Sunday, February 21, 2010

RW Day 2: Dinner at Aria

After hearing good reviews from foodie friends about Aria during RW last year, I was looking forward to finally dining there. Unfortunately, I was disappointed.

Upon seating, we were served warm naan with four spreads: spinach, cashew, yogurt, and dal (lentil). The spreads were disappointing, lacking in seasoning and flavor. Perhaps the spreads were diluted to manage the RW crowds?

We ordered a bottle of the Alvaro Palacios Les terrases priorat (2004). It had a ton of fruit, particularly blackcherry and berries, and just a hint of oak. Smooth, balanced acidity, and long finish with notes of tobacco. Lovely to drink.

After placing our orders, I confirmed with our server that all the dishes were indeed vegetarian. He answered in the affirmative.

To start I had mushroom bisque with white truffle oil. I love all things truffle so I was excited about the dish. The portion was simply too large for a starter. The soup was far too rich, thick, and gritty. What's worse is that the oil separated from the soup on top. The dish was presented with a fried wonton on the side. Erring on the side of caution, I asked the server what was in it and he replied beef. Um, did I not confirm that my courses were all vegetarian?? After the first course, I was sure dinner was going to be an Epic Fail. 

The main dish was fiery wok noodles with vegetables in a spicy, tangy sauce. The dish was tasty and the broccoli and shiitake mushrooms were well seasoned. The red chilis added a welcomed fiery kick. My dining companion had braised beef short ribs which were cooked well but overall the dish lacked flavor.

For dessert I had the maple crémeux with strawberry puree, chocolate sauce, and a malted milk crisp served in a glass. The strawberry puree tasted like Nesquik strawberry milk- it was so sugary sweet. The dessert lacked sophistication and was uninteresting.

Service was OK, not as polished as expected at such an expensive restaurant.

The star of the dinner was the wineI am looking forward to trying more wines from Alvaro Palacios, but not at Aria.

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