Why Come Here? NYC’s most intimate (with the chef) dining experience, a sampling of 20 intricately prepared foods
You probably don’t need me to tell you the food at Chef’s Table is fantastic. The three Michelin Stars, 29 Food Rating on Zagat and heaps of other critical praise probably got the point across. But it’s not the food so much that distinguishes it from top restaurants like Per Se, Eleven Madison Park and Le Bernardin, all of which serve inventive cuisine with top notch ingredients. It’s the approach that Chef’s Table takes to dining.
The three restaurants above represent fine dining in the traditional sense: opulent decor, plush seating and friendly, highly attentive service. Chef’s Table, on the other hand, is like eating an intimate meal in a great chef’s kitchen (hence the name). All 18 diners sit in a semi-circle watching the kitchen, a friendly format that encourages conversation with fellow diners. You can watch dishes being brought to you straight from the kitchen by a server enclosed in the semi-circle. Your only other server is the sommelier, who delivers your wine from an extensive, high-priced and French Focused wine list. While this approach is unusual, it’s not novel (Momofuku Ko has a similar format). What really sets Chef’s Table apart is that executive Chef Cesar Ramirez stands right in front of you the entire time and (when not preparing food) is chatting, delivering dishes and answering questions. He even hung around after the meal to discuss it with us for at least 30 minutes. Truly amazing.
As for the food, there are no photos or notes allowed and 20+ courses (most of them 1 bite) so I won’t be doing the usual rating of each dish. However, nearly everything was exquisite. Briefly, here’s what we received:
An amuse bouche of cucumber/lime soup
Around a dozen single bite fish courses, with fresh, exotic fish with a small amount of sauce. The sauces ran the gamut from salty to sweet to smokey. One of my favorites was an oysters with a granny smith apple and cream sauce. A scallop with caviar smoked table side was another highlight.
A single meat course of perhaps the most tender duck I’ve eaten.
An all-in-one “cheese plate” consisting of thinly sliced cheese over a fig jam.
Three dessert courses including something resembling a strawberry shortcake and chocolates with banana cream and whiskey.
While it’s expensive (at $225 a head + tax&tip) and reservations are hard to come by (call 6 weeks ahead on Monday at 10:30AM, repeat), the Chef’s Table is an experience like no other in New York and definitely worthwhile.
Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare
200 Schermerhorn St. (Hoyt & Bond Sts.)