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ckkgourmet

Aldea

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I wanted to report that my dinner at Aldea on Thursday night was excellent. It was, in fact, one of my best new restaurant experiences I've enjoyed in a long time.

Following the advice of the early reviews, we ordered the sea urchin toast and foie gras terrine from the tapas, or rather "pesticos" menu (this place is technically Portuguese). Both were excellent and satisfying. A foie gras terrine of this caliber should really cost more than $15. I'd say it was near the top of the game, with brioche as good as any I've had. With this dish, the cocoa nib soil worked very well, especially texturally.

Next, we moved onto the appetizers, which were slightly larger plates (the urchin toast from the "pesticos" list was definitely snack sized, but the foie terrine was, happily, more like an appetizer portion). The shrimp alhinho with pressed jus was absolutely perfect, with the shrimp cooked perfectly. The jus itself, infused with the flavors of garlic, coriander and pimenton, was delicious. Indeed, I almost licked my plate! The peas and bacon appetizer, which comes with a poached egg and truffles, was also superb. But with ingredients like that, it's often hard to go wrong.

Perhaps the highlight of our meal was the paella-like arroz de pato, a rice dish that reminded me of something like a Iberian-style fried rice. The duck confit and cracklings were prepared separately and perfectly: the chorizo added depth, warmth, and earthiness. The rice had the perfect bite and consistency. But it was the olives that lent a bitter, secondary interest to the dish that allowed it to transcend any usual expectation of sheer yumminess (I see that my vocabularly is failing me, but this dish was seriously engrossing!).

Desserts were also exceptional. The beignets, which are everywhere now, were some of the best in town. Sprinkled with smoked paprika, they altogether defied the blandness of some other more donut-like interpretations. The rice pudding tart was also excellent, a study in contrasting flavors, textures, and temperatures. Its crust was delicate and buttery--very nicely done.

Service was good. The room snug and modern. Tables were well placed, we thought, and the noise level subdued (at 10:30pm anyhow)

In all events, I hope Aldea works out, as I'm looking forward to visiting them again many many times.

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I wanted to report that my dinner at Aldea on Thursday night was excellent. It was, in fact, one of my best new restaurant experiences I've enjoyed in a long time.

Following the advice of the early reviews, we ordered the sea urchin toast and foie gras terrine from the tapas, or rather "pesticos" menu (this place is technically Portuguese). Both were excellent and satisfying. A foie gras terrine of this caliber should really cost more than $15. I'd say it was near the top of the game, with brioche as good as any I've had. With this dish, the cocoa nib soil worked very well, especially texturally.

Next, we moved onto the appetizers, which were slightly larger plates (the urchin toast from  the "pesticos" list was definitely snack sized, but the foie terrine was, happily, more like an appetizer portion). The shrimp alhinho with pressed jus was absolutely perfect, with the shrimp cooked perfectly. The jus itself, infused with the flavors of garlic, coriander and pimenton, was delicious. Indeed, I almost licked my plate! The peas and bacon appetizer, which comes with a poached egg and truffles, was also superb. But with ingredients like that, it's often hard to go wrong.

Perhaps the highlight of our meal was the paella-like arroz de pato, a rice dish that reminded me of something like a Iberian-style fried rice. The duck confit and cracklings were prepared separately and perfectly: the chorizo added depth, warmth, and earthiness. The rice had the perfect bite and consistency. But it was the olives that lent a bitter, secondary interest to the dish that allowed it to transcend any usual expectation of sheer yumminess (I see that my vocabularly is failing me, but this dish was seriously engrossing!).

Desserts were also exceptional. The beignets, which are everywhere now, were some of the best in town. Sprinkled with smoked paprika, they altogether defied the blandness of some other more donut-like interpretations. The rice pudding tart was also excellent, a study in contrasting flavors, textures, and temperatures. Its crust was delicate and buttery--very nicely done.

Service was good. The room snug and modern. Tables were well placed, we thought, and the noise level subdued (at 10:30pm anyhow)

In all events, I hope Aldea works out, as I'm looking forward to visiting them again many many times.

CK, we are now split on my favorite two new restaurants in NYC - Aldea and Corton. I am not sure why there was a disconnect on Corton, but Aldea we agree on. George Mendes can cook and there is nothing else quite like it in the city (or probably the country). I did not have that duck fried rice, but I have only heard wonderful things about it. I must try it!


