“Ai Fiori” directly translated from Italian means… “to the flowers…” which is exactly what you see when you walk into this restaurant…. “Located a short walk up The Setai Fifth Avenue lobby’s sweeping grand staircase to the second floor, Ai Fiori’s ambiance is elegant yet welcoming. The restaurant’s striking floral arrangements and décor will embrace you in warmth and refinement. Setai“
Z and I are and have been huge fans of Michael White…. while we still need to try Marea [who could resist Uni and Lardo on Crostini <3] Convivio has been at the top of our favorite go-to spots of pasta… now that Michael isn’t linked to Convivio anymore [sadness... wonder if it's still good?!] we need a replacement….. Ai Fiori with it’s French/Italian flair ”Franco-Italian gem“ completely fills that void!!! [we actually met Michael at SobeWFF'11 the next night!!!! And ate at his Dolce brunch at the Delano hotel the following day... BEST EVERRRRR!!!]
I had never been to the Setai Hotel before. It’s really pretty…. my cabbie was actually really funny he was so into telling me about my chinese astrology [he was Indian methinks] and even whipped out a book to read to me while driving. Mad funny. He was telling me who my future hubby was gonna be and compatibility and how my current relationship was. TOO FUNNY. Kinda freaky tho too…. he dropped me off two blocks away. I was just happy to get out…. still, a fun cab ride
“A winning defense of fine dining from the chef Michael White offers a soulful amalgamation of French technique and Italian passion” NYT
Above two pictures stolen from google search :]
Olive Bread and MultiGrain Bread
French and Olive Bread
Olive breads were good – I’m a sucker for olive bread anyways :D Always a good choice.. the multigrain just tasted super healthy… I like my multigrains with big chunks of seeds in it :] Good texture, it was pretty good nonetheless tho… [finer grains] and the French Bread was just…. french bread… after Blue Hill bread from Vday, though, other breads just can’t compare……. still dreaming about Maze bread tho….
Amuse Bouche — Parsnip Rosemary Soup
It was okay, but since we didn’t order it I didn’t mind not liking it. It was too much milk/cream for me. Kind of like thick thick frothy lukewarm cream with too much rosemary in it..
[sidenote: We ordered a delicious bottle of Spanish red - Bold & Spicy just the way we like it.... but forgot to take a pic, OOPS - I'm distracted by dinner date & good food ;D]
Mare e Monte
diver scallops, celery root, black truffles, bone marrow, thyme
Amazing. Simply amazing. I am coming back again for this. Perfectly cooked, thinly sliced scallops atop pureed celery root. The celery root was sooooo creamy and buttery… the scallops were sandwiched between black truffle slices and topped off with strips of bone marrow. OH EM GEE.Every bite made my heart skip a beat.
Crudo di Passera
line caught fluke, sea urchin, ligurian lemon oil, sturgeon caviar
Paper thin, super fresh.. the light pop of the caviar, light light AMAZING fruity citrusy evoo and the amazing crunch and “heaviness” to the light bite of the fried uni. OMG. So well pairing of flavors and textures. Very very delicious.
Since the Uovo [the poached egg] we wanted was OUT for the night we had our waitress pick a surprise app dish for us…. we were between too many dishes.. Foie? Squab? Sardines? Crab?
Unfortunately the one she picked was the one at the bottom of our list of to-eats….
poached wellfleet oysters, cucumber, sturgeon caviar, beurre blanc
The sauce overpowered the oyster… I wish it was either hot or cold but it was lukewarm… kind of weird… the caviar made it too fishy tasting so it just tasted like a goopy butter fishy thing. :T But I didn’t choose it and neither did Z sooooooooo we had no one to blame but the waitress hahaha jk :D She was a sweetheart and took it off the bill for us. I like my oysters raw or cooked in Taiwanese food… [oyster pancakes FTW]… the only time I ever liked poached oysters was last year at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon….
riso acquarello, parmigiano, black truffle, veal jus
Since Z and I share the same brain [he's a brain sucking eating stealer zombie] we’re both obsessed with squid ink pasta…. so NATURALLY we’d be getting it if it’s on the menu :D The bread crumbs were amazing and the pasta was so perfectly cooked. OMG it was so simple and delicate, yet bold and just BAM in your mouth as you chewed the black bits of heaven. In love <3
saffron gnocchi, crab, sea urchin
This is NOT your typical gnocchi. Not pillows of potato fluffs.. BUT the gnocchi was just sooooo tender, delicate and cooked PERFECT. It tasted of the sea… but in the most amazing way. Chunks of uni and sea urchin mixed in with every yummy bite. I wanted to lick the bowl clean.
butter poached nova scotia lobster, root vegetable fondant, chateau chalon sauce
New York Times on Foursquare told us to get poached lobster. One of the few and last times I got flavor-poached lobster it was meh too… not that this was bad, just didn’t taste like what it was poached in… per usual. Z and I are both New England babies at heart… Bostonians FTW, so we KNOW our lobster. And we know what we like. Nothing like a fresh steamed lobster. No gimmicks just tasty tasty lobster meat… THAT or sashimi <3 Anyways.. this lobster was cooked well…. the sauce was a bit on the salty side tho so I tried not to eat too much of it. I loved the baby balls of carrots and cippolinis.. :D It’s the little things in lief… hahaha
SO our original plan was to get the poached egg app [which came with sweetbreads] THEREFORE without sweetbreads overload, w were gonna opt for the beef cheeks. cuz, hey they’re beef cheeks… a bit iffy on the flavors… but I love cow :] And beef cheeks are sooooooo tender adn soft <3 ANYWAYS…
Plans changed. We ordered this insead… sounded yummier PLUS…. a delicious sweetbread sauce!!!
amish veal chop “au four”, sweetbread-choux farci, sauce perigueux
A tad bit over-salted and perhaps over-spiced but it was very delicious, cooked really well….. [extra rare] The little sauerkraut filled cabbage was kinda mehhhh tho. I didn’t like it at all :[ I ate so much of this. Thanks to Bobby I ADORE veal like no other now... nothing like eating a whole cow to change your mind about these things.... sorry PETA
C oulant di Cioccolato
warm chocolate sformato, lemon-honey, stracciatella gelato
As soon as I cut into it, the chocolate LITERALLY squirted out of it. LITERALLY SQUIRT SQUIRT <3 Warm, chocolatey and delicious. AND of course, Z knew I love stracciatella gelato [fav gelato flavor] so we HAD to get this :] Hahaha.. Z has such a good memory :]
orta di Olio
ligurian olive oil cake, ricotta, pear confit, port, gelato al caffé
I loved the coffee gelato it was really good… the cake itself wasn’t as fluffy or olive oily as I thought. No fruity evoo exuded from it :[ Sad. I was thinking a delicious olive tasting angel cake... it was also not moist enough. It was.... damp at best. But not moist.
AMAZINGLY MEMORABLE DELICIOUS DINNER
Great experience with great company... will definitely be up there in the top food memories :]
I love you Michael White, you never do me wrong – esp with your pasta <3