Monday, January 23, 2012

A high point, indeed.

On Friday night, my friend Anica and I shared a delicious meal at a brand-new restaurant. Mads Refslund, one of the co-founders of the pretty-much-universally adored (it's been called the best restaurant in the world) Noma in Copenhagen, has brought new Nordic cuisine to NoHo, and we had to be among the first to try it.

The space on Great Jones Street, formerly home to a Cajun joint, has been overhauled with atmospheric lighting (hence the not-so-great photos), a marble bar and Thonet chairs, but the name remains the same: Acme. And that bar isn't just for show - the cocktails we ordered (a Manhattan - of course - for me, and a green pepper and tequila concoction for Anica) were delicious. And then came the food.

The restaurant recommends ordering family-style and sharing everything that's brought to the table, but you could easily go solo, too. The portions are completely reasonable for one. For our starters, we chose the farmer's eggs and the ravioli. The eggs were a wonder, full of different textures and temperatures, from the slightly crunchy cauliflower to the creamy, slightly cooler foam on top. They were served on a bed of chicken wire and hay, which was a bit twee, but pretty adorable.

The ravioli were tasty, but not over-the-top exciting. Filled with pureed greens, topped with Brussels sprouts leaves and tossed in browned butter, they were perfect specimens of comfort food, and a nice departure from the usual squash-and-browned-butter preparation you see on every single menu across the city.

For our main course, we chose to share the pork chop. Now, a pork chop isn't generally the most exciting thing on the menu, but this was awesome. The meat itself was beautifully prepared - moist and flavorful. The arugula leaves offered a welcome bitter, fresh note, and the cranberries sprinkled around the plate offered that key Nordic element: sourness. Parsnips and pears rounded things out with their mild sweetness. Truly delicious.

We also ordered some sides, since we are two very hungry young ladies. The creamy potatoes definitely had some kind of cheese magic going on, and were topped with sweet, meaty bacon and crispy onion rings. I imagine our small serving had approximately three pounds of butter in it. (Okay, not really, but still.) They were awesome.

Our other side was remarkable - carrots roasted to the point of absolute creaminess and topped with paper-thin sheets of lardo. (Yes, that's right - cured pork fat.) The sauce on the plate was a slightly sour affair and was the perfect counterpoint to the richly roasted veggies.

Dessert didn't disappoint. The doughnuts were the more traditionally satisfying option, served piping hot alongside caramel and applesauce. We broke them in two and filled them with the sauces, savoring each wonderful bite.

The beer and butter porridge was really good, and really interesting. A sour piece of beer bread covered the bottom of the dish, topped by a slightly sweet milk porridge. In the center sat a seriously salty scoop of caramel ice cream. A bite with all the elements was oddly delicious and seriously satisfying.

We didn't have time for coffee - we were running to see this - but that just means I need to go back really soon, right?

9 Great Jones Street
Between Lafayette and Broadway


Alison said...

This sounds like such a wonderful evening...nothing better than good food shared with a good girlfriend.

Your blog never dissapoints!No matter what I am doing, when I stop to read it, I feel transported to a happier, more stylish, more delicious place.

I also wanted to share a link for a blog I think you'd like
The author and I went to high school together. She's really funny.


Meg Blocker said...

Aw, thanks, Al! It really was a fun night with Anica. She's the funnest.

And I love that blog! The apple tart cake looks insane.

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