After watching a great Rangers win at Maddison Square Garden, Lex and I decided to head out for a (really) early dinner at AOC in the West Village. This place is nostalgic for me as it was a restaurant I frequented with my Mum and Dad when we visited NY in the summer of 2010. If you’re a Sex and the City fan you might recognise it as the location of Carrie’s disastrous ‘simu-date’ before her ‘real’ date with Jack Burger…
We asked to be seated at the back section of the restaurant which faces out onto the courtyard. It was too cold to sit outside so we snagged a cosy little table for two near the bigger booth tables. Being as this is a French restaurant, it was great to see the waiters and owner Romain Bonnans (who we saw walking around) were French and highly knowledgable about their food. I must say also, going to eat dinner at 4.30pm is kind of crazy, but on the flip side, you get such personalised service and are able to catch a glimpse of the workings of a restaurant before the peak time crowed arrives. The decor is really cute in AOC and there is a distinct charm about the place.
AOC has some pretty impressive reviews from reputable food critics in NY. What they all agree on is that AOC has an extensive and traditional French menu with a distinctive homemade feel and offer dishes that are common to France but not so common in French restaurants in America.
What we ordered:
I don’t normally go for Risotto when dining out, but as soon as I saw it on the menu I instantly craved it! So I took the plunge and ordered the Wild Mushroom Risotto with baby vegetables, balsamic glaze and Parmesan cheese. There is also the option to add grilled seafood, but I ordered as is. I was a bit sceptical of the balsamic glaze as I’d never thought to add this to a risotto before, however it added a kick to the dish and definitely worked. I can’t fault this risotto at all, it was absolutely heavenly. Lex tried it as well and even he liked it (he doesn’t normally go for risotto).
Lex went for the Burger with Swiss, Cheddar and caramelised onion. It was a cheap burger too coming in at around $15 all up. You can also add mushrooms, Roquefort and bacon at an additional cost. Lex was impressed and although the burger was on the small side (compared to massive servings at some of the more touristy places in NY), he said it was really filling and noticeably made with fresh ingredients. The traditional french fries on the side were absolutely delicious (I would know because I pinched quite a few!). Although we didn’t have any wine with our meal on this occasion, I want to point out that AOC have an impressive wine list – so if you’re a bit of a wine connoisseur, this could be the place for you! The dessert menu also looked great with the creme brûlée looking very tempting, but alas we were too full!