After having a great impromptu breakfast there on Sat morning, I made dinner reservations for last night, and promised to report.
I was thrilled.
It looks like it had general good press when it opened about 1.5 years ago, and I had read some mixed things since then (I was actually surprised that I hadn't gone yet). They have obviously worked out their kinks -- and it's not the perfect place -- but the food is OUTSTANDING.
It's japanese fusion -- fantastic, interesting sushi, delicious fish, but also things like short bib, duck, chicken. On their lunch menu, in fact, they have a burger.
I had a lobster tempura roll, and a puffed shrimp roll to start, and my companion tried the crab salad w/ jasmine vinaigrette. All were outstanding, the freshness really shining through. We also tried two others as a middle course -- the short rib appetizer (which was really something -- a perfectly cubed, off the bone piece of super-tender meat, melt in your mouth, perfectly seasoned, braised in beer and served on a silky apple puree), and the trio of tartares (yellowtail, salmon, tuna).
Then I had the seared duck breast w/ soba and plum sauce -- which was good, but a little TOO rare for my taste if you can imagine that -- and an OUTRAGEOUS blue fin toro that topped any I've ever hand, including Nobu and Craft.
On the side, we had 'long beans' (very flavorful, garlicky haircot vert), crispy sweet potato gnocchi, shitake tempura, and coconut bok choy. All were excellent, esp the beans and gnocchi.
For dessert, we ordered what I was told was their signature, homemade donuts with green tea kulfi, and they sent us their chai lime cheescake with apple sorbet. The cheescake was good, deconstructed, very creamy - but the donuts and kulfi were perfection. Beautiful presentation all around.
The service was attentive, extremely courteous, and efficient. They have a full sake menu as well as specialty drinks and a long wine list. It wasn't until mid-meal that I remembered this was Aquavit's sister restaurant, which makes perfect sense. I think the chef is extremely talented, I was truly pleased.
I'm curious to hear other's experiences, or if things in the past were not this good. I just don't understand why this gem was not on my radar screen until now. I'll be going back for sure.