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Colicchio & Sons Tasting Menu
March 5th, 2013 by donuts4dinner

Tom Colicchio is special to my boyfriend and me, and not just because we’ve considered basing vacation plans solely on being able to visit the restaurants of “Top Chef” contestants. (Really just Michael Voltaggio’s.) Not only did we spend our last anniversary at Craft, but our first tasting menu there held the title of The Best Meal of My Life for the longest time. My first Craftbar pork belly is the standard by which I’ve judged all others, and we celebrated Valentine’s Day 2010 at Colicchio & Sons shortly after its opening. (My pictures from that were used in an NPR article making fun of food bloggers’s awful pictures. YES!) Since Chef Colicchio has expanded his empire, like, tenfold since then, we decided to go back, this time to try the tasting menu at $135 and $95 for wine pairings.

Colicchio and Sons NYC Tasting Menu

Colicchio and Sons NYC Tasting Menu
cauliflower salad, uni vinaigrette, puffed rice

Loved the sour uni with the char of the puffed rice. A feast of textures and acids in an unexpectedly interesting dish.

Colicchio and Sons NYC Tasting Menu
cucumber, tobiko

The beginning of this meal was really fast-paced, so we can’t remember much about this aside from the fact that we really liked it. We think it was a cucumber custard topped with flying fish roe. There may have been some wasabi in there. Trust me.

Colicchio and Sons NYC Tasting Menu
Brussels sprouts, bacon

Can’t go wrong with sprouts and crazy-crispy pork, especially when the sprouts are shaved this way.

Colicchio and Sons NYC Tasting Menu
bread

The buttery, salty, sweet rolls calling to me from across the table.

Colicchio and Sons NYC Tasting Menu

Colicchio and Sons NYC Tasting Menu
parsnip soup, chickpea with black truffle, gougere

Creamy, starchy, sweet soup, a crispy little chickpea cake with the dark flavors of black truffle, and a very cheesy gougere.

Colicchio and Sons NYC Tasting Menu

Colicchio and Sons NYC Tasting Menu
Alfred Gratien ‘Classique’ NV Brut Epernay

Colicchio and Sons NYC Tasting Menu
potato bavarois with hackleback caviar & vodka cream

As regulars of Momofuku Ko, we’ve had the tube of potato souffle with caviar amuse bouche more times than I can count, so this was very familiar in a way. Except that it was cold. The fluffy potato and cream were so texturally good with the burst of brine from the caviar and the crunch of the fingerling potato chips, but I sure wished they had been warm.

Colicchio and Sons NYC Tasting Menu
Barolo ‘Brunate-Cannubi’ Damilano Piedmont 2005

Colicchio and Sons NYC Tasting Menu
barolo spaghetti with coddled egg & guanciale

This take on carbonara was so rich and homey with its barely-cooked egg that spilled all over the plate and its smoky hunks of pig face. We unfortunately didn’t get any flavor of the barolo it was soaked in despite the barolo wine pairing for reference, but I still have no complaints about this dish thanks to its very al dente pasta and that sprinkling of chives and cheese.

Colicchio and Sons NYC Tasting Menu
Pouilly-Fuissé Nicolas Maillet Burgundy 2010

Colicchio and Sons NYC Tasting Menu
roasted scallop with hearts of palm & blood orange

A really well-composed dish where every forkful revealed more and more interesting components. The blood orange reduction was SO SWEET to complement the natural sweetness of the well-seared scallop but was balanced by the spicy sliver of jalapeno. The salty slices of heart of palm on top added seasoning that the scallop needed, as well. I’d come back for this.

Colicchio and Sons NYC Tasting Menu
Beaune-Greves 1er cru Tollot-Beaut Burgundy 2006

Colicchio and Sons NYC Tasting Menu
duck breast with wheat berries, farro & huckleberry jus

This was a dish rich in savory flavors and umami. The crisp edges of the oyster mushrooms mirrored the spicy crispy skin of the almost beefy duck. The springy chew of the plump farro and juicy, pliable huckleberries in their jus seemed made for each other.

