Saturday, July 26, 2014

Modern Venetian Cuisine? A'llonda Makes It Work

Restauranteur Chris Cannon & Chef Chris Jaeckle have recently come together to create All’onda, a modern Venetian inspired restaurant located near Manhattan’s lively Union Square. Chef Chris Jaeckle’s resume reads like a list of best and most coveted restaurants in NYC. Eleven Madison Park, Morimoto and Chef Michael White’s Ai Fiori just to name a few. As a huge Michael White fan I knew All’onda was a must try. I mean, Chris Jaeckle was Ai Fiori’s Chef de Cuisine when they were awarded a 3 star review from the New York Times. Not too shabby right? I arrived at All’onda expecting amazing food and off-the-charts pasta. 

The bi-level space is lovely, very woodsy and rustic. Ryan and I grabbed a drink at the bar while we waited on our friends. It just so happened one of our buddies loves food as much, maybe even more (if that’s possible) than I do so please don’t be appalled by the following list. We proceeded to consume...

To start-
The Arancini: Fantastic start to the meal. Fried to perfection with hints of black truffle and parmesan. 
The Stracciatella: If I see fresh mozzarella, burrata or stracciatella on a menu, I’m ordering it. The cheese itself was so fresh and creamy. The dish was topped with a nice heavy drizzle of olive oil and served with toasted bread. 
Hamachi Crudi AND Tuna Crudi-Again, insanely fresh ingredients. Both light and flavorful. 

The Garganelli: I had heard a lot of good things about this dish and it was very good. The pasta (like all of the pastas we enjoyed) was cooked to perfection with a wonderful bite and chew. The citrus and tarragon complemented the crab nicely in the sauce.

The Cavatelli: I actually wasn’t expecting to love this pasta as much as I did. It’s very simple but tasted like summer due to the ricotta, fresh tomato and basil. Wonderful.

Lumache: If the cavatelli was summer, this pasta dish is winter. Very rich and flavorful with an abundance of tender duck and hints of chocolate in the ragu.  

Main Course-(Entrees)
The Porchetta: This was our least favorite dish. The meat was cooked well and had that nice salty bite one would expect but the exterior skin was very tough. We knew it would be crispy but it was so much so we were hardly able to eat it. No worries, we of course ate around it.

The Short Rib for Two: This dish is a signature and has received well deserved, rave reviews.

Dessert-(Yes, we had room for dessert. Don’t judge us.)
The Olive Oil Cake: Outstanding. Not too rich or sweet. Nice crunchy texture and just the right amount of oil. This was my favorite out of our two desserts.

Hazelnut Mouse: This was yummy but very basic. Next time I’ll just get another order of The Olive Oil Cake. ;-)

Little balls of Italian joy otherwise known as Arancini with black truffle and parmesan. 
Just delightful.

Stracciatella. One of my all time favorite cheeses with toasted bread. 
Do yourself a favor and order this.

A light and refreshing Hamachi Crudi. A nice compliment to our "heavier" apps.

I was surprised this dish received sub par reviews in the NYT. I found the Lumache with aged duck ragu and chocolate to be one of the highlights. The sauce was flavorful, duck plentiful and the chocolate was a heavenly touch, very mild but added just the right amount of warmth to the dish. 
Ie. Winter 

Their signature Short Rib for Two. The texture was almost like a brisket with a smokey char on the outside and tender, pink meat on the inside. The Short Rib itself was spectacular. I wasn't a huge fan of the tomato risotto base (on their current menu it’s now a saffron risotto)
 but the dish is definitely a must try.

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