Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Aroma Kitchen and Wine Bar

It is a Caesar Salad that will spoil you.

I cannot go back to eating a "regular" Caesar Salad after my appetizer this past Sunday at Aroma Kitchen and Wine Bar in the East Village.

The salad was part of their Sunday Evening Prix Fixe menu that my best friend discovered (I cannot take credit for the restaurant pick) and decided that this is where we should have our annual holiday dinner on our annual New York City "Holi-day" (for approximately 16 years we have gone to the city together during December to see the tree, see windows, and see that we fill ourselves up with some good eats).

On top of the greens were fresh anchovies that were sliced perfectly and glistened next to the best part of the salad: the poached egg. Most of the time, Casear Salads are prepared with the egg already incorporated into the dressing, but not so for the "aroma" version. Cracking the bright yellow yolk and swirling the oozing goodness into the greens and then tasting was the second best part of the meal for me (the company was the best part, of course). I got to taste my friend's salad choice of mesclun, beets, radishes, ricotta, basil, and mint that was also delicious.

I love making bolognese sauce and have a staple recipe that is just about a decade old that I use, so I was curious about their bolognese. I had the fettucine verdi with the bolognese ragu and was impressed, but still think mine could be a contender along side Aroma's. That prompted my best friend to officially call a recipe throw down this spring: mine vs. hers vs. her dad's bolognese sauces! Our friend Tea and her mom will be the blind judges - stay tuned! I plan to win! My best friend had the "Sunday Lasagne" which was rich, hearty, and came right out of the oven in a small ramekin and I would definitely get the next time I go there on a Sunday evening.

Dessert came and I chose a scoop of spiced pear sorbet and white chocolate gelato that were delicately placed on mini tart-shaped cookies. I tasted my best friend's gianduija panna cotta, which was smooth and creamy, tasting of hazelnuts. Think Nutella and multiply its goondess times ten.

As you can see from the photos, we pretty much had the place to ourselves despite the communal tables in the downstairs seating area known as the "Farmhouse Room." We had to walk through a small alleyway outside and I almost tripped because it was so narrow, but it would have been well worth breaking something for breaking that yolk into the romaine. The restroom was straight through the kitchen, so I lingered on the long walk back to the table to peruse the huge bags of flour and industrial sized bowls and utensils cluttering up the entire space.

Since my best friend ordered the half bottle of wine and I was already in quite a state after two champagne cocktails, I do not remember what she ordered...but oh it was lovely! If you live in New York City, this is especially a must try for a cold winter's night. If you are planning to visit and want some authentic Italian food and good wine, I would recommend dining here.

This is my first true restaurant review. Hopefully I sounded more like a Ruth Reichl and less like a Frank Bruni!



  1. Thanks for the recommendation. I'll have to try it - especially the panna cotta.

  2. Ha Ha ...u sounded like....like...........the good sweet CHEF AIMEE....
    Honestly u sound so good or rather write so good that can imagine the whole scene of food and yeah i know u sure do love Nigella too...
    Any thing Nutella = fantastis so sure this PC rocks too am sure...if im ever in NY,this is def a must visit...

  3. I don't recall what wine I ordered either - but I'm pretty sure it was a Sicilian Nero D'Avola. Company was of course the best part of the meal, but glad you loved the food and decor as well.

  4. I have passed by this place so many times and never gone in. How ridiculous is that? I will have to go there. You know, we could even have a blogger meet up there (hint hint). I will be sure to order the Caesar salad.

    And you did a great job reviewing it!

  5. Champagne cocktails! Excellent choice! The caesar salad sounds wonderful - so rare to get a really good one.

  6. This sounds great! Next time I take the train into NYC Ill check this place out! Happy New Year!