A restaurant opened by Michael Voltaggio (his first signature) of Top Chef phenomena, Ink presents a dining experience that is eclectic, unique and fun. Some plates are a bit over the top so dining here you need to come with a ready palate and an open mind. The specialty drink menu boasts fresh ingredients and house made mixes. Upon entering the restaurant you’re greeted by the bar, a bustling entry that is both fun and distracting. Once you’re seated, be prepared for one of the most interesting meals you’ll have in your lifetime. They offer a tasting menu and seating area in addition to the main menu so if you’re up for an experience, do try it. The only caveat here is that portions are nice and light – we left hungry.
We were friends of the bartender so naturally we were presented with the best of the house. Each drink is well balanced and carefully thought out. It was like a dance on the tongue. My favorite? The ‘Rum’ – mixed with house made horchata, it was a perfect blend of sweet and spice. The ‘Scotch’ and the ‘Rye’ were refreshing with the ‘Scotch’ giving off a nice kick at the back of the palate.
An interesting dish to look at, the ‘Octopus’ was well cooked – served on top of cream of dehydrated potatoes (aka – creamy mashed potatoes), black olive oil, lemon and crispy garlic.
My favorite dish of the evening was hands down the ‘Pig Ears’ – it was the one dish I would go back for. Another wonderful balance of flavors, the pig ears were crisp and served with charred Brussels sprouts, house cured lardo and apples – a sweet, sour and salty combination.
A delicate dish, I wish they gave us a heftier bowl full of the ‘Spaghetti’ – the squash and squid resembled noodles, delicately mixed with a hazelnut ink, pesto and piment d’espelette (aka a red chile pepper from the south of France).
Umami in a bowl! The ‘Skate Wing’ was amazing – homey and earthy on the tongue. So good! A delicate and fragrant dish – you want to smell it before taking a bite. The skate sits on a bed of mushroom oatmeal and broth, topped with mushroom hay and brown butter – it was mushroom heaven.
Where else can you find chocolate dry, cold, soft, frozen? An interesting dish to eat though not all too appealing to look at, the ‘Chocolate’ in different textures was served with a coffee sabayon and pears – a fun dish for a chocolate lover.
The ‘Apple’ is something to be had if you find yourself here. Another interesting desert, once you break in to the ball that resembles an apple and you get a wonderful delicate melting crunch as you work your way around this apple-icious desert paired with crème caramel, a burnt wood sabayon (cream) and candied walnuts.
Overall Impression: Ink is for the adventurous and open palate – rather, the palate that makes you think. In as much as I enjoyed my dining experience here, I felt a few things did fall flat. Sometimes, using the ingredients to highlight its flavor is what it’s all about – not so much the various techniques or molecular gastronomical approach. I did appreciate the effort and creativity – every bite was well worth the effort. Despite all the great dishes, only two dishes stood out for something to go back for. The ‘Pig Ears’ and the ‘Skate Wing’.