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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For those who are interested, here's their website. The restaurant is at 31 W. 17th St. and open for dinner only except Sundays (closed). Petiscos ("small bites") $6-9; charcuterie $9-15; appetizers $10-15; meat mains $19-27; fish & shellfish $23-27; desserts $8-10; cheeses $12. Their wine list is also online and looks extensive, including a fair number of inexpensive bottles and glasses.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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CK, we are now split on my favorite two new restaurants in NYC - Aldea and Corton. I am not sure why there was a disconnect on Corton, but Aldea we agree on. George Mendes can cook and there is nothing else quite like it in the city (or probably the country). I did not have that duck fried rice, but I have only heard wonderful things about it. I must try it!

Holy cow, what a meal. Why are people not hammering on the door of this place? I'm still floating from it (metaphorically speaking, of course, after all the bread we consumed...) Lezzee: their portuguese version of prosciutto, which can compete with the best anywhere. The foie gras terrine is a superb deal at $15 for this quality, and while the fig accompaniments didn't add anything notable to the dish, they were delicious and interesting on their own. The peas with bacon and summer truffle and some foam are ethereally sublime. Hangar steak topped with an egg and served with a potato/oxtail terrine is terrific and hearty, but the sliced loin of pork with manilla clams and smoked corn, scented with spanish paprika, is hands down the best thing I've eaten in recent memory: we came awfully close to licking the plate, and fighting each other for the priveledge of doing so.

Desserts were the chocolate combo thing, which was excellent, and the sonhos (doughnut holes), which are so superb on their own that the accompanying sauces are frankly superfluous (although the hazelnut one is pretty delicious on its own).

I'm already lining up potential partners for my IMMINENT return visits.


Food, glorious food!

“Eat! Eat! May you be destroyed if you don’t eat! What sin have I committed that God should punish me with you! Eat! What will become of you if you don’t eat! Imp of darkness, may you sink 10 fathoms into the earth if you don’t eat! Eat!” (A. Kazin)

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There isn’t one dish on that summer menu that doesn’t look really good including (but not limited to) the sea urchin, pig’s ears, cuttlefish, loin and clams and baby goat. Then I viewed the gallery (food) pics and became angry that I wasn't going there tonight. I will try to get there soon. Room reminds of Perry St a bit.


That wasn't chicken

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Ate here a few weeks ago and have to throw in my agreement. Everything was great. Especially good among the petiscos was the ramp dish with pig's ear, apple, etc., though the razor clams and the urchin toast were both excellent. Among the apps, the standouts included the cuttlefish in coconut curry and the consomme with "ravioli" and various mushrooms. Also really enjoyed the monkfish and scallop mains, and will be back for duck rice and other animal dishes. Really one of the best new openings in NY this year. The food is serious, but the atmosphere relaxed and the service friendly and professional. When I went, it already seemed like they were running smoothly, despite their newness. Impressive visit overall.

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It's hard to tell from the menu, but if you were to guess a dollar figure per person without drinks/wine, what would you ballpark it at, especially if you lean towards the small plates?

For example, when my husband and I dine at Momofuku Ssam Bar, we typically order 5-6 items and it's about $35-40pp before drinks.


"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure

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It's hard to tell from the menu, but if you were to guess a dollar figure per person without drinks/wine, what would you ballpark it at, especially if you lean towards the small plates?

For example, when my husband and I dine at Momofuku Ssam Bar, we typically order 5-6 items and it's about $35-40pp before drinks.

From my experience, pricewise the restaurants are similar.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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It's hard to tell from the menu, but if you were to guess a dollar figure per person without drinks/wine, what would you ballpark it at, especially if you lean towards the small plates?

For example, when my husband and I dine at Momofuku Ssam Bar, we typically order 5-6 items and it's about $35-40pp before drinks.

From my experience, pricewise the restaurants are similar.

I'd say the prices are fairly similar, too. But it's pretty clear that I eat way more than Kathryn:) Gluttony gets expensive...

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Dined at the counter (in front of the kitchen) last night. Damn, that was a good meal. Much of the food has already been mentioned: the peas/bacon/green garlic foam/soft poached egg/truffle was delicious, and I loved the arroz de pato - but frankly I'm still thinking about the scallops, seared to perfection and served over farro risotto with cucumber and orange. Sonhos for dessert were sublime.

It was also a real pleasure to watch the kitchen staff at work. Restaurant was not full when we arrived or when we left. People, you are missing out. Go.

For the quality of the food this felt like a steal - we spent approx $60/person - 1 cocktail each, not including wine or tip.

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Dined at the counter (in front of the kitchen) last night.  Damn, that was a good meal.  Much of the food has already been mentioned: the peas/bacon/green garlic foam/soft poached egg/truffle was delicious, and I loved the arroz de pato - but frankly I'm still thinking about the scallops, seared to perfection and served over farro risotto with cucumber and orange.  Sonhos for dessert were sublime.

It was also a real pleasure to watch the kitchen staff at work. Restaurant was not full when we arrived or when we left.  People, you are missing out.  Go.

For the quality of the food this felt like a steal - we spent approx $60/person - 1 cocktail each, not including wine or tip.

Really, Sonhus sublime? More like generic street food dont you think? There is nothing wrong with them, but the desserts do not compare with the rest of the food. The dessert menu does not feel like summer at all. I think the food tastes very very good but I think George has a little ways to go getting comfortable with his staff and environment before this restaurant becomes a "great restaurant", which it seems to be on its way, but i'll wait another year before trying it again. I expect some fantastic things in the future.


Dean Anthony Anderson

"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This

Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

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Sent my mother here with a client this week. They had to change their reservation time a couple times and the restaurant was still very accommodating. Sat at the counter and apparently they both really enjoyed the meal. High marks to the cuttlefish and the duck rice.

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I finally made it to dinner here and loved my meal. This is an exciting, refreshing restaurant, one that feels both of-the-times but is far from formulaic. I'll also go out on a limb and say this is the first contemporary Iberian restaurant to succeed in Manhattan in recent memory. Yeah, I went there. The only others that come to mind were Ureña and Suba. Both of those tanked. Boqueria, Txikito, Tia Pol, those are all glorified tapas/pintxos spots. Someone correct me if I'm way off base here. I think Mendes has an absolute home run here.

This is ambitious food. No burgers, no American comfort foods. The bar snacks/small plates/bites feel less like concessions and more like well-thought out introductions to a full meal. Not that one couldn't snack on these, but it's not a mini-pimenton-corn dog or serrano ham flatbread kind of place.

The space itself is rather narrow. Diners are wedged in quite tightly not only laterally but front to back too. I pity the servers who have to squeeze past the tables and the chef's counter dozens of times each night. There are but inches to spare. But the restaurant has height to its advantage and is entirely more civilized than the Momofukus. In fact, Chef Mendes's food and the entire counter experience struck me to be quite similar in style to Ssam and Ko. The food is grounded in both the Iberian peninsula and in Manhattan with other global influences thrown in where appropriate. It's exciting without being overwrought. This open kitchen is also far more interesting to watch than Ko's. It's also refreshing to see a chef not only touch nearly every plate that leaves the pass but to see him work on some component of that dish, too. Mendes seared just as many shrimp on the flat top as any of his cooks, flipped just as many pieces of goat.

The restaurant's price point is also entirely appealing and, again, refreshing. The past year has taught diners to expect deals, specials, discounted prix fixe menus. While I've certainly been one to partake and I've enjoyed dozens of relatively discounted meals as a result, it's hard to shake the feeling that a lot of what's put on the plate is dumbed down cuisine. Less harshly, it's comfort food meant to put butts in seats even at lower check averages. There's none of that feeling here. Because prices are low portions are quite small, but each plate of food feels like a complete dish. Sure, $4 or $5 for some warm olives or bruschetta or a cone of fries is cheap, but that's not dinner. I'd much rather spend twice that and get a small, beautifully composed plate.

The tasting menu here--listed at five courses but if the guests next to us received the typical meal is more like 7--is an entirely reasonable $75 dollars. Better still, diners can compose an entirely manageable five course menu ordering a la carte for a bit less than that. That's what we did and it was really quite perfect, even a bit too much food. The wine list also has plenty of selections in the $30s and $40s. Again, it's nice to feel like you have options in that price range without needing to feel like you must spend twice that to get into the bulk of the list. I dined with my mother, we ordered five different dishes for each of us, allowing us to try 10 different dishes, and spent, all told $120/person. $120 per head isn't a cheap meal, but it would be easy to spend that much on three courses at any number of far less interesting restaurants.

