I went to Friday night's Dufour/Carmellini 9PM seating at Le Grand Fooding. The event and the food far surpassed my expectations. It was fun, lively, and ran surprisingly smoothly considering it was the first event in the space. The food was spectacular and just kept coming. We got free round trip car service thanks to the Mastercard sponsorships - many thanks to Kathryn for tweeting the link to tickets for mastercard holders.
As for the food, first they passed oysters (fresh, delicious) and dried beet oreos (with whipped goat cheese - tasty, but not worth ruining my appetite). The first course was langoustines, halved, grilled (I think) and incredibly abundant. More delicate then lobster and perfectly cooked. Then Foie gras 2 ways: first salt cured foie gras with apple, dashi, gelee, mustard seeds served with brioche. Also delicate, cooked just right, absolutely perfect. Then Foie gras course #2, entire lobes grilled, with maple syrup, served family style. Rare, meaty, more rustic, very good, and more than we could possibly eat. Then turbot, which I think was flown in live from France. Served with a lovely sauce (butter, cream?) and nice root vegetables. Unexpectedly great. Somehow they managed to strike a balance between delicate, innovative, and hearty food with real character all night. Then came the pigeon (not too locally sourced, I hope) with pain de gibier: a toast with liver and ceps. With bacon and currants (?) and some wonderful red cabbage with walnuts. Woodsy, gamey, nice taste of autumn. Best moment was when Andrew Carmellini passed a platter of barbecued pigeon bones. I took one and dug in but the better mannered crowd all seemed to pass it up.Who could pass up getting their face dirty with pigeon bones? Dessert was ice cream with figs and strawberries, but I was too full to budge at that point. Dufour and Carmellini were winning in their tuxedo T-shirts, and described most of the dishes, but they were often too soft spoken to be heard in the big room. Congrats to the organization for making such a fun event run so smoothly. $100 for such a fantastic, memorable meal, almost unlimited champagne, round trip car service, tax and tip (well, there was no tip) included is a pretty amazing deal. I wish I had bought tickets to more events.
I'd love to know more from anyone else who went to an event. I'm wondering if all of the meals were this spectacular. It's probably the only time I'll see people turning away more oysters, langoustines, champagne, and foie gras. More photos here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?s...
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