Colicchio and Sons NYC Tasting Menu
Syrah ‘Walker Vine Hill’ Donelan Russian River Valley 2009

Colicchio and Sons NYC Tasting Menu
American wagyu with lardons, kabocha squash, salsify & tuscan kale

So tender! And that stiff sear! The kale underneath was made memorable by the salty rock-hard slabs of pork lardon, but the salsify and kabocha were just okay.

Colicchio and Sons NYC Tasting Menu
Riesling ‘Ürziger Würzgarten’ Spatlese Cristoffel Mosel 2010

Colicchio and Sons NYC Tasting Menu
Époisses crème brûlée with huckleberry & pecan-fennel shortbread

This dish was the entire reason we made our Colicchio & Sons reservation. A few years ago, our friend Anthony introduced us to Époisses de Bourgogne cheese, and it quickly became our go-to for stinky creamy washed-rind goodness. This creme brulee did absolutely nothing to mask the pungent flavor of the cheese and instead made this a true cheese course with mostly savory flavors and then just an inkling of sweetness from the layer of caramelized sugar topping and the sticky pecan crumble on the fennel-rich shortbread pieces. This was better than a normal creme brulee, though, because as soon as you took a spoonful of the creme, the huckleberry puree underneath filled the bottom of the vessel.

We liked this so much that we were taken back to the kitchen to tell pastry chef Stephen Collucci to his face. But even more than the creme brulee, we loved the dessert that was still to come.

Colicchio and Sons NYC Tasting Menu

Colicchio and Sons NYC Tasting Menu
Coteaux du Layon, Moulin-Touchais Loire Valley 1992

(Very nice but not quite sweet enough for the dessert it was paired with.)

Colicchio and Sons NYC Tasting Menu
brown sugar cake, pineapple, macadamia nut & milk chocolate ice cream

I’m usually impressed by the skill behind fancy desserts but don’t usually gape and gasp at them. Not because I don’t love dessert but because I love dessert too much, and no one ever gives me the big sugary gloopy gloppy affair I’m looking for. But this. Dessert. Was. AWESOME. My boyfriend said it reminded him of a Christmas ham with its pineapple and cherry flavors, but the point of the dish was the brown sugar cake, which actually had a sugar center so buttery that it was making the cake translucent from the inside. It was the texture of heavily syrup-soaked pancakes. The sticky cherry sauce, extra-sweet crispy-chewy pineapple shards, and milk chocolate ice cream were just the cherries on top. So to speak.

Colicchio and Sons NYC Tasting Menu
nougat, passion fruit pate de fruits, lavender-lemon biscotti

I gave my boyfriend the bigger pate de fruits, because that’s how love works. Also because he pays for dinner.

Rating One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarBlank Star

Colicchio and Sons NYC Tasting Menu
the wine room

There are two ways of thinking about Colicchio & Sons:

1) It doesn’t have to be as good as it is. It’s owned by Tom Colicchio, so it’s automatically going to be packed. It’s in the Meatpacking District, so it’s automatically going to be packed. It’s dark and romantic and has a separate Tap Room full of cheaper options, so it’s automatically going to be packed. And yet the restaurant never acts like you need it more than it needs you. All of the employees seemed flat-out excited to be there the night we dined, and our server might have been embroiled in a full-on love affair with most of the dishes from the way he described them. Every plate was really good and some were really excellent.

2) It’s price is on par with some of the better tasting menus in town–Momofuku Ko, Atera, Le Bernardin, wd~50, Torrisi–but the level of creativity isn’t quite there. The soundtrack sometimes ventured into 80s glam, and the decor is more cigar bar than sleek. It’s not quite refined, not quite boundary-pushing.

That said, the food at Colicchio & Sons is nothing short of delicious, and the familiarity will actually be a boon to those who love the idea of a tasting menu but don’t want course after course of unpronounceable ingredients. They’ll still have a little uni and puffed rice forced on them, though, and that’s a good thing.

