NORDIC | MICHELIN **
At Aquavit, Sweden’s 500-year-old culinary tradition is given a refreshing and contemporary facelift. Helmed under the very capable hands of Emma Bengtsson, classical Nordic flavors are reimagined into modern creations.
Bengstsson's humble Swedish roots growing up in a small fishing town called Falkenberg is reflected from the start to the end of the meal. Her plates echo a sense of simplicity, paving the path for the bold Nordic flavors to take reign. Lingonberries, herring, and pine make the way into many plates under different preparations. These familiar flavors are juxtaposed with more daring plates, like the frozen foie gras and the incredibly inventive "Arctic Birds Nest" which features goats cheese "eggs" enveloping a sea buckthorn "yolk".
CRYSTAL CAVIAR | Elderflower, Broccoli
CROQUETTE | Lingonberry
PINE | Apple
BUTTERS | Brown Butter and Classic
VENISON | Truffles
Many preparations are modern renditions of classics. The venison tartare, nestled under a delicate tuile and sprinkled with powdery truffle shavings is a clever take on a meat pie. Every morsel screams truffle while allowing for the subtleties of the venison and crème fraîche to shine through. Pure, utter bliss.
NORWEGIAN KING CRAB | Flowering Dill
FOIE GRAS | Peach
Foie gras frozen using liquid nitrogen is showered over a plate of candied peaches, almond brittle, apricot leather, and a wonderfully sweet and tart yogurt foam. This dish is undoubtedly one of the standouts of the night, not only for the theatrics, but because the flavors, textures, and temperatures work so beautifully together.
SALTED HERRING | Brown Butter
HALIBUT | Yarrow
SWEETBREAD | Chanterelle
CHORIZO | Sauerkraut
7X WAGYU BEEF | Baby Carrot
Apricot | Lavender Ice Cream, Sheep's Milk Cheese
Lingonberry Kombucha | Lemon Thyme Oil
PINE | Dark Chocolate
ARCTIC BIRDS NEST | Goats Cheese, Sea-Buckthorn, Blueberry
Bengstsson's humble beginnings make a breathtaking appearance towards the end of the meal. The "Arctic Birds Nest" dessert, echos her closeness to Falkenberg, a city named after the Swedish words for falcon and mountain. The dish is incredibly inventive, with its goats cheese "eggs" enveloping a sea buckthorn "yolk", cradled atop a delicate honey tuile nest, blueberry sorbet, and chocolate twigs. Divine.
Just when it seems like the night is coming to an end, Bengtsson surprises guests yet again, now with a treasure chest of petit fours. Her beginnings as a pastry-chef shines through. Every bite is a riff off traditional Scandinavian desserts. What a sweet conclusion to a lovely meal.
AQUAVIT | Horseradish and Celery
Of course, one can not leave Aquavit without a pour of their house-distilled Aquavit liqueurs. Unconventional flavors like elderberry and mango make an appearance, alongside classics like dill and anise.
Croissants and Caviar's TL;DR:
The chef's tasting, with its 11 courses and 11 additional petit fours, showcases the best of everything from Bengtsson's kitchen and her unequivocal ability to respect classic dishes while breathing fresh air into them. The experience is a delightful window into Nordic flavors, as close as one can possibly get while staying in the comforts of upstate New York.