A friend and I recently booked a dinner reservation at Apiary before we even realized that Summer Restaurant Week had been extended. Since we went on a Monday, we had our choice of either BYOB (no corkage fee – their usual Monday special) or the Restaurant Week menu. We had to go with the Restaurant Week menu. To start, the appetizer selections included two different salads. One was the Apiary Green Salad, comprised of herbs, shallots, and a red wine vinaigrette. The other was a baby romaine salad, with grilled garlic croutons, anchovies, whole grain mustard, and parmesean. We both had to go with the chilled corn veloute, which was gulf shrimp, tomato, and basil oil. It was a thick corn soup, which was cold like a gazpacho. Creamy like a chowder yet chilly, I was surprised how much I liked this appetizer. Perfect for a humid summer day!
The main course options were nicely varied. There’s a confit of duck leg with a parsnip puree, escarole, tokyo turnips, green peppercorns, and armagnac. There was also their Atlantic skate, with white beans, grape tomatoes, zucchini, orange, and a picholine olive tapenade. My friend ordered this option, which looked amazing and nicely seasoned. I couldn’t resist trying their roasted organic chicken, which was served with mascarpone polenta, glazed carrots, peas, and tarragon jus. The chicken was a very generous portion and I instantly noticed the meat was extremely moist and tender. The marscapone polenta had the texture of very creamy mashed potatoes. The marscapone gave the polenta a slightly sweet flavor and the polenta was smooth, comparatively non-grainy to others which I have tried over the years. Along with the carrots and the distinct flavor of tarragon, this preparation was one of the best I’ve come across for chicken. This dish had all of the comforting things I love about chicken, yet enough variation that it was definitely creative and anything but boring.
For dessert, I’d read so much about the blackberry financier I barely read the full selection on the dessert portion of the menu. To be fair, I’m sure the trio of ice cream & sorbet is good. And likely the same for the vanilla panna cotta, which is paired with a raspberry coulis. But the blackberry financier? Definitely earned its reputation as the go-to dessert. I was a bit skeptical, as the financiers I’ve tried over the years, while good, have tended to be on the more bland side – simple almond flour fluffy cookies. Nothing more. Apiary’s though was fluffy and had a bit of raspberries at the center. Sort of like a chocolate molten cake, but the cake wasn’t chocolate (instead almond flour-based) and the inside was warm blackberries. Being from the South, it made me crave one of my mom’s homemade blackberry cobblers. Paired with blackberry syrup, whipped cream, and more blackberries, this dessert was a win all-around. I can say all of the glowing reviews of it online are more than warranted.
I’ve read mixed reviews in the food blog world regarding Apiary, some even questioning its likely longevity in Manhattan’s restaurant-sphere. I hope all the speculation is untrue as I was pleasantly surprised at the variety of options and consistency of preparation throughout the meal. The restaurant also serves some 20 wines by the glass. The sparkling shiraz I tried was a perfect accompaniment to the meal. Along with the Monday no-corkage fee special, the restaurant also offers a standard $35 prix fixe menu Tuesday through Thursday, as well as Sunday. My experience here only makes me wonder why I waited so long to finally make it over.
Apiary – 60 Third Avenue (at East 11th Street) – 212.254.0888