We were at the Aviary last night and had a fantastic time. The posts above had me a little worried about the change in environment but everything seemed very low key and nice and we didn't run into any of the issues discussed above. A friend and I decided to split the 7 course flight while 2 other friends split the prix fixe menu and some a la carte menus. My friend and I also ordered another prix fixe menu and some more a la carte drinks. Between the 4 of us (and a brief visit by 2 other friends) we put quite a dent in the menu. This was my third or fourth time returning and definitely the best time I've had. Splitting the 7 course flight between 2 people is the way to go; the times I've come before I feel like I've spent more money and gotten less out of it (although I have no regrets of ordering all the el bulli cocktails and bites the first time I was here). My only complaint is that it was apparent that the cocktails on the 7-course flight were predetermined and we could have used a bit of a heads up to avoid the other 2 people in our party ordering a lot of the same drinks (we wanted to maximize our variety); however, the server did tell us our last course would be one some one already had and offered an alternative.
You'll have to forgive the pretty bad photos as the lighting in The Aviary is really not at all conducive to (flash-free) photos.Amuse bouche
We started with the amuse bouche that I believe was bourbon and some sort of fruity tea (although I could be mistaken). It was very nice (especially right out of the freezing cold) and tasted of mulled wine. On the Bright Side (I believe)
- prosecco, absinthe, peychaud's
This was the first drink in our 7 course flight and was a variation on a Death in the Afternoon. This was the only off-menu cocktail that we had. I believe that the ice cubes were made from or infused with Peychaud's bitters. A great start and very refreshing. It was the favorite of the first round of drinks to come out.End of Days
- pomegranate & rum torch, bourbon, mezcal
This was a drink ordered a la carte as well as the second drink in our flight (in fact the chef sent out 2 for our flight since he felt it was too small to share). This was a special drink for the "Mayan Apocalypse" and I believe that yesterday was the last day it was on the menu. The base was bourbon and mezcal with some egg white (I believe). A mixture of rum and pomegranate was aerosolized and torched (hairspray flamethrower style) over the drink. A nice and smokey drink although I really didn't pick up a lot of the pomegranate.
End of Days torch action shotGranny Smith
- sage, tequila, mezcal
The first drink of the first prix fixe. This drink was very interesting and very strongly tequila. The apple flavor was very subtle but definitely present. A very nice drink.Spiritual Advisor
- bijou, the venerable, trappist, chartreuse v.e.p.
This was another a la carte drink ordered. The concept here is each drink is (or has a component) from monasteries or monks. The first drink on the left is the Chartreuse VEP. Really incredible stuff. Like green Chartreuse but much more subtle and rounded and full bodied (this stuff is a dream purchase of mine). The next drink was bijou which is made with gin, chartreuse, dry vermouth and orange bitters. A very nice cocktail. Next was a trappist ale, I forget which. Finally was the cocktail The Venerable which I believe contained Drambuie and Grand Marnier. A very nice drink that tasted similar to a rusty nail.Ginger
- shiso, peychaud's, vodka
This was the next drink on our flight. This one has been on the menu for a while and I've always sort of overlooked it because I tend to avoid vodka. This was probably my favorite of the flight. Some great ginger flavor but not overpowering. I especially enjoyed the tiny fingerling lime bits that just sort of burst in your mouth.Smoking Barrel
- fig, cognac, calvados, bourbon
The next drink on the flight as well as the prix fixe. A glass came inverted on a charred barrel stave. The glass was removed at the table and the smoke released. Then the cocktail was poured into the glass. A nice, smokey drink. Baked Apple
- chai, pine, brown butter, silver lining, pisco
This was the next drink in our flight and like all the rest was fantastic. It comes out with the vac pot contraption with the alcohol in the bottom and the fruits and herbs (including a full baked apple) was in the top. As the liquor is heated it enters the top compartment and infuses. It was then poured into the glass which contained a small ball of brown butter. I would have never thought to use butter in a cocktail but it worked fantastically. Another home run.Cranberry
- rosemary, allspice, gin, rum
This was another a la carte drink ordered. I believe there was also absinthe in here. This was a very nice drink, with the flavor from the fruits infusing over time. It's cool to taste the change over time.Persimmon
- gewürztraminer, blanc de blanc, cognac
The penultimate drink of our 7 course flight. A fairly simple (comparatively) drink but very well executed and flavorful. The flavor delivered on it's namesake.Hot Chocolate
- malt, banana, cinnamon, bourbon
The last drink of the flight. I believe the whole table agreed that this was the best hot chocolate we've ever had (alcohol or not). The malt was a good idea and I plan to try some next time I make hot chocolate. The banana was very subtle and added an extra dimension to the rich drink.Horchata
- cinnamon, rum, tequila
This was the last course of the first prix fixe. Tasted just as it's name suggests with cinnamon ice. Very nice.Tonkotsu Ramen
- pork belly, soft boiled egg, scallion
At this point I was getting a bit hungry so I ordered the Tonkotsu ramen. Beautifully presented with a very rich and flavorful broth and tender pork belly. The soft boiled quail egg was also great. Overall a very nice rendition.Assortment of Lollipops
Overall cute but I was far less impressed with these.Poached Pear
- egg white, walnut, pinot noir, poire williams
This was another a la carte drink ordered. Tasted nicely of pear. The burgundy portion on the left was ice, although I'm not sure with what it was flavored.Rob Roy
- lavender air, pedro ximenez 1985, scotch
Another a la carte. The drink came in the bottom of a bag filled with lavender air. This was a very nice drink that tasted mainly of nutty, dark fruity sherry with hints of lavender and smoke.Quince
- verjus, white wine, oat whiskey
The first drink of the second prix fixe. This drink came in a french press that was then poured into the glass. Very nice, light flavors.Margarita
- cranberry, cider, fall spice, tequila
The next prix fixe drink. A very delicious fall margarita with cranberry ice.Root Beer
- sassafras caramel, angostura, fernet, rum
The final drink of the prix fixe. Great root beer flavor with a nice foam on top.
Overall a great experience at The Aviary. We didn't have any problems with service or anything. We were there for almost 3 hours and never felt rushed. We asked for a tour of the kitchen at the end and were obliged, although we couldn't get a tour of the ice kitchen as the ice chef had already left. The server said next time to ask for an ice tour ahead of time, which I definitely plan to do.