Posted by: guythinks | November 22, 2009

A.O.C.

This is one of those restaurants that I have been wanting to dine at for quite some time. I finally had the opportunity this past Friday night. We were seated immediately at a nice table for two on the bottom floor of the restaurant. The design of the restaurant is really modern and chic. The restaurant was well lit which is something I really liked because usually you go and it’s really dark inside. A.O.C. is largely known for their wine selection and their small plates. The portions are small, but not as small as a tapas bar.

As soon as we sat down we were served a basket of bread with a tapenade and asked if we wanted still, sparkling, or tap water. I also ordered a glass of their Riesling, which if any of you know me is not something I ordinarily do. Drink wine that is. However, I am trying to open my mind up to wines because I believe I am missing out on a lot, especially when it comes to pairing wine with food. Turns out that Riesling was really good.

For our first dish, we ordered Young Broccoli with garlic and chili. The broccoli was cooked really well and the garlic and chili gave it a really nice kick. It wasn’t really spicy but it definitely had some heat. The portion was a bit small for the price but it’s what you expect from dining at a place like this.

For our second plate we had the brioche with prosciutto, gruyère and egg. This was probably my favorite dish of the night. I could have eaten the whole thing, but that would have been rude. The brioche was nice and warm fresh out of the oven with the melted gruyère. Then they top it with prosciutto and a fried egg and serve it wit some greens. The egg was cooked really well, the yolk was runny but not too runny. This really would make a great breakfast. Each part of the dish tasted great on its own, but when combined it was a really great mix of flavors.

For our third and fourth plates we had the arroz negro with squid and saffron aïoli and the scallops, sunchokes, pancetta and truffle butter. We got so caught up with the arroz negro that I forgot to photograph the second dish. To be honest, this was the most visually unappealing dish I have ever eaten. I mean really, if you saw this, would you wanna eat it? Well, I did and it actually wasn’t even half has bad as it looked. It was actually pretty decent. The rice is black because they use squid ink. It gives the dish a little tanginess. I am not sure I would order this a second time but I definitely wanted to give it a try. As for the Scallops, that dish was also just alright. I didn’t think it was anything out of this world. Maybe thats another reason I didn’t get a picture of it.

The duck confit and shell bean stew with ham hock was another of our favorites that night. It was cooked and seasoned really well, served hot in an iron skillet. The shell bean strew consisted of a couple different beans, carrots, and brussel sprouts. The duck had lots of flavor and was really tender. This was a rebound after the past two dishes.

One of our desserts was the banana choux à la crème with toffee and bittersweet chocolate. I really enjoyed this dessert. I think it speaks for itself, but if you have a sweet tooth this really will satisfy it.

Our second dessert was the warm pink lady apple crostata with caramel and vanilla ice cream. Is this something you can probably get at any ordinary restaurant, yes. But the quality of ingredients and the skill that went into making the crostata and the home made ice cream is something you can’t get. The homey flavors of apples and cinnamon all baked together and served warm was a really nice way to finish the meal.

Overall I think this restaurant has a lot of great possibilities but the dishes from that night seemed to be hit or miss. There was nothing I ate that I was not happy with but some of the things were just ok. When comparing A.O.C. to Suzanne Goin’s other restaurant Lucques, I would have to go with the latter. There’s a reason she won a James Beard award in 2006 for it.

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Responses

  1. YUm! I wanna try the duck confit and banana choux!


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