Pardes is truly an experience. The food is innovative and unique to anywhere I have eaten (however so is the reality of the lackluster service). Before arriving I spent some time reviewing the diverse menu and was really having a hard time deciding what I would try. Luckily for me, upon arrival I learned that each item on the menu is a “tasting” and it is expected that a party of two order 6-8 dishes to share. Oddly, when you order for instance 6 dishes (as we did) they don’t come out in order or together. Each one comes separately when the chef finds there are enough other people in the restaurant who want the same dish. When our first dish came out, we saw it going to other tables that ordered it as well. Definitely not something I am accustomed to, but the quality and taste of the food was worth leaving my comfort zone. Before delving into a description of the food, however, let me touch on the AMAZING sangria that was served. I ordered the white wine sangria and my wife ordered the red. Both were fresh and crisp with just the right amount of sweetness.
We started with the Albacore Tuna Tartare served with barley, sun gold tomato, bergamot coulis, preserved lemon, eggplant puree and seaweed powder. It was incredible. It initially had a citrusy taste, but also held a kick of salt and spice. The tuna was fresh and the textures of the dish were divine. This was probably my second favorite dish of the evening preceded only by the Yam Soup with homemade cranberry marshmallows and popcorn. Now I only wish I could describe exactly how this soup tasted, but I cannot do it justice. Let’s just say it was sweet, savory and tart at the same time and I wasn’t sure whether I was eating a soup or a dessert, but who cares! I would have eaten another order of this soup for dessert if I wasn’t so full from all of the other delicious dishes. Next we were served the Heirloom Tomato Salad with “lamb ham” shavings. I loved it, though with the flavorful herb dressing, we probably could have skipped the “lamb ham” and stuck with the healthy veggies.
Next were the Shisito Poppers stuffed with olive/raisin/walnut “dirt.” Notwithstanding, its name, there was nothing dirty about this dish. Wholesome, healthy and tasty is the best way to describe this dish. This was “clean eating” at its best. I will be honest though and admit that the “dirt” had an odd sort of pasty texture.
Next came the Rib eye Tartare with quinoa and a fried egg. Now, I can’t say this was good for my heart, but it was surely good for my taste-buds. A great review for this dish!
Our final dish was the Beef Heart with chanterelle, sun chokes, and a black garlic jus. To be polite, I would say this does not make my list of favorite foods. Or as my son learned in school, if you don’t like something you would say “it is not to my taste.” But for real though, it is just a personal preference I suppose, because my wife was a huge fan of the dish.
Lastly, I ordered the fries, because I just love fries (yes I know, a guilty pleasure). Sadly, they did not meet my expectations, though I order fries wherever I go and have become quite the connoisseur.
One of the great things about this restaurant is that you can tell that the chef is committed to using fresh, whole foods and keeping things wholesome, yet interesting. Pardes is self-described as “using the highest quality ingredients– pastured meats, local vegetables, and house made pastries.” It was only a couple of the dishes that were quite salty and unfortunately the natural flavors were unnecessarily drowned out by sauces. Notably, the added beauty of Pardes is that the menu changes almost weekly, so there is always something new to try. Overall, I would definitely recommend Pardes. I am truly looking forward to dining there again!
Next week, we will review Tevere: Authentic Cuisine of Ancient Roma (Upper East Side, Manhattan)