Saturday, March 13, 2010

Asiate restaurant in Time Warner Building, New York City.

Food in New York. Jean-Georges now has serious local competition.

Dear readers,

All visitors to the Big Apple should seek out good food despite America’s reputation. Even though much of the available nosh is fast food, burger-land and pseudo-ethnic food - meaning that it has ketchup and sugar added with chilli/garlic removed - true haute cuisine lives, at least in Manhattan.

Taking lunch at Asiate in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel atop the Time Warner twin towers is one of the great pleasures of the big apple currently. With expansive Central Park views and one of the best and most interesting menus in the city it is worth a visit for any traveller when prix fixe, 2 course menu is $24 at luncheon. And this includes some little extras into the bargain: amuse-bouche, sorbet and petit four to boot. Our meal started before we ordered with freshly cooked choux pastry balls flavoured with gruyere cheese and seaweed. Between courses we were treated to a delicious amuse-bouche consisting of a 2cm cube of tuna sashimi surmounted by a small heap of black truffle shavings covered with a small green spring salad leaf, all sitting in a few drops of soy dressing on a Chinese spoon. 

There were numerous choices for both ‘starter’ and ‘main’ (it doesn’t do to use the term entrée as one will be right while at the same time being wrong).

I was delighted with numerous new taste sensations: ‘micro-greens’; buffalo; quinoa grain; smoked date reduction mole amongst others.

My seared tuna with arugula (rocket) salad with quinoa seeds was delicious. The cauliflower soup which I also tasted was a very complex soup and a long way from cauliflower to my palate. I then enjoyed a full blooded buffalo tenderloin (or ‘filet’, pronounced fill-ay in American ‘English’) with 'white polenta', baby onion, carrot, broccoli leaves in smoked date mole sauce. My partner had ordered the bass which looked to be an excellent white fish fry in two sections.

The desserts looked to be delectable and the crème brulée was dry but full bodied and delicious. The petit fours included a blood orange jelly, chocolate raspberry cup, hemi-spherical light chocolate truffle and section of strawberry jam cake roll.

All in all a marvellous divertissment from the Gotham hoi polloi.

Tel: 212 805 8800

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