It’s not common to come by Nordic cuisine in New York City, yet the select few restaurants that highlight this cuisine do so with pure class. One of which known as Aquavit, currently holds two Michelin stars and for good reason. Since 2005, it’s new location in Park Avenue Tower has made way for an entirely elevated experience for all senses led by executive chef Emma Bengtsson.
In true Scandinavian fashion, the restaurant’s interior is a classic example of clean and simple design that is characteristic of the native aesthetic. A relaxing atmosphere is achieved with this design philosophy, plus the help of the polite staff does wonders to add to the experience. The addition of a back glass wall gives diners a peak into the kitchen where the inventive cuisine is prepared. While Aquavit may not feature traditional Scandinavian dishes, the menu is thoroughly inspired by the region and it’s cooking styles. Nordic dishes typically include natural ingredients that come from the wild or the sea, which holds true throughout the constantly updated menu at Aquavit.
Each dish tells a story, from the preparation and presentation to the textures and flavors. As a starter, you may be delightfully surprised with a smoked halibut croquette topped with gooseberry, which is served atop smooth stones in a small circular wooden bowl. The crispy croquette exterior holds it’s shape with steamy halibut inside complemented by the berry topping. On a less structured note, the fresh scallop crudo appetizer is artfully plated amongst thin slices of honey crisp apple, cucumber, and buckwheat for added texture. The dish is not overbearing, and again shows that nordic influence of natural ingredients paired together.
Continuing on a seafood theme, the first part of the Chef’s Seasonal Tasting – the Lobster Bisque – was a perfect portion of buttery lobster in a shellfish bisque with fennel and leek. Although we could go for a second serving because of how delicious it was, we were better off holding out for the rest of the tasting courses. When we mentioned inventive, you probably weren’t imagining this next one. With Foie Gras as the headline, sliced figs, almond, and sour cream are drizzled with the freeze dried and shaved delicacy. Even the dish plating right before your eyes is a memorable experience, not to mention the tasteful combination. Paired with one of Aquavit’s signature cocktails, you’re bound to be in ultimate food elatement.
In lieu of Aquavit dining currently on pause, now you can enjoy a Michelin starred meal from Aquavit at home. As part of a special New Year’s Eve offering, Aquavit has curated a one-of-a-kind five course tasting menu. Celebrate the start of 2021 with a meal including Caviar, Scallop, Lobster and Wagyu. At $395 for two people, kits can be ordered directly via the Aquavit website here.
If your New Years plans are all set, make sure you save this post and follow Aquavit on IG @aquavitnyc so you won’t forget to book your Aquavit dining experience when the restaurant reopens per NYC dining regulations.