The Setai Fifth Avenue's Restaurant Ai Fiori Serves Absinthe, and It Is Goooood
What better reason is there to spring for the absinthe on a hotel restaurant's menu than the fact that it's Friday? None, we say. None. At least, that was our reason when earlier today we popped into Ai Fiori, the restaurant of the newly opened Setai Fifth Avenue, for their $24.07 three-course Restaurant Week menu.
With no idea of what to expect, other than some good Italian Riviera-influence cuisine from Michelin-starred Chef Michael White, we found a bustling restaurant (must've been all our Restaurant Week compadres), a nice second-story perch above Fifth Avenue, and a ginormous wine list...which included two entries for absinthe. The first, Pernod Paris, was not as highly recommended by the sommelier (Steven, who is awesome) as was the $19 St. George Absinthe Verte, a California creation. It does have wormwood, for those wondering, as we were.
The preparation was everything you'd hope for from a $19 drink; Steven the sommelier rolled over a cart and slowly poured the Pernod Fils into a silver contraption atop the glass, which allowed the liqueur then to slowly dribble down onto a see-saw, which then melted into the sugar cube into the drink. It took about 5 minutes to prepare, all the while other diners and restaurant staff would pause to watch.
The smell of anise was unmistakable; our absinthe was good...far better than anything we've had at friend's loft parties or in some dingy bar in Vienna (although the Viennese setting trumped Ai Fiori).
Our restaurant week meal may have started out at $24.07, but throwing on another bit for a decadent lunchtime full absinthe treatment...yea, totally worth it.
To see more photos and read about the rest of the meal, check out our brother site Jaunted, HERE.
[All photos: HotelChatter]