Menu: View the Menu
Chef: Victor LaPlaca
2nd Cuisine: French (Brasserie)
Todd English is the latest celebrity chef to land in Times Square. His new restaurant is located at the Intercontinental Hotel and just around the corner Danny Meyer's Shake Shack.
Ca Va is a fantastic looking space complete with two dining rooms and a sexy lounge with a gas-burning fireplace. There are cork floors, tinted mirrors, crushed leather seats, flowered banquettes and sleek chrome sconces. We were greeted by a beautiful, and very friendly hostess, who offered us a table even though we hadn't made reservations. As for the dress code - think casual sheik.
We kicked off the meal with a few cocktails, including a powerful drink called L'Abisnthe ($14). It's made with pear vodka, lemoncello and absinthe. But be forewarned, a few of these and they may have to carry you out. It's that strong.
The food is French and fabulous. We started with jumbo shrimps butterflied with a spicy rémoulade ($14) served with pickled cucumbers and avacado. It's excellent. Braised octopus salad with an olive tapenade ($13) was also very good, but had trouble living up to the shrimps. On the other hand, a frisée salad ($14) got a burst of flavor from chunks of smoky Berkshire bacon and a lightly poached egg sitting on the bottom. I'd have to say my favorite starter was the French onion soup. Sweet onions in a rich beef stock topped with a thick slice of bread and loads of gooey gruyère. It adds a little warmth to your soul and is something worth seeking out especially when there's a bit of a chill in the air.
Entrees are equally as impressive. Seared salmon ($26) with a crab hollandaise was thick and juicy atop of bed of baby lentils and spinach. The boneless beef short rib ($27) had a perfect char served with slices of roasted salsify. Sautéed Berkshire pork shank ($26) easily pulled away from the bone and was so large it nearly filled up the entire plate. It arrived with a mini cast iron skillet of creamed spinach. A carrot purée lined the plate with a smattering of fava beans sprinkled on top.
At this point, we could barely take another bite, but we did manage to squeeze in two desserts; a decadent chocolate tart ($9) with a scoop of mascarpone ice cream and homemade butter crunch, and cream puffs ($9) filled with a scoop of homemade pistachio ice cream drizzled with chocolate syrup. My nine-year-old son was in heaven.
Ca Va is also the perfect spot for a pre-theater meal with a $35 prix fixe menu.
Todd English should be proud!
Review By: Thomas Rafael