I recently went to Alder in New York City, which I can best describe as an approachably experimental restaurant, with a touch of German flair. Sometimes it’s a good thing to venture out from the usual routine, and I feel like I’ve sort of settled comfortably into a rut of Italian/French/Mexican food. I’m all about a good baguette or a burrito, as they’re easy and delicious, and I know I’ll walk away happy. It’s kind of the same deal with Alder, where the menu also features a reinterpretation of traditional flavors, with options like the rye pasta with shaved pastrami — it takes the flavors you’re used to, here the typical New York deli sandwich, and turns them into a culinary experience.

I led my dining experience with the foie gras terrine, which was served with poached apple, yogurt and an english muffin. The effect was light yet incredibly rich, and wonderfully delicious. I had it as an appetizer, but thought it was more suited to a dessert — the overall impression was like a super high end apple pie.

My entree was the saffron spaetzle, which was served with pork rib and a green apple-celery root hash. Sometimes spaetzle can be a little too intense for me, as it’s a bit of a carb-bomb when done incorrectly. Here it was super filling and beautifully balanced with the pork. Portions were executed with a military precision that was much appreciated.

For dessert I went with the root beer pudding, which was delicious and tasted a bit like a root beer float in mousse form. There were crunchy bits from the smoked cashews that added a nice texture to the palette. In the end, though, I think I would’ve rather had the foie gras terrine to close out dinner.

I had a glass of savennieres, a white wine from the Loire Valley that had apple undertones, which tied in perfectly with what I chose for appetizer and entree. It tasted a bit like a cider, which might be an interesting change. I know nothing about French wine, so I went with the suggestion and was pleasantly surprised.

The restaurant itself is chic yet comfortable. It was a bit loud, but the decor made up for that, being clean and elegant with a nice balance of clean surfaces and well-considered natural texture from the reclaimed wood and exposed brick walls.

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Jeff Smith

Jeff started in photography and short format video, and he's been at the forefront of the web tv movement. He’s worked on haute couture shoots in Paris, shot street style in Milan, and is currently developing a steady roster of beauty, fashion, and digital clients in NYC.