Look past the cool, black industrial chic, the fluffy, bird like lighting, loft music and find what's important. That's what Origin is all about.
I snack on Smoked Cod Croquettes with Saffron Aioli ($5), awaiting the guest.
Perfect little puff balls, their salty, smoky tang plays against silky, almost sweet, dusky aioli. It's the first promise of the night; simplicity rules.
Guest in tow, our seating, right in front of the Mozzarella Bar and Raw Bar is almost ideal. (I would have preferred a
able, instead of facing a stack of wooden serving boxes, though.) Burrata with pesto and romesco sauce ($15) sounds like a must: A sensual, dali-esque mound of cheese spills over the two grilled calabrese slices, slathered with silky romesco and the emerald pesto accents this. It's a 'wow' for the both of us.
Wild striped bass crudo ($14) is a study in elegance. Candied yuzu dots each little fillet and generous sprinkles of smoked trout roe contrast the crunchy soy. I imagined there would be an absence of molecular touches, but they do sneak in here and there for delicious effect. The Spicy Beef Handroll ($9) is a surprise for carnivores. The beef is chunked up and thrillingly spiced. I'm not a fanatic for handrolls because I think the seaweed wrap can ruin the effect of delicate ingredients with that overpowering papery dry texture. Thankfully, the beef mix can take this treatment.
Finally, a hot dish is in order; chorizo is paired with Manchego cheese laced rice, black olive dust edging the plate. It looks sensible and very classic, but the total Aprile touch is the perfect poached egg, ready and waiting, atop the rice. One simple dish, yet three techniques and a little molecular magic make it shine.
The cocktail bar and lounge aren't packed but that should change. Pricier cocktails are listed, but the Bavarian 75 ($10) a 'French 75' knockoff, disappoints. My guest's drink has no garnish and a limp fizz of hoppy pilsner overpowers the mixture, making it as attractive as a murky creek. Smart, knowledgeable and very nice servers are a big part of Claudio's team. It's too bad they let this slip out.
Price: Medium to high
Atmosphere: Energetic and exciting
Surprise, Surprise: A steal for top notch nibbles
Wheelchair Access: No
Hint: The bar and new terrace will see serious action