Alison Eighteen, by Karine Charrier
Back in the Flatiron district, Alison Price Becker just awakened 18th street tastiness with her new upscale restaurant. Located in a post-war style building, the modern but cozy decor welcomes pedestrians to come in and be embraced by warm light and the sight of fresh baked bread. Comfortably seated in aubergine corner booth, customers can enjoy the scene of the back room while discreetly chatting without being bothered by others’ discussions. This place sounds perfect for a romantic diner. Signs are obvious, decoration and service guaranty a pleasant evening, but it is time now to see and taste what comes in the plates.
To start, the lobster appetizer served with tangerine, fennel and arugula salad gently opens your appetite. The shellfish is perfectly cooked, enhanced by the bitterness of fennel and softened by a touch of yogurt dressing. For those who crave for stronger flavors but still refined, the sautéed foie gras will satisfy your expectation. The first bite not only convinces you but also shakes you. The thin crust and melting inside persuades you that you will never be a vegan ever. In balance, the parsnip emulsion, pickled chanterelles and beets invite you for a delicate journey in ground flavors.
Time to have the last sip of white Bordeaux and switch for a red Baux de Provence, the lightness but tastiness south grapes of France go perfectly with the delicacy of the Long Island black sea bass. Those unaccustomed to matching red with fish should definitely try, that is a good balance depending on the heaviness of the wine. Chorizo seems an unnecessary addition to the dish compared to the surprisingly explosion of flavors coming from cockles, which is pretty unusual regarding this ingredient. Once more Alison’s cuisine bewilders people’s palate by mixing simple vegetables, like cannellini beans to quality fish. The Big Eye tuna à la plancha, highly recommended to ask it super rare to enjoy the essence of the flesh, is served with meyer lemon jam, ramps, white asparagus and arugula, a combination of intense spring flavors. One disappointment during this entrées episode: the potatoes puree, certainly creamy considering the amount of butter, but missing a kick, which would have made it divine.
Even though your body feels satisfied, your mind keeps telling you that you cannot skip the dessert; it would be a shame in that restaurant! Once you will see the Milk Chocolate Mousse Dome, every piece of you would be convinced to eat it. More than a tasting experience, the vision and cutting steps are amazing. With espresso macaroon inside and café brulot sauce on the top, those mad about dark chocolate would find the bitterness they are usually fond of.
Photo credit: Elle Decor