As New Yorkers, highly enticed by the culinary scene, there is the constant draw for a bite of the new kids on the block. A restaurant opens up, with an oyster on the menu, and we are there to tell you just how well it’s shucked. Although we plan to adhere to this regime, bringing you the latest in what’s worth putting a fork to, once in a while we like to venture back, for a taste of classic New York City dining.
This past week we had the privilege to taste some of the most astounding creations by Chef Marcus Jernmark of Aquavit. A Scandinavian restaurant, centered on Nordic cuisine, it is the epitome of simple elegance. After a recent make over, the space has been transformed into a main dining room offering high end dining, a bar/lounge are adorned with in house fused aquavit and an al a carte menu, and two private dining rooms in the back for parties large and small.
Taking a seat in the bar area, we began with a trio of Aquavits. A traditional Scandinavian liquor, it customarily accompanies a meal of local dishes such as herring, salmon, and meatballs just to name a few. By law, an aquavit is considered to be truly authentic when it is infused with dill and cardamom. Being that we were a little more relaxed, our tasting consisted of a dill/cardamom combination, one with horseradish, and a third infused with cucumber. Finding the traditional one a bit too strong for our palates, the horseradish and cucumber aquavits were incredibly enticing especially when accompanied by a glass of a cold draft beer.
Next came the oysters, in four preparations. We begin with the Connecticut Point, served on top of warm rocks, steamed, and garnished with browned butter and horseradish. An illusion of modesty, it was the perfect savory start. Our next venture was a smoked Kumamoto served on top of smoked salmon in a jar. Playful to eye, its flavors were further enhanced with a truffle cream sauce. The smokiness of the delicate fish truly brought out the creamy richness of the oyster. The next two Kumamatos, served on top of cold rocks, adding a fresh touch to the otherwise typical bed of ice, came garnished with distinct personality. One with hackleback caviar, and the other with sauerkraut and mustard seed. A bratwurst take on an oyster creation, the flavors were outstanding, robust, and swanky. To complete our trip to Sweden, we finished off with their signature herring dish. An aesthetic masterpiece, each component created the perfect fork full of flavor.
Aquavit delivers on all aspects of high end dining. With an eclectic approach to traditional Scandinavian, it is not to be missed.
65 East 55th Street New York, NY 10022
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