Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Artisanal, Manhattan

Broke down banquettes. Pungent sweat sock smell of fondue.

We arrived to the minute for our reservation and and on the way to out table my head was on a swivel, looking at Manhattan's most beautiful people.

The service was professional, but unremarkable.  We were not pressed to order wine, but the winelist is very intriguing.  And expensive.  We had Skate wing, Branzini, Bean soup, Chocolate Marquise.  The branzini was cooked perfectly.  Moist inside and perfectly crispy outside.  The skate wing was even better.  Again, perfectly cooked, on a bed of delicious vegetables, with a puree of cauliflower. The bean soup was pureed to a creamy texture, as many French soups are, and had some nice pieces of hard sausage in it, that they called chorizo.  It was not quite as good as most bean soups. And the Marquise was the thinnest slice of a layered mouse cake.  The layers in between were meant to be pastry, but had soaked to the point of mush.  Nice, but not really great.

As we sat there I marveled at the giant cowboy rib-eyes going by, and wondered if this is a French fish restaurant, a chop house, or a fromagerie?  The cheese third of the concept was most to the forefront, its aroma always present.  Not a good thing when eating fish, which was about a third of the menu.  We also questioned the third of the menu that was chop house- so many plates of meat were being sent back.  Too bad for those who came together, and ate separately as one plate went back to the kitchen to be corrected while the other person ate theirs alone.

Artisanal is another schizophrenic restaurant, perhaps with three investors who wanted to open different places, but though "Hey! Lets put all three restaurants in one place!  Wouldn't that be cool?"  I would avoid this high dollar place on Park Ave.

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