Colicchio & Sons
85 Tenth Avenue
New York, NY 10011 (map)


12 Responses  
  • Erin writes:
    March 5th, 20133:06 pmat

    Um, fabulous! I didn’t know you blogged here, too! There’s little I love more than photos of food. I’ve been to Craftsteak in Vegas a couple times and it really is some of the best food I’ve ever had. And some of the most expensive. And those rolls … I could just gorge for years.

    • donuts4dinner writes:
      March 7th, 201312:40 pmat

      I think of myself as such a whore to my other blogs and am evidently shamed to the point that I must end up not mentioning them at all. So, yay. Our Craftsteak closed down before I ever got there (WTH, Tom?), so I’m jealous. Glad to know the rolls cross state lines.

  • Ash writes:
    March 5th, 20136:28 pmat

    I’m not sure why, but despite all the other interesting sounding and fancy looking dishes I am most curious about the blob of potato with caviar in it. Though your description of that dessert made my heart skip a beat.

    • donuts4dinner writes:
      March 7th, 201312:51 pmat

      I mean, how can you not love a dish that’s served with teeny-tiny potato chips? And I love those flavors together. Just wish it had been warm!

  • caropal writes:
    March 5th, 20138:27 pmat

    First of all, I’m a little bitter, because I had NO IDEA that I WASN’T subscribed to this blog. I had been missing out on this for much too long!!

    Secondly, I want to eat the food you eat. I pretty much want to visit New York to see your gorgeous face, and to stuff myself with $10,000 worth of food and wine in a matter of days. (On someone else’s dime, of course. I wonder if David and I could get a joint sugar daddy… That we didn’t have to sleep with… I’ll get back to you about that.)

    • caropal writes:
      March 5th, 201311:32 pmat

      Okay, apparently this was a lie. Google Reader told me I wasn’t following you, so I re-followed you, which means you are now double-y showing up in my feed(? we’ll see).

      I’ve always loved you. I just feel that my comments of “I want to eat that with you” would get a bit old. I’ll try to come up with something more original, though. I promise!

      • donuts4dinner writes:
        March 7th, 201312:58 pmat

        You had put me in your “ignore unless Katie makes a big stink about it” folder in Google Reader, right? I don’t need originality! I just need to know you CARE! No, but really, your comments can’t help but have personality.

        You would make a lovely escort for an older gentleman who doesn’t want to dine alone but also doesn’t care for any bedroom shenanigans. Where are all the old men looking for a young couple to pretend to be his grandchildren for an evening at Eleven Madison Park?

  • facie writes:
    March 6th, 201310:35 amat

    That brown sugar cake, pineapple, macadamia nut & milk chocolate ice cream you consumed at Colicchio & Sons, which I had never heard of prior to reading this and probably won’t visit (who knows when I will get back to NYC; it has been about 30 years), really does look awesomely delicious. Oh, and the duck breast with wheat berries, farro & huckleberry jus and cauliflower salad, uni vinaigrette, puffed rice and pretty much everything else looks divine.

    I just had some Scooby Doo cereal by the way. Tough to beat that but this food just may have.

    • donuts4dinner writes:
      March 7th, 20131:03 pmat

      30 years?! Aren’t you in Pittsburgh? Flights from there are, like, $100! I would kill to move my family to Pittsburgh from Ohio so I don’t have to pay $400 every time I want to see them. Of course, hotels here are $400 a night, so . . .

      I wasn’t even aware of this Scooby Doo cereal. Your culinary adventures are many and varied.

  • Jessica R. writes:
    March 6th, 20131:27 pmat

    I think I’ve told you about my first uni experience, but I was so surprised by how it tasted and how good it is. This place looks like a lot of fun and I actually like the interior design.

    I can’t, however, get over the fact that those noodles in the barolo spaghetti look like worms.

  • spilledinkguy writes:
    March 7th, 201310:26 amat

    Let’s see the point-and-shoot photos the publisher of that NPR article ‘creates’.
    Then we’ll talk.

  • Kim writes:
    March 7th, 20132:30 pmat

    I have always thought creme brulee is sooooo stupid, but that one intrigues even me.

    It’s no old salad, though, I’ll bet.


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