NYC: Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare (Aug. 2012)
Authors: Victor and Monty
Restaurant: Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare
Chef: Cesar Ramirez
Date: August 29, 2012
Phone number: (718) 243-0050
Dress Code: “Business Attire required. No jeans, sneakers, flip-flops, shorts or t-shirts are permitted in the dining room.”
Restaurant seats: 18 (with one cover a night each seat)
-No pictures or note-taking allowed! Also, cell phones must be used outside.
-MAKE SURE YOU ARRIVE ON TIME. There are two “cycles” during the night; for us, one “group” of 10 started about 30 minutes earlier than our “group” of 8 (you eat the same dishes at the same time as the others in your “group”). If you are late, they’ll start without you and won’t give you any courses that you’ve missed.
-The restaurant has a wine program in place now. “Guests are permitted to bring a maximum of two 750 ml bottles of wine that are not represented on our wine list. There is a wine service fee of $70 per bottle. Liquor is not allowed in the dining room.”
The Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare is one of the hottest restaurants in NYC right now. It became a Michelin three-star in the 2012 Michelin Guide, and since then it’s become increasingly more difficult to secure a reservation. Foodies say Chef Ramirez might be serving the best seafood in the nation right now, and the meal experience is bolstered by the fact that you can watch the chef at work and even chat with him.
Chef Eric Ripert even said of Brooklyn Fare (via Twitter): “Lucky to experience Brooklyn Fare Kitchen & ultra talented Cesar Ramirez cooking…GENIUS & incredibly inspiring A must for all food lovers.”
Here’s an excerpt from the confirmation email they sent me:
“The menu is a market-driven tasting menu that is determined by the chef the day of your reservation. The intention is to preserve the integrity of the product and therefore the menu will not be modified in anyway. The menu has a heavy focus on seafood, including both raw fish and shellfish. Vegetarians cannot be accommodated. Shellfish allergies cannot be accommodated. Raw fish will not be cooked through & dairy cannot be removed from the dish. We thank you for your understanding. Please contact reservations regarding specific allergies.”
This is one of the hardest restaurants in NYC to get a reservation. You have to call that number at 10:00 a.m. EST on Monday, and you make the reservations for six weeks in advance. The problem is that there’s only one line, and you almost always have to constantly redial for at least an hour. I spent an hour and a half (and hundreds of redials) calling until I was finally able to make a reservation.
Once you are able to actually speak with them over the phone, they’ll ask for what reservation time you want, your phone number, your email, and your credit card information, and any dietary restrictions your party has. They email you a week before the meal (so five weeks later) to confirm the reservation, and after that they charge your credit card for the entire meal, tax and 20% tip included.
Once you arrive at the restaurant:
Gong back to the meal, Chef Ramirez doesn’t let people take pictures or take notes, so we don’t really have any pictures of the food. However, we have a list of the dishes we had if you’re interested in what kind of food Chef Ramirez is serving!
(After the meal, we were able to write out most of the stuff we had. Also, Matt managed to sneakily pick up a paper menu after the meal; I would definitely have not tried as hard had I known there was a paper menu.)
Here are two pictures we took before entering.
Here’s a picture we took inside after the meal.
Here’s a picture of the paper menu Matt quietly took after the meal.
-Regarding the picture of the menu, we sadly didn’t get any caviar or foie gras. Instead, we ended up getting seafood chawanmushi, which was AMAZING! Still, it would have been nice to try caviar or foie gras here, and the menu just taunts you…
-Also, we had snow crab instead of king crab.
What we ate:
Canapés (most of these were sashimi/crudo):
1. Chilled tomato soup with cucumber (in the form of foam on top) in a cup.
2. Shigoku oyster (from British Columbia) with Granny Smith apple.
3. Bluenose sea bass (Antarctic butterfish) with crispy ginger.
4. Fluke with jicama.
5. Suzuki (Japanese sea bass) with arugula flower and crispy garlic.
6. Shima aji (striped jack fish) with pickled daikon.
7. Snow crab with finger lime (in the form of air?).
8. Kinmedai (splendid alfonsino or golden eye snapper) with ___.
9. Madai (Japanese red snapper) with ___ and orange flower.
10. Bluefin tuna with soy and ginger.
11. Akamutsu (“black throat” fish) with ___.
12.Burgundy snail custard with garlic sabayon and crispy shallots.
13. Japanese sardine with sage (all in the form of tempura).
14. Charcoal-grilled octopus with hearts of palm.
15. Langoustine with Iranian saffron and ___.
16. Seafood chawanmushi with truffle dashi. It has uni and a few other things, and there’s egg custard at the bottom.
17. Kasugodai (young snapper from Japan) with blue-foot (Psilocybe caerulipes) mushrooms.
18. John Dory with Japanese rice and Thai bouillabaisse.
19. Duck with morel mushrooms and spelt. The sauces are duck jus and morel purée.
20. Tudd (spelling?) cheese with plum and dried kemp.
Goat’s milk from Andante Dairy (Cheesemaker: Soyoung Scanlan).
21. Shiso sorbet, plum wine, and gold.
22. Ricotta cheesecake, huckleberries, and pistachio gelato.
23. Caramel and hazelnut chocolates.