If you’re in the Union Square area, there’s a foodie steal that you should take advantage of. Off the beaten path to the west of the square is the nondescript door front to Tocqueville. A prix fixe lunch menu for $29 for a three-course menu. We walked in, and the friendly hostess greeted us. We didn’t have a reservation for lunch, and it was OK. We were seated right away in the clean, comfortable and elegant dining room.
We were given a choice of bread: brioche, foccaccia or sourdough.
I tried the brioche and sourdough.
Our amuse bouche was salmon with apple, and I think, jicama. Very nice teaser for the meal to come.
I chose the prix fixe. My appetizer was a mushroom terrine and endive-watercress salad with pickled rhubarb, grilled mushrooms and toasted pine nuts. The salad was good, but the star was the grayish-brown rectangle with gelée on top. No, it didn’t look like it would be such a lovely experience, soft on the tongue, with an earthy, herby finish.
For my entrée, I got pan roasted hake with braised artichokes, sugar snap peas, turnips and chervil bouillon. I had never had hake before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The fish had a smooth texture and the choice of veggies and sauce were a perfect accompaniment. This has set the hake standard for me.
Finally, I did get the bittersweet chocolate bon bon with espresso ice cream, and I did take a picture but it’s not in my camera. This was delicious too.
My friend and I shared the truffled creamy parmesan grits and sunny side up country egg with squire hill farm’s araucana egg and house cured veal bacon. For those who think foam is blasé, I can assure you it’s not. This gentrified version of cheesy grits was creamy and delicious.
My friend ordered the asparagus salad special. Not only was it pretty with the stripes of white and green asparagus, but it was tasty as well.
My friend ordered the parmesan and lemon risotto with morel mushrooms, toasted pine nuts, ramp greens parmesan foam and fine herbs. Yes, there is more foam, but if you swim beneath it, there’s a creamy pleasant risotto underneath.