When Insieme 777 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10019, part of The Michelangelo Hotel, went on a search for a new chef, they found Chef Andres Julian Grundy. The Queens native (woot!) who got his start in the business at a young age as part of an outreach program for under-privileged teens is not the person you’d think Star Hotels would have chosen. He’s not Italian, nor has he spent years apprenticing there.

However, through this lunch media preview, we got to see what they saw in him, an ambitious and passionate chef who loves being on the search for new and unique ingredients. At just 30 years old, he’s got an impressive resume: Daniel, Aquavit, Danube, Montrachet, Clio and most recently L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon.

At Insieme, Chef Grundy will be performing a modern take on Italian as both chef and pastry chef, with a frequently changing seasonal menu showcasing the best of his finds. It was a real pleasure to be at this tasting.

Starting with an amuse trio, the Anchovy Zeppole was my favorite. The texture was uniform throughout, no chunks of fish, an airy puff that captured the aroma of fresh anchovies hitting hot oil.

Sardine Puffs

The Heirloom Squash Soup was creamy and comforting, spiked with distinct ginger-laced yogurt foam. The Pecorino Sable crumbled and melted in a perfect bite. I might not have even needed the pear mostarda on top, although it does make it look nicer.

Squash Soup with Yogurt IMG_9116

The first course showcased a rare Broiled Wild Hamachi, a piece from only 250 fish caught in Japan per year. It’s rare to see cooked hamachi and it was such a treat. The perfectly cooked fish had a wonderful sweetness accentuated by the concentrated cherry tomato compote. The bitter and rougher spigarello greens were a perfect contrast. The dahlia bulb crisp didn’t add that much for me, but I love learning about new ingredients.

Wild Hamachi with Cherry Tomato Compote 3

When the Chestnut Tagliatelle was placed in front of us, an amazing aroma wafted towards me that evoked feelings of dessert. Although there was a sweetness to the fresh pasta, it was certainly a savory course, accented by Madeira and duck cracklings. The foie gras emulsion added to the rich and indulgent nature of this dish. A tasting portion is plenty and a must-have! Very unique.

Chestnut Tagliatelle

The short ribs were easily forked apart and offered a meaty umami flavor kicked up with some peperonata and sweetened with roasted pear. The dish is usually made with geoduck, but mine was removed because of mercury. I’m pretty sure I was missing out.

Slow Cooked Short Ribs

Chef Grundy’s approach to desserts does not disappoint. We started with a cute, little glass of goat’s milk ricotta, acacia honey gelee, rosemary gelato, and bee pollen: creamy and nicely balanced.

Ricotta di Capra e Miele

The Bitter Chocolate “Tartufo” was right up my alley: not too sweet, just a good quality dark chocolate. The little accents of banana, passion fruit sorbet, and espresso granita are all favorite flavors to begin with and worked so well together.

"Tartufo" al Cioccolato Amaro

I did not partake in the wine pairings, but it seemed to please everyone else at the table.

The main dining room is well lit, modern, and clean. Insieme’s location and decor make it an ideal business meeting place; plus they offer private dining rooms. To the benefit of guests of The Michelangelo Hotel, Chef Grundy handles room service  for the hotel. Lunch prices are more suited to those with expense accounts but dinner is fair for NYC. Antipasti prices look a little high, but Primi and Secondi are priced just right.

posted by jessica at 05:53 PM Filed under Italian, Restaurants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.