Sea Urchin Toast at Aldea (Food Memories 2011, No. 12)

Uni toast at Aldea
Uni toast at Aldea, New York.
At Aldea, a Portuguese-inspired restaurant in New York, there is a starter course of sea urchin toast ($10).  Sea urchin roe, or uni as it's called in Japan (I'm most familiar with it in sushi form), is nothing short of the butter of the sea. The taste conjures up a vision of eating butter while on the beach. While not quite salty, you can feel the salt spray in the air when you in hale.

When I dined at Aldea, I had one bite of the uni toast, with cauliflower puree and mustard seeds that pop as if they are trout eggs, and wanted to close my eyes and just relax, let the stress drain from my shoulders as the buttery roe melted across my tongue.

Midway through this experience, our server approached the table to check whether everything was all right. I literally said to her, "We're not ready to talk yet." She giggled very quietly and seemed to say, "I'll leave you to it, then."