New York I love you…

This past Friday was my 10-year anniversary in New York. Most people say that you’re officially a New Yorker when you hit that point. I’m sure native New Yorkers have never said that.

When I first moved here, it was 2003, the day after Valentine’s Day. All I knew about New York then was Twilo, the Limelight (pre-shopping center, post Party Monster), Times Square, Union Square, and Yakitori Taisho. I ate at Republic and Chat n Chew a lot. I lived on 9th Avenue right across from B & H, and above the Cheyenne Diner (RIP). It was a weird middle-neighborhood, in between Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea. A few blocks south and I had boutiques and XXX DVD stores. A few blocks north, I had Manganaro’s and a few vegetable markets. And crackheads.

After that first year I moved into Brooklyn and I haven’t looked back since. To celebrate V Day, 10 years, and us, Ryan and I had dinner at Aska on Sunday night. The deal here is 6 courses for $65, with an additional $40 for the wine pairing. I say wine pairing loosely, because though we did not get it (I was getting sick, and usually we end up wasted after finishing all that booze), we watched as surrounding tables got theirs. Sake, beer, and mini versions of cocktails were poured, as well as wine. Next time – it’s a must. I was trying to stave off my sick with a hot toddy. This is what we ate:

Snacks at Aska

1. Amuse: Molasses shortbread, smoked cheese, cured & grated fish roe
2. Snacks: fried shrimp heads with raw shrimp tails; pig blood chips topped with some sort of jam
3. Poached oysters, cucumber, rape seed
4. Beets, roasted onions, vegetable broth
5. Pig’s trotter with sunchokes, apple
6. Monkfish, monkfish liver, salsify; bay leaf broth
7. Raw scallop with scallop broth
8. Pork two ways, caramelized cream, mustard, rutabaga
9. Palate cleanser: Whey sorbet, lingonberries, oat chips
10. Cardamom ice cream, brown butter cream, hazelnuts

Everything was really excellent, my favorite course being the pork two ways. One piece was fatty and smoky, the other brined and almost like a corned beef. The caramelized cream is hard to describe, not as heavy as you’d think, and more like a creamy puree or pudding.

It’s a really nice dining experience because it’s a casual atmosphere, but the food and service are impeccable. Highly recommended.

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