Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Genius of Brooklyn Fare

I've decided to make some recollections of what I consider to be the greatest meal I've ever had. I know, a monstre-ously large statement to make and one that I can completely justify in my mind. I have certainly had more special meals (memorable romantic evenings) and I've certainly had more supremely complete experiences. I'll never forget the concert-like rhythmic movements of the staff at Le Meurice in Paris, the famed Michelin 3-star. It was so precise and the attention to detail elevated the already superb meal to legendary status in my head. But the food delivered on February 16th left me in complete awe.

Brooklyn Fare Kitchen is an amazing concept and is the genius of Chef Cesar Ramirez, a former exec-chef for David Bouley. It is called a "class" on their website but really it is the experience of being served the most precise and flavorful food by a master artisan chef live and up close. Having dined at Brooklyn Fare once before and loving the experience, I was eager to repeat it with my co-workers, so I made a reservation for the whole table back in November for February 16th. That's how tough a reservation it is, but believe me, persistence and patience here are well worth the reward you will receive.

Chris Cree did a great job of documenting the extent of culinary wizardry we experienced. Check it out here. Cesar does not allow photos any more and discourages note taking, which is a shame and also completely understandable. In the blogosphere in which we live, the last thing a chef as creative as Ramirez needs is to see digital pictures of his intellectual property out there for other chefs to steal. But it certainly robs food geeks like me of remembering (especially after the 6 magnums we downed, more on that in a bit) everything presented. And I want to remember. I want to file it away in my memory banks, so when I have a moment to daydream, I can recollect, reminisce and draw inspiration from it.

6 courses and 12--no typo--canapes to start. One after another of magnificence on a plate, I have never muttered the word "Wow" so often in one evening. The warm beet soup with Hudson Valley yogurt with a shave of citrus zest was so inviting and welcoming. The Bluefin Toro with a hint of mustard and crisped leeks was luscious. The Kumamoto oyster with grapefruit creme fraiche and oyster juice gelee was breathtaking. The King Crab --stolen photo at right, sue me--with caviar, vanilla and pineapple was explosive. Hell, I even ate Duck testicles (no bullshit) and loved it; fried into a crispy little "ball" that he conveniently didn't tell us what it was until everyone had already eaten it! And how could anyone forget the Cod creme with a mountain of shaved black truffle, so much so that Cesar let us know that the cost of the shaved truffle is more than what we paid for the meal. It is probably the simplest, yet most complex and thoroughly satisfying things that has ever caressed my palate.

The wines were all mags and all tasty...

NV Eric Rodez Champagne Brut "Cuvee des Crayeres" Ambonnay
NV De Meric Champagne Brut "Catherine de Medici" Ay
2001 Domaine Bzikot Puligny Montrachet Les Folatieres 1er cru
1999 Bouchard Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru
2006 Robert Sinskey Pinot Blanc Carneros
1999 Thomas Levet Cote Rotie Chavaroche
1986 Raymond Lafon Sauternes

I urge you to check this place out for yourself, as alas, the times are a changin' at Brooklyn Fare. This summer, they plan to expand, increase the price which is currently $95 per person and add a liquor license which will end the BYO practice. I volunteered to run the wine program for Cesar in exchange for food. Still waiting to hear back...

JCB the 4th

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