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It has been a while since I've posted on here, but as a reminder, this is an abridged version of my full review, which along with all the photos from the meal is on the blog at http://ramblingsandgamblings.blogspot...
Without too much fanfare, the Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare, the only three Michelin star restaurant in Brooklyn, moved to Manhattan earlier this year. Along with the move, the dining room has been upgraded and there are now several tables (2-tops and 4-tops) in addition to the main chef's table. Although they won't provide you with a written menu for the meal, photos and notes are allowed.
The Chef's Table does not have it's own private entrance. You have to walk through the Brooklyn Fare market to get to the restaurant. But when you do get there, the elegant wood-accented dining room is lovely and inviting. The chef's table is no longer a semicircular metal counter, but a large rectangular bar. However, you can still get the feel of the old Brooklyn Fare as chef Cesar Ramirez brought over his row of copper pots and pans hanging over his kitchen. I highly recommend sitting at a table. Chef Ramirez goes to each of the tables throughout the night to shake hands and introduce himself, and the room is cozy enough that you don't feel like you're missing out on any of the action in the open kitchen.
Comfort and Service
One of the most important things to know is that there are no substitutions. If there are any dietary restrictions such as allergies, they will remove the offending item from the dish, but they will not make a different dish to replace it. The bathroom is also in the Brooklyn Fare market, and going there involves having one of the employees accompany you with the bathroom key. I did not experience this myself, but one of my dining companions said that it felt awkward and uncomfortable. On the bright side, the banquettes at the table were pretty comfortable and service was good. The sommeliers did a good job, and the wine list (I'd been told) had enough reasonable selections to not feel like you were getting gouged (ahem::Per Se::ahem).
HOKKAIDO UNI WITH TRUFFLE OVER BRIOCHE
Just as good as when I had it three years ago https://www.chowhound.com/post/comple.... A wonderful combination of earth and sea without any component overpowering the others.
SCOTTISH LANGOUSTINE WITH RADISH
This was cooked so perfectly I dare say it was cooked better than any langoustine I've had at Le Bernardin (and I've had quite a few). This was also the first of a few dishes where the plates were very warm to the touch, which probably helped the dish to maintain at the chef's desired temperature.
KOREAN FLUKE WITH YUZU KOSHO AND CRISPY KELP
I don't quite know what fish this was, but it was extremely meaty and satisfying and not what I would typically associate as fluke. What I really appreciated about this dish was that the fish was cooked through to take advantage of that meatiness. The crispy kelp strands added a nice texture component, and is a technique that I remember was on quite a few dishes during that meal 3 years ago.
KALUGA CAVIAR WITH CRUSHED POTATOES AND SOUR CREAM
For this dish, chef Cesar himself came to the table to finish the plating by scooping out large amounts of caviar. I believe the potatoes were of the Carola variety, and a great vehicle for the caviar. What really stood out to me was the delicious sour cream. I feel like it's one of those food items where people often don't realize how much better freshly prepared versions are from the generic versions they buy in a supermarket, like real hot fudge sauce or schlag.
NORWEGIAN KING CRAB WITH GRANNY SMITH APPLE AND SHISO
I thought this was the best and most interesting dish of the night in terms of a composed dish of balanced flavor combinations. The crab was sweet, but not overpoweringly so where other items were just accents to the crab. There was nice contrast with the apple which provided a slight tartness and crisp texture. Rounding it all out was a wonderfully subdued shiso emulsion that gave it an earthy tone and lingering taste on the tongue, matching well with the warm temperature at which the dish was served. The emulsion reminded me of the chive oil in Eleven Madison Park's sturgeon sabayon.
GRILLED ABALONE WITH FOIE GRAS COOKED IN KOSHIHIKARI RICE
This was actually pretty good, except that it didn't really work for me on a personal (completely subjective) level. As someone who grew up eating a good amount of abalone in Chinese cooking, I prefer abalone that is tender but still with bite. Al dente, if you will. This abalone was too tender, and had almost no give. The abalone liver flavor was very strong, which while I can appreciate, is also not the flavor from the abalone that the Chinese prefer to highlight. The foie gras rice with dashi froth was magnificent though.
A5 MIYAZAKI WAGYU WITH WASABI AND JUS
Simple and delicious, truly highlighting the fine quality of the ingredients. What I appreciated most was that this was beautifully cooked to start bringing out the flavor of the melting fat, whereas I've had Miyazaki wagyu at other places where they just did a mindless sear and left the rest practically raw.
FROZEN ALMOND SOUFFLE WITH PUFFED ALMONDS
The highest praise I can give is that this really, really worked. It's not even about the flavor, which was great as I love almonds and the puffed almonds were delicious. It was that the flash frozen souffle worked beautifully in both temperature and texture to close the meal. After a long meal such as this, a frozen dessert that was denser that this light souffle would have been too much, while a more traditional souffle served warm would have dulled the senses at the very end. Ingenious conclusion to a wonderful meal.
In total there were 15 dishes and a couple petit fours to end the meal.
I expected no less than phenomenal food given my last visit over three years ago. The overall experience was significantly better, and my main takeaway from this meal is "refinement". The dishes have been refined over the years and form a purposeful menu from start to finish. The dining room, the tables, and other FOH additions also solidify it as a grand restaurant experience, not just a chef's counter where you are at the whim of the chef's experiments. There are still some kinks to be worked out, but I have no doubt that with this move and the overall growth that this restaurant has experienced and will continue to go through, it will not only maintain its 3 Michelin Stars easily, but will also start climbing the World's 50 Best list where it was ranked 81st in 2016.
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