jus foam added an extra layer of flavor.

For desserts...we got the Pavlova with fresh berries, passion fruit, and coconut sorbet.  I don't think I've had a Pavlova before and this dish was a surprise to me.  It looks like a mousse but it is actually very light and crusty, almost like a crispy meringue.  The fruits and the coconut sorbet were perfect toppings.

The other dessert we got was the blueberry bread pudding with creme fraiche sorbet, although the flavors were a lot more familiar, this was still a very solid dessert.

All in all a great meal and a great deal for $24 a person....very creative, high quality dishes made this one of the most memorable Restaurant Week meals ever!  And this was just lunch!  I can only imagine what their menu would be like if they offered the $35 dinner option...maybe next time!

31 W 17th St
(between 5th Ave & Avenue Of The Americas)
New YorkNY 10011
Neighborhood: Flatiron
(212) 675-7223

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