Flight Through The Aviary Slideshow
Edible Bloody Mary
A quick amuse to taste when you sit down, the edible Bloody Mary is tart, delicate, and meticulously garnished.
This Champagne cocktail features a homemade raspberry purée at the bottom of the flute — a sweet finish.
Cantaloupe — Prosciutto, Basil, Champagne
First item on the list of "Bites" on the menu at The Aviary is the Cantaloupe, a rectangular take on something you've most frequently seen melon-balled or cubed, no doubt. Firm melon, with salty moments that last after the bite disappears. Simple enough, but better than anything tasted during a full tasting menu at Moto down the street.
Pineapple — Mint, Sanbitter, Chartreuse
This cocktail was sweet and tart. Through the haze of a seven-course tasting, smooth, small, crunchy pebbles are recalled as its most intriguing facet.
Pork Belly — Coconut, Curry, Iceberg
A concave lettuce arrowhead filled with a super soft bite of pork belly that dissolves immediately. It's delicious but not heavily seasoned, nor overly manipulated.
Ginger — Peychaud's, Shiso, Lime, Vodka
A light, quasi-powdery 'ice' that's more like snow, the lightest snow you can imagine. And are those tracing paper thin slices of hot pepper? You're instructed to mix in the vodka yourself and then use the lemongrass swizzle stick to mix it. The texture approximately puts this cocktail in a genre of ice slushie that also includes the Commonwealth Narwhal in San Francisco, and the amazing liquid nitrogen caipirinha at The Bazaar in L.A.
But the Ginger is in a class of its own. It's the best cocktail I've ever had. Besides its flavor and texture there are fingerling lime vesicles that burst in your mouth while you're drinking and then even after you've finished the drink. During a seven-flight cocktail tasting this effect of flavor lingering seemed to occur several times — amazing.
Rhubarb — Lemon Balm, Cocchi, Tonic, Gin
Sweet and tart, whispers of a Pisco Sour.
Potato — Custard, Malt Vinegar Chips, Chive
It may be listed on the menu as potato (custard, malt vinegar chips, chive), but it tastes like the most amazing tater tot in the world. Imagine the lightest, smoothest, savory potato custard rolled in something akin to tater tot Rice Krispies.
Root Beer — Vanilla, Sassafras, Kirsch
Picture what you think an old-school root beer used to taste like. Imagine soda the way you think it was made when it wasn't all about corn syrup, when nuanced flavor was part of the equation, and you get an approximation of what not-too-sweet soda cocktail tastes like.
Cheesecake — Strawberry, Balsamic, Graham Cracker
Airy foam with a soft exterior. Not too sweet, not creamy, and with a burst of strawberry flavor that lingers after the bite is finished.
White Russian — Ristretto, Milk, Rum
This homage to the Dude's cocktail of choice impressed with a milk ice cube that flaked off pleasantly when bitten.
Brioche — Chocolate, Smoked Salt, Vanilla
The sweet-but-not-overly-sweet nature of this light chocolate bite makes it a success even for those who usually skip dessert.
Lobster, Crab, Chowder
Lobster (front and center) was perhaps the least exciting or flavorful bite on the menu: cracker, Comté, grape. A little bite of sweet lobster wasn't bad, just not in the same realm as the others.
Crab, "A play on Crab Louie," the waitress noted, consisted of tempura, tomato, and pickle. The last being inside, an enjoyably vinegar burst to finish the bite.
The Chowder croquette with clam and spicy corn pudding joined Crab and Potato as another next-level fried treat.
A Scene At The Aviary
To the left and ahead, the door to Next. Far in the front, The Aviary kitchen. Banquettes against the wall. Syncopated gushing by patrons burst like popcorn around the room as some of the more complex drinks are placed in front of them.
Blueberry — Verjus, Sweet Vermouth, Rye
A glass canteen filled with beautiful, multicolored herbs, fruits, and flowers. The flavor and color of the drink changes over time as it sits.
Wagyu, Crab, Foie Gras
A quick bite of soft, flavorful Wagyu seasoned with smoked paprika, pumpkin seed, and yogurt. A second bite of crab (just because), and the Foie Gras: rhubarb, pumpernickel, and lavender. So smooth.
Sazerac — Demerarra, Peychaud's, Rye
If you're a cocktail geek you've no doubt seen or heard about this one. The ice sphere contains the drink. It's cracked open and the cocktail spills out. When you experience something like this, the adjective 'cool,' as simple and overused as it might be, seems to have found its higher calling.