Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Happily, NYC restaurant week was extended to Labor Day, so we took this opportunity to try out Tocqueville. The restaurant has been on my birthday celebration wish list, but we never got around to it. The restaurant has a very high ceiling (with a private box upstairs) but the dimmed lights and dark curtains made it feel cozy. Due to the "romantic" lighting in the restaurant, you'll have to excuse me for the poor photos in this post.

Tocqueville specializes in using local produce from the farmers market and creates a tasting menu based on what's fresh using French cooking techniques. Overall, I thought it was a fine dining experience, but the portions were what most people would consider to be "French." I overloaded on their delicious rosemary ciabatta just to get full...three of them to be precise. That aside, everything was well executed.

For starters, I had their Asparagus Vichyssoise, a cold soup. It was surprisingly creamy, but had no cream in it at all. The soup didn't hit me over the head with a wow, but it was nice. I thought their Tomatoes in Consomme was so much better. The delicate tomatoes were paired with crunchy slices of radish. The consomme was tangy and tasty, without drowning out the flavors of the tomatoes.

Then came my Striped Bass with Succotash and Huitlacoche Timbale. I'm not a big fan of succotash, but I liked it...the corn was so sweet and fresh. The fish was perfectly seared, but too flaky for my taste - I'm a fan of big fatty fishes. As for the Huitlacoche Timbale, I had no clue what I was eating until I did some research at home after the meal. To me, the huitlacoche tasted like mushroom and cheese, and I guess I was pretty close because huitlacoche is corn smut, which is a kind of fungus that grows on corn. I've seen it on TV before, and it basically looked like rotten corn. It's actually a delicacy in Mexico. I thought the Huitlacoche Timbale was strange but wonderful...the timabale was like a warm, rich pudding with a slightly crunchy exterior. I'm glad I had the chance to try huitlacoche.

And lastly, dessert. I had the Frozen Strawberry Souffle. It was basically strawberry mousse. It was good, but just not my type of dessert. I was expecting souffle rather than mousse.

All in all, Tocqueville is a lovely restaurant for special occasions if you're looking for classic fare with fresh ingredients and small twists. It was like the delightful Elderflower Grapefruit Caipirinha I had at the restaurant - something traditional (in this case, Brazilian) with a memorable (and fragrant) flare.

No comments: