The posh yet modern Hortus offers an amazing three course prix fixe dinner for $70/pp that lets each guest pick an appetizer, entree and dessert off their celebrated menu—the best part is that included is a glorious and generous assortment of fresh seafood called the Royal Platter which comes out first!
I don’t have to tell you how much fresh seafood platters cost in midtown restaurants and this one includes chilled lobster tail, hamachi crudo, oyster and shrimp cocktail. It’s beautifully plated on a wooden cutting board and topped with a purple orchid as you can see from my photo above. (You can pay extra for a large Royal Platter that includes a full dozen oysters.) My guest noted that some roe was included on top of the oysters. You can hear “oohs and ahs” from every resto guest when one of these luxurious seafood plates go by!
I love grilled eggplant and the version served at Hortus is baked with pine nuts, pickled mushroom, mozzarella and bread crumbs and is really quite filling. This is an unusual taste treat and has a bit of a citrusy vibe! The slight spicy and creamy sauce on the side packs a lot of punch, too!
My guest ordered the fluke appetizer which includes Korean style ceviche, shrimp, seaweed puree and red onion pickle. It looked like the inside of a kaleidoscope—everything was colorful and perfectly portioned and positioned. This makes a great choice for the health conscious and of course, sea food fanatics!
I chose the short ribs as my entree just because it is my thing to try short ribs as often as possible (and I find it interesting how many ways they can be served). At Hortus, the short ribs are braised and served with dikon ecrase and roasted baby carrot. The dikon (which I have never tasted before) had a roasted cauliflower taste but had a bouncier texture than cauliflower. I totally loved it! I enjoyed the bonus of a few delicious roasted shishito peppers on my plate and you can actually order a whole bowl of them if you want to! They are quite popular at this clever midtown eatery!
My guest chose the Truffle Donabe as her entree which was a generous portion of mushrooms, cured egg yolk and black truffles. It was topped with tender, lightly steamed scallions and it blew my guest away enough to say, “This has been my best birthday dinner ever!”
There are unique desserts at Hortus that seem to blend traditional Euro sweets with Far East flavors like Yuzu and Matcha. Above you see the ultra-creamy Matcha Tiramisu served with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream resting on chocolate cookie crumbs. The cake layers were springy and just the right amount of sweetness! I will come back to Hortus just to have this amazing dessert again!
My guest ordered the Yuzu Panna Cotta which had a flavorful layer of raspberry sauce and a golden and crispy butter crumble on top. I dug my spoon into this and I loved the fresh, lemon-like flavor of the yuzu—also, the creaminess of this Panna Cotta was just heavenly! I consider his dessert to be a crowd pleaser—both kids and adults would enjoy this simple layering of farm fresh flavors.
A great way to introduce yourself to the wonders of Hortus is to try their brunch which lets a table of guests share five different dishes for only $30 per person. At the top of the photo above you can see the stunning fruit salad served and I honestly can say that this might be the most artistically arranged and diversified fruit salad that I have ever seen! (It is served with cucumbers, yogurt and chili oil.) On the bottom of the photo above is the amazing buratta and beets dish featuring tomato vinaigrette, tomato medley and fresh basil.
For more info on this slightly mysterious must-try midtown eatery, go to hortusnyc.com. This state of the art establishment is really helping update and change the face of Asian Fusion and making it accessible to all…while introducing cutting edge farm-to-table ingredients! Reservations are recommended but not necessary.