Unexpected Culinary Journeys: Exciting Eats

Unexpected Culinary Journeys: Exciting Eats

Unexpected Culinary Journeys: Exciting EatsChef Thomas Keller’s “Oysters And Pearls” at Per Se
Image: Flickr


Nothing reflects the culture of a city more than its food. With many diverse ethnicities, culinary styles, and world-class chefs, there’s a lot swirling around in Manhattan’s melting pot.

Thrillist.com estimates that with the array of eating establishments available, diners in The Big Apple can take a bite out of 33 different countries. Yet it’s not just the international influences that make the city’s food scene so exciting; there is creativity and an innovative spirit brought to the table that is distinctly New York’s.

So when you’re ready, journey out beyond the usual to discover some of the more exciting and surprising dishes Manhattan can dish out.

Arctic Bird’s Nest at Aquavit

With truly beautifully-presented and scrumptious cuisine, Aquavit is on a mission to transform “Nordic cuisine with extraordinary care.” Their awe-inspiring Arctic Bird’s Nest dessert is a shining example of their passion to “try new techniques and ingredients.” The entire plate is a masterpiece both in appearance and taste. Sitting on what looks like an actual bird’s nest (made of dark chocolate twigs), are spectacular goat cheese parfaits in the shape of eggs. Biting into the eggs reveal yet another surprise – a yellow Scandinavian Sea Buckthorn berry “yolk”. The dish is plated with berries, green sprigs and shaved frozen yogurt to resemble snow. Wow. Aquavit is located at 65 East 55th Street at Park Avenue.

Unexpected Culinary Journeys: Exciting EatsImage: Kevin & Amanda

Chocolate Pasta at Max Brenner

For a whimsical dessert twist, try chocolate “pasta” at New York City’s favorite shrine to chocolate – Max Brenner at 841 Broadway, Union Square. You’d never know it, but the noodles are actually not noodles at all – they are finely cut ribbons of dark chocolate crepes drizzled with melted milk chocolate, and finished off with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and bits of Choco-pops, hazelnut, and grated white chocolate. Wash it all down with the chocolate ganache that accompanies it.

Kangaroo Burger at Burke & Wills

For an unusual burger, hop over to the Upper West Side to the chic Australian Restaurant – Burke & Wills  – for their Kangaroo Burger. Included in USA Today’s list of “Crave worthy burgers from coast to coast,” Burke & Wills makes the venison-like texture and taste more palatable to American patrons by preparing the burger with a bit of pork fat. Garnishes include a savory tomato jam, pickled onions, arugula, and your burger is served with thick-cut triple-fried chips. Burke & Wills’ is located at 226 West 79th Street, on the Upper West Side.

Unexpected Culinary Journeys: Exciting EatsImage: Grub Street

Faisan à l’Alsacienne at Le Coucou

Recently winning the prestigious James Beard Award for “Best New Restaurant” and three stars from the New York Times, French restaurant Le Coucou is enjoying some well-deserved accolades and praise. One of the dishes getting a lot of attention and press is their mouth-watering Faisan à l’Alsacienne (Pheasant for Two), prepared Alsace-style with sumptuous foie gras and stuffed cabbage. It’s a juicy and delightful departure from the usual – made to share with that special someone. Le Coucou is located at 138 Lafayette Street in SoHo.

Oysters And Pearls at Per Se

Chef Thomas Keller’s inspiration for this highly creative and acclaimed appetizer (which has become one of his signature dishes) came from an ordinary box of tapioca pearls. Realizing that tapioca’s inherent neutrality make it possible to flavor it creatively, Keller brilliantly transforms the pearls into a savory, buttery tapioca that assumes the luscious flavors of the warm beau soleil oysters and caviar atop it. Located in the Time Warner Center at 10 Columbus Circle at 60th street, Per Se’s dining room offers spectacular views of Central Park.

Unexpected Culinary Journeys: Exciting EatsImage: CNBC

Zillion Dollar Lobster Frittata

If you’re in the mood for a decadent, show-stopping breakfast or brunch and money is no object, try Norma’s Zillion Dollar Lobster Frittata. Norma’s is known for fancy schmancy breakfast fare, but this particular dish takes the cake (or the plate). Listed in Guinness World’s Records as the “most expensive omelet,” this $1,000 egg frittata sits on top of a plate of delicious fried potatoes and features a one-pound lobster and 10 ounces of caviar. Norma’s is located at Le Parker Meridien at 119 West 56th Street.

Grasshopper Tacos at Kolache

In a city with strict regulations aimed to keep insects out of food, you may be surprised to see them on the menu  – and on your plate if you so choose – at Toloache’s Mexican bistro. Once you get past the fact that you’re crunching on grasshoppers (or have enough of their signature De La Calle Margaritas that it doesn’t matter), you will love the delicious spicy flavors of these savory tacos. Kolache’s festive dining room, friendly staff and easy ambiance at 205 Thompson Street is a relaxing departure from the city’s hustle and bustle as well.

Unexpected Culinary Journeys: Exciting EatsImage: The Odyssey Online

Mac & Cheese Spring Rolls at Cafeteria

For a tasty and surprising mash-up of cultures, try the truly original mac & cheese spring rolls at Cafeteria. This East-Meets-West creation is the brainchild of Cafeteria’s eatery in Chelsea featuring “exceptional American comfort food with a contemporary twist.” An Asian roll is stuffed with ooey-gooey mac & cheese and deep fried to golden perfection, keeping the outside crispy and the inside creamy and savory. They are served with a smoked gouda dipping sauce, and available on Cafeteria’s 24/7 menu available at 119 7th Avenue. Stop by anytime to sample this inventive and yummy Asian-American appetizer.

Dinner in The Dark

While all of these exciting culinary experiences are sure to please, why not test your palette and embark on a real adventure? For an exciting journey of the senses, make a reservation for Camaje Bistro’s “Dinner In The Dark.” Four-to-six times per month, patrons have the exciting opportunity to dine while blindfolded. All throughout dinner, senses are heightened as each course is experienced only through taste, smell, hearing, and texture. The big reveal at the end may be as surprising and enjoyable as the meal.

Look for next week’s blog, “Strolling Central Park, An Endless Walk.”