After incredible weather in Chicago, I reluctantly returned to NYC. Although with the promised 75 degree forecast, I thought it would be okay. When I left for dinner, it was drizzling but by the time I arrived the rain had definitely increased in pace. Nevertheless, I was excited for dinner at Ayza. I had heard such great things and was especially excited for the outdoor seating. The space was covered with big outdoor umbrellas and plastic side coverings to prevent the rain from entering. Unfortunately the crazy rain, hail, thunderstorm that appeared really tested their outdoor space. A drain started to overflow and created a fountain that started to flood. Some of the other diners were trapped for a bit. Luckily we escaped inside to continue what we had already started. For our appetizers, we ordered Angry Chicken Lollipops with spicy sesame hoisin sauce and crispy rice noodles.
The chicken was incredibly tasty! The lollipop also meant my hands didn’t get messy which was great. The sauce was very spicy – not too much for me but you might want to stay away if you’re not a fan of the heat. The presentation was also lovely but the rice noodles were a bit much. Here's a clearer shot.
Our second appetizer of Crispy Baby Shrimp Dumplings with garlic chili sauce and yellow sea wakame salad also arrived.
It was equally delicious, though I think the chicken really did win out. I didn’t really try the seaweed salad, but I’m sure it was fine. I was so stuffed from the appetizers that when the entrees arrived I was slightly overwhelmed. I ordered Pasta Radiatore with Basil, marinara and fresh mozzarella.
The pasta was such a huge portion and I definitely was not able to handle it. The sauce was really rich and tasted great. While I could have probably made this at home, it definitely felt like they took their time with the sauce. The birthday man ordered Medallions Of Filet Mignon with pommes gratin, a bed of rocket arugula and frisée with port reduction.
It definitely looked good. I obviously didn’t taste it but judging by the empty plate, I’m guessing it was delicious. I was definitely stuffed silly, but it isn’t a birthday unless you have cake! We shared the Warm Chocolate Molten Cake with raspberry sauce.
Really well presented and it tasted incredible. The chocolate was really rich. Although the inside wasn’t really “molten” because it was so thick it barely oozed. Still really delicious though.
Aside from the geyser that popped up at the beginning of our meal, Ayza was very much a success. The food was incredible and the décor was tasteful. Happy Birthday Mr. G. If you’re planning to go to Ayza you should definitely make reservations because their indoor space is quite small and though they have space heaters and plastic covering, their outdoor seating may not make it. And while their main focus may be wine and chocolate, their small menu is thoughtfully done and the food is very good.