NYC: Ai Fiori

Finally got to catch up with Diana over lunch at Ai Fiori last week. I’m all about the long and leisurely midday meals when possible. Meals don’t need to be extravagant, but they need to be peaceful. Wake early or work late, but forsake lunch hour? Never.

Bread and butter at the table, appetizers to start. This cauliflower soup was butter smooth (likely equal parts cauliflower and cream), topped with currants, grasso di agnello, and just enough anchovy.

Diana had a salad of seasonal greens with local baby carrots, manchego, and aged sherry dressing…

…then the Razza – roasted skate wing with lentils du pays, funghi, and salsefrica.

One of my favorite chicken dishes of late, the Gamba di Pollo. Pan-roasted with crisp, well-seasoned skin and sage tucked in the center. Heady! Served on a bed of brussels sprouts (individual leaves sautéed), zucca, pancetta, and a sage jus.

Saving the best part for last? Oh yes. A very indulgent Milk Chocolate Crémeux with salted caramel and stracciatella gelato balanced with…

…a lemon-kissed Olive Oil Cake and espresso gelato. I love the sharp cut and perfectly flat top – it reminds me exactly of Japanese Castella cake in appearance. Ideally dense and even, tiny crumb, more akin to this olive oil cake from Dominique Ansel Bakery than the others ones from Abraço or La Colombe.

  • anonymous
    January 26, 2012

    uhm… yummm!!! looks exquisite!

  • anonymous
    January 27, 2012

    I also went for RW lunch. Unfortunately, I wasn't too impressed. The bread service was lacking (as compared to last year's three bread selections) and the service wasn't hospitable. I had a weak stomach that day, so just ordered a side dish (at $10!) and a drink. My server wasn't very pleased with my minimum purchase. Glad you had a nice time though. I enjoyed AF's last year's RW lunch much more.

  • Hungry
    January 27, 2012

    I love Ai Fiori. Chef Michael White can do me no wrong.

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