For those who haven’t eaten a meal at the chef’s counter—usually bar-style seats facing an open or glassed-off kitchen—Chowhound Cheeryvisage files an illuminating report about Aldea. She writes that Chef George Mendes’s cuisine is eclectic but inspired by his heritage as a Portuguese American, and that he “was very much hands-on.” “[He was] cooking some of the dishes himself, and always plating and inspecting every single plate that went out,” Cheeryvisage says.

Mendes’s attention to detail is working, at least as far as dinner is concerned. One standout dish was the sea urchin toast with cauliflower purée, wasabi, mustard seed, mustard oil, lime juice, lime zest, and shiso. It was, according to Cheeryvisage, “jaw-droppingly delicious. What a beautiful harmony of texture and flavor this was. The thin toast was super-crispy, and the sea urchin lobes delightfully sweet and creamy.” She was also a fan of Spanish octopus a la plancha, served with heirloom tomatoes, burrata, and an apple-watercress emulsion, which Cheeryvisage proclaimed was “just fantastic.” Duck with chorizo was also delicious. The only disappointment was the sonhos, little puffs of fried dough that were “wet in the center, not fluffy throughout like I expected and preferred.” She anticipated a treat similar to the beignets at The Modern, which she describes as “airy, fluffy, puffy.” Cheeryvisage admits, however, that perhaps sonhos are simply not to her liking.

nmprisons also wonders what happened to the sonhos at Aldea—there may have been “an oil temperature problem in the kitchen that night.” But RGR has tried the duck numerous times, and agrees that it is wonderful. All of the commenters agree that Cheeryvisage’s pictures are pretty—as do I! It’s great to see hounds adding such wonderful photos to these posts.

Aldea [Flatiron]
31 W. 17th Street, Manhattan

Discuss: Aldea – a great dinner at the chef’s counter (with photos)

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