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Degustation - Long Review

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Degustation - Long Review

Keith | Jun 9, 2006 11:22 PM

Went to Degustation tonight with three other people, hoping to try a significant portion of their menu. The menu is broken down into three untitled courses that basically are: small plates, medium places, slightly bigger than medium plates. Degustation encourages sharing with the suggestion that you average about three plates per person. While they do have a 5-course tasting menu for $50 that seems like a good deal, we decided that we would order a la carte. Our own rule was that no one could order the same thing. With one exception, we stayed faithful to this rule.

We started out by ordering the Croquetas, made tonight with bacon and apple, the sous-vide poached egg with jamon serrano panko in chicken broth, and fried artichokes with grapefruit foam in mussle broth with a kumomoto oyster (we got two of these, breaking the rules right off the bat). The croquetas were phenomenal, far better than the traditional made of bacala. Also, if you've never had a sous-vide poached egg, cooked for 45 minutes at low temperature, you've really got to try it; a truly unique texture.

For our next course we had squid stuffed with short ribs over lentils, jumbo shrimp a la plancha served head-on, scallops over citrus salad and jalapeno emulsion, and "roast beef sandwich" served open face on a rye toast round with fois gras mayo and herb salad. All of these dishes were great, but the squid and scallops were probably the best. The lentils in the squid dish were studded with chunks of cured ham/bacon and the sweet-tart citrus salad really contrasted perfectly with the scallops. Sucking the head-fat out of the shrimp was a real treat as well.

For our largest plates (a relative term), we shared fois gras over carmelized grapefruit in a sugared broth, crispy pork belly with japanese mushrooms and spring onions over vinegar gastrique, grilled quail with frisee and candied pistachios, and sous-vide rack of lamb with wild mushroom and chlorifil. Again, all dishes delivered as promised, but the standouts were the fois and the pork. The belly was a perfect blend of meat crispiness and fat, and blended perfectly with the mushrooms and vinegar reduction. The mushroom served with the lamb was also impressive (hen of the woods?) and matched well with the tender meat and garlicy chlorifil.

For desert we ordered the cheese plate, two spanish cheeses (goat and blue) served with apple compote and maracona almond butter, and the grilled strawberries with ginger granite and basil foam. They also brought out their tarte tatin with burnt carmel and greek yougurt on the house (I guess they figured we'd pretty much eaten the whole menu, they might as well make sure we tasted the rest). The cheeses were both great, and went perfectly with their garnishes, and the berries were a nice finish as well. The tarte, however, was a nince surprise and really packed the most flavor of all of them.

Overall, we had a great dinner experience, and got to experience a wide variety of dishes. From what I've seen, Degustation comes the cloest to Adria-style new Spanish that you can find in New York. And the best part? All of this food, enough to easily fill three people, was only $125! I would have been happy paying double that.

With food of this quality, I'm surprised Degustation isn't busier right now, but unforunately I'm sure it will be impossible to get in soon. My recommendation would be to beat the crowds and check it out. With prices at their current levels, it doesn't even need to be a special occasion.

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