No, this is not a review of Cajun food, Po’ Boys and/or Hush Puppies. Instead, we are focusing on the newly reopened ACME with San Pellegrino’s #1 Restaurant in the World, Noma Co-Founder Mads Refslund a the helm. For the 2 smart people that read this blog, you will recall that we did an article on Mads, deemed the ‘other’ Golden Child, last year. In case you didn’t here’s the Recap: 2011 Omnivore Professional Master Classes. We were no less impressed with the food this time around. Since the demo, we have been longing to fly to Denmark, but work beckons. Luckily, Mads came to us, and in strong form. I mean, just look at that picture.
L: House Cured Salmon, R: Duck in a Jar
As you walk in, you are not greeted by a host/hostess. Instead, you are making an A-line to him/her. You walk by a few tables as you glance either way. You immediately notice this is a radical transformation in decor from the previous ACME, but in a good way. Say goodbye to yesteryear’s Bubba Gump living room. If The Monday Room had sex with Les Halles, this would be their prodigal child. To clarify, we mean by ambiance. The similarities stop there.
Reservations are encouraged but we were able to snag a table at 7pm on a Sunday. Simplicity is the common theme here. Nothing is overly done, besides maybe the plating, but nothing can really be overplated, can it? The bread basket consists of fresh half slices with uber chewy crusts, just like we love. It is served with a tiny ramekin of what tasted like sour cream/creme fraiche, but we could be wrong. Right off the bat, we witness an element of tartness, just as we would expect from Mads’ Nordic influence.
The service is unpretentious and not overbearing. Our waiter seemed knowledgeable of both the food, its preparation, and libations. The crowd is mixed with many already making their second visit. We don’t blame them.
L: Black Cod, R: Turbot
-Bread basket – served in 1″ thick half slices, chewy crust, served w/ sour cream/creme fraiche – amazing, free refills
-House Cured Salmon ($12)- winter cabbage, buttermilk horseradish dressing – kind of runny, but a solid dish
-Blackened Heirloom Carrots ($12)- salted lardo, pine, blood orange – least of our favorites, blood orange and lardo did nothing for me
-Duck in a Jar ($13)- pickled vegetables – perfect, my favorite dish, must get, a tad under salted if I had to be hypercritical
-Black Cod ($24)- smoked bone marrow, blackened radishes – this definitely tasted sous vide, the blander fish of the two
-Turbot ($26)- pickled green tomatoes, cardamom, vanilla – seared, loved the tomatoes, the cardamom/vanilla could have been more pronounced
-Fallen Fruits ($10) – fig, pear, sour apple over wheatgrass granita – simplicity epitomized, must get dish
What we loved most about the meal is that nothing sat heavily on our gullets. Quite the contrary, actually. The interplay of sweet and sour made us that much hungrier. It is also important to point out that nothing we ate was saturated with heavy sauces or oils. Each ingredient was showcased to its potential for the most part. When you have good ingredients, you don’t need to douse your dishes with creams to mask their true flavors. Albeit the fact that we were not quite as fond of the Blackened Carrots as we would like, there was still balance. Not only between lean and fat, but also texturally. Being a big fan of textures and mouth feel, we appreciated the symphony of flavors that hit our palates. Must haves are the Duck in a Jar and Fallen Fruits dishes. The main dishes took a back seat to the apps in our opinion.
If you had told me 10 years ago that an Alumni from a #1 Restaurant would hit NoHo, I would have asked you to check into a Psycho Ward. It looks like we would have been the one eating our words. Bigtime. So much that we are zealous to return and try the rest of the menu. If Renee Redzepi is the Father of Nordic Food, then Mads Refslund is no less than the Prodigal Son.
Total bill came out to $125 for 2 after everything, sans drinks.
Want to see more pics? Check out the entire album here