January 5, 2011

Who said there's no free lunch?

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I was treated to lunch today at W52 by the restaurant, who extended the invitation to me so that I could sample some new dishes by Chef Francesco.  This was a totally new experience for me, and I've never accepted an invitation from a restaurant for a free meal in a blogger's capacity.

I started with a selection of antipasti, including some nice cold cuts and 36-month Parmigiano-Reggiano that was just so delicious.

Cuori di carciofo ripieni alle erbe e pecorino - these artichoke hearts stuffed with Pecorino were pretty nice.  On its own I could have found the artichoke a little too bland.

Insalata tiepida di polpo e gamberi / Cannellini cipolle ed ed olive verdi - I am normally not a fan of octopus - nor of white beans - but this was done pretty well.  The consistency of the octopus was just right.

Zuppa di zucca/mozzarella di bufala Campana, mandorle e melograno - pumpkin soup in winter is de rigueur, although the combination with Mozzarella and pomegranate seeds was unexpected.

Risotto ai funghi porcini/code di scampi dorate - the risotto was really delicious, if perhaps slightly more al dente than I had expected.  The interplay between the savory flavors and the acidity was really interesting.  Eating langoustines is always tricky, as I find many of them to be less than perfectly fresh - including the one I had at this very restaurant last year.  The one I had in front of me was left a little raw so the texture was nice, and I was starting to feel happy about this when I was interrupted in my thoughts by the distinct taste of ammonia.  Now there are times - for me very few at that - when the right amount of ammonia taste in the particular food item can be enjoyable.  This isn't one of them.  Langoustines aren't meant to taste of ammonia...

Capretto stufato alle erbe/ cavolo nero toscano/ castagne croccanti - I love goat so this was a natural choice for me.  It was done very well, with the meat being moist and tender... and of course the layer of fat on the rack was just delicious.  Cavolo nero is a wonderful veggie, and I honestly haven't had it since I was first introduced to it at Michael Mina two years ago.  Chestnuts remind us of the season we're in.

This was a lot of food, and we've already asked the kitchen to cut down a little.  I do have to say that overall the food was excellent, and a clear improvement from last year.  I must give thanks to Chef Francesco for the treat, and of course Celine for her wonderful company.


Unknown said...

Sounds pretty good, may be even more exciting than 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo (but that has really good execution and precision though!).

Peech said...

Otto e Mezzo is really hard to beat... Still haven't gone to Gold after it opened... Need to pick up the phone and call Harlan haha!

Unknown said...

I think Harlan and GOLD has a lot of potential! Ok, I had some slight imperfections or out of whack dishes during my dinner at Tuscany by H and lunch at GOLD, but I do find it exciting in a way.

Otto e Mezzo to me is just so perfectly cooked on each dish, its amazing. I find the garnishes a little boring, but I guess I am expecting too much! Need to try Cipriani 1 day!


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