One of my favorite traditions is that Mike and I surprise each other each year on our birthdays (and we trade off our anniversary and Valentine’s Day) with reservations at an amazing restaurant. Mike has brought me to a parade of some of the best restaurants in NYC: Jean Georges (disappointing), Daniel (very good), Le Bernardin (great), and (our now #2 restaurant of all time) WD-50.
This year, we left our borough of Manhattan and took the subway to Brooklyn to try the Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare Kitchen.
Brooklyn Fare is a very nice supermarket on one side with this 12-seat chef’s table around a small kitchen on the other side. I was pretty sure they didn’t allow pictures of the food, but I snapped some shots before everything came out. I loved the veritable chandelier of copper pots above the kitchen.
And our table setting was lovely, with a chopstick rest that reminded me of jacks and a very high plate that was the base for the first third of the meal.
And then the food came out, so the camera went away. What really surprised me, however, was that they told me they don’t allow the taking of notes! This was a first. I get that you don’t want to spoil the surprise with how it looks, but you’re not even allowed to record what you eat? Well… I don’t like it, but I get it. The surprise was part of the loveliness of the meal (though I don’t think knowing the highlights would have detracted from it in the least).
This had Mike and I texting each other the highlights to remind us after the meal of what we loved. A pretty silly thing that I’m embarassed to admit, but hey, anything for you dear readers. Here’s your warning… if you want to be surprised by your meal at Brooklyn Far, skip the italicized next section!
Here were our highlights:
- Oyster with apple. This was a delicious fresh oyster with a tiny sliver of apple (or apple gelee, not sure) on top. It was a perfect, fresh compliment to the tenderly flavored oyster without overpowering it
- Red Sea Perch with black vinegar. This had a great smoky flavor that had everyone around the table saying “mmm” in near unison.
- Uni with white truffle. This was our #1 dish the entire meal. I like uni but I don’t love uni. This was uni I could (and did) fall in love with. And the truffle was just perfectly balanced with it. A single bite of joy.
- Lobster with corn. One of my favorite combinations. This had a great lobster flavor that could ALMOST rival Maine and the corn was some of the best I have tried this summer.
- Wagyu with black garlic. I love black garlic and when you add to that a perfectly cooked piece of fine beef, what could possibly be bad? Answer: NOTHING
- Shiso sorbet. An intermezzo going from the savory into the sweet. Shiso a leaf that I’ve typically had with sushi. It has a distinct flavor that I really enjoy. Made into a sorbet, it was an ideal intermezzo.
- Sabayon caviar. This had nice flavor but wasn’t quite as good as our tops above. Also, it will be hard to compare any caviar with sabayon after Oysters and Pearls at French Laundry.
- Just Okay:
- Turbo with truffle. The truffle was good but the fish was just okay. I don’t know if it wasn’t cooked well or if I just don’t like turbo. I found it pretty flavorless.
- Black cod. I usually love black cod. This was plain and I only remembered it because I was so excited to get black cod and then disappointed when it wasn’t as good as I have had.
- Not so great:
- Langoustine with squid. The squid had way too much chew, borderline rubbery. The langoustine had little flavor. Surprisingly underwhelming.
And for dessert, all were great. We had a strawberry basil dessert that was a great combination followed by an earl grey chocolate and grapefruit dish. Typically I like grapefruit, but find it too sour when combined with a plated dessert. Not so with this one. Every bite went together well and the tea really balanced everything.
There were about 15 courses in total, but these were the ones that we could recall from the lieu.
Then we were each give a caramel filled and a peanut butter filled chocolate. Both were so smooth and so well balanced. Awesome final bite.
It was a really great meal overal, and I was very happy that we got to go. The meal was paced perfectly and felt very intimate. The chef, Cesar Ramirez, was there throughout the entire meal and always served the plate closest to the kitchen. He came around before the meal to greet us and after the meal to say goodbye. That was a very nice touch.
Even though we had highlights as well as some things that weren’t as memorable or not as good, we truly enjoyed the full meal and the entire experience.
Which makes us even more excited that Brooklyn Fare is coming to NYC and just 1 block from our apartment. They say it should open any week now… Hopefully it opens soon. Cannot wait! (Even just to have a good supermarket close will be a big deal)
If you are looking for a really special chef’s tasting in a cool spot, Brooklyn Fare is a definite win.
Total Nom Points: 8.5 out of 10