My steak-eating crew and I came in here and tried 16 different items, so there’s no time for bullshitting. I will just get right down to it.
Dry-Aged Beef Tartare (bar menu)
This was damn good. Not as beautiful as Vaucluse, but it had a different flavor profile (Italian) that worked just as well as the classic French style.
Fried Soft-Shell Crab
So delicious. The zucchini puree underneath was a great Italian play for the sauce element, and the whipped ricotta just made it soar.
The radish, white bean and salsa verde made the perfectly tender and grilled octopus shine with a bright pop of acidity.
This had stracciatella, pesto and watermelon. Very refreshing.
This sounded amazing but it fell a little short. It was by no means a bad dish. It was just not as stellar as the other entrees. Of course I would prefer this over the tomato salad from the appetizer courses. Duh. I just didn’t get a lot of robust flavors.
Spaghetti with Blue Crab & Bottarga
Winner. This was so delicious. Every aspect of it popped, and the robustness was there, while still preserving the delicate flavors of the crab meat.
What made this really special was the corn pudding and toasted corn on the plate. I could eat buckets.
White Label Burger (bar menu)
My favorite of all the Michael White burgers. This one has Calabrian aioli and pickles on it, along with fontina, tomato and red onion. The blend is dry-aged Pat LaFrieda, just like the other White Label burgers as well. What’s really awesome here at Ai Fiori is the potato side that comes with it: pommes dauphines. I didn’t get a good shot, but they are basically breaded and deep fried balls of mashed potato. Again, buckets are needed!
Butter Poached Lobster
Insanity. One of the best lobster dishes I’ve ever had. So tender and flavorful, and it’s a really meaty lobster tail portion size with some sliced claw meat along the side.
These were wrapped in caul fat and crusted/glazed very nicely. The snap peas were a nice refreshing touch here to cut the fat, and I liked the use of barley in this dish. One of my favorite grains to eat when done right.
Tomahawk Steak (Costata)
This was an easy 10/10. Michael White’s large format steaks are just amazing at every one of his restaurants. While pretty much identical to the steaks available at Vaucluse and Osteria Morini, there is something to be said about the consistency of these steaks. Every time I visit, they are just as good, and they are all good at every restaurant. These are definitely signature items, and they are 100% worth ordering.
The charred lemon is killer! The rest of the meal was sides and desserts, which were all great but I won’t really dive to deep. My favorite dessert was the chocolate budino. There was some banana incorporated into that. Delicious.
I highly recommend both the burger and the tomahawk here. To start, split a pasta and a burger. Then hit the tomahawk for your entree, and get some extra pommes dauphines for the road!
400 5th Ave #2
New York, NY 10018