Agern brings together a roster of tasting menus, one wholly vegetarian, to NYC’s midtown in Grand Central Station. I enjoyed celebrating my birthday here, then topped that with a nightcap at Raines Law Room, just a few blocks away. Read my review…
Who To Take: someone who loves a tasting menu of delicate things or a client to seal a deal
Artsy and architecturally interesting is yet another restaurant in NYC with Nordic influences. This one was opened by NOMA’s founder Claus Meyer and specializes in tasting menus. The Chef, Gunnar Gíslason, has compiled a menu mixed with flavors of his native Iceland along with local ingredients. There were a few quite unusual items included, like beef heart tartare and dill pollen. Even the cocktails had some uncommon additions—whey, wheat lager, and mead to name a few.
My friend Juliet had the VT Spritz made with vodka, Orleans Bitter, and a grapefruit dill shrub. It was light and refreshing. (seen in the photo at the top of this post) Mine was a rum cocktail with the addition of whey. Quite nice.
We did not opt for either of the tasting menus, but only came for a sampling, and the “Snacks” were the most enjoyable part of our meal. Three exquisite morsels appeared, almost too pretty to eat, but all were splendid.
We shared two other dishes from the a la carte section of the menu. First, a beautifully composed cauliflower came as a puree and was topped with black trumpet mushrooms, fresh greens and mustard seeds. An entire potful of creamy sauce was then added at the table.
Then we shared the scallops with rutabaga, chestnuts, and pine. Since we were planning to do a nightcap at Raines Law Room a few blocks away, we skipped dessert, but a lovely little birthday token did show up, along with a sign that I was greeted with when I sat down.
At Raines Law Room in midtown, we were lucky to get in, as the place is quite small. Located inside The William Hotel, a concierge will greet you at the door and determine if there is space, so reservations are recommended. We loved the embossed gold ceiling in the bar, and central oval table where you can position yourself for enjoying your cocktail. Preferred long-term seating in in the booths surrounded by rust-colored sheer curtains, creating a level of privacy. For my nightcap, I had the Brooklynite, a combination of rum, lime, honey, angostura bitters. Excellent.
Agern, 89 e 42nd St (located inside Grand Central, in the entrance off 42nd street/Vanderbilt, down the ramp); prices include tip, which is why they seem a little high even for a high-end spot like this
Raines Law Room, 24 E 39th St (btw Madison/Park Aves)