Lunch at TocquevilleTaken place on July 23, 2009.
I’ve went to Tocqueville toward what’s supposedly the last few days of Restaurant Week. The thing to know is, Tocqueville has a year-round prix fixe for the same price. I went there just because it’s close to where a friend of mine works (I wanted to say “hi” to him.), I wanted to try a certain dish that’s available a la carte, and I haven’t been to this restaurant after it moved from its previous location over two years ago.
The small yet elegant dining room was occupied by a few gentlemen behind me, sitting in the center where the plush banquettes were located with Spanish acoustic music playing moderately loud.
During bread service, the waiter told me three options available – brioche, rosemary cheese stick, and a white roll. I’ve opted for the brioche, found it a bit too dense and eggy, and the rosemary cheese stick which I truly liked a lot from its sharp, cheese flavor (that melted and created a lovely crust) with rosemary studded throughout the bread stick with sea salt flakes heightened the flavors. All bread were served warm but my little issue was the butter, that’s a bit too cold to be spreadable against the pillow-y brioche. The gougeres were served a bit later. Warm, airy but not as cheesy as the bread stick.
The creamless purée asparagus vichyssoise was creamy and thick yet light. The asparagus flavor was mildly earthy and vegetal. Quite good.
For something from the a la carte menu, I ordered the California sea urchin with angel hair cabonara. What prompted me to order this dish was my love for uni (one of the few things I love that isn’t a sweet or dessert) and Ulterior Epicure’s drool-inducing comment of this dish when he ate there several months ago.
If you do compare between my dish and his, it’s slightly different and obviously isn’t as remarkable as his experience, unfortunately. The portions of uni tongue was generous and the sauce isn’t too heavy with cream or butter. But I do wish I had the lime’s tartness that would bring out the sweetness of the uni. The dish was good but of course, it can be better.
Moving back to the prix fixe route, the flat iron steak with tomato hyssop marmalade, confit potatoes and mixed greens was cooked to perfection (rare to medium-rare). The beef was tender, juicy and the cut was flavorful. The tomato marmalade added some sweet tartness to the earthy beef and the vegetable accompaniments provided me some fiber that my body probably needed.
Finally, dessert was a strawberry soufflé with strawberries and blueberries (from Berried Treasures). The soufflé barely tasted like strawberries and it’s dense like a semifreddo rather than something light and airy. Arguably, this was the least liked dish from this lunch.
1 East 15th Street (off of 5th Avenue)
New York, NY 10003 (map)