Lunch at Tocqueville

It was a cold, snowy Saturday filled with drunk Santas stumbling around the city.  The annual Santacon seems to bring the worst out of people and Mr. T and I wanted no part of it this year.  So instead we planned a fancy lunch with friends where it was quiet and of my favorite little rooms in the city Tocqueville.  I'm just going to begin by saying that this was easily the best dish of the afternoon- California Sea Urchin and Angel Hair Caronara.

This dish was the definition of Umami.  It had these incredible buttery tones that are deeper and richer than I've ever tasted before with a salty, almost roasted flavor that stays right on the tongue for long satisfying seconds after taking a bite.  This is one of those dishes that you just want to savor with each and every bite. I had actually ordered this as a last minute addition for the table to share but I wished it could be all mine when it finally arrived:)  Oh well I wouldn't have room for the prix fix lunch if I did that...onto the rest of the meal.

We began with the bread service.  A choice of focaccia, baguette or brioche followed by an amuse bouche from the chef of Mushroom and Balsamic.

There are two choices for each course of the prix fixe lunch...that day I chose the Creamless Cauliflower Soup with Marcona almonds, sourdough and preserved black truffles.

The soup was light and airy with a little crunch from the almonds and a slightly smoky flavor from the black truffles....very nice.  Onto entrees a Pan Roasted Hake with roasted beets, pears, baby brussels sprouts and a caraway boullion...

...and a toothsome Housemade Gnocchi with butternut squash, sage brown butter sauce,  ricotta salata and toasted pumpkin seeds.  

The gnocchi had a nice balance of seasonal flavors...nothing exactly outstanding about the dish but nothing bad either.  Just a tasty bowl of pasta.  For dessert a trio of sorbets including a bright scoop of Blood Orange...

...or a Bittersweet Chocolate Bon Bon with espresso ice cream.

I wish I could end every meal with espresso ice cream...

The service was wonderful as always and the wine was absolutely delicious.  It was a nice way to escape from the craziness of the city for a while.