Asiate, Jan. 29, 2008


Several things were at play for this meal. For starters, Jan. 29th is my birthday and my employers are kind enough to fit the bill for lunch on our birthdays...or at the very least its become a tradition and turning back on us now would be gauche. But I respect the fact that it is their money, so I took advantage of Winter Restaurant Week, which takes place around this time of year, to revisit a terrific, fancy restaurant that is normally a bit on the expensive side.

Asiate, as I've said before, is really a great restaurant. The room is terrific and the whole floor that it shares with a cocktail lounge and hotel spa is very welcoming. And of course there is a Dale Chihuly piece as you walk out the elevator. And lastly, the food is very good.

My colleagues and I were seated in a booth, which was excellent and afforded terrific views of the limestone beauty known as 15 Central Park West - also known as the new home of much of the city's wealthiest people (Sandy Weil, par example). Here's what we ate:

Scallop Chowder with root vegetables
The menu today was ripe for comparisons to my recent lunches at Jean Georges and Eleven Madison Park. So I decided to repeat my orderings - knowing that it would yield significantly different results. Of the three root vegetable-based soups I've had at these restaurants, this was the weakest. As far as chowders are concerned - this was very good. Nothing at all wrong with it, per just didn't wow like the soups at the other places. Presentation was also weak in comparison.

Beet salad
This was served with some micro greens, pomegranate seeds and I believe a blue cheese of some kind. By my two colleagues accounts who ordered this - it was just fine.
Crab with Tagliatelle
I've had this dish before at Asiate and remember it to be very good but a bit stingy in portion size. I think they are consistent. My colleague Nick, who took many of these photos (thanks Nick!) thought it was delicious. Looks good too.

Salmon with asparagus and spaetzle
My colleague Betsy and I both ordered the salmon which was served with an incredible baked uni sauce on top. Wow! The sauce alone made this dish. The salmon was cooked perfectly well. It was much better than the salmon I had at Jean Georges a week or so earlier and was probably more exciting than the salmon at Eleven Madison Park though not necessarily prepared better. The uni is what did it for me.

Sea Bass
Tiffany ordered the sea bass which looked, and apparently tasted, terrific.

Quinoa Chicken
This looked delicious and gives me some ideas for home cooking. The chicken was cooked perfectly, as were the supporting cast of vegetables. The quinoa adding a flavorful and contrasting texture to what could have been a truly plain jane dish.

Chocolate Mousse
Wow. Really rich and a charming presentation. Reminded me of something Will Goldfarb would do and/or has done. Very rich chocolate and a nice, crumbly, buttery cookie to go along with it. My only complaint would be the texture/consistency of the chocolate. It was pretty hard - thus clearly being refrigerated in the glass for quite some wasn't freshly dispensed.

Fruit Dessert
I honestly don't recall what this was...a flan of some kind for sure and I believe the fruit was pineapple and mango. Apparently it was very good. Nice photo (thanks Tiffany).

Overall a great meal and fairly priced for what you got. I also like that they've moved away from the bento box offering for Restaurant Week and give you typical a la carte offerings. If you haven't checked out Asiate yet...I recommend doing so.


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