The tasting menu (not what we had) is not listed online, but seemed to include the following courses. I'll include them for the sake of reference.

-Amuse - Tomato-cherry gazpacho

-Foie terrine, nectarines

-Cuttlefish (This wasn't mentioned when our server described the tasting menu to us, so perhaps it was a one-off comp to the guests next to us. They didn't seem soignee, so who knows?)

-Shrimp

-Cod

-Duck rice

-Strawberry dessert

From a pure dollars-and-cents perspective, the tasting menu is the best value for the individual, but it's really not that much worse to order a five-course tasting-of-sorts a la carte. When one considers that tasting portions are half-sized, dining with a companion and sharing actually makes more sense for those who want to try as much as possible. Again, we sampled 10 different dishes. It's also helpful that this is a kitchen that's actually able to send out courses in an ordered, even procession, a luxury that's become much rarer in "small plates' restaurants in the city.

I would say we ordered quite well. In fact, Chef Mendes came over and told us so. Seems like a nice guy, but he was surely busy last night. The menu is available online and seems to be accurate.

We had these courses in the following progression:

-Sea urchin toast/Foie terrine

-Tomato-cherry gazpacho/Cured mackerel

-Cuttlefish/Peas, egg, and bacon

-Duck rice/Goat

-Strawberries/Caramelized Brioche

In terms of extras, there are petits fours that come with the check. And decent ones at that. No amuse though, which I understand given the low price point, but it would be nice to have an opening bite. I trust Chef Mendes wouldn't make this a throwaway, so it's something like a missed opportunity. Oh well. Our server was perfectly competent, but the runners were somewhat difficult to understand and not fully able to describe the dishes in any detail. I wouldn't say that this restaurant is worth a visit for the space or the service or the amenities, but none of these periphery issues were offensive to the point of detriment. And, thankfully, the food is really the star here.

Off the bat, I'll say this isn't Corton or wd~50 in its creativity. It's not EMP or any of the other four-stars with regard to refinement on the plate. But, besides the Momos, I'm hard pressed to think of a restaurant serving food that's this tasty and creative. The sea urchin toast is awesome. The uni panino and Jean-Georges's uni on black bread immediately come to mind as similar dishes. This is better. The cured mackeral was perhaps the surprise hit of the night. At once subtle and silky yet bursting with flavor. In both these dishes there's a distinct Japanese slant with the inclusion of shiso and soy sauce and seaweed. The peas, eggs, and bacon with summer truffle trades this subtlety and just delivers huge hits of umami and smoke and salt. Totally delicious and satisfying. These three dishes were awesome.

The cuttlefish didn't quite reach this level, but it was probably the most beautiful plate of food of the evening. The squid ink sauce with the red mentaiko and a light yellow coconut-curry foam was striking. Had the restaurant used a higher quality mentaiko and thicker pieces of cuttlefish, this dish would've been unimpeachable. I also very much enjoyed the duck rice, especially how the rice managed to be so flavorful yet maintain its integrity and texture, but didn't find it that different from a good paella. The various duck components were nice, but this is a dish I think I could recreate reasonably well at home. The plate left the kitchen without the apricot jam garnish, but the server noticed this and quickly brought over a small ramekin's worth. The only kitchen misstep of the evening.

Another half-step down from the duck rice and cuttlefish were the gazpacho and foie terrine. I wanted a bigger hit of cherry in the gazpacho; the only fruit came from slices of strawberry in the soup itself. Still, with the inclusion of the mozzarella spherications, this was a very tasty, interesting chilled soup. The foie terrine was a bit underseasoned to me, and I wasn't impressed with the quality of the nectarine itself. It was difficult for me to drive out the memory EMP's spectacular foie-plum dish. While Aldea's dish was unobjectionable, it paled next to EMP's. This, too, was the only dish where I was skeptical of the price tag. $18 for a smallish slice of terrine wasn't extortionate, but it wasn't exactly generous either.

I'd like to reserve special commentary for the goat. Probably the least tasty dish of the night, especially for those who aren't big on gamey meats. With that said, I really enjoyed and respected this plate of food. It's refreshing to see a restaurant offer a more European-style meat course, where rather than receiving a single loin piece, various parts of the animal are showcased. The ballsy inclusion of a sizable chunk of what I believe what was goat liver was not missed on me. With the grassy, gaminess of the goat, the somewhat bitter notes of the toasted buckwheat, and the umami from the mushrooms this was a serious plate of food. I'd rather eat the duck rice than this everyday, but I'm glad we got this dish. Technically speaking, the meat was a bit dry, but that's more often than not the case with goat that's not been braised.

