Asiate, NYC 3
March 14, 2017
We had not been to Asiate for nine years when Linda and I returned for dinner on March 2, 2017. It is on the 35th floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel at Columbus Circle. We were seated in the raised center of the dining room where we enjoyed the view of mid-town Manhattan over the lower tables.
Linda started with a glass of Paul Bara Brut Champagne. I had a glass of Bocelli, “Extra Dry,” Prosecco. One can choose a three-course or four-course meal. We made our selections and ordered a bottle of 2012 Amis Sans-Abris “La Encantada” (Santa Rita Hills) Pinot Noir.
Just what one would expect from a young Central Coast pinot.
The little amuse-bouche was scallop sashimi with trout roe.
The bread basket was passed.
Linda’s first course was
Avocado Herb Foam, Fennel Crisp, Baby Radish
We were told that the excellent, barely-seared tuna had been marinated in red wine. The fennel crisp, seen at right and behind the tuna added good contrast to the tuna, avocado and avocado sauce. Excellent dish.
Bok Choy, Saffron Aioli, XO Exotic
The lobster was as luscious as one would expect. The sauces and garnishes were somewhat precious, but added welcome interest and texture.
Linda went on to
Duo of Grass-Fed Wagyu Beef
Bone Marrow, Sweet Potato, Piquillo Pepper
Compared to Linda’s expectations this dish was disappointing. The marrow had been turned into a breadcrumb consistency topping for the good rectangle of short rib. Marrow flavor was not evident. The filet of Wagyu was not the tender, melt-in-your-mouth Wagyu one expects. The sweet potato purée was good. Linda asked that the piquillo pepper not be used, and it was not.
Pasture-Raised Lamb Loin
Black Trumpet, Pistachio Pesto, Beans
The lamb was top quality. The ungarnished piece in front was delicious. The piece in back was topped with a brown sauce that reminded me of the worst aspects of German cuisine. (The current chef is German, replacing a Japanese chef.) The jumble on the left mixed bits of braised lamb and scallions. The trumpet mushrooms in the middle were okay, but overcooked. The pistachio/basil “pesto” was a good match with the lamb.
A pre-dessert was offered. Raspberry sorbet with a raspberry sauce.
This was too big, with too assertive a raspberry flavor, to be a good pre-dessert.
Linda’s dessert was
Passion Fruit Soufflé
Rice Ice Cream
The soufflé of passion fruit was excellent. Not too sweet. Well done.
Chestnut-Rum Ice Cream
Mandarin Sorbet * Marron Glacé
This dessert boasted a dramatic presentation. It was quite nice. The meringues on top were not overly sweet. The ice cream and sorbet cylinders underneath were good.
Mignardises finished things off.
We had returned to Asiate hoping to find Asian fusion cuisine, which the restaurant featured at its opening. But we found an eclectic mix. It was not bad, but there was not anything about it which would draw us back again. The setting is spectacular. Our server, Arben, was efficient, genial and knowledgeable about food.
On the way out I posed by the big Dale Chihuly sculpture in the hotel lobby.
To see our blogpost from nine years before click here.