Intrepid New Yorkers navigated icy paths and slushy crosswalks in the aftermath of Snowstorm Stella, and it didn’t stop the 100-odd journalists from the Visit San Jose Luncheon at the Michelin starred restaurant, Aldea in New York.
Chefs David Costa and Jessica Carreira from Adega, the first restaurant in San Jose to earn a Michelin star, were flown from the San Jose International — Silicon Valley’s — Airport to prepare a luncheon paired with wines.
Our first course was a Caldo Verde, a Portuguese potato soup. The creaminess and subtle earthiness of the soup with finely shredded, cooked kale was paired with a 2015 Rita Hills Chardonnay, a medium bodied, acidic wine with tones of lemon and orange blossoms.
The Pastel de Bacalhau (salted cod fritters) and seasonal greens were paired with a 2014 Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir. Predominant flavors of red berries — raspberries, blackberries and the typical southern Californian boysenberry — complimented the fish and garlic fritter.
We were switched to a 2013 La Rinconada Vineyard Chardonnay for the next course, a Cavala Marinada com salada de algas, a marinated mackerel and seaweed salad. The tangy seaweed salad and mackerel were tender and moist. Aromatic flavorings and herbs — olive oil, a touch of red pepper, cilantro and lemon juice celebrated the texture of the opaque, white mackerel. The balanced core of ripe fruit of the wine lingered long on the palate while savoring the mackerel.
For the last course, we were served an excellent arroz de pato, a mold of rice made with chorizo, bacon, carrot and various blends of spices with roast medallions of duck. If there was any one dish to order, this would be it. The flavors of the condiments and meats soaked the rice, which was tender but in no way oily.
Aldea is typical of Manhattan layouts — long and narrow. Table dote dining can be overly warm and confining unless you’re at an end table. On the other hand, this is a restaurant where New Yorkers can go for an authentic Portuguese menu.
Aldea is located at 31 West 17th Street, NYC, (212-675-7223), Aldearestaurant.com