Day 5: Star Count 21
Well here it is, the last and most starry day. A six star day at arguably the two of the best restaurants in all of NYC. If there was a way to go out with a bang, this is pretty close.
Lunch service at Jean Georges is a bargain and a real treat. By this point I found that the pricing keeps fairly in line more or less to a base of $100 plus another $100+ per Michelin star. At $300 for a 3 Michelin Star meal with wine pairings that seems like a deal to me. Anyway, pictures first, talk later:
Delicious. Every bite. Not a single complaint about the food. In fact for a lunch, I would say that the portion size is comparable to a dinner meal. By the end of lunch I was almost struggling to finish my dessert. The Crab Salad, Steamed Cod and Tenderloin were all full sized dinner portions. So even if the price by itself doesn’t scream a good deal, after eating the food, yes it’s a good deal. Full of flavour, subtle sweets, bold savory just the right amount of spice. The most interesting dish that I did not think was going to end well was the Wasabi Sorbet. Two foods that I would never think should ever go together. For those who are unaware of the Wasabi filled Marshmellow incident, wasabi and sweets do not sit well mentally or palatally. Against all logic, the wasabi sorbet with strawberries was really, really good. The wasabi was perfectly balanced. And by perfectly, I mean, you take a bit of it and you start to feel that wasabi tingling feeling, and right when you feel like it gets to be too much, it stops and you get the refreshing taste of strawberries. Every bite. It was a very fun dish to eat. Back to critical mode, the meal unfortunately was not perfect. I had a real problem with the wine. Very big problem. at $150 for wine pairing for 6 dishes, I expect some damn good wine. Instead, what I ended up getting was less than spectacular wine. Rule number one of wine tasting is to check for clarity (which is why you always grab by the stem, wine etiquette, a whole different lecture). Every wine they poured, other than the Champagne for the Caviar and Desert, had tons of sediment floating around in it. Big no-no. Needless to say, the wine pairings were subpar, many of which left a not so crisp aftertaste. In this case the wine most definitely let the food down.
My Rating: 4.5/5. At the end of the day, it’s about the food and it was superb. The wine was a bit of a let down which is why I could not give JG a full 5/5 rating. The value you get for the lunch service is unrivaled. Del Posto comes close with a sub-$100 menu and $75 pairing, but the quality of food at JG far surpasses which is why it has a coveted 3 Star rating.
Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare
This post will be short. Why? No pictures. No notes. Not supposed to have any other electronics out. No menu. 15-ish courses. This was, and still is, by far, the best meal I’ve ever had. End of discussion. Better than all the late night drunk gotta have something, anything that’s oh so satisfying feeling that I’ve ever had combined. Better than the homiest of home cooked meals after being away for so long. And better than anything I’ve ever made with all the pride and effort I put into my own cooking. Chef’s Table is very easy to miss. The street front is literally the width of 5-6 windows in a sleepy neighborhood in unsuspecting Brooklyn. You’re not going to find fancy signs, or doors. No canopy over the sidewalk. No grand entrance. You just walk through a flimsy plexiglass door and the doorman/waiter/prep cook unlocks the actual door, which is your standard retail door, lets you in and locks it behind you. You are then ushered to one of 14 seats at a stainless steel center island where your server stands trapped in his steel ring. Needless to say, it is a very intimate atmosphere where you get to see the chef and his team prepare these amazing dishes and carefully construct them. Of the dishes that were served, the only ones I can remember are: Sashimi, Caviar, Abalone, King Crab, Duck, Wagyu Beef, Cheese, and some sort of Chocolate confection. Honestly it was just too much to be able to remember everything. The only thing I am very sure of was that the food was amazing. The sashimi was so fresh, as if the fish had been filleted alive. The abalone had the texture almost like pork, tender and juicy and far from the chewy little rubber pucks that are commonly served. The King Crab was very sweet and refreshing. The wine to go along with the food was also very well balanced and paired. Also to note, Chef’s Table and Eleven Madison were the only restaurants to refill your paired wine glasses when and if you ever finished what was poured. Clearly the dining experience at Chef’s Table is exactly what it is, a dining experience. It’s not overly focused on the food, though if Chef wanted to, he could do that and still maintain his 3 stars. It wasn’t skewed towards the wine pairings as good as they were. It had it all. And on top of that the environment allows for interaction between patrons from different parties and also with the chef and his team. Part of the reason I am unable to regurgitate the information or even the main components of each dish I had was because I was too busy enjoying everything else around me, the conversations, the taste of the food, the homey atmosphere, the fragrant drinks. At Chef’s Table, you can have your cake and eat it too.
My rating: 5*/5. If the scale could go any higher it would be there. Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare is a must for anyone who goes to NYC and truly enjoys food. Reservations are nearly impossible to secure but if you are lucky enough to get one, you wont regret it. There really are no words capable of describing this place. The hype around Chef’s Table is real. I may have to make this a mandatory stop for every time I visit NYC in the future.