21 July 2010

The Apiary, 60 3rd Avenue (at 11th St.)

I blame my friend Chan for (partially at least) turning me into the foodie that I am. He found a show that only aired for one season, called Kitchen Confidental that was loosely based off of Anthony Bourdain's humble beginnings as a chef and working in a kitchen. The show is downright hilarious, and inspired me to read the book that the show was based off of, also called (what a surprise): Kitchen Confidential. I read chapters that paralleled some episodes of the show, but one chapter that stood out was one that wasn't featured in an episode, where Tony describes working with an incredible chef by the name of Scott Bryan who (at the time of print) worked at Vertias. After doing some research, I found that Scott Bryan no longer worked at Vertias, but rather moved to the Apiary in East Village. (Yet another I reason I love New York!)

Clearly I had to go.

Who better to take but my dear father. So one night in October (almost a year ago!), we rolled up to the Apiary for some fine dining experience. We made no reservation and were placed on The List, so it was only proper to stand near the bar (there were no seats available), piss some people off who were seated there with our bottle of wine that we eagerly started in on, and enjoy the soft, welcoming glow and buzz of the Apiary.

We were seated maybe 20 minutes after and decided the best plan of attack would be two appetizers, one main (both to share) and for desert? We'll see about that when we get there.

For appetizers, we decided that the best start to a meal would be a light protein, so we selected the smoked salmon on a puff pastry with poached egg & roe, and the hamachi crudo with avocado, hearts of palm and jalapeƱo. I love hamachi, and my father loves smoked salmon so it felt like the perfect choice. Now, not to slam on the hamachi or say it was no good, but the definite star of these two dishes was the smoked salmon. Every bite was absolutely incredible- the synergized flavors of the egg yolk, fish and buttery pastry were delightful, and the roe complimented the dish with such great texture. Absolutely phenomenal and I'm sad to say that when I just checked the menu tonight, this dish was not on it. (But the menu is relatively seasonal so it could possibly return.)

For our main, we selected to share the rabbit pappardelle. After each consuming an appetizer and not wanting to be overwhelmed by our own main course, the portions were perfect. The rabbit was perfectly cooked, and not gamey at all with superb flavor. The sauce was incredible, and so was the pasta (but I'm a total sucker for pappardelle). While I was slowly savoring every bite, my father was taking the alternative route of scarfing the dish down as fast as possible because it was so damn good that he couldn't stop.

So about 20 minutes later, our server comes over with the dessert menu and feeling full and a little tipsy from the wine (which is now cashed), we decide that the only way to properly finish an incredible meal like this is with a fine dessert. Myself, airing more on the fruity/light dessert side, opt for the blackberry financier, and my father for the flourless chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream, both with the dessert wine pairings.

The pairings were impeccably perfect and our desserts were phenomenal. I was very happy with my selection but again, I have to give this one to my dad and say that the cake was incredible.

On the subject of service, our waiter was attentive but not overbearing, friendly and helpful but not obnoxious, and very patient with us as we progressed slowly and enjoyably throughout our meal and evening.

One thing that I would like to draw attention to and close with is that I am writing this post close to one year after we visited the Apiary, yet it has remained at the forefront of my mind since, and I remember the experience as clear as day. Apiary remains as one of the three best meals I've ever had in my life.

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