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.