There is nothing like a nice long lunch to break up the workday. With this years’ restaurant week off to a strong start on such a cold part of this winter, I always look towards some delicious rib sticking warm foods to kick off my first attempt at leisure during the day. The Exchange at the Setail Wall Street stole my heart with a perfectly balanced succulent sunchoke soup. I would go back and eat this soup every day, if they would let me. The soup was finished with a beautiful, herbaceous oil and thyme crème fraíche There were surprising pepper notes throughout bringing the whole bowl into balance. The earth flavors of the sunchoke melded perfectly with the freshness of the other components.
Second course was another root vegetable inspired dish, with beets, celery and horseradish. Oh, but did I forget, there was also a perfectly cut and seared piece of salmon. Only down fall was that I did not have a knife with an edge to pierce the decadent crusting, so that I could leave more of the fish intact when trying to devour it. The table presentation of this dish fit perfectly with the ambiance of the financial district sleek and sophisticated venue. With a simple pour, a vibrant deep red beet broth was poured over the celery and parsnips under the salmon fillet. The open kitchen and wine lined walls make me want to return for a dinner date. But, the lighting was perfect for a business lunch too. There was comfort and room for a closing lunch. (I will be back for one of those.) The lighting was perfect for so that reading could still be done without a strain of the eyes, but for me I would find it too hard to concentrate on the work on not the artfully prepared food.
The final course was a light and fresh citrus layer cake with candied lime zest and blood orange segments. Although there was not a ton of flavor in the cake its self, the texture and finish is what made it artful.
Chef Josh Capone and Pastry Chef Alise Ciucci earned a place in my stomach when I headed back up to my office with my head filled with flavors and stomach as happy and full as could be. The fresh ingredients really had the opportunity to sing on the plates that left the kitchen. Despite the use of ingredients like crème fraíche and butter throughout the meal I was light on my toes, and ready to head down to yoga after work. Which after a big lunch, I am just looking for an excuse to leave my gym bag at the office and head out of the office off to the next meal, no stop at the gym, but here I was energized and ready to go. Although, I did have to ask for a to-go box for the pastries that followed the meal (yes, there was more!), because I could not just abandon a key lime macaron and chocolate meringue star. I made sure these two final sweets found there way home to my stomach, and they were the perfect bite size pick me ups later that afternoon. Who needs coffee any ways?
This was balance at its finest. Clearly the kitchen cooks with the freshest ingredients they can get. Despite my original disappointment when I was handed the menu and the items that I chose for my meal were not there as show on the NYC restaurant week website. I could not have been happier with the food or experience. Between the healthy and not so much ingredients, the creamy and acidic flavor, the whole nine yards. It was just dam good and I cannot wait to eat there again. As the ingredients and cooking techniques evolve with the seasons I am excited to see where the chefs here take it.