Friday, August 19, 2011

Tocqueville

For Mr. M&P's birthday, I always like to take him out on my own. It's usually a lavish dinner and one that I look forward to every year. This year, we went to Tocqueville. We read up on it before we booked our reservation. It came with very good reviews and recommendations. And we were enticed by their Hunter's Menu online. It's a tasting menu that is built around game meat. So interesting! Unfortunately, that was an old menu for the winter. Oh well. We ordered from their current seasonal menu and happily ate.

The meal started with an amuse mouche of smoked salmon. It was very light but the flavors were strong. It was a great start of the meal. It definitely left me wanting more.

He started with the California Sea Urchin with Angel Hair Carbonara ($21). This was really rich. The pasta was so delicate but still had a nice textural bite to it. The sea urchin intensified the sauce even more but cut the richness slightly with its ocean briny flavor. This dish was both beautiful and well executed.
I had the Wagyu Beef Tartare ($18) which was very good as well. The beef was fresh and very light considering it was meat. The accompanying salad, pickled vegetables, and soft egg yolk sauce balanced out the dish well. I had no problems finishing every last bite of this dish.
For his entree, Mr. M&P had the Medallion of Veal Filet Mignon and Breast ($36) which came with truffled polenta and osso bucco sauce. He loved this dish. The meat was cooked well and the sauce was divine. It was so rich and flavorful. The only regret he had was ordering a heavy appetizer and a heavy entree. He actually had issues finishing this. He had the I-want-to-finish-it look while his stomach kept denying him.
For my entree, I had the Roasted Peking Duck and Leg Terrine ($36). The skin was very crispy which I loved. It was like a potato chip but made from skin. crispy, salty goodness. The meat underneath was very tender and juicy. They cooked the duck very well. I was very happy. The terrine was rich (as suspected) but the serving was just small enough that I didn't feel overwhelmed. To counter all this richness, the dish also came with rhubarb mustard, spring onions, and swiss chard. The vegetables soaked up the sauce and it was delicious.
We were both quite full by this point so we decided to split a dessert: the frozen banana souffle ($14). Very cute presentation. On the bottom you can see the grilled banana which had a nice caramelization on it. The sorbet was coconut lime which was very refreshing. Really nice after a heavy meal. The dessert also came with some banana bread and something I can't remember. I don't know if it was actually souffle but it was light and airy like a souffle.
And finally the mignardises. There was pistachio cakes, macarons, and chocolates. I enjoyed the cake the most because it was soft and very flavorful. You could definitely taste the nut flavor. The macaron flavors were cinnamon and lemon. I enjoyed the latter more because the cinnamon reminded me of Big Red gum. The lemon was nice and citrusy. And lastly, the chocolate was smooth and fine.
My experience at Tocqueville was very good. I think it's a very underrated restaurant. It's a fine dining experience with somewhat affordable prices. The servings are quite large and will leave you full. The service was attentive and the decor is modern but comfortable. I would absolutely go back. I definitely want to try that Hunter's menu one day.

Tocqueville
1 East 15th Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 647-1515
tocquevillerestaurant.com

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