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Note: This is a review under chef Marcus Samuelsson, who no longer cooks at Aquavit. (He remains a minority partner.) Marcus Jernmark is his replacement.

My friend and I had a terrific meal at the Aquavit Cafe in April (report here), so we were tempted to try the main dining room. Our dinner there a couple of weeks ago was peculiarly underwhelming.

We had the three-course prix fixe ($80). My friend started with the Herring Sampler, which came with a glass of beer and a shot of what must have been 100-proof potato vodka. I had a foie gras starter, but the accompanying strips of bacon stole the show.

For the main course, my friend had the bacon wrapped New York strip, and again, she found that the bacon stole the show. Spice rubbed venison loin came in a peculiar apple-pine broth that turned the dish into a swimming pool. I found the dessert choices underwhelming, and settled on a selection of three scoops of ice cream.

Aquavit is, of course, capable of great things, but on this occasion we weren’t wowed. The design is supposed to suggest Scandinavian minimalism, but my friend, who has spent a lot of time in Sweden, found the space sterile.

Aquavit (65 E. 55th St. between Park & Madison Avenues, East Midtown)

Food: **
Service: **½
Ambiance: **½
Overall: **

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