#55 Gordon Ramsey at the London
Spring nettle risotto with preserved ramps, fava beams, sweet crosnes and crispy sunchoke
A small portion of al-dente risotto served with seasonal nettle, green fava beans, sunchoke and crosnes, which is a type of artichoke. Mild and tasty with subtle spring flavors and relatively light.
Confit Hudson Valley foie gras with salted pistachio, poached capon and celery whipped Sauternes
A tasty pairing of cool and warm servings of rich foie. A roll of foie gras confit rubbed with trumpet mushroom and fennel seed was delicate and delicious. On the other side of the plate was a layer of thin tranches of luxurious poached capon on a sweet slice of pear to bring out the flavor. This warm, melt-in-your-mouth combination was delicious. All served with a light, fluffy Sauternes crème, with sweet, slightly floral notes to complement the dish. A competent and nuanced exploration of deep foie flavors.
Filet of turbot with rainbow Swiss chard, crosnes, baked oxtail and Champagne sauce
Elegantly plated filet of flaky turbot served on a bed of wilted Swiss chard. Once the dish arrived, our server elegantly poured a light Champagne sauce over the fish. This blended harmoniously with the turbot’s delicate flavors. The three parcels of sweet and sticky baked oxtail were gently breaded, crunchy on the outside but moist and tender on the inside. They were coated in a macadamia nut crust. While I enjoyed eating them (as an avid carnivore), these three components felt a bit incongruous with the dish, both in terms of flavor and texture.
Mediterranean sea bass with black olive crumble, roasted gnocchi, pepper consommé and sweet and sour aubergine
Two slices of sea bass served together with the skin. The bass had been lightly sautéed, which meant it a combination of nice, slightly crispy skin, followed by the buttery flavors of the fish itself. The sweet and sour aubergine was a pleasant addition to the dish and the tart, tomato-y flavors certainly seemed like an appropriate accompaniment to the Mediterranean sea bass. This was served on a fragrant bed of black olive crumble: small crumbs that yielded warm olive flavors, complimented by the simple pepper consommé. Unfortunately, the small bites of roasted gnocchi were a bit bland and rubbery and felt like an unnecessary addition to a reasonable and pleasant dish.
Apricot soufflé with lemon thyme ice cream
Undoubtedly a beautiful looking desert, this dish was, in the end, rather disappointing. We excitedly dug into the tall and perfectly browned soufflé but were surprised at how thick and stodgy it was. The apricot came through strong and heavy, along with an unpleasant eggy flavor. It felt closer to flan that soufflé so we barely ate barely half of it and left it at that. There was, however, a delicious (yet tiny) scoop of lemon and thyme ice cream. That was probably the best part of the desert.
Beurre noisette parfait
The smooth parfait had refreshing hints of lime. The sweet, crunchy pecan brittle added interesting textural balance to the smooth and sugar cake. This was served with slices of delicious and unusual preserved pear.
The dessert trolley
At the end, our server brought over a giant dessert trolley, brimming with candied strawberries, buttery chocolate truffles, more pecan brittle, mini macarons and other sweet delights. I contentedly went from shelf to shelf, picking one item after the next to add to our already overflowing plate. While tasty, it seemed that the desert team had chosen to cover everything but specialize in nothing. Plus, after asking our server, it turns out that very few of the items are made fresh daily. Given what we were expecting, this was a big disappointment.
Overall, we were disappointed with our meal at Gordon Ramsey. While good, the food certainly wasn’t remarkable. The chef stuck to traditional flavors and unimaginative combinations, often adding elements that didn’t really and even cluttered the dish. The space itself is somewhat sterile: covers for only 45 people spread across a rectangular, box-like room in muted cream tones. Plus, at $135 per person, it didn’t feel like particularly good value, especially given the portion sizes and relatively simple food. Of course, there is the requisite amuse bouche (two, actually) and a light scoop of sorbet to cleanse the palate before desert (tequila jelly and a special serving of mandarin for me, as I’m alcohol intolerant) but, even so, the price was certainly unjustified. If you’re in the neighborhood, my recommendation, head to the Modern. The food’s better and definitely more reasonable.
Note: Huge thanks to my generous dining companion (the self-proclaimed “desert prostitute”) for treating me to dinner. Your company alone made the meal!
151 W. 54th St.