Veritas: I Speak the Truth!
Veritas (a name derived from the Latin phrase in vino veritas--in wine [there is] truth, has long been one of my favorite New York restaurants. I've enjoyed its quiet, intimate ambiance, its extensive wine list, its close proximity to my neighborhood, and the wonderful cuisine. So when I discovered recently that it had changed owner and chef-ship, and the New York Times awarded it 3 stars, I was eager for a revisit.
I couldn't resist the lobster and bone marrow first course--rich but amazingly easy to swallow. Going from the frying pan of richness into the fire of wooly pig, my main course was a delicious, succulent, maple- glazed pork loin.
It wasn't until after finishing our main courses that my cover was blown when my cousin Bill Howe couldn't resist telling chef-owner Sam Hazen, who was standing nearby, that I write cookbooks. What a charming man! I could see, even before we were introduced, that he radiated interest and enjoyment of his profession. Next out came pastry chef Emily Wallendjack, followed by an impressive dessert tasting for the table. (I suspect that's why my cousin dropped my name but he's forgiven! As a highly successful NY corporate headhunter he delights in seeing the reception I receive from fellow chefs. I have to add that food professionals the world over are among the most welcoming to colleagues.)
Emily is a highly talented pastry chef. She is a graduate of the CIA, and has worked under the famed Pierre Hermé and Johnnie Iuzinni.
The tasting consisted of 4 desserts off the menu. Although they sound incredibly complex, which is high risk in the hands of a less talented pastry chef, each was a perfect harmony of textures and flavors:
1. Apple crisp with Armagnac soaked prunes, spiced apple butter, crème fraîche ice cream (crème fraîche made in house), Saigon cinnamon, and finished with an apple chip. (My personal favorite)
2. Hazelnut crunch bar with devils food cake, feullatine gianduja crunch, praline ganache, hazelnut chantilly, chocolate sheets, and allepo caramel.
3. Dark and stormy sticky toffee pudding with ginger-lime ice cream, Goslings rum toffee sauce, and fresh lime zest.
4. Brioche cranberry bread pudding with cranberries poached in star anise, candied pecans and orange vanilla crème anglaise.