I was fortunate enough to go to Tocqueville on Wednesday and Asiate on Thursday, let me tell you.... Life is Good!
What a wonderful experience, warm and intimate space with the loveliest staff in all of NYC. I was there for a Birthday celebration and had requested the corner table at the far end of the room. But much to my dismay we were seated at the table just beside it as the room was quite full. Before seeing menus I got up to wash my hands and ran into the Maitre D'/owner and asked if we could switch to another table, one by the windows or a corner. Without hesitation she informed me the corner table was mine as it was a special occasion but we would have to wait for the three women currently at the table to finish. I offered to get up, free my current table and have a drink at the bar but she insisted we sit there and when the ladies are finished they would move us. This just blew my mind and set the tone for a divine meal and wonderful experience.
We ordered a crisp dry Mosel Riesling and the New York Seasonal Tasting Menu. I can't remember everything we ate that night but some highlights were: 1) Squash Soup with Foie Gras, this was an amazing starter and possibly the best soup I've ever had. It was so incredibly light and airy, almost frothy with such concentrated squash flavor. The toasted pumpkin seeds and Foie Gras added the necessary depth & punch to the soup. 2) Duck Two Ways was very good, confit was wonderful and the sliced breast was the best. Gooseberries and a baby carrot puree scented with vanilla were a perfect accompaniment and added a great deal of flavor and freshness to the dish.
Overall, I loved Tocqueville; the service was outstanding, professional and exceptionally well trained/qualified. We had a great experience and what a wonderful way to celebrate my Girlfriends birthday.
All I can say is WOW, I love this place. What an amazing space, gorgeous room, jaw-dropping wine display and wonderful views from the 35th floor. The windows and view weren't too much as to take away from the food or overall experience at all and I felt the space was perfect. Staff tries a bit harder compared to Tocqueville where it seems very natural but by no means was it awkward. Waiter was extremely knowledgeable about the menu and very smooth & polished. Staff was most professional and charming and I think the difference can be attributed to Asiate being a hotel restaurant versus a small intimate place like Tocqueville, both outstanding but very different.
Some menu highlights were 1) Tomato Tempura with Green Tomato Salsa which was very interesting and I loved the textural interplay in the dish. One bite of a soft tomato bursting in your mouth with crispy tempura crust outside, great little Amuse. 2) Eel and Foie Gras Appetizer was just heaven on a plate. Huge portion of Foie Gras with a lengthy piece of eel over the top and braised endive to balance it all out underneath, just a total melt in your mouth dish that was ultra-rich and ultra-luxurious. 3) Caesar Salad Soup was fun and I absolutely loved it. This was served with cous cous on the bottom and bacon foam on top. Really interesting concept and I loved this little soup served in an espresso cup. 4) Pressed Suckling Pig Entree was out of this world, just off the charts good. Two large rectangular portions of Suckling Pig Loin with crispy skin contrasting the tender meat below that the server explained were pressed under weights for 3 days and marinated. This was served with Pig Cheek Confit sitting on a piece of pineapple and my only issue with this was I wish there was more. Also on the plate was a small Pig Trotter Croquette sitting on applesauce. What a marvelous dish, great balance of flavors and textures, well executed and well thought out dish. We shared a dessert that was especially good, I'm not a huge sweet fan so cant go into to much detail here but the accompanying dessert wine was wonderful. A Hungarian Sherry (Tokaji I believe?) had a lovely golden color and a perfect finish to a brilliant meal.
Overall, a perfect meal with interesting flavors, great textures and the most gorgeous plate presentations.
I enjoyed both restaurants immensely & want to thank everyone for the recommendations.