Desserts were solid, if not quite as impressive as the food. I found the vibrancy of the strawberry sorbet the most impressive part of that multi-component plate. The caramelized brioche is a take on the "French toast" that is everywhere in Spain, and this was a very solid rendition. Perhaps a bit sweet, but the little bits of peppercorn that sat atop the ice cream re-centered the palate.

This is one of those few restaurants that I'm really dying to go back to. The combination of the entertainment at the chef's counter, the relatively low price point for both food and wine, the undeniable quality of the food itself, and just enough coddling to make dining comfortable really makes this place, again, a home run.

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I have to agree, Bryan - Aldea is one of the few restaurants I have been excited about in a while... a couple of weeks ago, my wife and I visited, and sat at the counter. Sitting at the counter was great, for a few reasons - it was really interesting watching this kitchen, and seeing Chef Mendes actually cooking - but also, one dish (the shrimp) arrived and wasn't explained by the runner (one of the few service flaws) - Chef must have noticed my wife and I guessing/discussing what we had in front of us and he came over and explained it to us himself. Very nice of him to do that... he also chatted with us a bit as we were walking out... We wound up getting the tasting menu - my wife and I usually order separate dishes and then we split midway through each, but for some reason, we decided to go with the tasting that night... Your rundown was just fine - the cuttlefish was not technically part of it, but was comped.... The shrimp was incredible - it just bursted with flavor... the sauce was so good that it highlighted the other service flaw - namely that I ran out of bread and it wasn't refilled... so rather than waiting for some more, or hunting some down, I very discreetly began wiping the plate clean with a finger... not my finest hour, granted... but effective... as I was almost finished, someone came over and upon seeing her, I said "this was so good I would have licked the plate if it was socially acceptable" to which she responded apologetically - "maybe we should have given you some more bread"... haha... whatever - the sauce was freakin' fantastic... The cod was also a star - perfectly cooked - juicy, slightly fatty, moist.... just delicious... the rest of your remarks are right on....

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Kenneth, can I assume that you and your wife received the same five dishes for the tasting menu? And also, were all of those dishes taken from the a la carte menu?


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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I had eaten at Aldea a few weeks ago but didn't have time to report. Although the food prepared by Chef Mendez was very good, the Desserts just seemed to fall short.The bread we received was hard. Although covered by a napkin in the dining room with the AC going I did not understand why they didn't heat it before serving. We had a rice pudding tart and the chocolate in textures. The rice pudding tasting like rice just cooked in water and nothing else. e hoped the caramelized crust would save it but no luck. We asked 3 waitstaff members if they had been able to taste the desserts before service and they replied "sometimes". I asked them to go and try the rice pudding as it didn't seem right. I also asked what the mousse like item on the chocolate tasting was and no one knew. Finally a third person came over and said it was a chocolate gel. I never ate a gel that rubbery or one that didn't have any flavor. It tasted like thickened water with a hint of cocoa powder in it. I guess no pre-service tastings or for that matter the chef tasting all the pastry items.The excuse was that there was a new pastry chef on board. It's great to incorporate new techniques but you have to remember the basics first like "taste". I guess he trusts his brigade as I did not see anyone taste anything nor the chef as they were cooking which is why the bass plate came out a little too raw.(needed to use a knife to cut it). I am positive that things will get better over time.

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Kenneth, can I assume that you and your wife received the same five dishes for the tasting menu? And also, were all of those dishes taken from the a la carte menu?

Yes, we received the same 5 (actually 6 including the cuttlefish) dishes... plus, we ordered the sea urchin toast a la carte to share... which was awesome btw... We decided to do the tasting rather than sharing because we felt that if we each ordered an app. and main and shared mid-way, we'd try 4 dishes (not including dessert which we don't always get), and with the tasting we'd get 5 each....

And yes, all of the dishes on the tasting came from the menu... before we started, I asked the waiter how the tasting worked, and he said it was 5 dishes, and then preceeded to point them out on the menu (he didn't point out the cuttlefish)... so each of the dishes were taken straight from the menu, but in tasting portion sizes... you could hear chef Mendes expedite everyonce in a while, and he definitely made it clear when it was a tasting plate being prepped.

