Holiday Lunch at Asiate

Each year Mr. T and I celebrate the holiday season with a special meal alone in lieu of presents.  This year we took a half day off work and celebrated with a long fancy lunch at Asiate, on the top of the Mandarin Oriental.   We began with a tray of Herb Gruyere Gougeres...

...and an amuse bouche of salmon tarter with pickled cucumber. 

 The gougeres looked tame but each one had a spicy jalapeno kick that warranted a few big gulps of water.  Onto appetizers Mr. T ordered the Butternut Squash Soup with Grilled Kale and Croutons.

This was a fantastic seasonal soup, the strong flavor of kale paring nicely with creamy broth.  My dish was just as wonderful...Smoked Sturgeon with Barley, Cucumbers and Honey Mustard.

I've really been enjoying the flavor and texture of barley lately and once again it was a perfect complement to the tangy mustard and smokey fish.  Onto entrees...

Mr. T's Pan Seared Sea Bass was quite lovely but I think my Quinoa Crusted Scallops with Beurre Blanc was above and beyond the winner.

I loved the crunch of quinoa on each plump, juicy scallop and the buerre blanc brought it to another level of decadence.  For dessert Chai Tea Pane Cotta with Whipped Chocolate Ganache and Candied Cocoa Nibs.

Light and dreamy chocolate with just a hint of chai was a perfect way to end the meal.  It's hard not to feel special when your gazing at the gorgeous views of Central Park in winter, enjoying fabulous food.   The friendly $34 three course price tag certainly helped our holiday joy as well.  What a wonderful way to celebrate the season.