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Bouley alumnus George Mendes has opened a restaurant that uses his Portuguese heritage as inspiration and rises to new heights. Although there are no bad seats in this sleek bilevel space decorated with touches of wood, glass, and blue accents, watching Mendes work in his spotless tiled kitchen from one of the seats at the chef's counter in the back is undeniably exciting. Petiscos (small bites) like cubes of crisp pork belly with apple cider and caramelized endive and an earthy pork-and-duck terrine reveal sophisticated cooking techniques and flavors. A delicate matsutake mushroom broth floated with a slow-poached egg is edged with a subtle brace of pine. On the $85 six-course chef's tasting menu, the sea urchin on a crispy toast flat is a standout, as is the duck confit with chorizo and crunchy duck-skin cracklings.
- Address: 31 W. 17th St., between 5th and 6th Aves. Flatiron District, New York, NY 10011 | Map It
- Phone: 212/675–7223
- Website: www.aldearestaurant.com
- Subway: N, R, Q, 4, 5, 6 to 14th St./Union Sq.; F, M to 14th St. and 6th Ave.
- Location: Flatiron District
- Reservations essential.
- Credit cards accepted.
- Closed Sun. No lunch Sat.
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