About 9 hours ago, a friend and I went to Pardes for the tasting menu and I am seriously still raving about the excellent quality of dishes and options.
The first thing we had was the amuse bouche which was just a small bite of a radish, fig, almond, olive, and a few other things (snap peas, I think?) It was one small bite but yet delicious. I loved th sweetness of the fig, making it great for someone like me who doesn't really love her veggies.
We then had a tuna tartar topped with watermelon next to a rice fritter in a bed of avocado puree. The pairings of tuna and watermelon were fantastic, and the fritter was very good -- very sweet.
My friend elected to try beer pairings with her food, so she got red rice beer for this course.
The second course (yes, the amuse bouche was actually not a course but a taste of what was to come) was a sardine over a bed of quinoa. I'm not really a fish person but even I enjoyed this. The only thing that I didn't love was a tiny bone in my sardine, but nothing to worry about!
The third course was a salt cod fritter with this rouille sauce on a bed of mushrooms (onions?). It was actually quite an interesting presentation. The cod fritter was just that -- a ball of fish -- but it was attached to an eyedropper thingy which had the rouille (sauce). The idea was you were supposed to squeeze the sauce into the cod and enjoy it. It was very creative and delicious.
For that course, my friend had the Omer Blond Ale.
The fourth course was a salad of heirloom tomatoes with garlic bread and balsamic gelee. Again, I'm not really a salad person but it was sweet and delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed this dish. If I could get salad like this all the time, I would be a salad lover!
The fifth course was this salt cured duck breast with figs and cantaloupe sorbet. Amazing! The sorbet was great and the pairing of sweet and salty was really incredible.
The sixth course was duck again (which is awesome, since I love duck) two ways: salt cured as before but also with jersey peaches, carmelized spelt, and treviso - I have no idea what this stuff was but I loved the sweetness of this duck in particular and it definitely was my favorite duck dish of this menu.
We were given Gavroche French red ale for that course.
We were then given some veal loin which was served with dates, pistachio, cabbage, and an absinthe/parsnip puree. Also a great dish, but I am thinking the cabbage was more for presentation and not for eating -- it was a bit bitter after the first few bites!
The eighth (yes, 8th) course consisted of this goat turine, which is not on their current menu. It's a breaded item. It looks like a knish, almost, and inside is this delicious meat. Next to that were three dipping "sauces" - black rice, tofu salad, and something green with a strong and tangy flavor.
Earlier in the meal, we were wondering about the Moussaka which was on the menu and how it would be presented at the restaurant. Unknown to us, they brought that out next (course #9) and it was lamb with eggplant as expected. If anything bothered me at the tasting, it was that they didn't give us knives for this dish! Still, it was hearty and a good dish.
Finally, we were onto dessert. Courses 10 and 11 were also great - fresh strawberry in a chocolate sauce with hazelnuts and a balsamic reduction on top of the strawberries. That was actually another unique pairing. Normally, for dessert, you don't expect a dressed strawberry, but it went quite well with the chocolate.
The other dessert was a chocolate mousse - the bottom layer was a cake or something, and there was a unique flavor that my friend thought was an Indian spice. (On the menu, it's said to be pain d'epices, whiskey, mulberry, grapefruit, and cooca nib 10). That was a great way to end a great meal.
Having been to two tasting menus in NYC thus far, I can say that they both are awesome -- but at Pardes, there are more courses for a similar cost, thereby making it an incredible affair and definitely my top pick. I thought it was delicious and honestly cannot wait to go back again.