I heard for so long about The Musket Room that, in my quest of going to each and every Michelin Star restaurants in the city, I recently stopped by this place that celebrates New Zealand’s cuisine, a cuisine that Chef Matt Lambert, a native of New Zealand, masters perfectly, crafting a menu that is an incredible experience for the eyes and for the taste buds. The place itself has a rustic feel and warmth that can only be disturbed by loud diners who can make the experience painful...
We started the meal with ordering cocktails. Jodi went for one of their non-alcoholic beverages and I admit that I do not recall what it was...Just that she liked it...
On my side, I could not resist ordering the smoked old fashioned that was very good, the presentation being superb. Your nose, palate and...fingers will definitely remember the smokiness of this wonderful drink.
Menu wise, if you can afford it, go for the tasting that is $95: you will not regret it. And if you are vegetarian, they will accommodate, serving dishes that are definitely not an afterthought. Here is what we had:
First I should talk about their bread that is really good, especially their cheese bread that was very addictive. If they do not give you this one, ask them if they have it! IT is worth trying.
Powhiri or welcome in Maori. It was composed of three different dishes: the garden herb tart (bottom right), an heirloom tomato gazpacho (top) and a pork rillette with huckleberry jam and a sage short bread. As Jodi is vegetarian, she got a larger portion of the gazpacho that also had herbs, micro greens and cherry tomatoes in it. Everything was very good: the gazpacho was smooth and refreshing, the pork rillette flavorful and the garden herb tart had this nice earthy taste.
Kaimoana or seafood in Maori: it was a smoked king salmon with pear, cucumber and peas. This is one of the best salmon I ever had: flakey, it was perfectly cooked.
For Jodi, they prepared a plate of greens:
Papatūānuku, that in Maori tradition is the land. For me, it was a quail with raspberry, bread sauce and roasted onion. It was small, but sublime: cooking quail is tough as slightly overdone and you get a dry piece of bird. This was superbly cooked, the meat being moist.
Jodi got the asparagus with ricotta, flowers and leaves.
The second meat entree was the 50 days dry aged beef that was smothered by a smoked jus (I realized that the table next to us got the same amount of sauce for 2 plates) and served with their ratatouille that was like a deconstructed version of that classic dish. The meat was tender and juicy and definitely did not need that sauce as it could stand on its own. I liked also the ratatouille that was definitely not traditional, but a good addition.
Jodi's dish was the smoked ricotta dumplings with artichokes, mushrooms and truffle: a sublime dish that proves that vegetarian food can be more than an option on a menu.
Ranginui or the sky father in Maori mythology: it was a pre-dessert, made of a compressed watermelon, sheep milk yogurt and a strawberry yuzu. It was a good palate cleanser, the watermelon being less airy than it should as compressed, but still full of water. It was perfect with the acidity of the strawberry yuzu.
Then was the dessert: it was a cake made with chocolate, raspberry and black sesame. It was good, but I thought it was not at the same level as the other dishes, although it had a beautiful presentation.
But it was not the end: they brought us some treat as part of their Ka Kite or see you / god bless. It was composed of mandarin fruit paté, lemon thyme meringue pie, lavender caramel and coconut chocolate. At that point I was really full but could not resist trying each of them that were a nice way to end the meal, my favorite being the mandarin fruit paté that we call in French pate de fruit.
This was a very good meal and we for sure needed a walk after that. The Musket Room is definitely a place to know and I would go back as their menu changes often, hoping that time that it will not be too loud...
Enjoy (I did)!
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The Musket Room - 265 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY10012