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It took us way too long to get to Aldea. We ate there last night for the first time and had a terrific experience overall.

I'd called just the day before to ask if the chef's counter was available, and was surprisingly told that it was. When we got there we were told that the previous couple was being slow, so it would be a bit of a wait (~25 minutes). So we sat at the bar and had the sea urchin toast and the presunto ham to tide us over. They were, of course, fantastic.

What was really nice was not only that the hostess was initially genuinely apologetic about our wait, but also that two different people came over to us while we were at the bar to apologize. It's amazing how far such a simple gesture can go (and amazing how many restaurants don't think to do such things).

Anyway, we got the tasting, which was:

KNOLLCREST FARM EGG

bacalao, black olive, potato

FOIE GRAS TERRINE

nectarines, cocoa nibs, nectarine sorbet

LIGHTLY-CURED MACKEREL

meyer lemon, almond milk, crunchy soy

SHRIMP ALHINHO

garlic, coriander, pimenton, pressed jus

ARCTIC CHAR

fennel-orange puree, roasted Brussels sprouts, sherry vinegar gastrique

ARROZ DE PATO

duck confit, chorizo, olive, duck cracklings

Melon and basil palate cleanser

STRAWBERRY TASTING

strawberry semifreddo,strawberry hibiscus jam, sorbet and basil gel

I don't know if this is a standard tasting menu; if there was an extra course in there, perhaps it was additional apology for the wait? In any case, the level of the food was freaking unbelievably high, let alone for $75.

Just to add to the mention of a Japanese influence above -- the uni and (if I remember correctly) mackerel were both garnished with kinome, which of course you'd never expect at an Iberian restaurant, but which worked perfectly.

Now, the wine pairing -- I asked if they could do a wine pairing with the tasting menu, and our waitress said she could. There were either 5 or 6 pours, I don't remember, but it was really delicious stuff. And, this was the kicker: when I looked at the bill at the end of the meal, the wine pairing was listed as $30! I even asked the waitress if this was a mistake (it wasn't). This was a preposterously good value wine pairing.

We chatted a bit with the guy who was plating much of our food in front of us throughout the meal; our waitress was very pleasant; and I've already mentioned the multiple apologies for what was really a fairly brief wait. All of this combined to create a very warm and inviting vibe from the restaurant. Coupled with the absolutely delicious food, at an almost inconceivable bargain, this place is hard to beat.

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I guess I'm resurrecting a long dormant thread, but my wife and I finally stopped by Aldea last Friday. I'm of two minds. Some of the food was really good; the sea urchin toast, the sonhos with the variety of sauces. But I'm not sure I thought the main courses we had (wild striped bass with caramelized broth and a red snapper dish) were exceptionally better than dishes in the same price band and below. For example, I recently had a fish dish at the Grammercy Tavern tavern room that I thought was much more pleasing. And neither of us thought the octopus or the terrine we had was different than anywhere else (indeed, I had exceptional octopus at Motorino, of all places, recently). And we paid rather a lot of money. I also didn't love the upstairs room, although we had a lot of space and were comfortable.

Aldea's a very good restaurant - just didn't think it was worthy of special plaudits, is all. '

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I guess I'm resurrecting a long dormant thread, but my wife and I finally stopped by Aldea last Friday. I'm of two minds. Some of the food was really good; the sea urchin toast, the sonhos with the variety of sauces. But I'm not sure I thought the main courses we had (wild striped bass with caramelized broth and a red snapper dish) were exceptionally better than dishes in the same price band and below. For example, I recently had a fish dish at the Grammercy Tavern tavern room that I thought was much more pleasing. And neither of us thought the octopus or the terrine we had was different than anywhere else (indeed, I had exceptional octopus at Motorino, of all places, recently). And we paid rather a lot of money. I also didn't love the upstairs room, although we had a lot of space and were comfortable.

Aldea's a very good restaurant - just didn't think it was worthy of special plaudits, is all. '

Your experience mirrors mine last year. Food was ok but no better than that. I found the service to be patchy too and left feeling a little puzzled about the hype I'd read before my visit.

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Any recent experiences at Aldea? I'm considering going during an upcoming trip. Thanks.

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