Openings

Aveline Opens in The Warwick Hotel: 12 Innovative Dishes to Try

By Virginia Miller | June 10, 2014 By Virginia Miller  |  June 10, 2014
Photo by: Virginia Miller

Aveline is the brand-new restaurant which opened on June 6 at The Warwick Hotel, perfectly perched for the gallery browsers, theatergoers and shoppers of Union Square. The exciting menu comes from Napa-based chef Casey Thompson (formerly of Top Chef and Dallas' Shinsei). Her dishes—like crab-shrimp macarons and a dessert riff on cake batter—are blessedly original and more often than once, they wow in concept and flavor. With its convenient location, sophistication and high prices, it subtly reminds us of The Betony in NYC, but it also nods to the playful innovation of Jose Andres' The Bazaar.

Sommelier Betsy Ross puts together a winning list of wines that is strong on the bubbly and small-production, local and international producers. There's also a chef's kitchen counter where you can eat according to the chef's whim, with cocktail pairings. Aveline is open Sunday-Thursday, 5-10 PM and Friday-Saturday, 5-11 PM, with weekend brunch slated to begin late summer. Check out our top 12 dishes from an early visit below and remember to have a look around Aveline's sister bar, The European, right here 490 Geary St.; 415-292-6430

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  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    One of those sigh-worthy courses: plump, hot crab-and-shrimp macarons ($17) arrive tied with string in a box that quickly soaks up oil. But no matter: you'll polish these gems off pronto. They're like a glorified dim sum dish and would work beautifully for brunch.

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    A contrast to The European's dark warmth across the lobby, Aveline is elegantly soft in greys and rust-orange, marked by bright artwork from Sarah Atkinson and Patrick Wright, while a glass-walled wine room dramatically centers the room.

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    A truly unique showstopper: this giant, warm beignet ($25) arrives, oozing egg yolk and wrapped decadently in thin sheets of Wagyu beef and silky-fat lardo, marked by trotter sauce. A visionary, extravagant dish and maybe the most drool-inducing.

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    There's a charming mini "Palate Reset" menu ($6 each) of palate-cleansing dishes in between courses. On opening night, one was composed of strawberry, crème fraîche and verbena sorbet, while we adored a second "reset" bowl of cooling cucumber granita under fluffy-tart lemon meringue.

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    Another fantastic surprise is a pasta dish of soft, wide fazoletti ($19). The surprise comes in the decidedly Southwest, Tex-Mex accents colliding with this decidedly Italian noodle. Dried corn custard and roasted corn dot the noodles, marked by lime butter, savory hints of cumin and—here's another Italian element—tempura-ed squash blossoms for a final crispy contrast.

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    Fried chicken ($26) is juicy and crisp, elevated with kimchi powder. Pickled vegetables serve as a palate cleanser and heat tamer.

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    Thompson's vegetable garden ($16) is the most visually striking dish. An array of fresh vegetables (crudité style), like radish tops, snap peas and purple romanesco, rest atop a black-bean dip made of turtle beans and chicory "soil" accented by mustard-seed cream.

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    A light but lovely plate of raw amberjack fish ($22) is enlivened with flavors of salted banana, black lime and ham "snow" (consider it pig-flavored ice). Sliced daikon radish and cherry blossoms are the final, graceful accent.

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    Red abalone ($27) is tender and rich alongside ear mushrooms, succulent plants and, yes, shocking hints of meaty pepperoni, underneath sea froth/foam.

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    "Roots, Fruits and Whey Batter" ($13) is essentially a dark-chocolate batter smeared around a bowl. Diners get a wooden spoon to scoop it out. It's just like those times you licked the chocolate chip cookie dough bowl as a kid, only this time it's a red Le Creuset bowl and the batter glistens with subtle sugar crystals, cashews and hazelnuts.

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    Savory types who usually skip sweets, the buttered peas ($13) dessert is for you. This silken pea and coffee pudding is marked by candied mint leaves, apricot cake chunks and whips of meringue. Under the "Spun" section of the dessert menu, house ice creams ($9 each) are also worth trying, especially the roasted corn and jalapeño flavor. There's also roasted strawberry lemonade or a funky blue cheese-dark chocolate.

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