Every year, we go above and beyond for my father’s birthday.  Hey, it’s kind of a “2-for1” birthday/holiday dinner.  Why not go big?

Last year, our evening was so over-the-top we didn’t think it would be possible to beat it!  But… we did it again this year.  And that’s much thanks to Ai Fiori for an evening beyond expectations.

Upon walking in, we were captivated by the decor.  It had kind of like an “ultra modern, ultra clean/minimalistic” feel, but with a very fancy, upscale twist.  And the bar… oh my god.  Not only was the bar to die for, but so were the drinks!  My Green Vespa totally stole the show (at least for me) and is a drink that I MUST recreate at home because it’s just too good!

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Green Vespa – Grey Goose Pear, Lemon, Sage, Cayenne

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Fiori d’Arancio – Old Foster Bourbon, Ramazotti Amaro, Madiera, Orange Bitters, Vanilla

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Bobby Short – Dewars White Label, Lazaroni Amaretto, Cherry Heering, Pineau des charentes

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Fiori d’Arancio & Green Vespa

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Even the plates were gorgeous!

After our fancy cocktails at the bar, it was time to sit down for dinner.  We decided to go with the 4 course pre-fixe menu, which is a good thing because there were just too many great dishes to choose from!  Since so many of us were going for the fish dishes, we went with a really nice, crisp white wine from Italy.

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Cortese di Gavi, La Monetta – Piedmont

The appetizers were such a tease, but in a good way!  We were all yearning for more, but at the same time didn’t want each course to end because every single thing was beyond words yummy.

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Spigola Panzanella – wild striped bass tartare, toasted bread, castelvetrano olives, cucumber

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Bay Scallops

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Vellutata – lobster soup, perigord black truffles, chervil

There wasn’t ONE thing that we didn’t love.  After the appetizers, we were brought out a little intermezzo to clean our palates.

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Intermezzo

On to course two, PASTA.  The pastas were the most light and delicate pastas we’ve ever tasted.  The freshness and innovation of the pasta were really remarkable.  I really can’t decide what the star dish was here because they were all so incredibly different.  Jeff and I have decided that we’re just going to have to go back to ensure that we’ve tried every single one!

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Trofie Nero – ligurian crustacean ragu, seppia, scallops, spiced mollica

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Agnolotti – braised veal parcels, butternut squash purée, brown butter, sage, black truffle sugo

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Tortellini – ricotta & mascarpone ravioli, sottocenere, red wine glaze

Now onto course three.  Again, every dish was a star.  As we licked our plates clean, we each looked around the big round table to make sure we weren’t the only ones… and we certainly weren’t!  I have to say that the duck was definitely a hit as it’s one of my father’s favorite dishes. And my Branzino was cooked to absolute perfection!

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Anatra – Long Island duck, pear and quince mostarda, mustard greens, walnuts, foie gras

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Branzino – mediterranean sea bass, seared squid, artichokes barigoule, arugula, lemon

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Astrice – butter poached nova scotia lobster, carrots, rutabaga, château chalon sauce

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Faraona – guinea hen, fennel á la grecque, fregola, piquillo, chorizo, hen jus

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Capriolo – pan roasted venison chop, gnocchi, caramelized apple, hen of the woods mushrooms

And finally… dessert!  The Tartaletta blew the hat off my head (obviously figuratively) – it was unlike any dessert I have ever tried.  And chocolate cake can be … well… chocolate cake.  But this was chocolatey, flaky, crunchy goodness!  Actually, the Tartaletta is now my favorite dessert ever.  Yes, EVER.  And with each sip of my Vin Santo, I was taken back to Firenze.

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Vin Santo di Chianti & Porto, Warre’s “Late Bottled Vintage”

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Tartaletta – Dark chocolate, anise crema, grapefruit, hazelnut gelato

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Panna Cotta – Balsamic crema, pomegranate, mandarin sorbetto

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Special birthday dessert!

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Dessert Special 😉

As you can probably tell, this restaurant takes fine dining to another level.  So if you can swing it, we RECOMMEND IT!!!  You certainly won’t be sorry.  I look forward to having another excuse to visit Ai Fiori.

Ai Fiori

Website: http://www.aifiorinyc.com/

Address: 400 5TH AVENUE 2ND LEVEL, LANGHAM PLACE FIFTH AVENUE, NYC

Phone: 212.613.8660

Price: $$$$$

Do they take reservations?  Yes, Open Table 

Attire? Formal Attire

Vibe?  Classy & Upscale

Hours:

Breakfast

Mon – Fri 7 AM – 10 AM

LUNCH

Mon – Fri 11:45 AM – 1:45 PM

DINNER

Sun – Wed 5:00 PM – 9:45 PM
Thurs – Sat 5:00 PM – 10:45 PM

Ai Fiori is now open for Sunday Brunch!

-Cristina