Dispatch from Aquavit

11 Feb


It was a quiet rainy Saturday evening when my husband and I made our way uptown to midtown’s Aquavit for NY’s Restaurant week. When we pulled up to the address in our taxi, I thought we had the wrong place. From the outside, the building was nondescript. But we quickly saw the sign for Aquavit and made our way inside.

the lounge area

If you love modernist Swedish architecture and design, Aquavit is your dream. It was all warm woods, capiz chandeliers, and ergonomic seating when we made our way inside. We hadn’t made reservations so we ordered food from the bar/lounge area, which was a much more pleasant experience than in most restaurants. The lighting was soft and golden as we ordered cocktails from the bar- my husband had a Madison Avenue( deep and heavy with makers mark bourbon, fig & cardamom aquavit, lingonberry syrup, brandy soaked cherries) and I had a light sparkly White Star (a blend of muddled green apple, elderflower syrup, red apple aquavit, topped with champagne, served over ice).

top shelf bar

Since it was Restaurant Week, we went to the Bistro for the $35 3-course meal and sat in the softly lit bar/lounge area since we hadn’t made a reservation (you really should book in advance). We noticed right away three huge decorative jars along the lounge filled with different colored liquids, and guessed correctly that this was where they fermented their homemade aquavit. We both had the delicious hot smoked goat cheese salad as an appetizer, and then GB ordered the mackerel while I had the Berkshire pork belly; which was deceptively a small dish. Believe me, we were both full when we finished our meal and my husband eats a LOT more than I do.

me at the bar sampling the elderflower aquavit

We finished off our meal with orders of the Arctic Circle, a goat cheese parfait with lingonberry “vargtass” sorbet and salted pistachios, and the Hazelnut praline terrine with apple compote and hazelnut sherbet.

Last but not least, I loved the service at Aquavit- attentive yet unobtrusive at the same time. Even though we were at the bar we never felt shortchanged and they gave us free “shots” of flavored aquavits as well.

So all in all, I was happy getting a little bit of Scandinavia in Midtown and would do it again- especially the bistro where the prices are a little more down to earth. Take someone special to the dining room for a special occasion.



Aquavit Restaurant
65 East 55th Street
New York, NY 10022
Prix Fixe Bistro dinner: 3 courses for $35 pp


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