My last Restaurant Week meal for Winter '09 was a place I'd long been intrigued about: Park Avenue Winter. I love the restaurant's concept. It changes decorations and menus with the seasons, which is a very clever thing to do in a city that suffers from dining A.D.D. I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed the Park Avenue Winter experience and am looking to try the place out during Spring, Summer and Autumn, as well.
I was very pleased to see that the restaurant had solid food to back up the gimmick. The RW menu contained some regular items on the menu, which I always appreciate. And I love em a lil extra because they threw in $6 glasses of wine in the RW menu, and bless them, the glasses were almost as big as soup bowls. I came back to work a little, um, happy, to say the least.
It was really hard to decide on an appetizer because everything seemed so good—and they were! I ordered the porcini ravioli with swiss chard and gorgonzola cream. It was exquisite. The ravioli was perfectly done and the taste of porcini was heavenly against the gorgonzola cream. I wasn't excited by the swiss chard, but ate all of it nevertheless. After I had finished the ravioli, I couldn't help it, I had to do the scarpetta—I sopped up the remaining cream with one of the fresh warm rolls on the table and enjoyed every bite.
I stole a bite of Vanessa's salmon tartare, which was delicious, as well. The salmon was so fresh and tender. For my entree, I had the sliced filet mignon open-face sandwich. I ordered my steak medium rare and recall thinking that I probably won't get what I want because we all ordered steak but Ludette and Vanessa asked for medium. To my delight, my steak was perfect. See how pink the center of the meat is in the picture. Just lovely. I enjoyed the horseradish cream, which delivered a pleasant zing but was not at all overwhelming.
The one slip-up of the meal was that they brought me the wrong dessert, but I was willing to wait. I watched Vanessa dig into her banana parfait, which she seemed to enjoy. Ludette was very pleased with her warm walnut gingerbread cake with apple puree, spiced raisins and cinnamon. My dessert was totally worth the wait though because it was phenomenal. I ordered the pannacotta, which came with what seemed to be a lemon-flavored foam and the pièce de résistance: mini cotton candy with a bit of spice hiding in the sweetness. I absolutely loved it. The pannacotta had the perfect amount of sweetness that kept me digging in. Coupled with the sour, sweet and spicy flavors brought by the foam and the cotton candy, it was mind-blowing. I can say that this is the best dessert I've had in my life, and that's really saying something. It's not even on the regular menu and I really think it should be! Calling Executive Pastry Chef Richard Leach. You are a god, but I would worship you if you kept this dessert around.
Hopefully the cotton candy springs up next season. Looking forward to seeing the place transition from this ...
Park Avenue is located at 100 East 63rd Street at Park Avenue New York, NY 10021. Tel. 212.644.1900