Picholine, NYC 5

December 16, 2008

Picholine is the class restaurant before a performance at Lincoln Center. We have happily dined there often. Michèle, Linda and I went before Thaïs at The Metropolitan Opera House on December 8, 2008. We arrived early for our 6:00 reservation, but it was difficult to communicate any sense of urgency to the staff. When we finally did so while waiting for our first course, we were told that our main course would be served soon and received an astonished look when we said that we still did not have our first courses. By the time our dessert was served most of the people at other tables had already left for Lincoln Center.

We ordered bottles of 2006 Conundrum Varietal Blend (Rutherford), a viognier-sauvignon mix, and of 2004 Trefethen Merlot, both from the Napa Valley and very good. The amuse gueule was a tempura on a stick (left), a beet jelly on top of pannacotta and a cinnamon flavored glass of something (below.)

Michèle’s first course was
sea urchin panna cotta
Chilled Ocean Consommé, Caviar

This is the signature dish of Picholine. Michèle was as impressed with its elegant, delicious, creamy, salt sea flavor as everyone else is.

Linda’s starter was
torchon sweetbreads
Heirloom Beets, Mustard-Caper Emulsion
Linda thought that the sweetbread patty was excellent, but the emulsion was a bit too tart for her taste.

My first course was
wild mushroom risotto
Local Pumpkin, Duck Confit, Truffle
This was excellent. The dominant flavor was of wild mushrooms, probably from a stock of dried cèpes. The little diced chunks of pumpkin gave an earthy-sweet touch and the very crisp pieces of duck confit were a complete textural contrast with a good meaty flavor.

Michèle’s main course was
diver sea scallops
Cauliflower Silk, Crumble, Grapefruit Grenobloise

She has been enjoying various American versions of scallops on her visit and really liked these.

Linda’s second course was
millbrook loin of venison
Parsnip Pain Perdu, Brussels Sprouts, Huckleberry

Both the flavor and the texture of the venison and the pain perdu were excellent.

My main course was
jamison farm loin of lamb
Flavors, Textures, Aromas of Morocco
I really liked this dish. It arrived in a tagine and when the dome was lifted, I could smell the exotic aromas. The Moroccan spices were applied at just the right level so that they enhanced the good flavor of the lamb.

There was a little predessert of a fruity broth and peanut shards in the paper cone. Okay, but unneccessary.

Michèle’s dessert was
quark cheesecake
Concord Grape Marmalade, Peanut Butter Sorbet

Like scallops, she has also been trying variations on cheesecake while in NYC. She will not find a dessert like this back in France.

Linda’s dessert was
warm caramel apple brioche
Apple Salad, Salted Caramel Ice Cream
A satisfying, and not-too-sugary dessert.

My dessert was
passion fruit “cannoli”
Coconut Tapioca, Exotic Fruit Soup

The soup had a sharp citrus flavor that I didn’t like.

There were delicious looking mignardises with the espresso, but the gaps in service had put us behind schedule and we had to hurry off to the opera. As you can read above, most of our dishes were excellent, although our overall experience wasn’t up to what one can expect from Picholine.

To see our blogpost from last May click here.

To see our blogposts from last November and December click here.


One Response to “Picholine, NYC 5”

  1. Andrea Says:

    Glad you enjoyed the Conundrum. I can see why it would have gone very well with your starters. It is a favorite white of ours and we served it with butternut squash soup at Thanksgiving.

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