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Trip report-Batard, Aldea, Penelope's, Untamed Sandwiches

dubchild | Mar 23, 201505:20 AM

Fun filled weekend in New York. Batard lived up to the hype. Attentive service, interesting wines both by the bottle and some by the glass, and a value given the quality for the price. We all chose the 3 course prix fixe at $65 pp. Two types of breads were offered and I would recommend trying both as the portions to follow are small. Overall flavours were prominent without being aggressive, each dish featured several accompaniments without overwhelming the main ingredient, and everything was properly seasoned and hot. I ordered the sweetbreads and the duck breast to follow. The sweetbread were lighted breaded and moist. The lemon curd was an interesting accompaniment and just enough was given to create interest but not overwhelm the dish. The duck breast, my guess, was cooked sous vide and had great flavour. A duck jus was poured table side, it is my opinion that the best sauce is always a jus from the animal being served. The poached pear was a nice contrast to the richness of the duck, and again just the right amount was given. Everyone else was happy with their choices, the branzino was moist and the schnitzel special was a hit. I had the milk bread for dessert, which was like a caramelized french toast, and loved it. A orange jelly and an olive chocolate truffle ended the meal. I would go back and recommend it to others.

We had been to Aldea about three years ago and loved it. I still dreamed about the duck rice dish. I know I was setting myself up for disappointment, but everything lived up to my expectations. I ordered the uni toast, split the arroz de pato as an app, had the bass as a main, and we also had olives and almonds for the table. Four different breads were offered and I chose the corn bread which was moist and light. They brought two amuses, a macaron filled with frozen caipirinha and a shrimp cracker with dots of sauce. Both a very promising start, the caipirinha was especially successful as it quickly dissolved in one's mouth as if eating flavoured air. the uni toast was on thin toast and delicious. The kitchen split the arroz de pato into two equal portions and it was as remembered, the duck was especially flavourful. The sea bass was moist and properly seasoned. The coconut broth had an intense flavour and the diced carrots were intensely carroty. They brough out a pre-dessert of a firm custard and ice cream. I had the banana custard to finish which was delicious. But the dessert to get are the sonhos which are the lightest fritters (or doughnuts) you will ever have. Mini custard tarts were brought out to end the meal. An absolutely stunning meal which I would gladly repeat and here's the great thing, we spent the same as Batard and there was many more extras. Service was also noticeably better at Aldea. Service was good at Batard but there were time when you noticed your glass was empty, at Aldea they were completely on top of it. Given the reasonable price and experience I would highly recommend.

We did Penelope's for brunch and I would not recommend it. Service was attentive and chummy but the food was nothing special and little things like some colour on the potatoes or toasting the english muffin would have improved things.

Untamed sandwiches uses nice bread and interesting and thought out fillings. I had the General Zapata and I would repeat. Not worth going across town for but it is near the main library and Central Station.

Quick shout out to Caroline's on Broadway because we had a great night of comedy, the host was especially funny and Iliza Shlesinger knocked it out of the park.

Thanks to the hounds who provided recommendations. i didn't get to some of the areas because of time constraints but I always appreciate the recommendations.

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