All’onda has been on the Boyfriend’s radar for a while now – his aunt wanted to have dinner here when she was visiting NYC but couldn’t get a reservation. With Chef Chris Jaeckle, alum of the Altamarea Group, as the executive chef, there has been so much attention paid towards All’onda. The Boyfriend and his parents have been to Marea before so when it came time to pick a restaurant for his birthday dinner, they veered towards All’onda.
We arrived at 6pm for our reservation and was seated immediately. When we arrived, there was only about 2-3 other tables occupied. By the time we left around 8pm, the restaurant was packed! We were seated on the second floor by the window, which I really liked cause the lighting was great for pictures!
We started off with appetizers to share. Our first was the Arancini ($12.00 for 4 pieces). They used to have an uni and squid ink version but with the lack of Maine uni available on the market, I can definitely see why they changed it to a black truffle and parmesan version. Despite the change, I really liked the black truffle and parmesan – it was very fragrant and easy on the palate. They’re a bit on the small side so if you have a larger party, you might want to order a few more.
Our second appetizer was the Clams Casino ($15.00), which features cut clams with pancetta, panko and parsley. I kind of wish the clams were a little bigger because the topping was very flavorful. I love panko crusted dishes so this was a great dish for me.
Our last appetizer was the Risotto Astice or Lobster Risotto ($23.00). It sounded great when we read it on the menu but we had all already settled on entrees so we decided to share it for an appetizer. I’m so glad we did because it was so good! The lobster chunks were very generous and the risotto was cooked perfectly – still a bit stuff but soft enough to eat. The sauce was very strong and tasted great with the fresh lobster.
For my entree, I went with the Garganelli with Peekytoe Crab ($24.00). It’s cooked with citrus and tarragon, which gave it a very fresh, summery taste. I really enjoyed my pasta dish because it was very filling but tasted super light. There was also hints of Thai flavors too, which really appealed to my tastebuds. I highly recommend this dish – the Boyfriend even said mine was better!
He, himself, went with the Lumache with Aged-Duck Ragu ($24.00). The dish is sprinkled with chocolate flakes on top, which may sound and look a bit weird but worked well with the saltiness of the aged duck. The duck melted in your mouth and tasted great with the al dente pasta.
The parentals went with Stripped Bass with English peas, baby carrots and taggiasca olive ($31.00) and the Chicken with Lemon puree, broccoli rabe, and pan sauce ($25.00). I sampled a bit of the chicken and it was probably one of the juiciest pieces of chicken I have ever tasted in my 23 years of life. It was so smooth and not dry at all.
We also split a side of Mushroom Polenta ($9.00) with miso-cured egg yolk. The polenta was very flavorful and cooked thinly so it was too goopy like a lot of other polentas. The miso-cured egg yolk worked well to give flavor to the otherwise tasteless polenta.
For dessert, we split the Olive Oil Cake, which comes with ricotta gelato, lemon sauce and basil seeds. The cake comes warm so it was a nice contrast to the cool gelato. I’ve never had ricotta gelato before so this was a new experience for me – and I found that I liked it! Because it was ricotta flavored, it wasn’t as sweet as other gelato flavors so it really complimented the olive oil cake. The cake itself was very soft and smooth.
I really enjoyed my meal here – everything tasted amazing and despite the smaller portion sizes, we all ended up pretty full by the end of the night. Service was decent – sometimes our waitress disappeared but our plates were always cleared and our water glasses were always full. I also highly recommend coffee – it’s $3.50 for a whole French Press of coffee so it’s definitely more than enough to share between two people. My only regret is that we couldn’t try the Bucatini with Uni since market price of Santa Barbara uni placed the dish at $50 that night. Perhaps next time we’ll come back to try it when Maine uni is back on the market!