Let’s rewind to 2011. The final Harry Potter movie was in theaters, everyone was obsessed with the royal wedding, Donald Trump was a sort of amusing TV personality, Netflix and Chill wasn’t a thing, and Adele was suddenly everywhere. Also everywhere - molecular gastronomy.
With Twilight-level hype when it opened, Ink was the 2011 restaurant to end all 2011 restaurants, serving food from a Top Chef winner that flew its molecular flag high. And while foams and soils and powders aren't really getting people as excited anymore, Ink has stuck to its guns. That might sound pretentious, but in reality the casual environment, rap soundtrack, and straight-up excellent food cancels out any potential stuffiness. Ink isn't talked about as much as other, newer spots that are more likely to throw meat at you than do anything involving a foam, but for our money it's one of the best all-around eating experiences in the city.
The menu is one of those that just lists ingredients, leaving you to guess what "bigeye tuna, sea bean chimichurri, ogo, horseradish powder" actually means. (It means tuna tartare.) Even though there are ingredients like housemade ranch “foritos," the food never feels forced or overly precious. There are housemade ranch foritos (yes - they are housemade Doritos) on your corn because they taste really good, not because whoever wrote the menus thinks he's really clever.
The room is big and dark, not at all formal, and occasionally very loud (in a good way) once it fills up and the music gets turned up. Service is super friendly and full of advice, but they also just let you eat your g*ddamn dinner.
Ink is one of those restaurants that reaffirms your belief that eating out is the single greatest hobby. It has all the elements of a fine dining experience, but in a laid-back setting. So while foam no longer induces Robert Pattinson-like rapture, Ink is a slice of 2011 that we're pretty happy to still have around.
A kind of salad with room temperature cooked carrots, a sweet crumble of brown butter shallots, and boursin cheese powder on top. A salad without any greens: one we can get behind.
Shaved, almost frozen, foie gras mousse. On top of a sourdough waffle. With pickled onions and mustard. If it’s on the menu, get this.
Not your average raw tuna dish - the tuna is wrapped in compressed daikon, there’s an insane chimichurri jam involved, and lots of horseradish snow on top that gives it a great kick.
The fanciest, and tastiest creamed corn we’ve ever had. Looks like corn flavored vomit, tastes like the best version of Mexican corn you’ll find.
A super fancy version of fish and chips. The shellfish is wrapped in hash brown-like shredded potato and fried. Because who wants beer batter when you can combine the fish with the chips. The malt vinegar aioli that comes with it is completely addictive.
Another fancy twist on a classic - the baked potato with sour cream. These guys are black, they come with a big dollop of sour cream and a little spray bottle of vinegar. Despite the theatrics, they taste as crazy-good as they look.
One of our favorite dishes, and holds its own in a town full of octopus. The tentacles are super crispy and come on top of squid ink orecchiette with a buttery sauce. They may or may not have torn this bowl right out of our hands as we tried to get the last of the sauce.
Perfectly cooked bits of chicken (apparently they fuse the thighs and the breasts together into some sort of franken-chicken), on top of a potato hazelnut mash. We are not really into hazelnuts so this wasn’t our favorite, but the h-nut lovers at the table were pretty into it.
Our favorite dessert. A deconstructed apple pie with creme caramel hiding underneath. If you don’t order this we’re not friends.
A thing we didn’t know we liked: malt ice cream. Every part of this dish was great too - from the crispy crepe with chocolate mousse to the caramelized white chocolate ganache. Still more into the Apple though.