Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

MANZANILLA, 345 Park Avenue South (at East 27th Street), Flatiron District

Food should be delicious and filling, no doubt, but I get most excited when food is playful and surprising. And if a dish can be all those things at once, then it’s something I’ll be thinking about for a long time to come.

I was hoping for an experience like that at Manzanilla, the first American restaurant from famed Spanish chef Dani GarcĂ­a. The chef is known for his creative and unusual techniques, something that could completely reinvigorate Spanish cuisine in this city.

The meal was delightful with some delicate flavors and bold preparations (like the unusual fondo rocoso, a seaweed cracker with baby shrimp and lemon). But my mind wasn’t completely blown by anything until the final plate was put in front of us.

Marbella's Full Moon at MANZANILLA

Dessert was called Marbella’s Full Moon and nothing could prepare me for this experience. A round white sphere sat on a mound of dirt-like crumbles. It was a beautiful, artisitic presentation that made digging in a little intimidating.

Marbella's Full Moon at MANZANILLA

But we finally broke the sphere and I could have sworn we had just cracked open a soft boiled egg. The colors and textures (down to the crunchy outer shells and the tissuey membrane) were identical to an egg. What an illusion! The trickery played with my head, much like Crystal Clear Pepsi used to when I was 16. How could an egg taste so sweet and how could something so sweet look just like an egg?

Fun and games aside, this was a luscious, layered dessert. White chocolate and vanilla mousse made up the whites, the tangy gooey center was yuzu and mandarin, and the crumbly dirt was comprised of addicting walnut brownie.

This is the kind of dish that plays delicious tricks on your mind, your stomach, and of course, your tastebuds.

MANZANILLA
345 Park Avenue South (at East 26th Street),
Flatiron District

(212) 255-4086
manzanillanyc.com
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About the Author

Brian Hoffman is a classically trained actor who is now a full-time tour guide, blogger, and food obsessive. He leads food and drink tours around New York City, which not only introduce tour-goers to delicious food, but gives them a historical context. He also writes food articles for Gothamist and Midtown Lunch in addition to overseeing this blog and a few food video series, including Eat This, Locals Know, and Around the World in One City.

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