Saturday, March 7, 2009

One if by Land, Two if by Sea

Yesterday was our 5 year anniversary, and we made reservations via Open Table at what was rated one of the most romantic restaurants in Manhattan, One if by Land, Two if by Sea.

While I was drying my hair and trying to get it to do something reasonable, Rick came home early with a little brown bag - like those used at Bloomingdales. After a welcome home hug and kiss, I opened the bag, and the box inside, and found the most beautiful grey pearls - an opera length strand and matching studs. I felt pretty confident these weren't Tahitian pearls - we are in no position for gifts that grand while we are in the midst of purchasing the co-op, but they have this gorgeous patina, and the presentation was top notch. Rick explained to me later in the evening that they were man made pearls, so the patina will be richer the more that I wear them. It was a grand surprise - I had been considering buying grey costume pearls, and now I won't need to :)

We dressed to go to the restaurant, and left about an hour before our reservation as it was in Greenwich Village, and Friday night traffic can be nasty. We hailed a cab outside our building, and must have tried to explain the location 6 times in the first 2 blocks. Once we got to the Greenwich Village area, the cabbie had to call his dispatch at least 6 more times before he was able to find the street. We decided to just walk at that point.

We got to the restaurant about 10 minutes late, and walked through the bar area to the M'aitre D. The bar area had numerous openings at 8:15 or so, and I was surprised by this. I thought it would be pretty much full up on a Friday night. We were escorted up stairs to a nice 4 top, and the extra place settings were swept away. Restaurant Week has now extended to Restaurant Winter, and the special menu is still available. We ordered the chef's tasting menu along with the wine tasting pairings as it was a celebration night, and tasting many small things is more fun that having 3 more substantial items.

We started with an amuse bouche - it was a citrus jelly with a sweet syrup and topped with cilantro sprouts. I didn't care for the texture - it wasn't quite jello, and this bothered me, kind of like a Halloween spoof. The flavor was unique - the citrus was nice, and not overly sweet, and there was a crunch like coconut that released a second layer of flavor and then the cilantro rolled over your tongue at the end, acting like a spice rather than an herb. It was quite a flavor explosion.

Next came a pan seared scallop, with a dot of foie gras on top. The fish was very fresh and sweet and the foie gras added a richness. On the plate was an artful smear of sunchoke puree - it was sweet and looked like a sabayon cream. And a small group of diced turnips were mild, and added a nice texture. The Prosecco served with it was very light and dry. It was my favorite of all the wines we tasted.

Next was a foie gras slice served with pear puree and a chocolate swirl on the plate. We first tasted the Reisling that was served, and Rick loved this wine. He thought it would be nice on a summer day all by itself. It was too sweet for my taste alone, but it lighted up considerably when paired with the foie gras. The foie gras coated your mouth with richness and flavor, and the pear added a very slight touch of sweet - different than the wine - to the savory of the foie gras.

Next was pan seared red snapper, and I believe it was served with a California Savignon Blanc. I was so thankful they didn't pair it with a Chardonnay - I really dislike Chardonnay. The fish was crispy and coated with what must have been potato shreds (now that I look back on the menu). I saw that the skin was still attached, and there was no way to remove it. I was a little concerned since Rick is pretty much anti-fish, but the skin was crispy and rich, and extremely fresh. With the coating, Rick looked at it as a fish stick, which he happily ate. To me, California whites are usually too powerful and too sweet, but with this rich fish, this wine was delightful.

Next was a Beef Wellington, served with a French red made of 4 different grape varietals I can no longer remember. This was an unfortunate course. I would have ordered this as my entree if we had not done the chef's tasting, and I would have been very disappointed. It was very salty with a strange aftertaste, and the wine served didn't stand up to it at all. The puff pastry was heavy and I left it on my plate. The roasted brussel sprouts served with it were very good, and Rick let me know that I over roast mine. So, note to self, be kinder to the sprouts :)

Next was a palate cleanser - the Pomegranite Granita with the blood orange gelato and pine nuts. I loved the combination of the sweet creamy gelato and the tangy icy granita.

The dessert course was beautiful - it was the Guava Rose Panna Cotta - on one side a small cup of the creamy panna cotta sitting in a guava sauce and topped with a champagne gelee, and on the other a stacking of meringue logs topped with a tiny spoonful of mango sorbet. In the center was a lit birthday candle and written on the plate in chocolate it said "Happy Anniversary". It was a very sweet surprise. The sorbet was bursting with fruit and my favorite part. Rick like the meringues the best. A dessert wine was served, and I just don't care for them, so the server was kind to bring me another taste of the prosecco we started with.

After the desserts were swept away, another plate of tiny tastes was presented - less than a teaspoon each - a lemon shortbread, a chocolate walnut brownie, a prickly pear jelly candy, and nut brittle with dried cranberries. Yes, we tasted all these too. Delicious!

The night was very romantic and it was lots of fun to get dressed up and celebrate something very important to us. During the day I heard from Ann and Kathy and they reminisced about how much fun we had at the wedding. Now we have nice memories of our 5 year anniversary, too.