With Monseiur Marcels being a hit and next up AOC, I admit, I was nervous. Especially after seeing that AOC is overrated post from last week. I had been to AOC before, but a few months after it had opened, so a lot could have changed. Further, while I really enjoyed my first meal there (we only had had 4 dishes) the only dish I would order again for sure was the famous bacon wrapped dates. So, when the three of us walked in and even the restaurant looked a bit different (A lot more light), my worries increased.
They seated us in the loft area, last time I had sat in the main room, which to me was a bit crowded and loud. The loft area was actually rather cozy and much more quiet. So that was very nice.
Three of us also ordered a flight of sparking wines for $15. It was okay for the price, but honestly, to me, most of them tasted the same, I would have perfered the Rose flight, which was not currently on the menu! . Next time, Ill just order a nice glass.
As for the food, our waitress recommended for the 4 of us to order 10 dishes. Now, AOC is a small plates restaurant. However, the portions are NOT tiny. For example, you get 6 bacon wrapped dates. Most dishes are served on dessert size plates, not tea cup sized plates, even if we were STARVING 10 probably would have been too much. Nevertheless, with so many wonderful things on the menu we did end up ordering 7 dishes. I swiped a menu (heh!), so here is the run down exactly as they are described
First up, the Roasted Dates, Parmesan, Bacon $6: The famous bacon wrapped dates. The genious of this dish is not only in the flavors and richness, but how tightly the bacon is wrapped on each date and how PERFECTLY done it is. Serious, this is a must get dish
Mussels with roasted tomato and morcilla $12: Small very tender mussels in an AMAZING slightly sour tomato sauce. The morcilla (Spanish blood sausage) added a great element to it. It was not harsh like most blood sausages Ive tried, but added a real complexity to the dish and sauce. Absolutely great dish.
Scalloped wrapped in Pancetta in lobster sauce $16: This was a special. Two HUGE (about silver dollar size) scallops PERFECTLY done. Cooked just enough not be raw, but still CREAMY in the center. Honestly, best scallops Ive ever had. SO glad we ordered this dish .
English and Sugar snap peas with butter and mint $8: Perfectly done peas. Firm with a great pop. It wasnt amazing (I couldnt taste the mint) but I enjoyed every single pea nonetheless
Braised Pork Cheeks with Horseradish Gremolada $13: My absolute favorite dish of the night. The cheeks were BEYOND tender and had such a great taste. The Horseradish sauce was amazing. Not much zing, but added a wonderful creamy, grainy aspect to it. I would order this again and again and again
Long Cooked Cavlo Nero $8: This was the dish I was most looking forward to based on the recs from this board. Sadly, it didnt work too well. The flavor was okay, they did a good job of handling the bitterness, but what ever they did to it very little flavor aside from the butter/oil they used, which made it slightly greasy. It was the only dish I felt the need to doctor up with the sauce from the pork cheeks. The texture was the biggest problem, too dry, almost plastic like. Would not order again nor recommend.
Califlower, Curry and Red Vinegar $8: I also loved this dish, a large portion of firm roasted Califlower heard dusted with an amazingly balanced curry with just a hint of vinegary sourness.
FINALLY another special Gorgonzola and Mascapone Tart, drizzled with Honey and pine nuts: Sounds good no? Actually it was the VILEST thing I have tasted in a long while. OMG, nothing in it worked, it wasnt sweet, it wasnt cheesy it was just a head on collision of flavors that made me immediately reach for my last sip of champagne I usually dont speak up about failed dishes, but I had to about this one. Everyone in the party hated it and the waitress was wonderful enough to take it off our bill
So, I started my day with a very bad sandwich and ended it with something even worse (YES, it was that bad! LOL!!), but the in between, we all agreed, was absolute heaven :D .