Seäsonal, NYC

November 23, 2010

Seäsonal has had a star in the last two New York Michelin Guides. While we think that many of the ratings are absurd, we also know that Michelin makes some good surprising picks, such as Kajitsu and Rouge Tomate. So Linda and I went to try Seäsonal for the first time the evening of November 1, 2010.

The décor was surprisingly sparse and modern.

We ordered glasses of Sekt Szigeti Brut, an Austrian sparkling wine of Gruner Veltliner. A good start.

The website says of the chefs:

Over the years together, Wolfgang Ban and Eduard Frauneder have perfected their own modern take on Austrian cuisine – one which combines traditional techniques, contemporary innovations, and updates to some of their favorite childhood dishes.

There were two tasting menus offered: five courses for $64 and seven for $85. They looked intriguing with combinations based on Austrian cuisine, but we were still feeling the effects of jetlag and so decided just to try some à la carte selections this time. A basket with dark bread and caraway flavored bread was put on the table with a pumpkin spread and a paprika spread.

We ordered a bottle of 2007 Umathum Zweigelt, a mild red wine grown in vineyards that date back to 1214 from a grape developed in Austria in 1922, now its most widely-grown wine grape. 

The amuse-gueule was tiny pieces of baby octopus on a squash purée with a radish.
Very tasty.

Linda’s first course was
Veal Sweetbread, Brussel Sprouts, Celery Root, Pearl Onion

The deep fried sweetbreads were light and crisp with a slightly sweet and sour sauce. The celery root purée was excellent.

My first course was
Porkbelly, Chestnut, Chanterelle, Quince, Honey Vinegar

This was somewhat bland, but pleasant with nice flavors.

Linda’s main course was
Duck, Farro, Black Cherry, Beet, Hazelnut

The duck was good, but chewy. The hazelnut shavings (on the right) had a nice flavor when eaten alone. The farro was heavy, but perhaps it is supposed to be that way. 

Mine was
Veal Cheeks, Paprika, Peppers, Spätzle

This was disappointing because the paprika used had little aromatic fragrance. The spätzle were somewhat gooey and uninteresting.

We had not been as impressed with the cuisine as we had hoped and so skipped dessert. There were nice little mignardises: a chestnut pastry and sort of a cheesecake.

We enjoyed the meal, but it showed no signs of being worthy of a Michelin star. It was quite ordinary. Perhaps the tasting menus would have been more interesting, but we were not inspired to go back and try one of them.

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