I have been reading around the Interwebs recently and thought about where I can get lunch, I ended up reserving a seat at SHO Shaun Hergatt on Friday. I know it’s quite a distance from where I work and frankly, I don’t eat around the Financial District since I get lost in that neighborhood and there aren’t that many notable restaurants. But I have read good (and a few mixed) reviews on this restaurant, I thought I might as well try to quench that curiosity and try out their food.
After checking in with the hostess and walking over to my table, I was greeted with walls of glittering wine bottles, reminding me of the late 1990s, early 2000s before the financial sector tanked. The dining room was painted in deep red and accented with Asian touches. I feel like I’m transported somewhere else but uncertain as to where exactly.
I ended up getting a seat near the open kitchen. (Not exactly open when it’s closed off with a glass wall.) Where I watched the sous and line cooks plated, while Executive Chef Shaun Sergatt watched and sometimes assisted plating dishes.
After ordering from the prix fixe menu (it’s $30 for three courses), I was presented with the bread tray consisted of olive oil rolls, demi baguettes, ciabatta, multigrain rolls. I ended up with the olive roll; warm and crisp crust with good crumb, studded with a few olive bits. Not bad. The spreads for the bread were unsalted butter and potato spread. The latter was interesting since it tasted like there’s curry in it.
The capaccio of hiramasa, admittedly was a fish I never tried before. Plated with micro cilantro, dotted with chive cream and trout roe, and drizzled with cilantro oil this was a light, refreshing appetizer. This Australian kingfish was firm, delicately sweet, moderately fatty, and a bit musky (I think it’s lined with truffle powder?). It’s quite good.
The sea scallops were seared and set on a bed of baby brussels sprouts, potato purée and truffle chicken jus. When you get a bite, it’s a mixture of sweetness, minutely bitter, musky and salty. I wished the jus was a bit more bracing either in salt or acidity to emphasize the scallops’ sweetness but this was very good.
Closing up with dessert, I had the Chocolate and Jasmine Inspiration served along with some petit fours of coffee macarons and milk chocolate mendiants.
The Inspiration was sort of like a chocolate tart that was lined with a thin, moist chocolate cake, filled with chocolate jasmine cream, surrounded in a crisp chocolate hazelnut ring, topped with a deceitful milk chocolate sorbet. I said deceitful because I would have thought this was ice cream. This dessert was amazing in terms of texture and balanced between the jasmine and chocolate. I almost forgot to mention, the pomelo confit was dotted along the dessert, reinforcing the floral nuance of the jasmine. This was my favorite dish of the entire meal.
As for the macarons, they were too chewy and not enough filling even though they did have great flavor. The chocolate mendiants were good.
This is not the restaurant where you would find seasonal items or locally raised produce but it’s very well executed food but it’s reasonably priced for a restaurant of this caliber (comparable to Eleven Madison Park or Picholine; dinner here is $69 for 3-courses) and the service was attentive and cordial.