This weekend my boyfriend, Jared (who is the best!), brought me out for the most amazing meal I’ve had in nyc in the past 5 years! Start to finish this was hands down delicious. The service was beyond fantastic, it was a pleasure just being at Ai Fiori. A little pricey but they offer a four course $79 prix fixe menu, how could you pass that up?
We started off the night with a glass of wine, I had asked for a Pinot Grigio, but our waiter informed me that they did not carry a pinot but had a similar wine called Pigato. (Pigato “Cycnus”, Poggio dei Gorleri, Liguria 2009) It was beautifully balanced and extremely aromatic. I have to mention that Jared asked for a recommendation on the beers available and the waiter gave another amazing suggestion, Birrificio di Como “Birolla Malthus” Chestnut Ale (Italy), which comes in a 17 oz bottle. You smelled the chestnuts immediately and as for the taste it was bold and intense with no bitterness what so ever and you could also catch a hint of honey. We were off to a great start!
I have to say that every single plate was extremely delicious. We started off with a surprise starter of a warm parsnip soup shooter…creamy, sweet, buttery, delicious! The highlight of the night though was by far my appetizer, Uovo (egg in english – pictured above) a slow poached egg, lobster, and sweetbread with nuage layon and the winning ingredient…the SWEETBREADS! I know, most people don’t like it and for those who don’t know what it is, usually it’s the thymus of a calf. These were by far the most delicious sweetbreads I’ve ever had. Crunchy on the outside, smooth on the inside, the flavors were delicate instead of pungent and the broth that came along just added to the overall heavenly essence of the dish, I wish I had more! Moreover, Jared got the Vellutata, a lobster veloute with shaved chestnut and black truffles. Swoon! Creamy and delicate, the best bisque I’ve ever had.
My pasta dish, saffron rissotto, which has already changed on the menu, was served up with juicy, succulent lobster knuckles. Yum! These are appetizer portions of pasta of course, but it was a perfect size, anymore & I wouldn’t have been able to eat my entree. The lobster was the best part of this pasta dish, tender to the point of it melting in my mouth, I had to share a spoonful (just 1!) with Jared.
For the entree Jared got their signature dish the Agnello, it’s two cuts from a rack of lamb wrapped in italian sausage served with swiss chard and sariette (a french herb whose translation means savory) and savory it was! The sausage added just the right saltiness to the lamb which was cooked to perfection (medium rare), tender and delicious. No wonder this is the dish they are most known for, thinking about it is making my mouth water. I tried out the Atlantic Halibut. This dish came with english peas, a pea puree and some shaved asparagus. The flavors were light and delicate. I’m not the biggest fan of peas but it honestly looked like I had licked my plate by the end. Fantastic!
By the time dessert came around we were so full, but I was still extremely excited to see what would come next. Jared asked for another recommendation from the waiter and was pleased to get the Baba al Rhum. It was essentially a piece of rum cake with a hazelnut sorbetto, accompanied by a plate of tropical fruits with a coconut cream. Amazing! Another excellent suggestion from the waiter (I wish I could remember his name! He deserves the credit!). The rum cake was soft and juicy, with a perfect mingling of rum and an excellent match for the hazelnut sorbet. I went with the Tartaletta, a chocolate pudding/ganache surrounded by a cherry couli, some granola, topped with a dark chocolate ring and hazelnut gelato. This dish screams CHOCOLATE LOVER! It’s rich and intense, the flavors all went perfectly together without feeling overloaded with sugar or chocolate. A perfect end to a perfect meal.
The service was amazing, the food was delectable, the excitement lasted the whole meal through. I will definitely be returning to Ai Fiori. I highly recommend you all make a reservation for the near future, this place will not disappoint.