For our second edition of Best in the City, the Grinding NYC crew stopped atMas Farmhouse in the West Village to chat with owner Eric Blinderman as well as sample a few of the day’s dishes.
“Mas” is a French term for a “country farming estate” and Mas Farmhouseoperates in this tradition, using only the freshest, locally grown ingredients from sustainable farms in the greater New York region. What’s more, Chef Galen Zamarra changes the menu daily, making every dining experience at Mas Farmhouse truly one of a kind.
The painstaking attention to detail was apparent immediately as I opened the massive mahogany door and stepped inside the space. The large picture window to my right bathed the bar area in sunlight, creating an open, inviting atmosphere. The staff extended this feeling with their warm, down to earth, reception.
As we waited for the rest of our party, my friend Bobbi and I decided to have a drink at the bar. She elected an iced, cucumber-mint-gin concoction while I opted for the grapefruit margarita- which was topped off with sugar and salt crystals along the rim, a small preview of the flavor parade that was to come.
We were soon greeted by Mr. Blinderman, who escorted us to our table in the back of the restaurant along with Americk and Nick. Our waiter was extremely attentive and took a few minutes to help us each select the perfect wine. (MyBouchard Aine & Fils Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2006 was perfect for the summer evening.)
To peak our appetites, we were first served a dish of mussels in a simple balsamic reduction, topped with a house made potato chip. It was a fantastic juxtaposition of soft and crunchy, dry and moist. The boldness of the chip also contrasted nicely with the oceanic subtlety of the mussels.
Next, we had a Smoked Tomato Gazpacho, with Grilled Shrimp, Cherry Tomatoes, Cucumbers, and Radish, topped with a Basil Sorbet spiral. This dish changed Gazpacho forever for me. I may never be able to have Gazpacho again, in all honesty. The smokiness paired nicely with the sweetness of the Tomatoes, and the Radish and Grilled Shrimp added nice textural elements.
After relishing every last drop of Gazpacho, we were served Yellowfin Tuna l’Occidental, flashed with Beurre Noisette & Crispy Shallots. The nuttiness of the Beurre Noisette complimented the delicate saltiness of the fish; and the wild looking shallots added both texture and presentation points.
Perhaps the most refreshing dish of the evening was the Roasted Sea Scallops in Sweet Corn Soup. The Scallops were browned to gloriousness, swimming in a sea of Greenmarket Corn, Hon- Shimeji Mushrooms, and Tarragon.
Finally, my favorite flavor explosion of the evening was the Heirloom Tomato and Caramelized Onion Tart, baked upon a Parmesan Sablee with a Pine Nut Dressing. First of all, the sweetness of the Tomato and the Caramelized Onion paired incredibly well with the tanginess and crunch of the Parmesan and Pastry Crust. The Pine Nut Dressing added a smooth yet crackled finish.
All in all, my dining experience at Mas Farmhouse was exactly that, a diningexperience. My senses were taken on a journey of new, exciting aromas and flavors that made quite the impact on my sensual memory. The only drawback to this incredible restaurant is that if you have a favorite dish, it may be nearly impossible to savor it a second time, being that the menu is changed daily. However, in a city of schedules and routine, Mas Farmhouse is a wonderful escape to the unexpected.