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SEASONAL KNOCKS IT OUT OF THE PARK!

   

 

By Doug Singer

Located on West 58th Street adjacent to the world famous Plaza Hotel is Seäsonal restaurant, is the result of a long standing partnership between award winning chefs Eduard Frauneder and Wolfgang Ban.  Frauneder and Ban first crossed paths when they were students at the prestigious Gastronomie Fachschule.  The goal for this high-end restaurant was to bring a pointedly modern, Viennese take on contemporary European cuisine to New York . The décor is elegant with an avant garde European touch. The clean, brilliant white walls set the stage for a revolving collection of contemporary Austrian and German art. Wall to wall natural dark wood floors and geometric architectural lines create a sophisticated environment that would be a solid fit with the Museum of Modern Art . From the beautiful white-backed bar stools to the ceiling which is illuminated by a celestial display of pinpoint lights in the shape of branches, there is a painstaking attention to detail.

But, let’s keep our eye on the ball here. The food, simply stated, is outstanding. As I slid into the glove-like leather booth, the sheer comfort made me feel that I was in for a treat. We were welcomed with a couple of cocktails from the resident mixologist. The Champear (freshly pureed Asian pear, Champagne and a touch of cinnamon) was delicious as was the Lingonberry Martini (vodka, homemade lingonberry syrup and vanilla-thyme infused syrup). Our meal started off with an amuse-bouche consisting of a horseradish soup with boiled beef, topped with apple foam. It teased our palate and warmed our soul for the adventure that lay ahead. As I pondered the appetizers, I was impressed with the fact that I could get excited about every single dish being offered.  The Ganselebar Terrine (foie gras pureed with a lingonberry-mandarin confit and served with brioche) was simply divine. This dish is suitable for the most die hard foie gras aficionado. The chef prepares this with the real thing; goose liver imported from France, not the more common duck liver, and is undoubtedly worth the extra expense. The next appetizer, the simply named Hummer ( Maine day boat lobster with Oregon porcini, mushroom celery root puree and a Zweigelt - lobster sauce) was extremely unique. The Zweigelt-lobster sauce introduced a sweet component to the dish and ultimately pulled it all together in a wonderful way. The Jakobsmuschel Rote Beete (diver boat sea scallops with red beet tagliatelle, black trumpet mushrooms, fresh horseradish and potato-truffle foam) was cooked to perfection. The tagliatelle is made in-house and is then soaked in a freshly squeezed beet juice reduction prior to being boiled. This type of commitment to a fine product does not go unnoticed nor unappreciated.

The aforementioned dish gives me an opportunity to address a question that comes up often. Exactly what are diver scallops? Most people know of two kinds of scallops. Bay scallops (the small ones) and sea scallops (the big ones). The fact is, most scallops are harvested by boats dragging chain nets across the ocean floor. Diver scallops are harvested by divers who jump into the water and collect them by hand. The term "diver" does not itself imply a size, but these divers generally pick the largest scallops they can find. Diver scallops are more ecological because the divers only pick the bigger, more mature scallops, while leaving the younger ones, allowing the population to replenish.

As we were preparing ourselves to shift our attention toward the main courses, it was time to ponder the wine list. Seäsonal’s owners personally select distinct and outstanding Austrian and German wines from renowned and emerging young winemakers. The wine list boasts exclusive offerings to introduce new and exciting wines that perfectly pair with Seäsonal’s dishes. Upon choosing our wine, an Austrian Cabernet, and settling in for the next leg of the journey, we were served Kurbis Barsch (pumpkin seed crusted black sea bass with butternut squash sauce and black truffles). The truffles and the nutty flavor of the roasted pumpkin seeds created layers of flavor which unfolded in perfect harmony with every single bite. Offset by the bed of baby bok choy, this dish was nothing short of perfection. The Kaisergulasch (slowly braised milk fed veal cheek with quark chive spaetzle) was excellent as well. Set atop a rich sauce adorned with caper berries, this dish was perfect for a blustery New York evening. The presentation was simple and elegant.

After some pleasant banter with Chef Wolfgang Ban and a little coaxing, we were ready to dive into dessert. The Buchteln (beignets with black plum marmalade and Apple Puree) was a wonderfully sweet treat; however the Kuerbiskern-Griess Flammeriel (Pumpkin Semolina Cream with Port Wine Soaked Figs) was hands down the best dessert that I have ever eaten in my life. It was a thick pudding served in a mason jar, with the figs sliced and fanned out on the surface. The food of kings!  To accompany the dessert we were presented with a drink called a Spicemaker (Maker’s Mark bourbon, tangerine juice, spices and chili-infused simple syrup) which was seasonally coherent and absolutely tantalizing to the taste buds.

Overall, Seäsonal is an extremely impressive restaurant with an impeccable attention to detail. The staff is extremely well informed and makes the dining experience one to remember. You can taste the heart and soul of these chefs in every single bite. Frauneder and Ban are bringing the same flair and innovative spirit that made them famous in Vienna and immensely popular among the diplomatic crowd in New York

Their extraordinary Austrian hospitality will make Seäsonal a restaurant to watch in the coming years. 

Fact Sheet

Dress code: Elegant / Business

Prices:             Appetizers - $9.00 to $18.00

Entrees - $22.00 to $32.00

Hours:             Monday thru Friday: 11:30 a.m. to Midnight

                        Saturday: 11:30 AM to Midnight ; Sunday: Closed     

*All Major Credit Cards Accepted *

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Rich Journey  Inc.
287 S. Robertson Blvd., Beverly Hills, California, 90211