A Pastry Chef Takes Charge, Reinvigorates Aquavit: Review

Why go to Aquavit? The old restaurant has been wedged for nearly a decade in a dreary concrete and glass block on 55th Street. And as you are sitting in one of those high-backed leather chairs that look like they were nicked from an abandoned conference room, the seats cracked from the wear and tear of a thousand bottoms that sat here before yours, you might wonder why you bothered.

But then a small clay dish arrives and a server pulls away the lid. A rush of sweet smoke dissipates to reveal a few tiny potatoes, no bigger than peanuts, draped in pickled mustard seeds. The server pours over a little potato and leek soup, silky and bright. It’s just a couple of bites to get you in the mood before Emma Bengtsson’s eight-course tasting menu ($135) really kicks off, but it’s delivered gracefully and tastes precisely of fall.

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