Prix Fixe - Tasting Menu - A la Carte Tues-Sat Dinner : $89-$145 Monday Harvest Dinner : $95-$165 Thurs-Friday Lunch: $45
Portuguese inspired cuisine with a modern approach
Concept Aldea is situated in the Flatiron - Union Square neighborhood. Its style is the reflection of Chef George Mendes’ story, experience and dual heritage. American born from Portuguese parents George Mendes draws his inspiration from his Portuguese roots adding to it techniques and flavors acquired during his experiences in France, Spain and the United States. The result is an amazing balance between tradition and modernity with authenticity as a guiding thread. Designed by Stephanie Goto, the bi-level modern and elegant 70-seat space, is the ideal setting to the refined authenticity of George Mendes’ cuisine. It features a front bar; a main rectangular dining room; a “Chef’s area” which includes an open kitchen, a table and the Chef’s counter; an open-air mezzanine with a private dining room.
For whom Food lovers in search of classic flavors with a modern yet authentic approach. Lovers of the Iberian Peninsula flavors.
Story George Mendes grew up in Danbury, Connecticut. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in 1992 he spent 17 years working with some of the world’s greatest chefs including Alain Passard, Martín Berasategui, Alain Ducasse and David Bouley, his most influential mentor. He opened Aldea in spring 2009 and that same year received 2-star reviews from the New York Times and New York Magazine, as well as 3-star reviews from the Daily News and Bloomberg. He was awarded one Michelin Star in 2010 and has kept it ever since.
My experience I love Aldea! I’ve been there several times and I always leave wanting to come back as soon as possible! The first time I went, I sat in the dining room. I didn’t know much about this restaurant but was amazed by Chef Mendes’ cuisine and the warm and attentive service. The following times, I sat at the Chef’s Counter and it is truly a wonderful experience to watch George Mendes and his team at work. George Mendes’ ability to play with traditional recipes and his capacity to link the flavors is wonderful. What I love most is the fact that his cuisine is creative while remaining authentic. I usually go for the 4-course prix fixe. You can choose between Portuguese traditional dishes which George Mendes has reinvented, or other dishes which generally include classic flavors from Portugal, Spain and France. I can’t tell you about all the amazing courses that I have had at Aldea over the years but here are a few that I especially loved:
The Charred Octopus, served with corn purée, Asian pear and walnut vinaigrette: a delight for the eyes and the palate ;
The Red Beets, served with goat’s milk yogurt, Marcona almonds, pickled red turnips and crispy chicken skin: an amazing play of colors, flavors and textures ;
The Bacalhau À Brás : farm egg and salt cod custard, crispy potato, black olive: Chef Mendes’ beautiful reinterpretation of a traditional Portuguese dish ;
The Diver Sea Scallops, served with Foie Gras, fermented Japanese turnips, apples and chicken jus: the pairing of scallops with foie gras was truly divine!
Besides the beautiful cuisine, I love the contemporary and unpretentious atmosphere of Aldea. On Monday nights, Aldea is home to Chef Mendes’ Harvest Dinner series. I was lucky enough to attend one recently. It is a unique and splendid experience which I highly recommend: the restaurant opens its door to a limited number of guests while George Mendes tests and unveils new dishes for Aldea’s menu.
Aldea 31 W. 17th Street New York, NY 10011 212 675 7223 http://www.aldearestaurant.com/ Dinner Tuesday-Thursday 5.30pm-10pm Friday-Saturday 5.30pm-11pm 4-Course Prix-Fixe menu$89 8-Course Chef’s tasting menu$145 A la Carte also available Lunch Thursday and Friday 11.45am-2.30pm Three-Course for $45
Monday Dinner Series: starting at 5.30pm – Limited seated available 4-Course tasting menu$95 8-Course tasting menu$165