Monday, November 23, 2009


Before leaving for the Tokyo-Manila foodfest, we ... well ... ate. We met up with our friends Chris and Meredith at Apiary, a sleek restaurant in the East Village which serves up excellent New American cuisine for locavores. I love the ambience at this place. It's modern and chic but very warm and accessible. Great for intimate dinners with friends or a possible first date.

We asked for a tasting menu and got the best that Apiary had to offer. Executive chef Scott Bryan started us off with very fresh hamachi crudo with cubes of avocado, slivers of hearts of palm, and jalapeno shavings. Very bright and refreshing, a great way to get our palates going.

Next, an utterly perfect scallop, so tender with succulent and firm flakes. Yum.

Then, a memorable encounter with sweetbreads. I had only had one brief encounter with sweetbreads before but this one made me stop and close my eyes in ecstasy. Sweetbreads are the thymus or the pancreas from a calf or lamb. At Apiary, the sweetbreads have a crisp crust but are melt-in-your-mouth soft on the inside. Truly luscious, with a rich and buttery taste akin to foie gras.

Our main entrée was Peking duck breast served with parsnip puree, caramelized endive, and tokyo turnips. This had to be the best duck I've ever had. The meat tasted rich but was not at all fatty as duck tends to be. It was almost like having a fine steak. Just absolutely divine.

We tried four different desserts, but my favorite was the Granny Smith apple tarte tatin with whipped crème fraîche. The pastry was nice and flaky, and the dessert was not too sweet, which is how I like it. So comforting.

If I remember correctly, dinner plus wine cost us about $90 a person, which was quite a deal considering how much great food we had. Prices are quite reasonable at Apiary, considering the amazing quality of food you get. A three-course prix fixe meal is offered from Sunday to Thursday for just $35, though I don't think I'll be trying that soon. There's just too many things I still want to order a la carte, particularly the braised rabbit papardelle. I recommend visiting Apiary on Mondays, their "Free Corkage" night.

Apiary is located at 60 Third Avenue at 11th Street, New York, NY. Tel. (212) 254 0888

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