#63 Ai Fiori
This large, buttery Nova Scotia lobster tail had been perfectly poached. Tender, fragrant lobster meat placed next to with thinly sheared spring asparagus and luxurious, earthy morels. Served with a refined Château Chalon sauce, a white wine-based sauce that draws its name from the wines produced in a small part of France’s Jura region. Garnished with a small sprig of parsley, this decadent dish was artfully done.
Raviolo di uovo $36
Two home-made egg-yolk ravioli stuffed with a generous amount of dense, creamy ricotta cheese and robust nettles, which brought a robust, earthy flavor to the delicate pasta. Covered with thinly sliced morels in a rich, nutty sauce.
Trofie nero $36
An Ai Fiori classic with a twist (in both senses). The black home-made pasta is rolled by hand into short curly strands. Served al dente, this large portion of pasta was covered with a Lingurian crustacean ragu (originating from a coastal region in north-western Italy). Peppered with tender scallop, cuttlefish and garnished with spiced mollica - crunchy Italian breadcrumbs.
Torta di olio $14
Beautifully presented, this intricate desert was a synthesis of mild, almost savory olive oil cake, surrounded by a medley of summer fruits. The delicate, spongy cake had wonderful, Mediterranean olive oil accents. On top was a perfectly piped cream, brilliantly brûléed to add ample caramel colors. The pastry chef added candied strawberries, crumbled pine nuts and creamy rosemary yogurt gelato to bring balance.
Crostata di cioccolato $14
An intense, velvety gianduja chocolate mousse. As I learnt, gianduja is a sweet, hazelnut infused chocolate that’s very popular in Italy. These deliciously dark flavors were contrasted with savory cherry and a rich port sauce. Chunks of violet jelly were a subtle addition to the dish, while the authentic vanilla gelato offered a much appreciated hit of luxurious cream. Garnished with small gold flakes for an extra something special.
While the atmosphere might be a bit corporate, Chef Michael White’s has crafted an excellent menu. The assortment of carefully considered pastas are paired with a wonderful selection of seafood. There’s an elegant selection of meat and fish for your main course and, as you can see, the desserts are impeccable. I’m hugely impressed with Chef Truitt’s accomplished work as executive pastry chef. Like Marea, Ai Fiori isn’t cheap but it does offer a rather exquisite meal.
400 5th Ave.