Monday, September 29, 2014

Aldea

For Mrs. Pattis Magician and Ms. Pastry Chef's birthdays, we went to Aldea to celebrate. This George Mendes restaurant focuses on Spanish and Iberian Peninsula cuisine. Seafood is showcased here as well as any seasonal ingredients. You may choose to dine a la carte but the $75 4 course meal is ideal if you prefer to get more bang for your buck. You get to pick any snack, first course, main course, and dessert from the menu. The dishes are not made smaller if you choose the prix fixe. So if you're a big eater, this would work very well for you. For myself, I had some issue finishing all my food but that's just me.
Before I continue, the prices listed below are the a la carte prices. However, we did choose to do the prix fixe.

To start, the snack I picked was the Croquetas de Bacalhao ($11). These creamy little balls of bechamel and fish was light as can be. The side of roasted garlic aioli was nice addition of strong garlic flavor without overpowering the lightness of the croquetas.

Mr. M&P had the Santa Barbara Sea Urchin Toast ($14, +$4 supplement) with a smooth cauliflower puree, mustard seed, shiso, and lime. If you enjoy sea urchin, then you would love this snack. Lots of whole pieces piled neatly on a thin piece of toast. A few accompaniments to brighten up the dish.
The Knoll Crest Farm Egg ($8) was a surprise to the table. The soft cooked egg served in its own shell with creamy bacalhau, black olive, and potato sticks on top. A really sophisticated way to present an egg dish.
For my first course, I had the special of the day which were Razor Clams. These gently grilled long clams were simply seasoned with salt, lemon, and herbs. When it comes to seafood, simple is my favorite. This was a pretty big portion for a first course and it filled me up. At this point, I probably could have stopped eating but I still had my main course and dessert.
Another popular first course that night was the Shrimp Alhinho ($20) with garlic, pimenton, red bell pepper juice, and pressed shrimp jus. Each of the shrimp were fairly large and definitely satisfied the people who ordered it. They even ordered extra bread to sop up the delicious juices from the bowl.
Another popular first course was the Portuguese Baby Squid a la Plancha. Whole baby squid was cooked and served with bodies and tentacles. Tossed with the squid was okra, romesco sauce, and Thai chilis for a bit of heat. The squid ink wasn't forgotten but instead served along side the squid as a sauce.
For my main course, I had the Heritage Farms Pork Chop and Little Neck Clams ($36). This surf and turf dish was really delicious. The pork chop was so tender and juice but full of flavor. I'm convinced that they brined it before they cooked it. Therefore, they were able to achieve a nice crispy crust while keeping the inside incredibly juicy. The accompanying clams were plump and juicy too. The chilled summer bean salad, watercress, summer peaches, and coriander cucumber broth was a nice refreshing and light side to the dish/
The other main dishes ordered that night was the Creekstone Farms Hanger Steak ($28) with confit potatoes, summer squash, carrots, and porcini mushroom jus. The steak was a little tough but flavor was good.
The Smoked Colorado Lamb Ribs and Braised Shoulder ($33). Though delicious, they were a bit difficult to eat without getting a bit messy. They were pretty difficult to cut through. It was a hands on dish which is a bit off putting when it comes a nicer establishment.
The Rainbow Trout ($30) with fingerling potato, apple, and house smoked trout caviar was a really nice light entree. In hindsight, I probably should have picked a seafood dish but I very much enjoy a well made pork chop once in awhile.
And finally, the Arroz de Pato ($29) with seared duck breast, duck confit, chorizo, black olives, citrus puree, and duck cracklings over yellow rice. This dish was huge and could easily serve 2 people. But if you have a decent appetizer, you'll polish this duck centric dish with no issues.
If that wasn't enough food for you, then there's still dessert. I had the Sonhos/Little Dreams which were freshly fried dough balls covered in sugar. The little dips were salted caramel, lemon curd, and dark chocolate. Luckily, the dough was expertly made and they came out super light.
A more composed dessert included the Caramelized Banana Custard ($11) with hazelnut cake, passion fruit curd, hazelnut crumble, and olive oil ice cream (opted instead of dark chocolate).
And the Gianduja Mousse ($11) with toasted orange pound cake, banana brulee, nutella powder, and frozen Greek yogurt was another beautifully presented dessert. Chocolatey but very well balanced with the rest of the accompaniments.
And if you're too full for a full dessert then there's some seasonal sorbets instead with flavors like mango, blood orange carrot, and pineapple ($8).
Overall, Aldea was delicious. The food is not your typical Spanish food where people think about tapas and jamon. Instead, this was much lighter, more refined, and seasonal. I still think that the 4 course prix fixe menu is the best deal here. It's great place to celebrate a special occasion.

Aldea
31 W 17th Street
New York, NY 10011
(212) 675-7223
aldearestaurant.com

1 comment:

  1. we went back in the spring for the first time and loved it. excellent meal.

    that uni toast was amazing.

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