Winter Restaurant Week is something I look forward to every year – it’s the perfect opportunity to rally up with some friends from school to get dressed up, go downtown, and enjoy an upscale meal for a semi college-friendly price. I definitely enjoy a change from the usual microwaveable meal and 3-minute omelette every once in a while, so when the website came out with this year’s list I was eager to jump on reservations.
Last night, three of my friends and I made our way downtown to Petrossian, a French-Russian restaurant known for its seafood and caviar. The restaurant is absolutely beautiful! It is located by Columbus Circle, with its entrance right at the corner. The baroque-style architecture of the building is exquisite, with intricate carvings on a white-stone facade.
The inside of Petrossian was just as lavish. Painted mirrors and ornate curtained windows lined the dining room. The entryway showcased its prized fish, the sturgeon, whose roe got the restaurant its fame. Many of the more popular items on the menu have caviar as a special ingredient, and even features a caviar martini!
For those of you unfamiliar with Restaurant Week, it is an event that takes place twice a year during which participating restaurants offer a prix fix menu for lunch and/or dinner. Usually these restaurants are upscale, so the meals are a very good deal. We were each able to order an appetizer, main course, and dessert.
For the appetizer, one of the options was the caviar. It did have a supplemental cost to it, but I felt like I just couldn’t leave without trying it, so a friend and I shared it and a smoked salmon appetizer among the two of us.
And I am so glad we did! I hadn’t ever tried “good”caviar before, but I absolutely loved the delicate and savory flavor of the sturgeon roe. It was served with a blini (a small Russian pancake) and creme fraiche. I learned that you only need a little bit of the caviar to go with the blini in order to taste the saltiness, which was mellowed out nicely with a dollop of the creme. The smoked salmon was also very tasty. I am a fan of smoked salmon and eat it quite often; this didn’t seem out of the ordinary to me, but I enjoyed it.
For my main course, I ordered the olive oil chicken with vegetable truffle medley, sweet pea puree, and foie gras sauce. I rarely order chicken whenever I go to fancier restaurants because I feel that it is such a common meat…like it seems hard to make chicken anything special, if you know what I mean. But truffle and foie gras are two things that I love, so I decided to go for it.
Isn’t the plating beautiful? A work of art, really. And it tasted absolutely superb. I can say that my skepticism of ordering chicken at restaurant has been defeated with this dish. The meat was incredibly tender, juicy, and easy to cut through – no toughness or rubberiness at all. There was the perfect amount of crisp in the skin. The chicken itself didn’t have much of a taste to it, which was actually good because it allowed the olive oil flavor to shine through. The pea puree was smooth with just a hint of sweetness. When I mixed it with the foie gras sauce along with a bite of chicken…UGH so good. The truffle in the vegetables definitely tied the whole dish together. I’m a huge fan of truffle for its ability to add depth and earthiness to any flavor. Absolutely divine – I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this dish!
Last but of course not least, dessert. I ordered the pineapple cake with coconut ice cream. Normally I don’t go for fruity desserts but decided to branch out because 1) this seemed the most unique of the dessert choices and 2) coconut.
When the waiter brought us our final course, we were amused by the size of the coconut ice cream on the plate. Literally the diameter of a golfball, but I suppose that’s what we get when dining upscale. Don’t let the size fool you though, because the taste was anything but skimpy. Upon trying a tiny bite, I was hit with the super coconutty with strong vanilla flavor. The texture was the most interesting part. It felt like a hybrid of ice cream and sorbet, making it rich and creamy yet also light at the same time. The pineapple cake was a bit of a letdown. While pleasantly warm, it tasted like an average yellow cake. The pineapple compote on top served to add a tang to it, but was super sweet which is not a plus for me. The ice cream was definitely the star of the dessert!
We left the restaurant at quarter to eleven, clocking in a total of 2.5 hours for the whole meal. I think that the spacing of the courses allowed us to savor each one more fully and look forward to the next one (and also gave us time to digest…and eat more!). It was great to slow down and have a conversation-filled dining experience. Being a student whose meals are typically simple and rushed, I’ve learned not to take this for granted. Overall, I had a lovely time at Petrossian and highly recommend it as a choice for restaurant week. I can see myself returning in the future; I admit I am somewhat intrigued by the idea of that caviar martini…